Hot chocolate

Tenacious

She sat with her peppery black hair curling over her shoulders and rearranged her wide-brimmed straw hat on top of her head.

‘No…too sunny…turn it around…that’s better….a bit too windy isn’t it, but now you won’t get sun burnt, will you?’ Whilst mumbling this, she’d stood up, carefully moving the plastic garden chair to the other side of the cafe table, choosing to place her back to the exquisite sunshine and face away from the sparkling low tide of the early evening. She had more important things to do.

Her red lipstick was drawn too wide, like a child who has tried hard to stay in the lines but had been too eager and therefore found it too difficult. But it matched her red jumper immaculately. It even adorned her front tooth, giving her a comical look. She sat with with her feet propped up on the chair opposite her and peered through her gold rimmed, perfectly round glasses into her hot chocolate mug below. She began the slow process of spooning the thin, brown liquid into her furtive mouth.

‘Oh no…paper…where is it?’ she muttered, rummaging through her sizable bag. ‘There you are!’ She announced as she located the rustling local paper, ‘good, good to see you, we needed you…sit there please…that’s it,’ and she placed an old ash tray abruptly on top of the misbehaving pages, trapping them.

Next to her, a young woman, no more than twenty five, looked up from her book. She had been vaguely aware of the commotion this bizarre, lone woman had been quietly causing but hadn’t wanted to stare. Now she was interested. The woman was definitely talking to her possessions.

Paper tamed, she turned back to the matter of the hot chocolate and continued to spoon the contents into her mouth, devouring it quickly yet somehow managing to savour every mouthful, enjoying the sun on her back and the heat of the hot drink in her throat. Scraping the bottom of the mug for the final few dregs, she slurped the final sip. ‘That’s better…nice chocolate…mmm, yes…good taste’ she muttered.

Satisfied, she released her paper and began to read the adverts, unaware of the young woman next to her who was silently musing over her quiet madness.

Awake with a headache.

It’s not easy living in the 21st Century. Of course, there are many inventions which have eased the day-to-day: clean, running water, Netflix, central heating, disposable sanitary wear, Facebook, instant coffee, scented candles, Pokemon Go! (if it is still relevant) and electric toothbrushes to name a few. However, many of these everyday household objects do not ease my anxiety. In fact, they often make it worse (especially the coffee).

I’m a twenty seven year old teacher who, for the past two years, has been dealing with anxiety and depression. So far, so predictable. Teaching is known to be a highly stressful job due to the workload, constant dealing with teenagers (who aren’t always known to be the most level-headed of creatures) and pressures to achieve results. You might therefore assume that considering it is the very middle of the Easter holidays (day 9 of 17 to be exact), I am awake, at quarter past one in the morning, battling my anxiety by starting a blog. Oh, what a mess I have become.  

I am taking control (she yells inside her brain at the anxiety monster – I think it is a pulsing red in colour tonight) and blog my way through anxious moments. I may well be the only person who ever reads this blog (even though I really am not used to not being listened to #selfcenteredteacherproblems), I hope it brings my mind some peace and quiet in the small hours when it is at its most noisy and uncontrollable.

10/4/17:

Tonight I am awake. Michael is asleep, snoring as usual and hopefully hasn’t noticed my absence as whilst I am on school holidays, he has work at 7am. Once again, I snuck out of bed and came downstairs, heart pounding so loudly I could hear it ringing in my ears. The cause: a headache. I have had a headache for 6 days – this gives me reason to panic as I clearly have a brain aneurysm.  My brain is under immense pressure and is swelling to engorged size which means I am going to have to get Micheal to drill into my skull (just like in Saw 3) and release the overwhelming pressure.

Of course, this is rubbish. I know it is. And yet…

It began on Tuesday after spending the afternoon with my best friend. She is a beautiful, caring, fiercely opinionated woman whose been my closed friend for nearly 12 years. She is slim, tans easily and a constant bundle of energy and perfection (essentially my antithesis) and for this I both love and hate her in equal measure. The headache began after spending an afternoon with her, consciously trying not to eat quicker than her, being hyper awake of every roll of fat and hyper-analysing every word I uttered on the car journey home and all evening. This should not be the case with your best friend and yet I compare myself with her and only ever notice what she has and what I haven’t. To top it off, she is having the wedding of the year in August. Beautiful location, beautiful guests, lots of money. This is where the headache began…

On Wednesday, I went swimming with my mum. My wonderful mum who in the past two years has dropped 4 dress sizes and now swims over a mile 3 days a week. She 30 years older than me and 30 times fitter. I compared myself the whole time and my goggles were too tight. The headache continued…

On Thursday, I stayed in and worked on school work. I felt tired and lethargic all day and completed very little which of course, added to the headache (although Ru Paul’s Drag Race season 8 soothed this massively). When Michael came home from work, I was loathed to go for a walk with him however, whilst walking, my headache was barely noticeable. Endorphins and distractions work. I know this and yet do not always know this at the crucial moments (although to give myself credit, the gym is not open at night). I went for dinner with three close friends. We had  a real laugh and my head did not hurt. Distractions work.

On Friday, I went swimming again despite sending a text to my mum saying I wasn’t going. Managed 30 lengths before the goggles tried to suck my eyeballs from my skull. Did ten more backstroke and then had to lay on mum’s sofa for an hour to ease the pain. Head ached all day despite making tasty Cornflake egg nest cakes. Michael went out in the evening and stayed out until 2.30am – you can imagine how this affected the headache…

Yesterday, Michael and I slept in but the headache was there about 20 minutes after I woke up. We pottered and then decided to walk to the next village, have a picnic in the field and play mini-Golf. It was lovely and the Rocky Road ice cream was a calorific dream. Headache was barely noticeable the whole time and yet, on the walk home we got to discussing my best friend and all her wonderful luck and opportunities. The headache returned and was only mildly alleviated by wine…

The headache was very mild this morning. We decided to drive along the coast and go for a walk and have another picnic (the weather is unseasonably mild). It was beautiful (the sunburn on my nose and wrists, however, is not!). I felt very sleepy this afternoon and slowly, as the evening progressed, and I remembered I need to try and get a doctor’s appointment tomorrow to discuss anxiety medication, the headache took full hold.

So here I am. Awake. Paracetamol in hand. Some dreadful night time news channel on the TV. A thousand tabs open on Google ‘back of the head pain’, ‘anxiety headache’, ‘types of headache’, ‘death by head pain’… (Google is my worst enemy during the worst of my anxiety).

I hope this blog will be an outlet. I hope to discuss things with my doctor tomorrow. I hope my headache eases. I hope my brain does not explode. I hope, I hope…

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