Life is wild. That’s the only way to describe it; although I’ve wasted many others on trying to do just that and will, no doubt, waste many more.

A week ago, I had a job I loved. It was hard, no doubt. But I loved it. It looked like maybe I had stumbled on this much vaunted career specter, after all. And it’s gone – the wisp of a carpet as it is pulled from beneath your feet.

A week ago, I was waiting for the results of my visa application as I had been for three months – the timeline provided by the lawyer who cost more than my education. I say this. It isn’t true. Education is expensive. They told my mom when I was born that she’d need to save one million in our currency to send me to university one day. This was a time when millions were still absurd numbers in everyday life. Something made up by someone from somewhere else. So we didn’t pay her more than my education, but we paid her more money than is thinkable to my South African Rands brain. Hell, it’s more than is thinkable here too.

We were waiting. With nothing but her word that I was safe until then; and all the nightmare stories of the Home Office circling – my own and millions of others, as the Windrush Report is finally published and Priti Patel declares her remorse in Parliament, trying not to twitch as she checks her phone to see the latest plane of deportees has departed.

We call the Home Office hotline, finally because I can no longer bear this hollowness beneath my breastbone. I say we. It is my husband who speaks to them; in case my panic triggers the response I have only just learned is normal from The Body Keeps Score and I, the ever eloquent drama student, am unable to speak.

They’ve sent the result; efficiently and on the accurate timeline of 8 weeks not 12. Less than that. It took them less than that for the case worker to approve of me; and the Home Office to decide she was wrong. The lawyer has had the answer for over two months. My fourth rib is clenched instead of my third. She has appealed. The H.O. ruling is based on a technicality that is no longer accurate. She is full of assurances when she answers her phone. There’ll be a court date. Six months is usual – but with the current chaotic crisis, who knows? In the meantime, I cannot leave the country. I cannot visit my family. Even if it is safe by then, we will not be able to return home for our wedding in December.

The lawyer promises she will send something over in writing that day so that I am no longer afraid I have nothing to prove my legal right to be here in the middle of a national, and international, pandemic. That was a week ago.

I remain a writer without paper.



On my second day in my new role, I saved a woman’s life. I don’t think I get much credit here. I was leaving my apartment building and she was sitting/lying on the steps with a phone in her hand. She was on the phone with emergency services; and couldn’t really tell them what was wrong because she was feverish. So, I did what…you know…any goddamn human being should do.

But when we were waiting for the ambulance in the dark and the dirt; as she stripped off her clothes in a brutal British winter and started to become delusional – I tried to keep her calm.

I said “Help is coming.” I thought, “I don’t know if it is.”

Another of a million moments in a foreign country, when you just don’t know what is true. The woman on the phone said they were coming. I think she meant it. She told me what to do if the woman vomited or faded into unconsciousness. But I’ve been promised help here before. It’s dangerous to get your hopes up.

I’ve phoned the emergency services back home. It wasn’t a picnic. I’ve been told my friend has a funny name for a boy when he has fallen and can’t move his arms or legs. My high school friend’s mom died before the ambulance got there. It wasn’t me who called that time. I called when the surfer dude was slammed into the waves. They were the foreigners then; holidaying and helpless.

Her partner got to us eventually but he’d never seen her like this. He didn’t really know what to do.

Me and my panic disorder did, as her vision began to go.

I don’t have any first aid training; and I still don’t know what was happening to her. That’s her business – I know she’s home safe and that’s what matters.

But I knew what to do when she thought she was dying. I knew what to tell the emergency services. I’ve been told to call them enough times. I knew what to say for the 40 minutes that felt longer as we waited for the ambulance in the dirt and the dark. I was calm when she started to speak Romanian; when she called out to her love, her mother, her God. I knew how to restrain her when she tried to run even though she couldn’t really stand. I was calm enough to make sure her partner had my number as they finally put her in the ambulance, in case he also didn’t have people nearby.

And then I turned and walked away as fast as I could. I told myself it was because the paramedics didn’t need extra people getting in the way. I think that was probably true. But that wasn’t all.

She was screaming by then. I could hear it all the way down the road. I knew the sound of it. Too well.


Cool. I thought I was done. Or, if not done, at least…paused. I thought the raging torrent that had been sputtering acid on the walls was, you know, resting.

And then today, at my first solo appointment with my mental health nurse, meaning not only that I went in alone, but actually that I got myself there alone – walked past the Marie Stopes clinic and the cluster of camped out anti-abortion protestors who are always sitting in camper chairs on the opposite corner; checked myself in on the little digital screen; and sat in the waiting room alone; managing the rising panic all along the way, taking off my English-winter-has-begun jersey even though I couldn’t find a bra, for the sweat.

And then, midway through a reasonably manageable appointment, I told her I’d been vomiting a bit. I’d made clear I’m dealing with a pretty large number of stressful things, even apart from having a debilitating mental illness. I’m getting married in a foreign country on Monday, so there’s that. My brother’s visa was denied so I won’t have any family there, except in the tiny ribbon I will wrap around my South African protea flowers if I can find them, cut from my first ever dress and sewn into a ribbon by the local Ghanaian tailor, brought across the seas from my mom by my about-to-be mother-in-law who is arriving the night before the wedding. So, you know, pretty stressful stuff. There’s that, and a whole lot of other stuff, which I shared with the nurse. They also just changed my dosage of the medication they also just changed. So…my body understands fairly well that it isn’t on a beach.

So, I said, I should tell you about what I’ve been experiencing in case it’s relevant at all. I’ve been vomiting (also SUPER fun). Any chance of pregnancy? She asked without looking up from her screen with its disingenuously tidy list of side effects. No, I just got my period. Well, some women keep having them. You should take a test just so we know. Casual like that. And then you’ll need to fill out this form for the new prescription, and it may take two days (soz about your wedding.) Also remember we’re all sad sometimes, and listen to music that makes you happy. Have you had any thoughts of harming yourself? No. Any thoughts of harming anyone else? Not until about five seconds ago…

Now, caution is good, I’m so totally there for the people who are in charge of which psychiatric drugs I take being cautious. But you also can’t just drop that shit on me. Two days before my wedding. In a foreign country. Without family or friends.

So, that’s what I got to do the Friday before I get married. I got to go to the pharmacy alone to buy the cheapest pregnancy test the chap behind the counter could scratch up. Not because my fiance isn’t supportive. He is supportive – he’s bloody working until 8 pm. I’m not allowed to work…and we’ve found that you tend to need money to live.

She knew it was my first appointment alone. She knew all the things she could possibly know without me literally cutting my head open for her to dig around in.

But also, you might be pregnant and that’s the kind of thing we like to know, so why not pop off to get a test?

I’m not pregnant. I am pissed.

Poem of the Day

I managed 30 minutes on my own in the park this week.


The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

  • Poet: Derek Walcott

It is hard

I haven’t been writing on here. Even typing the words now invokes a wave of resistance. Even this has become harder.

My clinical psychologist currently classifies my Major Depressive Disorder as moderate, with a Panic Disorder. As Teddy Bear says, how are you meant to NOT be depressed after a year of near-constant panic? Not just worries, or stress, or any of the other everyday experiences that anyone living in a world that is eating itself would have. As my friend and I agreed recently, it’s the people who are calm in 2019 that terrify us – did anyone else read the outgoing interview of the fired/resigned/whoreallyknowswithTrump national security advisor who said the reason there haven’t been any more nuclear missile tests by North Korea is they’re pretty confident they’ve got that shit sorted? Ja, the calm people are terrifying.

But, as I said (sometime ago now), this is different. This is chemical, adrenalin-pumping, hands-trembling, upper-lip sweating, panic. For 365 days. In a row. No wonder I’m bloody tired. It’s fairly miraculous I can make a cup of tea at this point. They’ve medicated the symptoms down or away, one pill at a time. But the actual panic? Not so much. Still, there’s a new pill this week – two in fact, so here’s hoping. Two of the same one, because the pyschiatrist I finally got to see after nine months of just trying not to get hit by a car seems to know what she is doing and doesn’t wack you on diazepam three times a day for five months and then express confusion when you can’t, you know, walk or talk.

I was 16 when I was first diagnosed. I remember it vividly. I remember walking to meet my mom at a cafe afterwards with relief & even something akin to hope. I wasn’t just deficient. Something was wrong, and it wasn’t me.

That was a decade ago now. When I met with the Reasonable Psychiatrist, I couldn’t remember the names of all the medications I’ve tried. I had to write off to a doctor’s surgery in a town whose name has been changed to find out what the chap there put me on for a year five years ago.

I can’t answer all those medical questions nowadays, and it gets in the way sometimes.

How to explain?

I remember all the things it’s taken. I remember falling onto my brother after kissing him goodnight because I’d been given Valium. I remember not being able to feel anything the first times I had sex because Paroxetine causes sexual dysfunction. I remember crawling up the steps of my department at Oxford because Diazepam had taken my legs. I remember knowing I was going to sink in the pool mid-stroke because Venaflaxine is different to Des-venaflaxine. I remember the humiliation of falling, shaking, on my knees in my first Masters class. I remember having a hot flush on a train and thinking I was going to suffocate. I remember not being able to cook dinner; or order food, because my college building had stairs and I couldn’t make it down them. I remember wandering Oxford in a Panic Disorder+Diazepam-induced haze, and almost being hit by a truck. I remember lying face down, naked, where I had fallen on the dry blue carpet of my residence room.

I remember my mother saying depression is a rational response to an irrational world.

I remember my father saying I have depression because I don’t exercise enough.

I remember it being an achievement that I walked in the park alone.

That was today.

I went to the Market.

You know that game ‘I went to the market and I bought…?’ We used to play it in the car a lot, especially in my uncle’s kombi when there was a troop of cousins to make up purchases like a hippopotamus in a pink tutu (I don’t know why I always remember this one.) We used to change the word market to open up the possibilities. I went to Mars and I bought…

I have a new version, again. It’s significantly less entertaining. A month or so ago, I went to the doctor and I got…a possible new diagnosis, hauled out of the background information of my life like a bread-crumbed sea bass fillet forgotten in the deep freeze. Today, I went to the doctor and I got…a new side effect. Well, not really new, it’s been happening for months, but I’d asked the doctor explicitly if it could be a side-effect of my medication. He assured me that was not the case. He forgot to say, “Just kidding.”

I don’t expect doctors to be omniscient. I don’t even expect God to be omniscient, never mind omnipotent (it’s hard to once you’ve read torture testimonies for your academic research), so how can I expect doctors in a under-resourced, constantly encroached, health system to be?

I just expect them not to lie to my face – please (she says, trying not to beg or pull out her hair.) That seems fairly reasonable, to me.

I’ve been putting on weight. Some of this is also fairly reasonable. I am living in a new country where they eat a lot of bread and drink a lot of beer. I’ve been in a state of extended physical duress. And for a bunch of months, I couldn’t stand or move a lot of the time (which tends to be a necessary condition for exercise.) But even as the crunch of this has begun to pass, as I have found my legs can work again, found that some days I can manage a walk and/or the gym, and begun to find ways to eat the way I prefer here, my body has continued to expand too fast for my skin, such that a spiderweb of jagged purple-red contour lines have broken out around my belly button, my breasts, my thighs, the back of my knees, and my upper arms. They may be elsewhere. I’m kind of trying not to look, because they distress me more deeply than I can make mature sense of.

My weight and I have been on bad terms since I was about 11, and I comfort ate my way through my parents’ ugly divorce. This peaked at about 15 when the healthy eating habits I adopted at 14 became obsessive. The psychology of it isn’t complicated. It’s almost dull in how common it is with girls – in a world of horror, hate & hormones, we assert control where we can. I vividly remember the flush of rage I experienced when my stepmother pointed it out aloud for the first time. We were on holiday. She offered me a snack of peanut butter crackers. But I’d been fixating on a photo of Natalie Portman I’d seen, wearing her flat stomach bearing white outfit worn on Tatooine in Star Wars all weekend and feeling imperious in my self-control. I casually (I thought) called back, “No thanks.” She came outside and said, “You’ve been eating less every day we’ve been here.” It was like a pinprick had burst my balloon. Looking back, I realise I wasn’t just angry. I felt humiliated – because she’d revealed my truth, that I wasn’t just getting it all right naturally, I had to starve myself to be pretty (so I also thought.) Implicitly, I also felt betrayed – she was a woman, she knew this secret truth of the world, how could she break this pact of silence, and say it aloud where my brother and father could hear? (Never mind my baby sister, what the fuck was I doing?!)

And so it went, for years. Behind & below friendships, awards, crushes, a love of writing, exams, dancing, family events, I was counting each unit of food.

Finally, with the help of a nutritional therapist, I reached an uneasy truce with my poor, hungry, hated body. Sometimes, we’re almost friends.

But you can’t be fucking with my weight, and not telling me, Dr.

Sabre-tooth tigers that I have lulled into hibernation wake roaring. And put simply, they’re plain mean and between migration, mental illness, and money matters, I ain’t got no breath left for that.


Do you know what made today hard? A fly.

It is unlikely to be Geoffrey The Fly a la May 2019, but perhaps it is one of his brethren. I was trying to do the washing up, like a grown-up. There is a lot of it to be done – all of it really. There is now not a single clean thing to drink from in the house. Unless you count bowls. There are three clean bowls, as of this morning when I had yoghurt and fruit. Did I mention that is all I have eaten today? I mean, I put cinammon on top, so that counts…as something. Do you have a spice quota? The commonly-spouted wisdom (whether its factual is irrelevant) is six to eight glasses of water a day, and four to five portions of fruit/vegetables. Why don’t we have commonly-held/spouted wisdom that says three teaspoons of spice a day keeps the doctor away? I mean, in my case, it doesn’t, but I’m different. I have many pieces of paper saying so.

It’s hard, putting it on paper. In the UK, a long-term mental illness such as mine is legally recognised as a disability under the Equality Act, in that it “has a substantial, adverse, and long-term effect” on my capacity to function on a day-to-day basis. So, I sucked up the fear of stigma, and the inner voices that constantly tell you that mental illness doesn’t really count as a disability, and the part of me that is so determined not to be defined by it etcetera etcetera (pronounced in an over-the-top posh voice by an orchestra conductor directing Swan Lake) and ticked the box on the 8762 forms that I filled out before coming here to study. I registered with the Disability Advisory Service at Oxford University, and was deeply reassured that they seemed proactive and engaged.

I was wooed by Odette, dancing on her tippy-toes in white candyfloss to beautiful, light music. I was spun into the dreamland above the Magic Faraway Tree where a university would actually support my mental health and not undermine it. So basically, I was fooled by the pieces of paper, with their fancy titles like ‘Disability Liaison.’

The systems, and people, I came into contact with had no fucking clue.

Some people were kind. There are always some kind people to be found wherever you are. But these were not the people with the titles, and supposedly qualifications, and pay cheques, for helping me. These were just people who move in the world with kindness, who saw a girl in the middle of a road, dripping with sweat and shaking, and came to walk her across – this is not a pretty metaphor, this happened, thank you Good Samaritan. The department secretary who knows you are struggling so sends you pictures of cats; the lecturer who meets you at the cafe near yours when your ever-burgeoning panic disorder has made going further than across the road comparable to climbing Everest; the classmate you barely know who gets down on his knees next to you where you have fallen on your first day because of what the Provost said to you and takes your pills out of your bag; the new friend who doesn’t make a big deal out of it when you need to be walked home to make sure you don’t collapse. These people are kind, and probably saved my life.

But that is the problem. My life should not have been in danger, in the first place.

When I got on the plane to come here, my psychiatrist considered my depression and anxiety to be “in remission.” His words. No doubt, all of the change would have been difficult for anyone, and for someone with my diagnosis and history, a potential risk. But I had signed over to the DAS authority to let the relevant people know, been transparent about what I needed, had scheduled weekly Skype sessions with my clinical psychologist back home, and generally done everything a nerd/person with history of this shit does to prepare for a major change.

When I got there, no-one had been informed; the Skype connection in my room didn’t work; and I was publicly traumatised by the head of my college at my very first event.Almost four months after the suspension of my Masters, I still can’t write about this without verbosity. The words vomit their way out because I was traumatised, and terrified and many other words that begin with t. All of those emotions felt real, were real. But I was also angry. And, as Natalie Portman recently highlighted in Harper’s Bazaar, as women “We’ve been socialised to believe that we’re not feeling angry – we’re feeling sad, we’re feeling upset.”

I am sad. I am upset. But I am also fucking irate. If you cannot provide support to students with certain conditions, do not claim that you can. It is not an easy thing to do. Ask anyone who has been the partner, friend, parent, employer of someone with a chronic mental illness. It’s hard as fuck. I know that.

But to claim that you can, and then fall down so spectacularly, is to literally, actually, endanger people’s lives. I almost died. More than once. That’s the truth of it. Instead of helping me to make a new life for myself, Oxford almost killed me. And I don’t know yet how to accept that.

P.S. If you finally find the strength to write a three-page letter outlining the various ways in which the existing systems are structurally inaccessible and destructive to someone living with mental illness and as such how your life has been placed at risk, you’ll get a one-line email back saying “If you feel your life is in danger, call an ambulance.”

Travel Diaries

The cat is home which is sublime. She’s still a crappy emotional support animal, but I significantly prefer it when she is a CESA in residence. It’s been me and her for the past few days, as Teddy Bear is working. She mostly sleeps. But the small shuffling noises she makes as she does so help with the oddity of a life lived in isolation.

When I flew home for my research a few months ago, a friend & I flew together, and then another friend came with me for my research trip to the archives in another province. Sounds normal enough – like I have good friends, which I do. But while I am blessed to be anointed by a few friendships of which Anne Sexton would approve, this is not why someone is with me, almost always. My friends joined me then because my departmental supervisor made it clear that it was not safe for me to go at it alone. Not because of where I was going or what I was doing, but because of what had hitched a ride in me. The panic had become so severe that I simply could not travel alone.

While the relief that my friends immediately agreed to help me was immense, there was a tragic echo ringing in my bones. I’m 26. I first traveled alone at 16, having fallen in love with Notre Dame at 6 in the Disney film (how is that a kid’s movie? Frollo has an entire song about how he is either going to rape Esmerelda or burn her at the stake) paying for my own dream trip to Paris with my earnings from my writing.

Each detail was terrifying in its magnitude – I vividly remember not knowing how to use the taps in the aeroplane bathroom, and having to go ask an air hostess oozing, with embarrassment; having to clamber over the giant sleeping man in the seat next to me to go to the bathroom, after he had told me he was a bodyguard for an autocratic monarchy; being so paralysed in Dubai airport by the awareness that there was no-one I knew on the entire continent, that I sat and read an entire Mills&Boon at my gate six hours early; and finally, ravenous, that I navigated the extraordinarily long route between my gate & the food court six times without summoning the courage to actually buy anything.

It was terrifying, no doubt. But it was also exhilarating. Because I did it without worrying about falling down or having to type out a heart-crumbling message on my phone for the flight attendant that I was having an attack and couldn’t speak.

A decade later, eight years into adulthood, the independent streak that sent me to Accra, Ghana, at 18 for three months as a volunteer, and made me go to a university on the other side of the country, has been worn away with the experience of navigating a foreign country with daily panic attacks.

I told someone about catching the bus to the Ghanaian border, crossing into Lomé, Togo’s capital on foot. I told him about being fleeced of a third of our money as we got off the bus by the currency traders; being asked for a bribe by the Ghanaian official who also casually asked me to marry him while holding my passport in his hand; about managing with my friend Alex’s partial French; and how the city had an urgency to it that was a little bit frightening. [Please note: this is not a summary of my experience there. These are the tough bits, relevant to the broader point. This shouldn’t need specifying but people assume stupid shit about African countries.]

“Two white girls…and you thought you’d go to Togo for the weekend, on your own? Why?” It wasn’t an original question – the police officers who pulled us out of the tro-tro on our way back, and wouldn’t let us retrieve our stuff (including our passports, money and volunteer IDs) seemed to have much the same thing on their mind.

Because we wanted to. We could. I could.

And now, eight years further into adulthood, I needed help to fly home.


Emotional Support

My emotional support animal bit me.

It’s a joke that doesn’t need making. Wait, it gets worse (or better, if you’re in it for the humour.) My emotional support animal ran away, and when I tried to bring her home, she bit me.

It was the early hours of the morning, and I had done my fair share of weeping for the day, when the indoor cat, recognising a lost cause when she saw one, decided it was time to become an outdoor cat.

I had never heard of an indoor cat before I moved continents. I mean, I knew someone who kept cats in her flat but I always worried it was somehow cruel. We live on the second floor with no direct access to the ground. My partner’s got the heart of a Valentine’s Day teddy bear and he’s never known the fickle love of a cat before. So he was deeply concerned that we’d be trapping an animal if we got an ‘outdoor cat’ that couldn’t get to the Great Outdoors of a London suburb from our flat. So, when it became clear that cat charities, including the RSPCA, endorse the idea of an indoor cat, it seemed like a gift from Bast.

Bast has been generous with me before. Twice, when I’ve had my heart broken (by the same man because you know…I’m stubborn), I’ve gotten a kitten. And the tiny balls of fur who do things like thinking your bra is a jungle gym or sitting on another bigger kitten’s face until you choose him worked their slow, enchanting magic. As the teddy bear said after watching one of these two miracle workers discover a leaf, and then discover the same leaf again, with the same degree of delight, it is hard not to feel a little bit better. Even my almost-not-a-teenager brother recognises this – although he has reversed the correlation. He says when the cat starts to hang out with you, you know you’re due for a breakdown. For me, my cats remain the best antidote for my panic attacks.

The problem is: they don’t live here yet. I do. Annoyingly, my panic disorder seems to be an Anglophile. So, we got a cat.

She’s not actually great at emotional support. I mean, if she could talk, we could probably compare PTSD. As it is, she changes her mind mid-stroke about whether she wants to be stroked; and she’s jumpier than me. Teddy bear dropped a dish – me and cat are in the other room, quivering. She’s also lopsided, so her backside knocks things over without her front end realising – inducing major panic. She also has the temperament of that old guy in the pub (see, I’m learning British things?) Things make her angry that have been there all along. She wakes up on a Thursday and finds the chair suspicious-looking, so she hisses at it. She rolls over on a Monday and the colouring book has become a source of ire. The Wednesday before last, she made it clear that that tail of hers is a traitor.

But you know, she’s company in a foreign place when I can’t go out much or you know, talk to people. She cuddles next to me on the couch, took up residence on our bed, and stroking her, or listening to her small shuffling snore, stabilises my breathing.

And then she ran away, taking our peace of mind along with her. She has a bell around her neck. Do you know how many everyday sounds could be a bell? Your keys are jangling, you dropped some coins…suddenly, for the first time when the mental health nurse asks “Are you hearing things?” I consider saying yes. The one time I actually spotted her, drenched and cross about it in a storm, I made a bad grab and we ended up in Accidents & Emergency for four hours.

It’s been just over a week. We’ve done everything we, the charity, the neighbour, our moms, and the internet, can think of. Frankly, I’m not even sure if it would be right to keep her inside now, since she clearly wants to be a tiger (there go all those assurances about how she was a happily indoor cat) despite seeming pretty damn happy before (other than her usual existential rage). So now I do the work of trying to accept she might not want to live with us anymore (you can’t be forcing a cat to do jack), and try to be mature and think maybe she came to me when I really needed her and that’s all. But each day, there’s a moment when I hold a small breath, hoping the phone is ringing because someone has seen our poster and knows where she is.


I wanted today to be good, for it to be within my power to make it so. It wasn’t.

We finally found a nice doctor. He hasn’t said or done anything groundbreaking. He just hasn’t been shit, which at this point feels like such a miracle that I thanked him for it at the end of our last appointment. It took me some time to get the words out of my mouth. One of the symptoms that had to be confirmed as panic-associated, and brought about broader concerns, is that when I have a bad enough attack, I can struggle to talk for a while afterwards. It’s like the words get clogged in my oesophagus. By the time I get them past throat, tongue, teeth, they’re a little mangled. I stutter. I stutter and it burns me.

I sat in the bizarre waiting room, full of people who all face one way and don’t speak to each other, and I dripped. I’ve always sweated easily, and always been pretty shy about it. There was something along the way to becoming a grown-up woman, some convergence of voices that said you’re not supposed to try. If you do anything other than sit merging with the wallpaper, you’re not supposed to show signs of effort. It’s why I like watching Etta James sing At Last live at Montreux in 1975. I wrote and published a whole academic paper about it, this monstrous management of the self women are disciplined into. And still, I can’t shake that shit. Since the panic disorder descended/ascended, the sweating is near constant. I sat in the nice doctor man’s waiting room, post-panic attack, and each lingering drop of slippery stickiness blazed a trail of my shame.

I can’t control my voice. I can’t control my brain which constantly sends SOS messages to my central nervous system, even when you know…it’s entirely fucking unnecessary. And now and then, I still can’t control my limbs. For months, the adrenal fatigue and panic attacks ravaged me. So, I also lost the taut control I’ve had on my weight for a decade. And so the merry-go-round of my eating disorder days has begun chugging fuel like tequila again.

So, today, I tried to do the mature thing and start figuring out how to dress this new body instead of just hating it, with all its out-of-nowhere stretchmarks…and seven and a half minutes in the changing room did not transform me into a new, confident, self. It transformed me into an almost-crying, bra-less, sweating girl who couldn’t walk home.

I wanted today to be good. It wasn’t. Maybe tomorrow.