I knew I was in trouble sometime in July. I just didn’t admit it.
I was with friends, one of whom let slip they had discovered that you could mute people on Twitter. This was something of a revelation to me, only clouded by the fact I had not realised it sooner. Blocking I knew about. But muting felt like the best of both worlds. I spent the next day and a half muting what felt like all of humanity. Satisfied, I put down my phone and thought: now what?
Within a week I found myself checking the timelines of those very same people, just so I could be sure I had not missed out on a vital link to something that I could press into use at the dinner table or, I persuaded myself, for work.
A week or two later I went away to a place where there was only patchy wifi. I watched myself speeding up as I approached the places where I knew I could find a signal. And watched myself again, shaking my head, as the signal came and went on the countryside breeze, leaving me bereft of news of what X had said about Y, and what Z had quipped about it.
Between these sessions of not-quite tweeting and connection to the outer, so-called ‘real’ world, I was having a ball. I sat with friends round tables. I read. I listened to the cricket, not as motivation to complete some tiresome chores, but on its own, with nothing else attached to it.
Sometimes I just sat.
A week or so after that I stayed with family. As I entered their house I heard myself asking where I could find their wifi code. Still it didn’t dawn on me that I was in trouble.
Driving home I checked my emails in the motorway service station. On one of our stops this occurred before I had even left the car.
Even now, six days after leaving, my brain is still coming down from its overload of cortisol. For years I had persuaded myself that I was feasting on joy-filled drops of serotonin, but in fact all I tasted was anxiety. I honestly do not know how long I will (or can) keep this fast for. What I do know is I will be in recovery for some time yet.