Why does the last time I sat down to write my Rookie diary feel so long ago? Why can’t I work out what happened between now and then? Why does it feel like everything and nothing has happened all at once?

Nowadays I bombard myself with questions almost every time I write. But writing things down doesn’t help me figure them out. They are too complex, and they involve other people and a bigger sphere of reality. I can’t contain everything on one page anymore.

It’s my half-term* now, and the leaves are a crusty orange. On the first day of vacation, I went into the city with Kate.** That’s where we came up with the phrase “sphere of reality” while talking about how limited the human worldview can be. We tried on dresses and went to a rummage sale and shopped for semi-permanent hair dye (in a bluish tone for her, purplish for me). I like to pretend that a venture like this is a usual thing, but for reasons I’d rather not get into again, such journeys are difficult for me.

While walking through the crowds toward the train, I was handed a pamphlet: Five Things God Wants You to Know. It told me I needed saving. It confused me. I felt something, but it wasn’t the feeling of wanting to be saved. It was: Why me?

We took the train back, and even then I didn’t feel entirely real. “A feeling of unreality” is one of the symptoms of anxiety that I remember reading about long ago, on some leaflet or other. Anxiety can still be the bane of my existence, and I still think about it every day. The nausea slowly intensifies whenever I think of something that could potentially cause a panic attack. But it will get easier. It will get easier, I kept repeating to myself.

However much I want to, I can’t wish anxiety out of my life. I can’t be “saved” from it either. I can only do my best, and that involves fighting and pulling punches and breaking down walls, and it can be so hard. I think back to last autumn, when I was very much on my own, and I realise I can never go back to that isolation. I felt the cold and the frosts and the dark evenings so much more. But that’s done now, that’s it. This is the next phase of my life, and I have to keep putting one foot in front of the other, instead of just standing still. ♦

*British for a holiday in the middle of a school term.

**I changed her name to protect her privacy.