Somewhere in the background the alarm bell of my anxiety was ringing. Ringing, ringing, ringing. Only it wasn’t my anxiety ringing it was the alarm on my phone. I had been asleep and dreaming, I realized. I must have fallen asleep in the armchair. There was a half-eaten Chinese takeaway on the coffee table. Sweet and sour prawn balls Hong Kong style by the look of it. With boiled rice.
My dreams were all riddled with anxiety. It had spread to everything, like runaway deathwatch beetle in an old wooden house. I was rattled to the core – nothing I did was working out for me. I kind of knew it wouldn’t even before I started. There was that kind of feeling to it – you know the type of feeling I’m talking about, I’m sure. Is there anyone who doesn’t know this type of feeling? It’s one of those archetypal dream situations: you try to run but you can’t because your legs won’t work, you’re trying to get the thing to happen that’s supposed to happen but it won’t. Nothing happens the way it’s supposed to happen.
Everything is taut with anxiety. It couldn’t be tauter. Everywhere there are steel cables groaning and humming under the strain. Every now and then a steel fibre snaps viciously in the main cable. There is that nasty nasty feeling of a system working beyond its limits, a system that has gone way past the point at which there is no more give. My dreams are riddled with anxiety. It gets into everything. The simplest little thing becomes afflicted with trauma – the oncoming disaster has gotten into everything, nothing else really exists. Every little problem speaks of the one Big Problem. There are no little problems anymore. Nothing’s simple anymore, nothing happens as it should do. Nothing happens smoothly. Even the simplest little thing won’t happen as it should do anymore…
I wake up groaning, my mind feeling like it is going to snap under the pressure. Somewhere in the background the alarm bell of my anxiety was ringing away. I didn’t notice it for the longest time. For years and years I never noticed it there. Until finally I did. I finally came out of the daze that I had been in and registered what was happening. The fire alarm was ringing so violently that it seemed to be about to come off the wall. It was practically jumping off the wall – the noise it was making was absolutely deafening, absolutely ear-splitting. I was sitting there in the armchair in my living room, the remains of a half-eaten Indian takeaway on the table beside me. The TV was blaring out in a truly hideous fashion. I realize that I must have fallen asleep….