I've been grateful, of late, to notice small slivers of daylight still hanging in the air as I walk up Church Road, even though the clock has already struck five thirty. These tiny shards of optimism, breaking through the winter chill, warm me, and offset the heavy feeling I've had of late, the feeling of dark birds clustering at every street corner, following me home.
I can't quite separate out these last months into any tangible order; they've been a peculiar mixture of sadness, hope and bewilderment. These last few weeks have been no different, and I'm driven by the feeling that some things in my life are finally coming together, whilst the rest of it unravels.
After a drought of money and work for the last year or so, a couple of weeks ago, I suddenly found myself standing in an avalanche of decorating work and some writing work too. I could finally allow my dreams of a trip to Andalucia to surface again, as well as my vision of spending money on a new pair of jeans, a pair that I actually like (and isn't from some knock-down store or passed onto me by a charitable sister: wrong size, full of holes).
But I've not quite been right since that last trip home to Wales in January. The strain and enormity of my experience there cast a strange shadow over everything when I returned to Brighton, leaving me disorientated on buses, forgetting where I was headed to, my head spinning in all directions as I walked past cafes or spoke on the phone. A flooding in my heart, a weirdness afterwards, a feeling that my consciousness was leaving me in some way.
I realised the other day that this wasn't simply a case of me being a bit overwhelmed, but actually something very physical was up. For the last four months this strange feeling in my chest and my mind, a swamping of my senses and a disturbing feeling in my body has been coming and going, depending on the time of the month and how tired I am. Due to everything else that's been going on, I'd just seen it as another wave in the sea of unsettling experience, and got on with it. But over the last few days it's worsened, and I've had to face some facts.
So, following a conversation with my sister, who is utterly convinced that I'm epileptic, since my symptoms match hers exactly (she is epileptic) I've been back to the doctor for referrals to a neurologist and cardiologist. I wouldn't surprise me if it was epilepsy either, but it also wouldn't be a shock if it was just another form of panic attacks, frequent and savage.
The bottom line is, I have to take it easy, easy within a sudden life change of being incredibly busy. How ironic. At a time when I need to avoid computer screens and caffeine, I find myself having to spend days writing book reviews. When I need to rest and avoid stress, I'm wobbling up a ladder working to deadline, with strong paint fumes swilling in my brain. But I'm determined to go softly. Whatever it is that's going on with me, that much I know.
So I'm off to curl up in bed with a book, feel the night dragging in the sky outside my bedroom window. I'm not bothered if there aren't any stars out tonight. I just want a clear, fresh morning tomorrow, light and breezy, filling up my step and my lungs with graceful ease.