Spring hit hard, unexpected – after a long yet uneventful winter it seemed as if it had snuck up from nowhere. Subtle hints of a change in season, a small warmth that encompassed the city walls. Venturing outside had seemed somehow adventurous, after so long hidden from the cold the breeze seemed to brighten passers by. Last stuttering breaths of jack frost turned to subtle relief from the sun. It’s that point where the seasons are passing, that mix of stalwarts still in greatcoats and scarves and the braver in as little as possible, determined to grasp and greedily ingest those first few halos of real sunlight. I think I was somewhere in between, not quite ready for an arctic winter but still drastically unprepared for this new warmth. It’s funny how it turns on you all of a sudden, a tide of blossom and sudden life fighting against those last shimmering cobwebs of winter.

It was as I wandered fairly aimlessly down streets littered with natures beautiful echoes that I realized I’d been hiding, hibernating, though the cold months – only leaving my house when absolutely necessary, avoiding social interaction and work – i’d had just enough saved to keep me going, so when the pub I worked in sold up I was not in a particular rush to find myself a new job. That decision had now come to kick me, trying to find work in a small city proving much trickier than I had first though. Of course, underlying doubts didn’t help, it’s difficult to search for something when one must first find the desire to do so. Either stunned by the sudden waking or annoyed by my distinct lack of contact, friends were a little hard to get hold of, the majority of them away visiting relatives or still off the radar for the time being. It felt empty, or at least peaceful, which seemed quite fitting – better to ease in the season gracefully than to meet a false start head-on.

Recovery had taken me a while, it had been a long time since anyone had ripped my heart out and stomped all over it like that. I still have nightmares, paranoia, self-doubt as to how I let it all get to me so absolutely. I let it affect me too much, and then became someone I didn’t like because I refused to admit I’d been broken. This new start really felt like one though, putting old grudges and sadness behind, having finally realised that they were holding me back. Still, this was such a huge step for me considering my months of shelter. It’s weird how the most normal shit can feel like that, when you have problems with paranoia it takes a while to realise that everyone is -not- looking down on you. Often the face you turn because you have created a pre-conceived notion of someone’s opinion can be mean, unwelcoming, unforgiving. It turns you into the very person you’re terrified of. There’s a wonderful release that comes with knowing that you are not actually as repulsive as you think – you are not the centre of attention, it’s palpably refreshing.

It’s hard to explain properly, like a perverse kind of vanity – you are in your own world, with a level of self-loathing that really does become obsessive, even if often there is no reason for it.