Last Wednesday night, I was feeling low, so I went on a walk in the dark, to try to pull myself together. And it worked, for a while. Something about the constant dull moan of cars, every pinprick of light in the dark, the glowing stained-glass windows of the church I grew up in, the way the ground feels slightly unsteady beneath my feet as I walk back towards that red brick of a house that I am stuck in for a little while longer—it all loosened me from a tangle of melancholy thoughts. I realised that though things may have happened to me that made me feel terrible, I can feel myself growing, expanding, and filling each corner of my body with experience. I sat on a bench—in the dark, I couldn’t see that it was wet—and I watched the buses pass in the distance. I thought about how if I had any money on me, I’d be in one of those buses, and I knew exactly where I would go. But, as with most things in my life, the biggest thing stopping me was fear. Fear that it would be a stupid thing to do. Fear that other people would think I was crazy. Maybe I am crazy.

Why do I have to feel so much? I wish to be someone who doesn’t care, a girl who lets everything wash over her. On Tuesday, the night before that walk, at the pub with friends, I felt happy. I felt ready to move on from other things. But now here I am in a state of anxiety and sadness again, and I can’t remember how it felt to be happy and carefree. I don’t remember how I managed to feel any stability before. Maybe I didn’t.

Anxiety can drop out of nowhere, especially after I think I’ve turned a corner. It seems like every time I think I’ve got my footing, something, almost anything, starts shaking me about. I feel strong and collected and whole, and then proceed to fall apart again. And I can’t tell whether this is an internal struggle, or whether it is caused by external events. Maybe college work and nights out and human interactions and relationships are just catalysts for more anxiety. The present is one huge maze. Sometimes I enjoy the twists and turns, sometimes I reach a dead end, and sometimes I completely panic and wonder where the hell I am. I try to look out over the edges, but I can’t see anything. And giving up and withdrawing isn’t an option like it used to be. I have to keep going. I have goals and dates—exams, university—ahead of me. I don’t feel ready, but they come anyway. I just wonder whether, with all this restlessness, I am ever going to feel stable again. ♦