Old habits

I read an article in The Observer Magazine some weeks ago about the “age of exhaustion”. It was shortly after my fall, and I remember feeling really shocked – partly because it mentioned Cortisol, which was something my doctor was testing me for – but mainly because I was surprised about the suggestions it made about why so many people become afflicted by an extreme form of exhaustion. There are many people that bemoan the state of today’s society with its deluge of information and an ‘always on’ mindset, but that’s our lot, and the only real way to live is to find your own way of coping: apply your own filters and you might not feel so overwhelmed. After all, if there’s one thing to be learned from this information age, it’s discernment.
I’ve noticed a recurring dream over the last few months. I’m walking through a field or wood, or over a hill through green pastures, generally enjoying the great outdoors. Suddenly, I’m aware that there’s a great big cat, or a bear, or a huge dog – a beast that I’m far too close to, that could eat me as soon as look at me. I start to panic silently, praying that I can just get by without being noticed. But I’m always noticed – these beasts aren’t dumb. I’m suspended in this tense environment, with no way out and no way back. I never get torn limb from limb, nor have my throat torn out, but it’s what I fear. And this dream is the reason I’m up at this hour. It’s easy, of course, to interpret such dreams as seems fitting, and my interpretation is no different. I sometimes think it’s a warning: that socialising centred on booze is like being in that field – you can feel great and wholesome until you get that sudden sense of a danger, a fear, and try as you might, there’s no escaping it – you will be at its mercy.


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