When I get anxious, I get jealous. It is an unpleasant trait, and one not immediately obviously related to my heightened state of worry, which makes it harder to rationalise away. I look at pictures of other people’s living rooms and think they are much nicer than my own. I assume everyone else has more money or if not, is better at managing it than I am. I see people smiling and I think dismally that everyone else knows the secret to being relaxed and taking life as it comes, and I do not.

What can make this go away? Writing.

It is a strange but true thing for me, that if I write, suddenly, alchemically, my world turns back into a known and trusted place. I am comforted and comfortable, reconnected with my reason for being. I love my family viscerally, spiritually, with the lifeforce which makes my heart beat. Writing however, that is something about me. It returns me to the inside of my skin rather than living on my own outer rawness.

I could live and not write. It is important that I know that, so writing does not become an addiction and therefore a burden. It is also not about writing well.

Writing is, importantly, my gift to myself. It is my chosen way of taking the ponding emotions and thoughts from my stomach and turning them outwards, feathering them, drawing smiley comic faces on them, blowing them up and letting them go.

It is not that writing gives my life meaning and without it, I would be a gap where the vacuum could claim another victory for lifelessness. I choose writing and in return it gives me a ball of oxygen to hold in my two hands – that is, it gives me nothing at all but the ability to connect myself to the air we breathe.