When she holds her breath and grips the steering wheel, the lights change from red to green, and yet she doesn’t move. Is she afraid? Is she numb? Is she aware that her mascara has run and the people she works with will know she’s been crying again? None of it matters of course, because the people she works with have been dead inside for years, and their opinions are as useful as a wet cigarette. Still, as she sits there biting her tongue unable to understand why she’s not the same as everyone else, I’m walking through a field trying to fight off an impending panic attack of my own. Miles from home, the sky above my head seems far too heavy, and as the air in my lungs runs dry, I imagine a giant tidal wave rising up in the distance. What would my chances of survival be, I wonder? Yeah, that’s just making things worse, and when I slump against the trunk of a tree, it feels like I’m being stalked by a sea of spiders and my anxiety levels are on the verge of pulling me under. Inspecting herself in the rearview mirror, she avoids her gaze the best she can in an attempt to pretend it was nothing but pretending it’s nothing is what causes the problems. The longer we avoid what ails us, the less chance we have of becoming who we wish to be, and we just end up getting sucked into the lifeless lives of others. That’s what triggered my depression all those years ago, and what I would now give to get back those years. Writing helps to fix what’s wrong inside of me, but it doesn’t bring back what’s lost. Not physically, at least. Still, there’s no time for regret, only action. Even when it hurts, the only thing to do is fight against it and to embrace every emotion as if it were natural. And it’s all natural, baby. The pain and sorrow- they’re as meaningful in our lives as laughter and joy. The trick is how you deal with them. That tidal wave, though. If it hit, I’d be a goner. Unless I found some kind of well? Or an old World War Two bunker, perhaps? Adjusting her bra and doing her best to fix her makeup, she keeps herself from crying by humming a song by Fleetwood Mac, an old defence mechanism brought on by the effects of adolescent bullying. Nothing too serious, but enough to have left scars both inside and out.