I was on the verge of experiencing yet another panic attack. I’m not sure when I first started ever having these — perhaps I’ve always had them, even as a child — but the move to London completely pushed these attacks into high gear. The voices in my head start chattering hardcore, and I wake up with my heart pounding, my face scrunched in pain, and the voices already playing. The emotions are so strong, I feel like Dr. Jekyll, and I don’t even know I’ve turned into Mr. Hyde. And boy, I’m scary as Mr. Hyde (so I’m told…the panic attacks, when subsided, have a strong amnesiac effect as well). I rage…for days. But to rage and then experience a conscience — that was an awakening, and I knew I had to find ways to curtail these sudden and volatile rushes.

Some people loathe bathing, or water in general. My partner is one of them, but I can happily sit in a tub of steaming water, and stare at my toes twinkling in the candlelight. But didn’t Virginia Woolf remark how there are very few things a hot bath won’t fix? What surprises me about baths is how simple yet effective they are for me. And yet, maybe due to their simpleness, I forget to include them into my daily routine. But tonight, I had the good sense to start the ritual ablution. First tealight candles all around. Then plugging up the drain and run warm water. In the meantime, I leisurely make myself a cup of PG Tips tea, adding sugar and milk. This gives the tub just enough time to fill, and I add 10 drops of pure Lavender essential oil that I purchased for three pence in Croatia. The lavendar oil works like magic: one moment I’m sunk in and fiddling on the tap with my foot, and the next minute, I am zoned out. Time and space do not matter anymore as the heat and fragrance grind my mind to a quiet halt. I don’t know how long I was zoned out but who cares? It felt like pleasantly waking from a long dream.

Erica, 34, London, UK

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