The darkness is here. He's usually here at this time of year. And he is swiftly followed by his friend insomnia. You'd think that by the age of 40 I could see them both coming; that I would smell it in the air and move out of their way. They sit on the end of my bed at night, chatting triumphantly. You can feel the extent of their ingenuity when you wake up and realise you have been crying in your sleep.
The festive season is always accompanied by the darkness. This prompts a flurry of emails, phone calls and letters home to try and purge it, but it is to no avail. Accept, wait it out: that's all there is to be done. By January, the holiday will see them both off. Time out you see.
The trigger of course was fear: the invitation I sent to them both. I shouldn't go delving around in the past. I was looking for something and I read my journal. And there it was: something I had forgotten (Freud would say repressed, of course) a forgotten illness which, with hindsight, I can say was a MS episode. At the time of course, it was just a baffling few days of numbness. But only now does the significance of that event reveal itself. It means that the episode that put me in hospital last year was by no means the first episode, or even the second, but the third. It's as if the MS was testing itself out; practicing for the battle ahead.
So you see, it's a bit like building a snowman (an apt metaphor at the moment). You begin with something small, a minor annoyance, and then you add a little more, and you build and build until it's bigger than you.
People often describe me as a confident person; independent. So why is it that I'm certain that the drakness could be chased away by a hug from my dad. The irony would make me laugh, if I wasn't feeling quite so dark.