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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Lights. Camera. Action. (Or something like that..)

It’s show week. Traditionally this is where I suddenly find a burst of adrenaline that keeps me healthy before a massive crash of the immune system next week. This year however, the body decided to be keen and push things forward a week..

Health = horrific. Head = horrific. Stress levels = horrific. But the excitement levels are high.

With the current exhaustion felt after 9 hours of rehearsals, the prospect of a 15 hour day tomorrow is definitely making me want to cry. Having to deal with scaffolders, light-rigging, and endless soundchecks as of 9am, I can already predict my sense of humour will be massively lacking.. But the knowledge that the show is only 3 days (THREE DAYS) away is exceptionally giddy-making.

And with a cast and crew this beautiful, who can blame me for my excitement..

Such a pretty cast

So despite the fact that I doubt I’ll be sleeping over the next three days (stress/excitement/too much caffeine/the need to do my degree) I wouldn’t change a thing this week.

(And on the off-chance that anyone suddenly decides they’d like to travel to Brighton to see my show..)

Skinny vanilla latte for one.

Every so often I decide to give something up. Be it in a spontaneous desire to be healthier, a chance to create welcome change in my life, or simply because I just can’t be bothered with it anymore. It’s a kind of social experiment on myself I guess.

A couple of years ago I gave up on entirely female social groups, realising I wasn’t one of those who could constantly compete with girls-en-masse. Before you label me as some sort of anti-feminist, I have nothing against any of said girls in said groups. I simply couldn’t commit to the stressful high-energy necessary to compete and keep up with a group of girls.

Last month I gave up on social-dining. Lunch-dates, coffee-dates, any form of food or drink related activity that includes more than myself. It’s not that I don’t like people. It’s just that it seems to be the only part of my day that I get to sit alone with my thoughts. Life has been busy recently, not that that’s a bad thing, but it’s been on the insane levels of busy.

Those casual conversations I so regularly had with myself have been buried under piles of musical-related-thoughts and degree-related-thoughts and there-is-not-enough-time-in-the-day-related-thoughts, and my poor little brain needs time to itself to ponder the function of snow, or other seemingly obscure-yet-fascinating thoughts.

So yes, coffee for one seems to be the way around it.

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.

Where did August go..?

I’m fairly sure there was a time when “summer holidays” were for playing in the park, spending everyday with friends you’ve had forever, and generally having a lazy, relaxing time whilst hating the fact that school got closer each week. Then this summer happened, or didn’t happen as the case may be, and I’m beginning to realise those “summers” are probably not gonna be around for a while. I don’t remember the last time I just sat in a park. I no longer have those ‘friends you’ve had forever’. And my lazy, relaxing days are now spent catching up on sleep before trotting off to another stupidly late night at work. Somehow, this is what ‘summer’ has become..

I’m an autumn girl at heart to be perfectly honest. I’d much prefer to be in a month that requires boots and a good hat than to be spending each day avoiding getting too much flesh out but at the same time needing to wear minimal clothing on account of being too bloody warm. But even so, swapping the calendar to August only to realise that we’re actually a good week into September was a tragic moment in life.

Seriously, where did August go? In my diary it says it definitely happened, but in my head all I see are lots of train journeys, and the memory of exceptionally tired (read painful) feet. It’s official, I’ve turned into a scary adult lady with no social life and the need for orthopedic footwear.

Back due to popular demand.

That’s a lie. But it made for a good title..

So hi there Internetland. It’s been a while. Mostly my fault, okay totally my fault. But who’d have guessed that there would be a point in my life where enough was going on to make procrastination unnecessary? Crazy. Totally crazy.

Basically exams happened. That was fairly lame. And then I turned 20. That was pretty awesome. Aside from the panic about suddenly being old and almost having responsibilities and a job and a family and real-life and all that malarkey. Once the panic was over I got to dress as a dinosaur. And that was beautiful..

RAWR.

Because yes. Being a dinosaur is the obvious choice for a newly turned 20 year old.

Then I went traipsing across Europe on a 24 hour coach ride. I know. *What* was I thinking.. Well, I actually just wanted to sing. Basically, the show choir went on tour to Italy with the University Big Band. Anyway, we ended up half way up a mountain near Lake Garda – so beautiful.. Had a few nights singing, few days chilling in the sun. It was pretty ace. I genuinely had no idea Italy was so beautiful. Lame, but true.

The one thing that greatly upset me was the way that Verona has been plagued with touristy gimmicks for Romeo and Juliet. Sorry to break it to you guys, but they WERE NOT REAL PEOPLE. Therefore spending stupid amounts of money to see each of their houses, their balcony and Juliet’s tomb (?!) = a silly plan. Just saying.

Days in pyjamas. Spent drinking coffee and playing cards. Beaut.

Today’s been one of those brilliantly chilled out days. One of those days that consists of thick woolly jumpers, massive cups of coffee, game after game of cards (and monopoly), roast potatoes, and a whole lot of ice cream. I love those kind of days..

I’d forgotten how very much I love board games. They remind me of friday nights living on campus last year. (Yes, we were a massively cool house..) And of those years, back in the day, when there were no responsibilities and no worries.

It’s been a tense 5 weeks. A tense 5 weeks that have seen tears and tantrums and blood and performances and a&e waiting rooms and not a lot of sleep but a hell of a lot of words. It’s nice to know those 5 weeks are over. Finally. Although it is now strange.. Waking up to the realisation that you have nowhere to be. Genuinely, there is no requirement for you to even leave the house. Hence the fact that I’m still in pyjamas, let’s be honest..

There’s something really refreshing though about knowing that despite the fact that I’m probably going to be even more stressed next year, even more so than your average third year student, it’ll be my own doing. And for something that I’m massively excited about. And that makes it okay.. Y’know?

Face-planting and A&E.. Oh life.

Today’s been an interesting one. An achy, hungover one that ended with 3 hours in A&E. Thrilling.

I may possibly have face-planted the pavement last night. Fell out of my shoe and met the floor with various body parts. It was painful. And I now have a beautifully purple hip, a fairly mauve knee, scraped arms, and a hole in the leather jacket.. Massive fail on my part. Massive.

I then took a rehearsal today. Clutching coffee and sporting last night’s makeup. Yep, I was *that* classy girl on the bus. The one with bed hair and a slept-in jumper..

And finally I ended up in A&E. Actually the reason I ended up at the hospital isn’t all that interesting, and I felt like a massive fraud in comparison with the guy that had been hit by a car, the girl with appendicitis, and the man that had trapped his hand in an electronic dumbwaiter. Believe me, I felt massively lame sat next to them..

The wait was almost worth it when my foot was bandaged up by cute-doctor-“I’m-Owen-by-the-way”, who then proceeded to throw plaster tape at me with a “shh, they’ll never know”. Charming cute-doctor-Owen. Also have massive love for the housemates who came for a road trip to keep me company and brought inappropriate-for-the-hospital snacks. Bless their little hearts.

I do however feel it necessary to question the hospital on their inappropriate nature of road signs..

Seems a tad insensitive really..

Sometimes, only sometimes, I’m proud of things I do..

So, I maybe said a while back that I’m in an a capella choir. I say maybe, because I no longer remember most things I’ve said in done in the recent past – my mind is currently filled with the pretentious, aesthetically-pleasing mind of a drama-student-on-the-edge – so really I could’ve said I was a fish and I doubt I’d remember..

Anyway, I’m in this choir. And we sing occasionally. Last week was no exception, (actually that’s a lie, it was a massive exception because we actually got up on stage in pretty dresses – and suits) we sang our little hearts out. And we’re on the internet. It’s crazy.

Check it.. It’s fairly unexciting to begin with, but watch from 7.55 and we’ll embrace you with our vocal chords. Or something.

I’m the one in the really ridiculous (albeit insanely beautiful) shoes.