Internal Monologue: Public Transport Made Me Do This

It would appear I’ve just been hit with all the anxiety I’ve been repressing for the past two and a half months. Typical really. That it would strike whilst I’m on a train. On a train with nothing to read and no headphones. On a crowded, warm train with nothing to read and no headphones. Fan-fucking-tastic.

Being left alone in my own head for the first time in god only knows how many months is an odd feeling. Having not had a minute to think about life or anything other than theatre it’s a bit alarming suddenly having space in my head. Both the musical and my degree show took over my entire existence this past term. In fact, thinking about it, the musical has pretty much occupied my mind for the past year – it was exactly this time past year that I had the sudden ridiculous thought that I could direct the show. Crazy really.

I’m remembering why I tend to throw myself into things that completely take over and don’t give me a minute of piece in my mind. It’s a scary place to be. Just thinking. And not really thinking about anything specific, but just thinking. I’m realizing that train journeys are horrendously claustrophobic-inducing, especially when you don’t have an endless supply of music to lose yourself in. I’m remembering why I usually sit in the row of 2 as opposed to the 4-person table seat – families coming and sitting around you is intrusive at the best of times, but when you don’t have a book or music to shut out the world? Gah.. I’m appreciating why people may have methods of relaxation or stress-relief. Just pausing to ponder a specific word I’m tapping out inane rhythms on the keyboard and my leg jitters have a mind of their own. I finally understand why people say I never sit still..

I’m currently unsure as to whether or not I’ll actually post this. I have another good two or three hours of traveling ahead of me, and will quite possibly decide against a rambling of nonsense as my first post in several weeks. Alternatively, I will quite possibly post this, and if I do I’ll leave this paragraph in. An example of the indecisive, babbling, mess that is my mind.

The family that rudely intruded on my under-lying panic attack decided to move. The daughter was reading over my shoulder, (always appreciated) and quite possibly determined that I’m a crazy person. Probably a wise decision..

Although, I have now calmed a considerable amount. I could probably write a book on methods to prevent public displays of panic or anxiety.

Step 1: Drink water.

Step 2: Focus and regulate your breathing – blowing in counts of four onto your thumb works, as does shutting your eyes and breathing in and out to counts of four. Something about counting is ridiculously soothing.

Step 3: Sing. I know not everyone is a natural singer, but that shouldn’t matter. Singing is another way to regulate breathing, and focuses your mind on something else, thus causing you to forget your panic. Anything that gets your mind off the cause of panic is a good thing, this post for example has so worked wonders. But singing is actually a good one because it does genuinely calm your breathing. Even something as simple as the alphabet can prevent a fully blown anxiety attack..

Step 4: Go to your safe place. This may sound ridiculous, but everyone has one. For some people it’s a place in their thoughts, for others it’s a physical place. In my case it’s a public toilet. I know, grimy. But there’s something about sitting in a toilet cubicle that calms me the fuck down. And hey, if it works who am I to question it.

Step 5: Get fresh air. This is actually one of the hardest ones for me, as a lot of my anxious feelings creep up whilst I’m on public transport or stuck in a place that I know I can’t easily leave. But often just a few breaths of fresh air can completely calm me down.

Step 6: Talk to someone. Either in person or on the phone. Whether you tell them you’re freaking out or not, just knowing that there’s someone else there can work wonders.

Step 7: Sugar. A small square of chocolate, or something fizzy and sweet can help calm your nerves. Of course you don’t want to rely on this one, especially if you regularly panic, as you may find yourself piling on the pounds or needing to visit a dentist! But a little bit now and then, I find, can massively help to stop the shakes.

Obviously these don’t have to go in this order, and they’re not listed in order of importance either. Just a few steps that can prevent a public display of panic. Or even a private display of panic..

Weird. This is not how I saw this post going. In an effort to prevent a panic attack, I ended up writing about how to prevent one. Crazy. I’ve also just clocked how many words I’ve managed to write (I’m a student, it’s practically an ocd..) and all I can say is I hope my dissertations (yes, plural) are this easy and fast to type.

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It’s taken me a while, but I feel like I may finally be back in the land of writing.

Who am I trying to kid? It’s taken a hell of a lot longer than a while. Try nearly-four-months. Nearly-four-months of sometimes sitting down to blog and realising I didn’t have anything exciting/mundane/confusing/shocking to blog about that didn’t include not doing the work for my degree, spending 20+ hours in rehearsals each week, or the personal life that I never write about..

Having said all this, I think I may actually be back. It’s coming up to the most stressful 3 weeks of my life, which will be oh-so-lovingly followed by the most important 3 months of my life. Therefore, the last thing in the world that I need right now is to find myself being dragged back into the clutches of the life of an internet addict. Therefore, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. It’s almost like I know how I work.

On top of that I have a bag of soggy laundry waiting to be dried, a room that looks as though the battles of Narnia took place in the wardrobe and exploded everywhere, a kitchen that might literally attack me if I walk through the door, and an empty fridge. In other words, a whole mission of house work to do. Naturally, right now is the best time to rekindle my relationship with the blogging world..

The brain disagrees. The brain is currently screaming at me for even contemplating doing anything other than singing the RENT songs in an interesting and never-to-be-heard-by-ears-other-than-my-own medley, whilst simultaneously screaming at me for daring to destroy said songs by singing them in said way. The brain is a weird place. My brain is a particularly weird place. I’m fairly certain there’s less ‘intelligent muscle’, and more ‘random assortment of post-its and masking tape’ taking up the space in my head..

People always look at me as if I’m insane when I mention that. (Feel free to hide your current bemused expression and quirked eyebrow) But I am genuinely fairly certain that if you sliced into my head, you’d just see an overflowing post-it notice board. It’s probably the best way to describe the (occasionally) organised chaos that is my mind. With seemingly insignificant notes occasionally losing their stickiness and floating to the ground. That’s usually when I notice them of course and reattach them (ie. reconsider them as a possible thought, action, or idea). And then there are those disastrous moments when the never-tiring drum and bass effect of the headaches shakes the board and sends every thought scattering around my head.

A bizarre analogy, I’ll give you that, but a perfect one.

That time I fell out with Public Transport..

After panic attacks, being the ‘weirdo-on-the-train’, hours of delays, fatalities, a million bags, children with suitcases, an out-of-battery phone, and a whole tube of fruit pastilles, I’m avoiding public transport for a while..

Yesterday was quite honestly a nightmare. Picture the scene: -A hurricane of clothes decorating my room as I attempt to pack logically. -One MASSIVE suitcase plus 2 fairly heavy arm bags weighing me down as I trek half way across Brighton and up the mammoth hill to the station, I swear whoever built that place didn’t ever consider that people have to walk. With suitcases. -An exhausted, pale girl with too many bags slumped in a corner of the station unable to breathe or focus and trying not to cry (Hellooo Panic Attack, you beauty..). -A stupid amount of people on the trains that are normally empty at that time of day. -That fantastically insistent beeping of an iphone telling me it would like to die soon. StupidLackOfBatteryOnAnOtherwiseBeautifulPhone. -An hour and a half (at least) delay at Reading station, because somebody was hit by the train I should’ve been getting on. -*That* child with the bright pink suitcase who got between me and the train doors. Of the first rescheduled train back to Oxford. Thus preventing me from getting home for a good extra hour. Also making me feel as though I were essentially living ‘Sliding Doors’, and could have just missed a beautiful Scottish man, aka Mr John Hannah.. -And finally, sugar rush. From the banana & choc. chunk cakes with homemade-marshmallow icing I’d been chowing all morning, not to mention the entire tube of fruit pastilles I’d inhaled in a wacky attempt to curb the panic attack. There was a serious case of the sugar shakes going on..

Luckily, I managed to resist the urge to clobber the small child (and her pink suitcase) that prevented me from catching the closing doors of the train. Which is really probably a very good thing because I don’t think my stress headaches could deal with some sort of asbo/restraining order/formal complaint/arrest. But I mean seriously, let’s be honest, any day that begins as beautifully bright as yesterday was, and then has to be spent packing, is always going to be a failure.

When life decides to be a bitch, dark chocolate always helps. Especially when it’s man-bought dark chocolate.

It’s been one of those kinda days. The kind where you end up making friends with the lady in the launderette, or at least end up on the receiving end of her pitying smiles as you trundle back and forth with wash-load after wash-load and practically spend your life savings so that you can have clean clothes. Yep. It’s definitely been that kind of day.

But it’s okay. I discovered chocolate in the wardrobe. The good kind of chocolate in the wardrobe discovery. Not the kind that results in massive cleaning bills. It was a dark chocolate discovery. Beaut. I love dark chocolate. Especially the super super extra-dark kind that you can only eat in tiny amounts.. One of the bestest things.

On the happy side of life, I went for lunch with my ex-drama teacher yesterday. Which was, as is to be expected if you ever met her, FANTASTIC. She’s one of the best people alive. No joke. In fact she’s basically me in a few years time.. If I suddenly decide to become a teacher. Which, y’know, is always an option..

Also on the vaguely happy side of life, my room now smells like a launderette. The washing powder/fabric conditioner combo is probably one of the best smells in the world. That and paint and wood smoke and the-morning-after-heavy-rain and my Mum’s perfume.. (which, coincidentally, both my housemate’s wear.. Odd.)

In the bleak mid-winter..

I know, I know. It’s the 13th of November. And so, technically, it’s still autumn. But wow does it feel like winter, aside from the whole rain thing anyway. The leaves aren’t crispy enough for it to be properly winter. But that’s besides the point.What my point was I’m not actually sure, but the crispiness of the leaves was certainly not it.

Oh yeah, I know, I know. It’s the 13th of November. I don’t care. Christmas is on my mind. It *is* Christmas in my mind. Oh my mind’s a fantastic place to be. So, to all you scrooges and people of the ‘you can’t be thinking about Christmas in November you weirdo’ way of thinking, y’know what I have to say to you..? *pokes tongue out* Nerrrr.

Ha. I showed you.

It’s possibly the fact that as a musician (HA. I use that term in the lightest possible way) you have to start preparing for Christmas, months in advance. Well, like, two.. But it does mean that you get that Christmassy feeling. That amazing, warm, snuggly, Christmassy feeling. And funnily enough, I’m not gonna complain about that.

My school always have a Christmas Carol concert in the last week of term, and family etc were invited along to listen and join in. It was, hands down, my favourite assembly of. the. year. Bloody awesome. And I’m really quite sad that I’m not going to be able to go this year. What with the brother not even being there anymore.. Sad times indeed.

There was this one song that they sing, ‘Gaudete‘, which I may have just spent half an hour trying to find online.. It’s one of those amazing latin songs that you can’t spell for all the sugar in the world. Anyway, gives me chills whenever I hear it.. Takes me straight back to the week before the concert when the brother would stalk about the house rehearsing for the choir. This is one of the few that, despite knowing it like the back of his hand, he’d keep singing. Wow. Serious goose bumps going on..

So yes, I’m in a festive mood. Have a Christmassy November 13th (:

Dinosaur stickers in the post.

That’s what my week has resulted in. The mother proving her absolute awesomeness and sending me shiny dinosaur stickers and playing cards..

It’s just been one of those weeks. Months. Terms really if we’re gonna be honest. So many people said that this term would be the toughest, but this is ridiculous. And I’ve just taken so much on as well.. Oh life.

Apparently I work better under stress. (I mean, this term’s grades will answer that once and for all, although so far it’s proven to be true.) But last week was a killer. Mental, draining and filled with flu. Beaut.

Two essays, a presentation, several killer rehearsals and a performance or two later and I’m officially ill. Only have the one more essay to go before I can start stressing about the next lot. Gah.. Oh and the assessed performance in a fortnight’s time that we *haven’t even begun to work on yet*. Bitter? Me? Never. Stressed? Oh hell yes.

Halloween is fastly becoming one of my favourite nights of the year. Ever.

No joke. I enjoy dressing up as dead and disturbing creatures far too much. Far too much. And this weekend has provided such fantastic opportunities to do so..

Friday night was ‘Carn-evil’ night with the drama society. Beaut. I, of course, went as a psycho wind-up doll. Why wouldn’t I? I know, my thoughts exactly.. May have overlooked the fact that pinning a massive cardboard key to my back would cause problems once we’d entered the club, oh and had to sit on a bus! But still, a fantastic night. The next morning I thoroughly regretted the corset and tutu decision though, the bruises are a bitch; but any night that allows for big hair and unattractive makeup is just fine by me. Always.

Apparently psycho dolls don't smile..

Saturday, aka. White Night, was massively lacking on the fancy dress front. From me at least. There were many a dressed-up person out and about in B-town. But even so, despite the normal clothes, had a fab night. Went to the late night opening at the aquarium and fastly returned to the childlike state of ‘ohmygoshtherearesharksandtheyaresoprettyandawesome’. That really common state of mind. And then hung out at the beach till 3 in’t morning when we went in search of breakfast. Good times. Super chilly times, but good times indeed.

Continued the big hair/unattractive face look last night when I decided to embrace the inner werewolf. Not even kidding. It was fantastic. I’m beyond impressed that my hair can do such incredible things when encouraged with a little (a lot) of hairspray. Seriously..

Personally, I'm a big fan of the eyebrows.

Unfortunately, what with being a veg, I lack huge amounts of fur in my wardrobe. Or, like, any fur at all.. So yeah, I wore a lot of bin bags. And so much eye shadow. *So much*. Practically covering me head to toe. I don’t understand the desire to look attractive on Halloween. I mean, really? It’s genuinely so much fun to go out and not care about the fact that you don’t look in any way attractive. At all. Love it.. Definitely killed my lungs with the hairspray though.

It is impossible to be glum when there’s a panda on your head..

Today has been, for lack of a better word, interesting. Apparently I was clearly very stupid in thinking that popping to Boots and the post office would be a simple, non-strenuous, menial task. So bloody wrong.

First off, I would like to point out that today is freezing. Like, stupidly cold. A hat was necessary. Not that that was a problem for me, although it took a good 20-odd minutes before I decided on one. An occupational hazard when in possession of so many beautiful hats.

Anyway, the post office. Which is actually a little bit closer than originally thought, a good thing? Maybe. I’ve never met someone so unhelpful and able to make you feel so very stupid. I mean, yeah, okay so there was a panda on my head. But does that mean you can look down your nose at me? Nuh-uh.

So after that delightful start, I entered the land of hell (aka the town centre on the first day of half term). Oh god, people. *So many people*. Now I don’t know about you, but I have a slight issue with slow walkers. Okay, maybe a slighty large issue. In that, they make me want to punch them in the back of the head. You have no idea just how much will power and restraint I own. Seriously..

Then Boots happened. Overcrowded, over-heated Boots. Okay, now I’m a big fan of autumn. I so prefer it to the muggy summer months, but why is it that it suddenly means all these shops wack their heating up?! I mean, really? I was in 4 layers, a panda hat, multiple pairs of socks and big boots. Just walking through the shop was like a bloody work-out. So exhausting. And sweat inducing. Ugh. Why can’t they just give staff a nice christmas jumper or something? They’d save a bucket load on electricity bills n’ all.. Anyway, having finally made it to the checkout, the tills decided to “play up”. Apparently, in Boots staff language that actually means “crash-and-fuck-up-your-card-but-we’re-just-not-going-to-tell-you-that”. Buggers.

Needless to say the next three cash points I visited were on the receiving end of some pretty harsh language. I apologise. I take my anger out on far too many inanimate objects, and it just isn’t cool..

Now all I can say, is one mighty large thank you to whoever decided to place a bank just 30 seconds walk from my front door. You are a beautiful person. I kid you not. Of course, when I actually got in there, just snuck in before they had a chance to lock me out, we had the whole IT’S TOO HOT issue again. Add to this the fact that I hadn’t yet eaten, and was slightly panicky about why the usually lovely hole-in-the-wall wasn’t giving me my hard-earned (Ahem, student loan) cash, and yeah, passing out almost happened. I’m just such a cool, calm and collected person. Really.

So having ordered a new bank card, which “Could take up to ten working days”, and swearing at numerous metal boxes on the wall, I came home to make probably the most feeble attempt at cous cous. Ever.

Oh, before all this happened I had an actually pretty loud chat with the sweet shop man about why he should give me the huge, purple, cut out squid that used to be in his window display. In front of an entire shop of customers. Only to find out that he was just looking after the shop for the day. Oh life..

Ps. This is the panda that was residing on my head.

Pretty awesome, huh.

Yes I’m probably still a child. What exactly is your point..?

There are certain people with whom you can act as though you’re 12 again and it doesn’t matter, because they won’t judge you, or mock you, or be negative in anyway. They’ll join in..

Yes. Those are jelly vampire teeth.

The red-headed one (Yep, that’s her on the right) came to stay last weekend, and as is usual for the wonderful city of Brighton, it rained. No, correction, it poured. So we stomped around the beach with umbrellas, and trudged the laines running from sweet shop to sweet shop, and SPENT TWO WHOLE HOURS IN THE AQUARIUM. Which was probably the best bit.

I’m sorry. I’ll explain. I may have a little bit of an obsession with sharks. Not sure when exactly it began, just that it’s been here for a fair while. I can’t believe I’ve managed to avoid the aquarium for the entire past year. In fact the thought sickens me..

Anyway. There’s a shark tunnel. Needless to say, I was a goner. Probably would’ve sat there for a good couple of hours longer if we didn’t get ever so marginally peckish. There is something so graceful about sharks. Plus they just have this beautiful sense of freedom. I guess I’m sort of jealous of them in a way. They just appear so at ease, and relaxed, with the ability to swim the ocean (okay, not when they’re in captivity, but y’know what I mean), without a care in the world. I could easily spend hours in an aquarium. They’re one of those random places I can really relax, and for a seriously anxious person that’s pretty unusual. It’s the sharks. They just have that effect on me..

In't he pretty..

So yes, I’d like a shark please. I’ll call him Oscar and he can live in my fridge. It’s a good fridge, promise.

Don’t text talk. It makes me want to attack you with cutlery.

“yea uu shud deffo cum up sumtme soon”

I actually just received this text.

What the fuck people? You’re 20, you no longer have any right to write like a plonker. Not even teeny boppers have any real right to, but they do it to make them “cool”, so y’know..

As an English student who gets a ridiculous pleasure from word play I dread opening texts sometimes, knowing full well that the content will be illegible to the majority of people with a brain. Possibly even worse is the fact that actually it seems to come naturally to those with only half a brain (if that). Almost as though they’re creating their own little language in order to overthrow the English language.

Yes, I have an active imagination. But also, I have a point.

Text speak is ridiculous. A lot of the time the abbreviations could mean any number of things and you spend stupid amounts of time trying to decipher every message you receive. Also, the inability to construct sentences and form a decent writing structure is becoming more and more common amongst people my age and younger. It’s worrying.

It immediately makes me think of young girls who have nothing better to do with their time but sit around outside hmv. Or footballers. Gross generalisation, yes. But all my male, football playing friends text talk. BAD.

Also, it makes me judge you. I shouldn’t admit to that, but it’s true. Every message you send to me containing text talk lowers my estimation of you. And eats me up a little inside. I should really find better people to talk with, there will literally be nothing left inside of me at this rate.

I can sort of understand it when mobiles have limited number of characters, but facebook and email?! Takes the piss. Twitter is designed to limit characters used, and it shows skill when you can still construct sentences containing all you want to say using less than 140 characters. I mean, changing ‘and’ to ‘&’? Yeah, I’ll give you that. But anything else is a massive no-no.

So, feel free to send me messages, emails, texts and tweets. But if they contain text talk? Expect flying cutlery in the post.