“Big Brother reminds you that it is strictly forbidden to discuss events in the outside world.”

Maintaining a personal blog sometimes feels a bit like being a contestant on Big Brother. With so much of our Big Important Stuff off-limits as subject matter, we end up wittering on about the colour of our socks, or the price of stamps, or the nice late summer weather that we’ve all been enjoying.

If Troubled Diva really did contain a full and accurate representation of the main events in my life, then you would be reading an altogether different set of posts. Sometimes, the frustration gets to me, such that I feel like digging a tiny virtual hole in the blogosphere and whispering into it – but then we all know what happened to silly old King Midas, don’t we?

The events of yesterday are a case in point. Suffice it to say that a friend is in intensive care on the other side of the world, but thankfully past the critical stage, and steadily improving. As a by-product of this, I found myself caught up in a complex network of e-mails, phone calls and texts, which saw me take on the role of central information bureau for a sizeable number of people, all desperate for up-to-date news. At the height of the drama, I was more or less constantly relaying messages for nearly three hours solid.

One thing which struck me about the experience is how calm, clear-headed, focussed and energised I became – to the extent that I actually started to get a peculiar kind of euphoric buzz. It was only during a short break in the proceedings, during which I nipped outside for a “calming” cigarette (the self-justifying delusions of the “social” smoker really do know no bounds), that I started getting what might be considered the more “appropriate” reactions: anxiety, shakiness, a lurching sense of dread. (There again, it might just have been the nicotine rush.)

Although I don’t tend to talk about this much, I do struggle, on a more or less daily basis, with a generalised, low-level, tired-all-the-time feeling. I guess it’s my default setting. So it did rather creep me out that it took a serious crisis to shake me out of my torpor, and that I was, in a certain sense, almost benefiting from someone else’s suffering.

(At this point, I should pause for a moment, in order to reassure you that many, many other more important and relevant thoughts were also passing through my brain at the same time. I might be a blogger, but I’m not that self-obsessed.)

I experienced the same sensation in late May and early June, in the immediate aftermath of the tragic loss of K’s sister. Again, there was a good reason: there was so much to be done, and so many people to support, and it turned out that I was actually quite good at staying calm under that kind of pressure – in which case, maybe that emotionally repressed boarding school upbringing did me some good after all.

I do understand where these spiritual energy surges come from, and why they have to happen. I’m also well aware of the human capacity for manufacturing guilt at times like these. I only wish that it didn’t take an event of this nature to send the blood coursing through my veins with such productive efficiency.

Get well soon, JP.

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