“Anhedonia: The loss of interest and enjoyment in all activities that you once liked; the feeling of not caring anymore.” – Neurolove

In order to write the essay we were set by the medical school, I had to switch my brain on. I didn’t even need it to engage in university stuff, I was willing to settle for it engaging in anything, because then I’d have something to work with and focus and redirect.

I tried to engage my brain in essay writing, in anything at all; but in the fleeting moments that it would engage, the only thing it would latch onto was this aching conclusion that my existence needed to stop – without any of the thought before it or any of the usual emotional build up, I was at the final destination. I didn’t even want to take my own life, that isn’t what I wanted at all. My brain was just in crisis, not even crumbling on itself because it was never whole enough to do that, but it just didn’t want to do it any more. It wanted to die without dying. For no reason at all. And when I went back to feeling dead again, knew that I didn’t mean that at all. And when I feel proper emotion again, I’ll want to live so much that I’ll be crippled by the fear that I could so easily cease to do just that… And I will want some control from somewhere as doctors get involved in my life again and take all the control away from me, inducing mass panic. So y’know. It wasn’t helpful. Because I was trying to essay and swinging wildly between complete apathy and an overwhelming desperation to please just not exist any more.

The stupid essay doesn’t matter to me. It means nothing at all. It will be forgotten as soon as it is completed. It adds nothing to my life. It earns me a percentage on a piece of paper, or a latter grade. That’s it. And that isn’t what matters. When I’m laying in the ICU again that essay will mean less than nothing to me – the attention I give to it (when I can find it) will be a regret. Because I will have perspective and I will hate the fact that I lost that perspective enough to pin so much onto an essay.

I wrote that last night.

And then I woke up today. And things were different.

In three hours I was more productive than I have been in the entire last three weeks. I wasn’t enthusiastic or particularly engaged, but I managed to find a small amount of focus from somewhere. I found over 20 references and made notes from them all, writing down relevant parts in sections I’d made in my notebook so that when I came to writing the essay I just had to join the dots between the points basically. And I did more work then, in that short attempt, than I have for ages. I kind of got a little bit interested (and I mean a tiny, brief little flicker) in the use of beta blockers to treat cancer, and went off on a tangent researching the role of stress hormones and the mechanisms in which they promote cancer development. It is a very long time since I’ve had even a flicker of interest in anything, so this is mildly reassuring I guess. And then I sat and looked at my word count of 0, and tried to think, and my mind had forgotten how to essay. It couldn’t think. I didn’t really know what to do. I tried to blog, but there was nothing in my brain to let out. It was just empty, hollow, dead. My dog was laid next to me asleep so I just hugged him.

“I wanted to write down
exactly what I felt
but somehow 
the paper stayed empty
and I could not have
described it any better”

And then I started writing the stupid thing. One hour and 200 words and I was pretty surprised. I got a message from someone who I don’t want anything to do with at the moment due to their self-centredness and the way they make EVERYTHING a competition and always about them, even when they’re taking about you. I messaged my friend from uni who has the same cardiologist as me, and she said that my achievement was actually pretty decent, seeing as she’d managed 600 words in 3 days. At that point I lost the ability to essay, put on my wooly hat, and just sat staring at my screen for ages.

I don’t want to be writing about cancer at the minute. It’s ok when I’m totally a-emotional (I’ve decided that’s the perfect description for how I am right now), but when I do have emotions, it’s going to be so difficult if I start thinking about cancer. My dad’s ex-brother-in-law (who is referred to in our house as Unlce [dad’s ex-brother-in-law]) does have cancer. They got the biopsy results. A few weeks ago he got the all clear. Now, he’s still in intensive care with a tracheostomy but has been woken up. I feel like I shouldn’t even talk about this. But he’s such a nice guy. It’s in his voice box. They can’t do chemo or radiotherapy, they need to remove his trachea, he won’t breathe by himself again and he won’t be able to eat. Or talk, obviously. Life isn’t fair. It isn’t fair. It brought tears to my eyes when I heard. Which is weird. I think my emotions may have turned into ninjas, because I have these emotional responses (cry. I cry) without feeling anything at all behind it.

“Some days,

I feel everything at once.

Other days, I feel nothing at all.
I don’t know what’s worse:
Drowning beneath the waves
Or dying from the thirst.”
 – O.M

My dad has taken to doing this thing when I talk where he sighs in annoyance and visibly pulls a face or recoils a little and then looks away from me, makes some huge long pause and then talks, completely ignoring me. Or really curtly says “thank you” to shut me up. Not every time, but enough that I’ve noticed it and y’know… I’ve yet to have a feeling about it, but I’m sure whatever emotion it eventually throws up will be highly destructive.

This essay is due in tomorrow, except I have a hospital appointment in the morning and then from that my mum is taking me straight back to London, which I’m already starting to dread. I don’t want to leave my dog. My nephew is a complete narcissist. He was so rude and awful to my little brother last night I wanted to hit him (I’m super protective of my little brother, who wasn’t bothered). My mum is at her wits end over the way he treats her and lies all the time, he’s so rude and horrible to be around at the moment. My dad won’t discipline him at all because he worships him and wants to play good cop. It isn’t fair on my mum, who really cannot handle it but said that on the phone to my sister and said the opposite to me. I can’t handle this house. This essay can just go do one. Could cancer please just leave Uncle not my uncle alone? How, after hearing that, can I possibly give a crap about this essay? How? I should be freaking about going to a hospital appointment tomorrow and even that isn’t making me feel anything. And just as a tiny whip of emotion is ignited within me, I’m about to leave my dog and go back to the loneliness that broke me before I had any reason to break (I don’t have any reason to be broken now but…).

Basically I just want to set myself on fire, because I’m already watching the world as I know it burn.

I feel like I’m in an inferno.


8 thoughts on “Inferno

  1. Look at how far you’ve come! You’re essaying! Beta blockers are pretty cool, but I’m a pharmacist, so I like drugs. Are you planning on going into medicine? I’m glad I did; it really helps me understand what I’m going through and sometimes why. For example, when I started on an antidepressant a year ago, one of the side effects for the first few weeks is actually anhedonia! So at least I knew to expect that.
    Maybe things will be better once you return to university. I’m sorry to say it, but your home environment is so toxic and isn’t helping you heal in the way you need to right now. Do you have friends at university you can have check in on you?
    I know that feeling all too well of just wanting to stop existing; that was me all spring and most of the summer. If you ever need someone, I’m here. You’re never alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s 4:50am and now safe to say that I “essayED” (yes, the thing is submitted).

      I don’t even really know how to start responding to this, other than putting the words “thank” and “you” one after the other over and over again, I’m at a bit of a loss.

      Ok being a pharmacist is pretty cool in itself, we sometimes have lectures with the pharmacy students and after christmas I’m doing a pharmacy module (I may not be such a fan after that). Scientific knowledge is kind of a blessing and a curse all at the same time though I often find.

      Yeah, I’m dreading going back to university. The pressure. The loneliness. (Maybe I will feel neither now that I’m not really feeling stuff). I don’t think anywhere is really helpful for me at the minute, which is probably just my mind being difficult. I don’t want to freak my friends out as has happened so many times with my health. These guys seem good. I want to keep their friendship.

      That last part. Just… You don’t even know… Thank you. So much. All the thank yous in the world (that probably isn’t even a word but hey I am drunk on tiredness and a teeny tiny bit of cider). Thank you. You just reminded me how I blog with a single comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Maybe things won’t be as bad as you expect at university. College was hard for me; I spent 6 years at a university over 400 miles from home. But it evolved over time into a place I really did feel at home. And now I miss the place!
        I’m not sure what your beliefs are, but I believe in God and the power of prayer. Is there a name I can use for you (can be your real name or a pseudonym, God will know who I’m talking about) so I can lift you up in prayer?🙏🏻

        Liked by 1 person

      • You know that diabetic alert dogs are a real thing, right? Furry rock is just a natural ❤️🐾

        In terms of feeling the words- it takes time each time we fall down a hole. Hang on, another quote comes to mind about why we all stick around:

        Leo McGarry: This guy’s walking down a street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep, he can’t get out. A doctor passes by, and the guy shouts up, “Hey you, can you help me out?” The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a priest comes along, and the guy shouts up “Father, I’m down in this hole, can you help me out?” The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a friend walks by. “Hey Joe, it’s me, can you help me out?” And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, “Are you stupid? Now we’re both down here.” The friend says, “Yeah, but I’ve been down here before, and I know the way out.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s such an awesome quote!

        Yeah I know they are a thing, but my furry rock is really struggling to walk after our family friend decided to take him away for 31 hours the other day (his hips have not recovered, and he’s been reduced to a whining whimpering mess when he walks). He’s 10 years old but otherwise I’d get him trained up I guess. He pretty much does the role of a D.A.D anyway but he hasn’t been trained to signal properly or anything.

        My plan was to get a puppy and take it through the training myself, as various doctors have suggested that I get a service dog. It would change my life and give me back some independence, and help me in so many ways. But… Accommodation… And money… And y’know… Life.

        Seriously, cool quote, thanks for sharing.


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