It’s being a bit of a bleak week. It’s funny – I was feeling stronger, more confident, better about the world and my place in it. Singing was getting easier: my hands weren’t shaking, and the panic attacks seemed to be a thing of the past. I was getting through whole rehearsals and services without the screaming interruption of memories and feelings and fears and that ever-present anxiety. I was feeling ok.
Until, suddenly, I wasn’t. Maybe there was one trigger, too small for me to notice. Maybe there were a number. Maybe it was some unacknowledged anniversary, perceived only in that powerful space below consciousness; maybe it was simply simply the vicissitudes of the chemicals in my brain, or life with post-traumatic stress disorder. Or any or all of the above – who knows.
The upshot though was a panic attack during my rehearsal on Friday night – the first time since Easter Day I’ve had to bail while I was singing (the intervals between panic attacks are getting less frequent – I have to hold onto this), and now the upshot is that I’m feeling shit. Bleak, and lethargic; completely apathetic, wanting only to sleep or tranquilise my mind with banality.
So I have been. As an experiment, I’m treating myself as though I’m recovering from a physical, rather than a mental, manifestation of unwell-ness. I haven’t been to the gym; I’ve read Harry Potter rather than the book on neurology and spirituality (borrowed from a friend and saved as a treat) which is currently sitting on my dining table; I’ve cuddled with the cat rather than doing those jobs I really actually need to do. For the last few days, I haven’t really been a singer – no practise, no preparation, and I’ve struggled to remain connected to what I’ve been singing. I haven’t really been a writer – I’ve barely put pen to paper and there have been a few days where I haven’t even done my self-imposed minimum word count. I’ve spent time with friends, but I’ve been on the outskirts of conversation, grateful to have friends who understand and who allow me to tune out when things get too much. They know I’m not ok, but they’re not pressing me – I’m just getting more hugs than usual.
And maybe that’s ok. This will pass, and I’ll still be a chorister, and I’ll still be a writer, and I’ll still have friends. I’ll still have a floor that needs hoovering, and I’ll still have a job to show up for, and the neurology book will wait. I’ll still be the person I always have been – I’ll just have been in a slight hiatus.
But the cat will be happy.