Anxiety 1, me 0

Today I thought my heart was breaking.

It started off well enough. He called on his way to work, as always but our conversation ended early as he offered to give a colleague a lift. I said goodbye and instead, text my love and best wishes for the day.

I was surprised then, when he called as he arrived in work. Like he hadn’t forgotten me, that he needed that chat – however brief – as much as I did.

I wait for his next call.

We are about routine, him and I. So I know approximately what time he will call and my eyes glare at the clock greedily, willing for the beginning of the time when he may call.

When he calls, my stomach turns and a bolt of excitement – lightening – jarrs my body. We talk, we laugh. I drink in his every feature, hang off his every word. I smile, just because he is there.

After lunch I get a surprise call albeit brief. Then we go about our day, a Saturday. And that’s ok – I know he will call in a few hours. He always does.

I occupy myself, get things done, but my mind is with him.

It doesn’t fail to surprise me – every time that I have to check the last time he called, my heart not able to take the wait anymore, the same amount of time has always passed.

I wait a little longer but when he doesn’t call, as sometimes he doesn’t, I call first. And that’s ok.

Except, the call does not connect.

I change rooms, conscious of my deficient WiFi and try again. It still won’t connect.

This has happened before, now and again. Usually when he is at work or out in the car. Neither of those things could be the reason though. Maybe he’s having is dinner? So I wait, knowing that within half an hour or so, he will call.

But he doesn’t. And the calls remain unnoticed and undelivered.

I call my sister, panic setting in. It’s been four hours now, and nothing. My sister laughs – “it’s not four days” – and I know that. But this is unusual. He always calls, he always returns my call.

As we video chat, her trying to calm me as despair eats away at any hope I had left, I eye the app. For a brief moment, the messages and calls flicker – they’ve been delivered. Hope springs again and I wait, barely a smile, but feeling sure that any second he will call.

He doesn’t.

After ten minutes he hasn’t read my messages. So this time, I call his land number. I’m scared. Is he ghosting me? Is he hurt?

The phone rings out but he doesn’t answer. I send one last message, asking him to call and sharing my worry.

By six hours, I can barely breathe. I try to occupy my body but my mind screams.

I’m no longer picturing him with another girl, Internet off to hide the truth.

No, now I picture him injured. Or sat at the side of a hospital bed, a family member ill. I move, zombie like round the room, my mind dwelling on those images.

And then the phone rings, finally, and he’s there. And I don’t know whether to cry or shout or laugh.

He asks me what’s wrong but I ask if he is OK.

He’s been asleep. He turned the wifi off as the box was hot. That was it. That was all.

I try to explain. Explain that he didn’t call as usual, but that was OK. But then there was no connection and that was OK. Because he’d ring. But then he didn’t and he didn’t and he didn’t.

He doesn’t understand. I change the subject but he can see the fear leeching out of me and asks me to explain again. But he still doesn’t understand.

And now? Now I am just glad he called.

But I really need to sort this anxiety out.

Mirror Mirror

Two weeks. That’s all. Two weeks.

It has felt like an age.

First of all, my Internet router broke. And I refused to pay the £40 that Sky wanted to replace it. So I sulked and used up all my phone data then spent time realising how often I am Googling nonsense.

I also went back to work. I didn’t want to go back to work. Actually, it’s not too bad. I’m sharing an office now and am trying to get on with my new office-sharing co-worker. We are doing a very similar job and yet we tackle it so differently. I don’t dislike the woman but it’s not easy sharing a working space with someone who works so differently. And yet, we have the same favourite book: Pride and Prejudice. I’m hoping that time will help uncover more things in common.

The start of term is strangely unsettling. You are doing a job you do well and have done for many years. And yet, whilst your body is on a whirlwind of a travelator, moving continuously without a chance to step off, your mind is slow – sluggish even – and you struggle to catch up with the momentum of the day. At two weeks, I’ve run through my table, completed all the introductory lessons and am back in the swing. I’m working hard to get myself and my children in a good routine – we are doing OK, just a few necessary tweaks. For someone who is being medicated for anxiety and depression, I play the role of a strong assistant headteacher well. I actually find playing this part easy. At home, where I am myself, I find it hard to stay strong. I feel like a person whose mirror image does not reflect the original.

I don’t want to be on that treadmill again. Wake, dress, work, eat, clean, sleep. But it’s necessary. It’s modern day life. Yet, I want to live. I want my children to experience how wonderful this world really is.

From time to time, I think about how it would feel to be in a relationship again. To feel loved and wanted. To feel the heat of someone’s body as they lay next to me. To wake up and see their face smiling into mine: love reflecting back.

The reality is that I can’t bare to look at myself in the mirror never mind expect someone to want to look at me.

I have a full length mirror in my bedroom but it is still partly obscured by the ex’s belongings that have remained there for the past ten months (still nowhere near getting a house). Even if I could see myself though, I doubt I would.

In my bathroom, the toilet and sink are horizontal to the bathroom window. The window is in ‘quarters’ so that there is a pvc panel which cuts across the length and breadth of the glass. When you are standing near the sink, the pvc cuts you in half vertically bit strangely, for me, the two halves on myself fit together but with my chubby middle missing. And so, what I have, is the ultimate optimal illusion – the window makes me look thinner. Not like one of those weird mirrors that you get in a funfair – I look thinner, and in proportion.

It’s a cruel trick though. Even though my mind knows that the window mirror is not accurate, this image of myself deceives my mind. When I do, on rare occasions, see myself fully I am horrified by what I see.

I want to believe that someone out there will see past my rings of blubber and will love me for who I am. Life isn’t that fair though, is it? The chance of me finding a man that I am attracted to, has a good heart and good prospects and who actually likes me in return is very, very low. I’m scared I will wake up one day and it will be too late. I will be an old, fat lonely woman.

So, tweak my schedule I must. I must slowly but surely perfect the routine of my life so that I can be the best version of me I can be. With or without a man.