I have a monkey on my back. Someone that is with me constantly, whether I want to or not. A bit like Edward, in the Tom Waits song, where he has grown a second face – a devil twin – at the back of his head. She speaks to me, sometimes quietly in a whisper and other times loudly and angrily. If I have a cough she is there, if my leg is sore she pops up, if I can’t sleep at night she keeps me company with her whispers. She tells me terrible stories of death, destruction and loss. Of heartache and fear. Of days gone and no returns. She frightens me and stress me out. And she is always there.

I am slowly learning how to handle her. What our conversations should sound like, and how to calm her. I am getting better at dealing with her and ignoring her. But it is a struggle. Every day I need to remind myself to breathe, to think happy thoughts, to enjoy the moment, and to not be scared. I am not quite there yet, but she will hopefully grow a little more quiet over time. I am at least beginning to listen to myself rather than her, and to follow my own gut, rather than the devil twin at the back of my head.