4. Doors to reduce anxiety. I’m in the dark, it’s not entirely dark because the morning light is seeping in through the top of the curtains and onto the ceiling. The bedroom door is shut. Shutting the world out, keeping me safe inside. I’m lucky to have had all the bedroom doors in my life, some more temporary than others.

When everything is good and I’m feeling like things are going my way, I might not notice the door being open. When things are going well, when the door is open, I’m more open. But right now that scares me, I feel safe here, with the door closed. My heart is racing because the day ahead is busier than my body and mind needs it to be. You need to live, you need to earn. Rest is a privilege. Rest is for when you’re too sick to work.

I have a friend from my school days. He still lives in the same house, the same room we smoked in as teens and listened to Janes Addiction, Nirvana and Alice in Chains. His life is filled with panic since he became ill, he rarely leaves his room, unless it’s to go to the local shop for booze and fags. I’d return from traveling and tell him stories about the world. He’d sit wide-eyed, hunched over and clutching onto his Fosters “How can you do all of this? Aren’t you frightened you’re going to die?” he asked. “Yes, I am, but I can’t let fear stop me from living. There’s so much out there mate”. I wanted to open the world to him through my storytelling.

Some of us live our whole lives going down the same few streets, to the same old shops, seeing the same faces, and never leave. Because it feels safer. Because there doesn’t feel like any other way. Because that’s where family and friends are, if there are any around.

My friend knows that I’ve been ill too, trapped in fear and paranoia, in my room with my mental illness, absent during my breakdown and chaotic in my alcoholism. I haven’t seen my friend for a while, he’s hidden for so long, I sometimes wonder if he actually wants to see me, or if I’m intruding into his safe space. I get it though. With my bedroom door shut, the room isolated me, but it also held me and provided a space to rest from the overwhelming busy world.

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