Yet we all do it even if we don’t realise it. There are some people who are more pleasant to be around because they don’t trigger those fears and insecurities in us. I’ve fallen in love with people whose presence is, like my writing, soothing. Or those who make me laugh. Or those–like my boyfriend–who are ideologically similar when it comes to vigilance over my children. It’s less about the dopamine high and more about the euphoria of finally feeling confident and capable. Trusting that my children are safe.
There’s a train. It’s a superb high speed train. It’s admired, a feat of engineering. The train is chugging easily along until, let’s say, a weakened valve breaks under pressure and suddenly the train goes faster and faster. Knuckles clench around the armrests. Panic ensues. People scream. Bolts loosen.
We’re back in a familiar land. In the company of my old friend anxiety. Ah those demons. You think you’ve beaten them. But they’re crafty. Ready to seize on the slightest insecurity.
Strangers who met as if on a brief encounter.
I can smile and make jokes, I can wear the mask. But when I’m alone in the kitchen or in the shower, my eyes start to leak and I dig my fingernails into my palms.
I rarely travelled further then a 2 kilometre radius and more often than not, I brought the party back home (10 people partying in a 13 squared metres apartment, that’s no mean feat).
Why? Because I knew that the closer I was to my bed, the easier it would be to pass out safely.
I’ve created routines, bought activity books, depended a little too much sometimes on Peppa Pig. I’ve forced myself to go out, to face the demon.
I felt like dying. There was no hope of reprieve. This was what my life had become. Frantic worry about what I might or might not do to damage her. Not all the time. But any time I was alone with her.
Who would have guessed that the high achieving little girl who was–to all the outside world–a perfect privileged child, was so busy hating herself?