A long, dark tunnel.

It’s been a while.

I write this from the eye of a storm, in a pleasantly cold room, to the sound of a stranger sneezing somewhere out in the still night. I have been having constant, consecutive panic attacks for around two weeks now and I am exhausted to the point of calm. The nausea has subsided a little, my tongue doesn’t feel like a dry sponge, and my heart is not deafeningly loud in my ears. In this moment, I am okay.

My heart and spirit are thoroughly broken and the jar I keep the pieces in doesn’t have a lid; trying to keep them all together and not lose any pieces of myself is taking a lot of energy. And it’s not been entirely successful. I have definitely lost pieces of myself, stained a few, and damaged others irreparably. But in the process I’ve found a few coloured buttons and leaves and shells to fill up the empty space with, to make sure my jar is still full.

I’ve had flu twice, one concussion, four months of wearing sunglasses indoors, a handful of suicidal nights and a few more suicidal days. One police helicopter and two ambulances. A couple of severe reactions. One week in hospital with a hole in my spine. One addiction and 40 days sober. Three high-speed journeys down the stairs on my arse. Three full months off sick.

Two baby dogs. A few new friends. Five little tattoos. So many books read and miles walked and sunrises watched. A few thousand words written. A job I loved and hated and loved. A huge amount of nights survived against the odds. One week of bliss; remission; joy.

So many things survived this past 12 months that should be seen as strength and that I am trying to see as strength. I’ve lost friendships because every sentence I say begins with “I” and I can’t afford to dislike myself any more than absolutely necessary. I haven’t the energy to listen and respond, or to humour your epiphanies, or to pretend I know who the people you talk about are. My head is so full of static that your words mutate on the way through it and they come across harsh and impatient and ignorant, and I need to hide so I don’t snap.

My therapist asked me who I am and I’m still not sure but I’m working on it.