I keep a litre bottle of fizzy water beside my bed, and a clean glass. The alarm goes off ten minutes earlier than it needs to, and I paddle to the bathroom in my negligee: a sheer black lace nightie that rides up as I toss and turn, but that makes me feel together. Accomplished. Sexy, sometimes, too. In the bathroom I use the £30 cleanser – the only thing that keeps my skin bright, that sees the red lumps under the skin of my jaw shrink, red lumps caused by sadness, and frustration, too, because what do I have to be sad about? Back in my room, I pour the fizzy water into the clean glass and take my vitamins. If I achieve nothing else in that day at least the first five minutes have had dignity. I treated myself well. I force myself to make the bed, to open the curtains, to crack the window for fresh, cold air.
I can do this.
I am doing this.
At the height of it – or, probably, it’s better to say at the lowest of it – I had a One Thing A Day rule. If I could do One Thing A Day I was okay. That one thing might’ve been dropping letters off at the post office. Replying to a few emails. Going to therapy. A cup of tea. Mostly, I slept. I’d go take the kids I nanny to school, a job I took because I needed a reason to get out of bed, truth be told, something to do as I held my breath for the book to come out, then I’d come home to sleep. I'd only wake up to go pick them up again. Without that, without them, I don’t think I’d have been able to leave the house at all.