While I wait for my online CBT course to begin, I turn up for my second face to face with the therapist: I’ve turned into Prince Harry, only with more hair and way more rescue dogs. 

Gracie is wearing her tabard, which is supposed to signify she is an emotional support dog, therefore allowed entry. 

I only had Missy’s tabard to hand, which already says ‘Nervous’. I added the word ‘human’ beneath it using felt tip. The receptionist says it’s fine.

I look terrible. There seems no point in doing anything, even having a bath. An oily soak was once my salve, but now all I can think of is what the demon smart meter is clocking up. 

Everything seems a chore: if I have a bath, I will have to get out, dry my poor body, get dressed again. Pointless.

The therapist has last week’s questionnaire in her hands. She is worried that on a scale of one to ten, when asked how likely I am to act on suicidal thoughts, I had put nine.

Everything seems a chore: if I have a bath, I will have to get out, dry my poor body, get dressed again. Pointless

Everything seems a chore: if I have a bath, I will have to get out, dry my poor body, get dressed again. Pointless

I tell her the only thing keeping me alive is that my dogs and horses rely on me. If I’m out of sight for even a few seconds on a walk, Mini will put her paws on a wall to try to spot me. When she does, her black and white face is washed with relief.

‘Have you done anything nice since I last saw you? Something you enjoyed?’

I tell her my friend Isobel picked me up on Sunday and took me for a snowdrop walk, for all the world as though she’s my carer. It cost £5 each. It was torrential, and cold, but hundreds of people turned up, which tells you all you need to know about the Yorkshire Dales. 

I couldn’t wait for the walk to end, was worried I’d miss the signs and get lost. We joined a queue in the church for tea afterwards. Little old ladies were serving. ‘That will be us in a few years,’ Izzy said.

I ask Izzy, ‘Which way do I have to be pointing to see the Northern lights?’ 

I felt sad then, as I know I’ll never be surrounded by grandchildren, friends, cake. I always wonder at the people on Gardeners’ World who say they have been through a hard time, but gardening has got them through it. 

They can switch off. I wonder at Monty Don when he talks about the future: ‘It should flower in three years’ time.’ How does anyone know they’ll still be here? 

I think the impermanence of renting feeds into this: what’s the point in planting anything? I tell my therapist there is no waking moment when I’m not worried.

Jones moans… What Liz loathes this week 

  • Waitrose. You can’t order a future delivery if there’s not enough money in your account when you book it, even though your salary will have been paid before it’s due to arrive. It’s like hotels ‘pre-authorising’ your card. I call it stealing
  • I subscribe to Vogue, but can’t access vogue.com. When I complained they asked for my account details, previous address, length of subscription, is it print or digital, amount paid. It’s like salons asking, ‘Who normally cuts your hair?’ No idea. I don’t even know my nieces’ and nephews’ names!


She says some level of anxiety is normal, and useful: it stops us getting run over. I know I catastrophise. In the past, I’ve pushed through it. Now? I’ve even backed out of going to the Press Awards, in which I’m shortlisted. 

Everything that’s supposed to bring happiness has only brought me angst: my wedding, when I worried all honeymoon that my cheque paying for Babington House would bounce.

‘What gives you pleasure?’ she asks me.

‘I used to love walking my dogs, but now I only think of what might happen.’

It’s a military exercise. I wait until after Love Island, then put on their flashing lights, harnesses, fluoro, Gracie’s tabard. Missy must wear a muzzle, as there is a corner she doesn’t like (she even frightens herself lapping water from a bowl), and she goes for Gracie.

It was a dog walk that put the penultimate nail in the coffin of me and David*. Faced with what he called ‘a slope’, he stormed back to my cottage, taking with him all the leads. When I got home, I was incandescent. ‘We could have been killed!’

‘It’s a country lane, at midnight,’ he said.

He never understood me.

Izzy emails. ‘Northern lights between 9pm and 10pm.’

Me: ‘Which way do I have to be pointing?’ I once travelled to Angkor Wat to see the sunrise, only to miss it as I’d been telling my very willing PA at the time the long version of my marriage breakup.

Izzy replies: ‘Good point. Will google.’

Honestly. Women. And I burst out laughing.

*The final nail was him saying my hearing aids are ‘annoying’

Post source: Daily mail

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