Do you want a valium? he asked. In fact, he offered me one twice. It will take it away, he said. And it probably would. But I am stubborn, cussid some might say and I’m scared of tranquillisers – the whole idea of them. Yes, I’ve been stressed, still am and it has all sorts of physical and emotional consequences. Yes, I’m snappy, agitated, tense, tight but and yet for all that discomfort I don’t want to be taken to a place where I don’t feel. There is something to be learnt in it. In that whole rigmarole of experiencing fear. I want to own it and then move through it. One my own, unaided, and un-tranquillised.

I dreamt I was going to have an operation, it felt like it was going to be an abortion. I was lying on a hospital bed with my legs open and the nurse was offering me painkillers. No thanks, I said. She was surprised. You will be in a lot of pain afterwards, particularly through the night, she said. Are you sure? I hesitated. I want to try, I said. OK, she said. Before that scene I’d been trying to put together this precious object that I thought was ceramic but turned out to be papier mache. It was my friend’s. William Cowper the poet had made it. He was an amateur, I heard myself telling someone I was showing it too. It was a complicated thing that had to be put together. It kept changing as I worked on it. And it’s fragility scared me. People milled around me, strangers and people I knew.

There was a tiny moth by the front door as I made to go out for my walk. It was whirling about on the floor. I tried to pick it up with my gloves. It took sometime. I wanted to set it free but I must have been too rough for its tiny body and when I placed it on the soil of the geranium pot it lay there motionless. I’m sorry. I was trying to help and failed. Forgive me, little one.

I’m scared about writing this morning. Ugh, it floors me sometimes. I just need to start, begin and make it mine.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.