There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, "Morning, boys. How's the water?" And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, "What the hell is water?"...The point of the fish story is merely that the most obvious, important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about." – David Foster Wallace, Kenyon Commencement Address, 21 May, 2005.
For the last few days I've been laid low with an inflammation in my abdomen. The pain was so acute it made me faint. My GP prescribed a course of antibiotics and told me to come back if the pain didn't go away. I asked what would happen if it didn't and he said, "Surgery."
I panicked at the thought of losing more time to illness. But the antibiotics are working and the pain is gradually subsiding. Mostly, I slept. When awake I ran small errands, hung out with my family, told myself it would be ok. And it is ok.
Normalcy is still foreign to me. I am re-learning that most problems are small and easily resolved; most illnesses are minor and fleeting. I guess this is what life feels like after surviving a perfect storm and learning to manage a complex psychological condition: it takes a while to trust that that the next wave won't be a violent wipeout after all. And in the unlikely event that it is, I've proven I can make it through anyway.
Above: Walking before sunset at Collaroy Beach, Sydney, 2017.