Anxiety likes to strike when things are going well. It creeps up like a spider in your ear, slowly stretching out its feelers to tap softly at what you push to the recesses of your mind. In my case this is invariably in the early hours of the morning, when my stomach has decided that the late night snack was a bad idea, and that it needs some early morning manoeuvres to settle itself.
So there I am, awake, the room is dark, the only noise is the soft breathing of my wife. I cuddle in, an attempt to cocoon myself in her warmth, but the silence seems to rise around me and the spiders come out to play. Memories are disturbed, spun into a web of doubt and overthink, with time and tense trapped at nodal points, tracing my history of inadequacy.
I try to disassociate, to step outside, to see myself as a whole, but I find that I am stuck, and each time I stretch myself away I fall back - but on a different strand, a new worry or failure. In vain I hope for sleep, for once caught amongst this detritus of the mind the spider loves to play peek-a-boo, switching subjects as I drift away. I toss and turn, hoping a physical position can get me out of this, as a physiological one got me into it. Eventually shear exhaustion will dispel the thoughts and send me into an oblivion that I will wake from hardly rested.
The light of the day brings morning, an oversleep, along with that hollow sense that sleep has been lost. Yet I am awake, and now able to control the spiders. I look around at April's gloom, a break in the showers that maybe precedes the summer bloom - after all there are green leaves on the trees. I note the receding of my head cold, and a return of clearer sight.
My cat purrs at me for food, and not for the first time do I see her hunting, and eating the spiders in the house.