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IF WE STOP (13) // Zahra Dallilah & Julie Tomlin

In a series of numbered written dialogues Call Centre correspondents Zahra Dallilah and Julie Tomlin respond to their own prompt: If we stop: Flourishing. Nourishment. Lockdown.


Then the heart rate stabilises and stays stable for dozens of days.

It was interesting to see how people changed, mellowed, even those who had been so driven, so intensely busy, started to dream of a different way of being.

I did a herbalism course, it was called Pathway to Peace and focused on seven different herbs to help the nervous system: rose; lemon balm, peppermint; rosemary, oats, lavender, camomile. I had never realised that the nervous system could feel so good.

[ Can we really crank our bodies into action again, defy all the weight of a body slowed down, ignore all that we have experienced and simply return to ‘normal’? ]

And then work. The pressure to do something, deliver.

The threat is back, the spiral of deadly musings that ends with no friends or family, an anxiety you can feel in your chest, pressed up against your ribcage. The adrenaline whose energy you're accustomed to utilising as a replacement for the nourishment of actual food, beginning to pulsate around the body.

[ What happens to the nervous system when it is flooded with adrenaline for too long? What happens to our bodies, our minds, our guts? ]

You can feel yourself getting high off it all again.

Exactly that. Some people I have seen who have gone back to work were loving it, buzzing with adrenalin, running around, doing, doing, trying to make it all work again.

And you start to miss sobriety.

Image: Andrew Wilson


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