Tiny Celebration


Today, this blog got its 50th like 🙂 I just want to take a sec out to say that since this blog is almost entirely about myself and my experiences, each and every like, view, comment and follow is like a little affirmation that what I’m saying is worth taking the time to say.

So, thank you, everyone who’s liked, commented and followed this blog over the last couple of years – it means a lot to me and I hope you’re getting as much out of reading this as I get out of writing it 🙂

Cute Bats

Cute bats for every follower 🙂

Furious New Year


We’re now into the second week of 2013. Most years, January is to December is to November and November is to October, and so on. This year, though, is palpably different. There are huge differences in my life now, compared to a year since. I’m coming into the year with a little less optimism, a little less spring in my step. 2012 was a year of facing up to the real truth, and oh man was it scary. The reality of….well, reality, I suppose. It came and didn’t so much take me out of my comfort zone as blow my comfort zone to kingdom come.

There has been a troublesome trend recently to begin a new year with a larger than strictly necessary dose of reality. This year, I spent the lead up to Christmas trying to come to terms with the loss of my Grandmother (Nan Kay, my Mum’s Mum). When my Dadcu passed on in April, it was hard to accept because he had been, perhaps not in good health, but certainly in better spirits than he’d been in for some time. In my memories, he has been unwell since I knew him, but so vital and full of life. Never was there a man with such a cheeky grin when slipping me £5 and saying “Now don’t tell your Grandmother!”.

Then, inevitably, some time later my Nan would catch me and do the exact same thing, “don’t tell Dadcu,” she’d say with a chuckle. I think they both knew, but it was more fun that way. Dadcu was a fisherman and a Navy man. He had flags on his coffin and they played The Last Post as he burned. My Nan Kay, who always knew what to do, took him out to sea one last time, on the lifeboat that he was an avid supporter of. Shortly after that, she  suffered  what at the time appeared to be a stroke, but was actually misdiagnosed [name of rare brain problem that I can’t remember]. Nothing has ever pushed me closer to moving back to Wales, but I didn’t. I sent her cards, not as often as I should have done but it was all I could manage.

The most heart-breaking part of it all was that she seemed to be improving for a while. Then it all changed, the progress she’d made fell away and left her nude and unprotected. We’ll never know if she was in pain after that, or if she was still the same person inside. We will never be able to tell whether it was harder for her or for my Mum. Nan Kay lived until December. I can only hope she’s resting now. She never really got the hang of resting.

Lightning storm image

Fury.

It’s difficult to do so, but looking beyond that I learned a lot in 2012. I learned a lot of harsh truths about friendships and how fragile they can be. I learned what it’s like to work full time in an environment that is really foreign to me (an office), earning enough to pay the bills but almost nothing beyond, and the value of staying because the job, the company and the other people there are all great. I learned that no matter how keen I am about them, stupid ideas remain stupid ideas. I learned that no, not everything IS fair in love and war. I learned a healthy new fury at the current government. I learned that you can’t sit about all day and eat junk food and maintain a size 8-10 figure. I learned I don’t trust people as much as I thought I did. I learned that there’s a proper medical term for the type of insomnia I’ve had for the last few years. Much more besides.

I don’t make new year’s resolutions. I do take the start of the year as an opportunity to assess myself and often, to give myself a good talking to. This year, I was sterner than usual. I may not be starting the new year happy, but I’m fierce. I may not be convinced but I’m determined. I may not be perfect, but dammit I’ve got to keep trying to be.

Back From the Nearly Living


So earlier in the week, I linked a post from my plinky archive on a whim. I love plinky, the format is ideal for me (small, directed pieces) and the prompt in question (sea or sky and why?) ended up with quite a nice little answer. Putting it into the blog only took a click of a button.

The response I got was pretty surprising; likes, follows and page views sprung from no-where and hopped, all bunny-eyed over my internet. New followers aren’t something I thought such a dusty, rarely updated trifle would get, especially from such a little snippet of a post!

Startled Owl

I was this surprised.

So I want to take a second to thank everyone who came and read what I’d written. I use writing these days as a way to examine and structure my own thoughts on a topic, which makes it all quite internal. I didn’t think it would appeal to people who don’t know me personally.

In the last month I have (to borrow a cliché) risen from the ashes. I spent exactly two years unemployed, to the day, and those two years changed me. Of course, I was consumed with self-loathing for most of that time, to the point where, alongside my love I began to find disgust in how I felt for my boyfriend simply for his insistence that he wasn’t going anywhere.

It’s only recently though, since I started the job I got via an apprenticeship scheme, that I realised how insular, lazy and selfish I’d become. I was resentful of the world for the sheer audacity it displayed in its continuing to exist. Incredulity when people acted as though I was still valid. It was as though I’d regressed to the age of sixteen and dyed my hair black. Maybe my next move would have been carving words into my arm with a compass.

I’m not back to being the person I was before the Big Black Dog joined the team. I doubt I ever will be that person again; how could I be? I feel as though I am beginning to fit in to the life of the adult I have created.

Clinging on to life.

It had been so long since I smiled like this guy.

Even beyond that, there are times when I realise I still have similar logs burning as I did when I felt like my smile could carry the world. At the job interview, a question, or perhaps a statement from the guy interviewing me (now my boss and director of the company) almost seemed to unbind a ribbon, allowing it to fly in the wind again.

We talked about continued learning and the flaws in a traditional boss/employee paradigm (a risky subject for a job interview I know) and I knew the gleam I could see in his eyes; it was the one which had just returned to my own.

Walking along the spine (a partially-covered walkway on Lancaster university campus) in the rain and I’m cold, tired and hungry. A woman around the same age as me stops to put down her shopping bags. One of them is beginning to split and she is flexing her hands in a way that tells me the bags are heavy.

I offer to help and she politely declines but I insist that I’m in no hurry. We walk back to her flat and she says it’s almost like a sign. “I stopped believing in angels,” she said “but maybe I should start again.” When we arrive at her building, she invites me inside for a drink but it’s my turn to politely decline. At that moment there was nothing in the world I could have wanted.

As I made my way down the stairs I called up and behind to her, ” I just hope that one day when you get the chance you pass on the favour.” I hope she does. The gleam in my eyes must have been like a floodlight.

Inspire

Too true.

The world is not perfect. I am not perfect. But I have started trying again.

In essence, what I really want to say is thank you. Thank you to anyone who reads this. Thanks for using some of such a precious resource (time, what else?) to humour me. Thank you, everyone who read and enjoyed my last post, and to those who read but didn’t enjoy.

Most of all, thank you to the people who are still here. Storms are hard to weather, but I think the clouds are dispersing. I think I can see the sun again.

Pools of Blue


Waves, the sea, the water Waves

Sea, every time. I live less than five miles from the coast now, but it’s the furthest away I’ve ever been. For nine years or thereabouts I lived so close to the shore I could sometimes fall asleep to the sound of the water, if it was particularly rough or choppy, or an especially quiet night.

I’ll never stop being calmed by the sea spray and the smell of salt water. The air itself is different around the sea, and I relish it.

The sky might be the most beautiful, but in my heart of hearts I’m sat on the end of the old Ferryside pier, just listening.

Powered by Plinky

Reasons


Having been off work for such a long time with (what I think is) a pathetic reason, I’ve become quite self loathing. I’ve never particularly had much love for myself, I’ve never given myself any sort of reason to, but I’ve recently come to consider myself a really loathesome little creature. Too scared to even choose a place to eat with Chris, anxiety attacks at the thought of inviting a friend to do something and so little faith in my abilities that I can’t even get beyond the very preliminary thoughts of doing anything worthwhile. On top of that is the overwhelming sense that even if I were to somehow come out on top, there wouldn’t be a place in the job market for a girl with no useful qualifications and a nearly two year gap on her CV. What motivation do I have to make the extra effort required?

My Mother's wedding day

My Dadcu, before he walked my mum slowly down the aisle.

Well, I might have found something. My granddad, my Dadcu, my mother’s father. I’ve never known him a healthy man, but he’s approaching his eighties now and it’s really been showing lately. Not so many months ago gout caused by diabeties meant he had a leg amputated at the knee. Some years before he was rushed to hospital  for reasons that I can’t remember, but I know it was a close thing. Last night, the 29th of March, he had a heart attack. Today, he’s in a medically induced coma, fighting for his life.

In his own gruff way, he has always wanted the best for my brother and me. He bought me my first computer when I had to start writing essays for school. He was always generous with things he thought served a worthwhile purpose and I’ve spent my life drowning in myriad worlds of books and stories brought to me in part through his encouragement and generosity. He would give me the occassional £10 and whisper to me ‘Don’t tell your Grandmother’. He taught me pretty much everything I know about sports but always refused to teach me to cheat at cards.

I’ve seen him overcome so much, and I know he will overcome this latest threat. He wouldn’t leave my gran on her own like that; he promised me he’d look after her. He has to get better. I can’t let him go to the grave knowing his only granddaughter to be a failure. I have to show him I’m worth something, that all his encouragement wasn’t for naught, that the failure I’ve been so far isn’t all I’m ever going to be.

I don’t know what I’m going to do yet but it needs to be something that will make him proud to be my granddad. My Dadcu.

More than 30 years ago.

Henry Ronald Rees, late 70’s

Father Valentine


Firstly, a quick explanation as to my lack of new updates recently – I simply haven’t been able to coagulate my thoughts into postable material. There have been things I’ve wanted to write about but they’ve stuck around for a very short period of time, much less than it takes me to mull something over and decide on what angle to pursue in my writing. I think part of the problem might be my thinking a blog post needs to be a long, in-depth affair, whereas it’s really fine for me to write only a few paragraphs on something. Am going to try harder in the coming weeks to remedy this.

A friend of mine, luvlymish, introduced me to a very interesting tradition a couple of years ago, which she heard about from a different friend of hers. Originating in Norfolk, the annual tradition of Father Valentine is a rather quaint idea that can really spread a lot of happiness and smiles around the place. Also known as the tradition of Jack Valentine, a lucky person would be called upon and St. Valentine’s day by a mysterious visitor, the enigmatic Father, or Jack, Valentine. A knock on the door would signal the arrival of a gift for someone in the house (children and unattached people were just as likely to receive gifts as lovers). Father Valentine himself would be long gone by the time the door was answered but the tradition was to yell “Thank you, Father Valentine!” into the wind in case he was actually just hiding in the wind.

Being a truly sentimental romantic at heart, this idea appeals to me immensely. The opportunity to give and potentially receive anonymous gifts is one that I can’t pass up. The gifts can be anything, from a chocolate bar to jewelry and more. A pair of sunglasses rests amongst my ornaments, Father Valentine’s gift from last year.

In some ways, it’s a shame I feel like I need this kind of sanctioning in order to give tokens of my love and appreciation to my friends. However, I’ve found that random gifts aren’t always a good idea. The last random thing I gave a friend got accidentally left in Manchester without even so much as a thank you. I don’t like sounding whiny and petulant but that stung. So, something a little bit more organised this time.

I am tempted to bake goodies for my valentines, but our kitchen is small and often quite messy (my housemate’s insistence that the recycling goes HERE obviously didn’t apply to him, if the empty pizza boxes are anything to go by). Also I’m not sure how I’d deliver vast quantities of yummy cakes and the like – I’d need to scour the land for small boxes. Aside from that I have scant few ideas, but there’s plenty of time. Mostly, I think, I need to write a list of people. I’m lucky – I have many people in my life whom I love dearly and want to lend a smile to. But that needs lots of ideas, so off I go to come up with some.

Still Alive


I have been having a particularly horrible week. So much has gone wrong in the last seven days that I am tempted to just call this the worst week I’ve had, in memory. Family members are ill, I’ve got no money, and a friend who I thought would always have my back were actually just waiting for the right opportunity for the knife.

As someone with quite severe depression, this has all led to me having some pretty horrible thoughts about self harm and suicide. As you can probably guess, I haven’t killed myself and I think the largest factors towards my not having committed or attempted suicide boil down to a couple of things.

First and foremost, Chris. Even with my incredibly low self-esteem, I know beyond any doubt that if I killed myself, Chris would be devastated. He loves me and cares for me more than I ever thought anyone would. I stop and think about it sometimes and I’m blown away. I really can’t understand it but Chris is not the kind of guy who would ever or could ever fake these kinds of emotions. He’s not particularly open, emotionally, and I think that his love for me is the only extreme or intense emotion I’ve ever seen him display. How could I inflict something like me committing suicide on him? A fine way to repay all of his kindness and generosity.

How To Save A Life – The Frey – this video can speak to anyone who has lost someone and subsequently wished they could have done something to prevent it.

Leading neatly on from that is the fact that I could never do it to any of my friends or family, either. No parent should have to outlive their child, and no friend should ever be made to feel that they couldn’t intervene, that their friendship wasn’t enough to help convince a person to stay alive. It would be left to someone I love and care about to clear out my bedroom, too, and I can’t think of anything worse for someone who is grieving to have to do, especially with a bedroom as personal as mine. Every thing on every shelf is some outward display of a memory or an emotion or an aspect of my personality. I attach huge amounts of sentimentality to objects that have no real worth, and there will be someone out there who will understand something about each item. I still have a small heart made of tinfoil that Karl made me in the lower sixth. No worth to anyone but him and me, and while it might seem easy for someone to throw it away, what if you knew that it held some kind of memory, some little part of the person who used to own it, even if you don’t know what the memory is? I wouldn’t find it easy.

Thirdly, as much as there are things I hate about myself and my life, there are so many things that aren’t shit. I love music. I love reading. I love video games. I love spending whole evenings with people who I love, watching TV shows and talking. I love my friends, my family and my boyfriend more than anything. I love my cats and my dog. I love nature and all the amazing, breathtaking things she is capable of. I love ingenuity and capabilities of mankind (even if I don’t always approve of the uses they’re put to). I love the way it feels when Chris looks me in the eyes and tells me that he loves me, and the way his hands feel when he holds me.

What I think the most important factor is more of the how than the why. I’ve already expressed concern for whoever gets stuck with the horrible job of emptying my bedroom, but what about the person who would find the body? I can’t imagine much that would be more awful than finding someone like that. If I were to do it in my house, the most likely candidate for finding the body would be someone I care about whichever of my housemates was to find it. Worst case scenario would involve Chris finding me – he’s had to deal with that once in his life already, and if there is anyone who doesn’t deserve something horrible to happen to them, it’s Chris. He is kind, generous, shy, polite and would never do anyone any harm without severe provocation.

I could never do it in a way that impacts another person, either. I just think it so selfish, the people who commit suicide by throwing themselves under trains. I wonder if they’ve ever given a thought to just how really, seriously traumatic that would be for the train driver? I used to fantasize about jumping off the train bridge in Lancaster as a non-stop train sped through, but I just can’t bring myself to subject anyone to that, let alone a random stranger just trying to do their job. On top of that, imagine the chaos – it takes so little to disrupt train service, there would be many people inconvenienced just because of me.

Lastly, no matter how bad it feels when I am usurped by the oppressive certainty that everything is shit, I’m not worth anything to anyone, and nothing will ever be ok again, when I am lucid and rational and only mildly convinced of the world’s hostility to me, I hope.

I hope that one day I will be healthy and whole and happy again, that one day Chris and I will have a place of our own that I can fill with clutter and colourful rugs with blankets and throws over all the chairs and a welcoming front door. I can hope that in the future I’ll start each day with a smile and be the person I’ve promised myself I can be.

I hope that Sam will realise that in the classic “reason/season/lifetime” paradigm, he is supposed to be a lifetime friend. WE are supposed to be lifetime friends. I hope he’ll realise just how horrible this whole situation is, just how much we both lose from this. I hope he’ll realise that no-one will ever care about him like I do. Without him I have almost no doubt I wouldn’t have managed to make it through the last two years in Lancaster. I hope he’ll realise that the trust and loyalty he can get from a best friend is greater than that which he can expect from a girl to whom he is the other guy, the guy she’s cheating on her boyfriend with, the guy she kissed out of mild curiosity and swore blind she didn’t have any interest other than friendship.

I hope that someday I will actually be able to do what I want. I want people to like me. I want to do things that make their lives better and happier and richer, somehow. I want to be the woman who Chris deserves. I want to be the friend that my friends deserve.

I hope that one day, I can be my own person with no shadowy black dog lurking around every corner in my mind. I hope I’ll be free.

With Friends Like These…


I’ve never been the most popular person around. For my whole life, I’ve had to get used to being the person from an odd-numbered group who has to sit on their own on the bus, or the one people forget to invite to places. I’m the one who gets edged out when someone new and more interesting comes along. The one who’s only part of the group because they just won’t stop turning up places.

In the few years I’ve been living in Lancaster, there have been a few occasions where I’ve mistakenly assumed that this effect has worn off and that I have settled into a group. With the people at Archery, it became obvious very quickly when I was no longer welcome around, though the only thing I’d done was fallen in love with the president of the society and the captain’s best friend.

Possibly one of the most hostile and difficult situations I’ve ever been in; the overnight stay in Chester will remain vividly etched in my mind as one of the worst weekends of my life. When the aforementioned man and myself ended our relationship, there was no longer any question of me being able to shoot – my bow proved to quickly become a three hundred pound paperweight.

Luckily for me, not all of my forays into pre-established friendship groups proved so harmful to my mental health; my attendance at RocSoc was simply not high enough to become firmly established in that social group. I know the people, and they know me, but aside for a couple of exceptions we’re never going to be bosom-buddies. Less intimacy and attachment; less eventual pain.

The place I really did think I’d stick, however, was LURPS. Lancaster university role-playing society. Full of people who were teased in school and consider themselves to be socially ‘different from the norm’. Even I couldn’t be considered annoying or weird compared to some of these guys, right?

For a while, I was so enamoured by everyone in LURPS that I found it hard to settle into a particular group. Before too long though, I gathered a few people I was particularly interested and amused by, people I thought I could trust and enjoy the company of, and we became a group, a brigade even. A core group of six with some peripheral people, and I felt like I’d found my own version of the Friends cast, people who I’d continue to be friends with through my twenties and beyond.

Despite some hiccups, such as Dan leaving Lancaster (if you’re reading this, Dan, we miss you!), we’re still here three years on. Three years of trying and testing each other, laughing, crying, and loving together, and I thought that I’d finally be able to tick ‘lifetime friends’ off my list of things I need for a satisfactory life.

It seems though, that life thought I needed another false start, another lesson learned. To offset the balance of a social group is a very easy thing, especially when the group contains someone such as me, who is so easily displaced from their comfort zone. I fill a particular role in the group – I am the only girl, the main ear that gets confided in, the funny, cute girl who messes about and kicks butt in Team Fortress 2. I also take a lot of maintenance as a friend, something I know and am trying hard to work on. I am almost obsessively sociable; even when I’m feeling anti-social or ill I want there to be people around me, so I can listen to them talk and know that I’m not alone when I’m feeling at my worst.

For three years, I have been able to have all the support that I need from this group of friends, and from Sam more than most. He and I are ‘best’ friends, and despite several ups and downs between us, I thought that wasn’t going to change, at least not while we continue to house share.

Now though, there’s someone else. A girl I can’t even bring myself to have any hostile feelings towards; she and I have always been towards the ‘friends’ end of the acquaintance scale, and from what I can tell she is a lovely, interesting, funny, pretty, gamer girl.

For almost the whole time he’s known her, Sam has been interested in her, and I can’t blame him. Nothing ever came of it though, because she has had a boyfriend since before Sam ever met her. Nevertheless, his interest never waned; he just supressed it. Until recently. I don’t want to air out exactly what’s happening between them, so what it comes down to is that she has very quickly become a close friend to Sam.

I had no worry when Sam was pursuing her as a romantic interest; in fact I was all for it – Sam is a great guy and deserves to find a girl who’ll make him happy and put up with how stubborn he is. Now that it has emerged that they aren’t going to be entering into a romantic relationship, I am fighting a losing battle for the position of Sam’s best friend. Why would he want to keep me when he could have someone who is just a vastly improved version of me? The signs are already beginning to show; Sam and I have spent very little time together just hanging out recently. He’s been busy, or there have been other more interesting people around. Sam’s always had the time for her though.

Most of my group of friends already consider her to be a friend, too, so it’s only a matter of time before I’m left at the starting post without them all, because again, who’d keep me around when she’s a prettier, funnier, more interesting and intelligent version of me with less neuroses for them to worry about? From there, it’s only a short step before they stop inviting me along to the race at all.

 

PS. I know that you’re all entitled to freedom of speech and can say whatever you want about it, but before you post about how selfish and whinghy I sound in this post, please have a little bit of sympathy for the girl who’s missing her best friend and scared of being replaced by someone far superior.

 

PPS. The main body of this post (that is, not counting the two post-scripts) totals 1000 words exactly. Random round numbers like that give me a little bit of a thrill.

My nights of how-I-feel-indecision


Every night, I fall asleep feeling two things with equal intensity. I feel like the next day is going to be the end of the world as I am currently aware of it. I feel like waking up will be futile because there will be no change.

I fall asleep feeling as though the morning will find me a changed woman with all the energy and motivation I need to do all the things I haven’t done yet. My to-do list is in a constant state of growth. So many things that need doing, so little capacity for achievement. But sometimes, I fall asleep contentedly, certain in my knowledge that the next day will see me ticking things off the list with a ferocity I haven’t had since sixth form.

I fall asleep charged with terror because after sleep comes the next day, and I’m a day further away from getting anything done. I am overwhelmed, knowing with absolute certainty that tomorrow will find me regressed ever so slightly further into my own personal hell. One day I will wake up and I’ll be living with my parents again, with no freedom or choice, but no pressure. My head is filled with a montage of things that haven’t happened yet, but will eventually – I see myself so vividly as a parent, an awful one; the kind who can’t maintain any continuity for my children. They will think of their father as the star parent who cooks and cleans and teaches them how to ride their first bikes. My Mum is quite distant, they’ll say – they won’t want to call me useless to other people but it will be what they are thinking.

Every night, I know that a thousand tomorrows are possible.

Every night, I know that the tomorrow I will wake up to will be the last day of my life. It will also be the first day of the rest of my life.

Whichever way it goes, as they say, it’s the end of the world as I know it. The only question is how I feel, ‘cos I ain’t fine.

I have so much to do that I’m just going to give up and punch trees.


In my attempts to act my age, I feel like I should at the very least pretend to keep on top of stuff. There are so many things that need taking care of on a day-to-day basis, things such as laundry, washing up, cleaning and  eating to name but a few. This is TOO MANY THINGS. I have a very limited capacity to do stuff but I have unlimited scope of what I feel I should be doing.

Take for example that I feel I should not be living in my bedroom as it currently is. I’m twenty-one, officially an adult everywhere now, and yet my bedroom is still adorned with brightly coloured bits and pieces (tat, for lack of a better word) that I can’t bear to hide away in a storage space. I operate on a fairly simple basis – if I have something pretty, I should show it off. For a long time, I kept scraps of wrapping paper from a gift blu-tacked to the door of my wardrobe, because it was pretty, and my Mum had obviously taken the time to choose something visually appealing to wrap around my gifts – therefore I should show this to the world. Too pretty to throw away, but pointless keeping something like that in a box.

What this comes down to is me having a bedroom so overflowing with stuff that keeping it all tidy is a herculean task. I have so many t-shirts that they don’t all fit in their drawers if they’re all clean. Same goes for all my other kinds of clothes. So my washing basket is perpetually full, and without constant monitoring, is quick to overflow.

When I move into a new room (four moves in the last four years), I tend to fill up all the available space. It’s like my possessions take on some kind of gaseous quality and expand to fill all available space. I have a five shelf book-case (six shelves if you count the top of the thing) and I filled it without a thought. There is also a whole collection of about 100 Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books stacked on my desk because I can’t think of anywhere better to put them. Nevermind the fact that I’ve got a perfectly good shelf just there – that’s where all that stuff has gone to live, and I can’t move it! Where else would a couple of 13-year-old trophies, a kaleidoscope and a balloon pump go?

I suppose the biggest challenge is that i know I’d have to do all the sorting and reorganizing in one go, because I can’t move the books until I move that stuff, which I’d need to find a place for, which would need to be rearranged or tidied which would involve moving more stuff…I’m sure you can see where this leads.

The problem is that I can only achieve stuff if I break it down into easy, bitesize chunks. Clearing out one or two drawers might not be so bad, but the concept of doing the whole set of drawers in one go sends me into a panic that starts out so self-defeated that I don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of doing anything at all (aside from maybe hyperventilating and trying not to cry)

Sadly there are some things that can’t be broken down, like making a phone call. Phone calls fill me with anxiety for multiple reasons, not least because people who know us both get my brother and me confused on the phone. Stuff that needs doing urgently is almost as bad, because there isn’t time to break it down, and often requires a lot of thought.

Needless to say, I can’t concentrate on anything when I’m in a frenzied state brought on by having stuff that needs doing, so I can’t even play a video game or read a book to keep my mind off things. So, my panic gets out of control and I can’t think about anything else, and my mind will start coming up with worse and worse potential scenarios that I just want to stop and hide under my desk like I used to before I filled the underneath of it with shoes, paper and empty carrier bags.