Wednesday, November 22

My Own Threats

The grip I maintain over my state of mind is loosening. Winter – or this stretch of autumn that one may consider winter – is plunging me headlong into a torturous period of loneliness and anxiety! Most of all it is anxiety and it is paranoia and I struggle to hold even the most trivial of faculties. This morning on the walk to work I considered my weekend and I exclaimed to myself—You didn’t speak to a single person all weekend! from Friday night to Monday morning you did not speak to a single soul! Ah, but I did, I exchanged words with shop clerks and deliverymen, but, alas, nothing more. The human is social animal; even inclined to feel pity for a dog left alone for the day.
But I am damaged goods.
It is to be expected. I have been working very hard lately to achieve deadlines at work; I work hard and late. When I arrive home from work I cannot find the energy to cook, so I eat out of the microwave, and I drink and I forget how to enjoy myself. I eat bad food and I drink bad beer and I deteriorate at an alarming rate until I am ill and my mind is frayed.
Monday night I was cleaning my flat (having been too hungover to accomplish such a task the previous day) and was stood at the window looking down, allowing my mind to wonder. A man walked past the window. He stopped and he stared at me. We looked into each other’s eyes and I froze. He was looking at me. A chill ran through me, as they say. I moved away from the window and struggled to breathe. He was sure to come up the stairs any moment now, bang on my door and demand to be let in, before murdering me. I went to the cupboard, retrieved a knife and put it where it could be easily reached for. I would stab him in the leg, I thought, that twist between two muscles on the femur being penetrated deeply by a blade would surely take him down, and if not then I would take the bloody handle and put it into his stomach, as he would surely stagger from the first blow and the stomach would be most accessible. My mother called me on the phone as I set the knife down next to the front door. We spoke and my answers were brief. I put the TV on to feel less alone. Someone knocked at the door, but I heard nothing more; when I rewound the TV I discovered that the knock had come from the speakers. I was being eaten alive by my own mind! I resigned to my fate, to some illness I could not discern because I knew nothing else.
And if he should enter my flat and kill me, what then! Well, then all my biological processes would cease and I would start to decay at an alarming rate. My mother had just spoken to me and it is not uncommon for us to go three or four days without speaking; so she would not panic for a while. Work would try to find out where I was by about two o’clock the next day, an unanswered telephone call, but would not do anything further. No, I would rot there until a neighbour complained of the smell. As I have been consuming such filth I imagine that these days I would leave behind quite a putrid corpse. My poor neighbours.
Shook, I went to bed and had many nightmares of being chased and of drowning. I awoke many times during the night, my body soaked in sweat. I fanned the cover over myself to create a draught and all of me slimy cold. In the morning I felt as though I had not slept at all but delighted at the sunlight shredding in through my blinds. I had made it through the night. It was day again. Everything could be seen, from the tormenting darkness it was now covered in light and innocent. I was at ease. In fact, stepping outside toward work I laughed at myself, poked fun—How terrified I had been just twelve hours earlier!
I knew that my security of mind would not hold. When I walked home ten hours later I suffered the same return of fear and tremendous anxiety. I got into my flat and kept the lights off. It made sense to me not have the lights on, at least that way no one can see in. I existed in darkness. I did not drink. I cooked dinner. I tried to keep my mind occupied, to keep it from wondering to bad things. When did I become like this? I ate my dinner in the darkness and stared at the TV.

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