Two more weeks until the end of term. To say I am exhausted would be an understatement. I’m back at the edge of the wood, huddled inside a hollow tree, my blanket pulled up over my head. The leaves have fallen and both they and the skeletal fingers of the trees are coated in a thin, glittering layer of frost. It is beautiful. It is freezing. It is dark so much of the time. Every now and again the wind picks up in icy blasts and sends fallen twigs and the rotting remains of leaves blowing in all directions. Other times it hurls hailstones like icy bullets. Right now, all I can do is stay as I am, knees drawn into my chest and simply get through it. Until the storm lets up, in two weeks’ time, I don’t have the energy for anything more than that.
Like the gusting of the wind, my feelings of being overwhelmed come in chilling blasts at random moments. I can be having an excitable conversation about an interesting lecture topic, or something I’ve done with the Disabled and Mental Health Students Association at university when all of a sudden I’ll be hit by this cold wave. In a moment I can go from happy to drowning. The balloon inside me does not simply pop, it fills with lead and pulls me deeper under. That is what is happening when I shut down. When I go from cheerful to snappish. For years I’ve been learning how to tread water, to stop the wave from over taking me. I can talk myself back to the surface. I can distract. I can remind myself of how far I have come, I can plan my time, I can give myself a break. I can force my head above water.
There are a lot of things I want to do, there is a lot that is going to go into constructing my library, but right now, I don’t have the time or the energy to give it the attention required. Now is the time for hunkering down inside my hollow tree, for holding it together for the last two weeks of term. For doing what needs to be done and for successfully completing my first term of second year and with it, my reintroduction to the world of the living.