A week after I got fired, I had to put my dog down.
Things were shit, I thought to myself, sat on the top deck of the bus with an empty dog carrier upturned, crying.
And they were on the verge of getting really shit.
My dog, Nige, had spent the last three weeks of his life watching me on the phone, a then Creative Director at the ridiculous age of 24 (as I’ve said before, they never should have given me that role), pleading with the board to let me keep my job.
Nige must have thought I looked fucking pathetic.
In retrospect I’m most upset about that.
Not that stupid job that ended when a well known morning news presenter tried to sue me for defamation that I was guilty of.
Or the fact that the week after I left, that week Nige got put down, was also the week they finally launched that godforsaken IPO, initials I resented even knowing.
I was buying filter tips in the local shop when I saw it on the telly.
My eyes did that weird super-focus thing they can do in real life but rarely do, and I dropped my card in the pile of reduced chocolate bars by the counter.
I was well and truly sick of myself and everything was out of control.
I was sick of my voice and sick of my writing. Sick of those letters from those lawyers and sick of playing back everything I’d said in those boardrooms to try and keep that stupid job.
And Nige might still have been there if I had changed one of those things.
There wasn’t a day in the surrounding weeks I hadn’t cried myself to sleep. I don’t remember how many, they were a tangle of no more 6am starts, no more Nige and no more paydays.
I posted an ironically/un-ironc GIF on Facebook because it felt ‘vintage-me’ and I wanted to see if an ex boyfriend would reply.
It was the start of spring.
And I said things like “I was fucking done” to my friends in the pub (they bought the drinks), like I was ready to draw a line under it, and like I had another bar of energy to use just waiting to plug into me. I feigned having some sort of strategy, and like I would be fine in a few days.
But really, I had no idea what to do, and I could feel something at the edges that wasn’t right.
I could sense that creeping sunset of depression a few days away and I knew things must be bad because it felt inevitable. I knew if it arrived, I wasn’t going to fight it.
That thing where your skin doesn’t fit right on you. And I had only felt that once before, when the depression had really taken hold.
My one saving grace in all of this was that I was able to tell Ana this, word for word.
And Ana told me to get on a flight to Berlin.
Because Ana said I needed a break.
And because I had no way of arguing back to her and certainly no one or thing to look after any more in London, I did what she told me to do.
I packed all my favourite clothes into a suitcase with no wheels and caught a flight that didn't come back.