Let's assume that even those of you with the smallest of imaginations can picture me buying cheese, tea, coffee and wine - in that you have probably been to a shop, or at least seen one on TV. If you can't, I'm sorry - I'm going to skip it, in the name of story progression and, and move straight to step 3: survival.
I could and would argue that a big part of anxiety is the constant struggle for survival. Mostly, this adrenaline is unnecessary, but it originates from a deeply ingrained survival instinct that hasn't quite gone away.
Living among the cushions, candles and film subscriptions of today's world, it seems utterly ridiculous that I worry about doom at least once every 5 minutes - but that is my reality and it has been for as long as I can remember.
I'm also going to skip the moments of panic I had during the move to my new home. Moving is one of the most stressful things in modern life, and my move came with all the obstacles, worries and hazards that you'd expect. My Dad and BFF stayed a few days and helped me with some of the more daunting tasks; painting, moving a fridge, choosing a toaster. And then they left.
Finding myself alone (other than my dog) in my new house was a weird feeling. On the one hand, there was excitement - I looked forward to getting my kitchen in order, implementing my new found DIY skills and inviting people over for dinner. On the other hand, there was a knot in my stomach; a gnawing feeling of self doubt and fear.
Determined to overcome it, I decided to settle myself in for a night of blogging and thought there could be no better place to start than with #44 of My Anxiety Challenge: have a bath. What could go wrong?!
To me, having a bath is a ritual of self honour. It's a delicious indulgence of scents and touch. Wanting to do my new bath justice, I gathered my supplies in a box and trotted into the room and turned on the tap.
As I waited for my tub to fill, I lost myself in the Honey-filled world of the book I'm reading and let myself drift into The Bees. Not too much longer later, I checked on my bath.
It looked perfect. For once, I hadn't caused a riot or a flood and the glittery bubbles (courtesy of Intergalactic bath bomb) skimmed the rim of the bath. The smell of Pipe Tobacco and Cherries filled the air.
Bracing myself for bliss, I undressed and dipped in a toe.
I turned on the hot tap and felt the water.
There was no hot water whatsoever. This is where my descent into chaos began. Determined to live out my frightened mermaid dreams, I padded down to the kitchen with my one cold toe and approached the boiler.
"Hello?" I didn't really speak to my boiler, but I approached it with the same caution you'd reserve for the potential of an intruder. Being moderately skilled in IT, I turned it off and on again. Nothing. I tried it for a second time. Still, nothing. I flipped all the little nozzles around for a bit and tried running the taps, but they were still cold. I resigned myself to the idea that the problem might be one for he Internet.
I found an online manual and managed to decipher that the issue was Low Pressure. Fab. Feeling like Super Mario or something, I put into practice some advice I found on a forum, despite the fact that I'd only understood about 32% of it. The diagram provided didn't match up to what was sat in front of me, but being a full on professional plumber I grabbed my wrench and started to tinker - and by tinker I mean open some valves.
I sensibly stayed away from the pipe marked "Gas", but other than that I was horribly indiscriminate and I soon ended up in what could be described as either a "pickle" or a "shitshow". There still wasn't any hot water (although there was now some room temperature on my kitchen counter) and I now had no idea whether any of the valves I had been expertly bashing around were open or cold. Damn.
Not wanting to cause an explosion, I turned off the boiler and called my Dad. His advice was a firm and protective "leave it", which I knew was right - but the idea of actually making a real life phone call in the morning (to Luigi), was almost more scary than cremating myself. I picked the wrench back up and retinkered all the valves into what I hoped were their original positions.
I then had my Eureka moment (thanks to some stranger called PaulE512, who I assume is incredibly strong and handsome) and found the Filling Loop (see, I am a plumber). I hunted down one of the 4 Phillips Head Screwdrivers that I now own and cautiously twiddled it open, letting in just enough water to increase my boiler pressure back into the green. I tightened everything back up and then turned on the tap.
The boiler made a promising buzzy noise as the water poured into the sink. I stuck my hand in. Cold. Cold. Cold. Warm. YES!
Desperately sniffing around for gas, I allowed the boiler enough power to fill the bath and then promptly switched it back off (it will still be some time before I trust him fully).
I know that Gas stinks, but Ross from Friends said something about them adding the smell to it for our safety in some episode and I have this horrible sickening worry that they might have forgotten to add it into MY gas.
So yeah, for now I am surviving. Just.
Did you know?
Anxiety has as many physical symptoms as it does psychological ones.
One of those symptoms is fatigue...
It would be really awesome if you could buy me a coffee, but if not please share this post on social media!