A couple of weeks ago I read this book. It is one my mother owns that had somehow been shuffled to the top of a pile in the move, rather than being hidden between books about chemical injuries and respiratory hazards in the workplace. I didn't really want to read it: my affinity for Wind in the Willows is well-known and I dislike using them as allegory. As a child any book that contained a character called 'Toad' 'Mole' 'Rat' or 'Mr Badger' automatically became the Toad/Mole/Rat/Badger (which of course it one of the many reasons why Badger's Parting Gifts is the most traumatising book ever).
I couldn't put this book down. It's an allegory written for psychology students and as a story doesn't always work out- there are plotlines which are left unfleshed and era/timeline issues that don't quite follow (including reference to 'pets' which were problematic) but still I couldn't. I read it, then read the ending chapters again, then read the whole thing again all in one day.
I don't know how much I have got out of it. But I am trying to acknowledge now that my already vaguely neurotic tendencies have been quietly going haywire pretty much since our kid died last year. Cooking, something I enjoy doing, has become stressful as I somehow become incapable of getting on with things without consistently asking questions- suddenly I will find myself unable to remember whether I should salt the pan for peas or how best to chop peppers or how long to roast a tray of vegetables. Another book I picked up encouraged me to examine my anxious behaviours by writing down my thought process every time something overwhelmed me. I am honestly suprised how many times a day, a week, even on 'happy' events that my though processes end with 'I will disappoint everybody and they will think I am stupid and I don't want people to be cross with me'. I've never claimed not to be an anxious person, but I think with everything else I'm just making myself worse because of an inability to make the world be rational for me. I can't make things better or fix things so instead I flap about being impotent and then feeling unhappy because I can't fix things and people are upset and I'm rubbish.
I am as hot a mess as Tony Stark most days, and I don't even get to be Iron Man out of it!
But I'm trying to find out how to stop being a ridiculously anxious mess of stress and worry and stuff. I just haven't got it worked out properly yet.
And that book was good. It's just...haunting me a lot. A lot.