You wouldn't think it would be so hard to explain. When I sit across from the doctor, the way I did this morning, I find myself talking about the physical effects: the way it makes me shake uncontrollably; the crying I can't stop even if by chance someone happens to make me laugh along the way; the struggle to breathe and the pain in my chest that makes me want to curl up in a corner and rock until it abates. And she nods and she looks sympathetic and I know that she has no real frame of reference, that there is no way that she can understand that the physical reactions are not the problem - that the physical effects are tolerable. What I want to be able to tell her is that it feels like winter. That inside of me there is this vast, barren wasteland of ice so cold that it can burn suddenly and unexpectedly. I want to explain to her that the place inside my head is a dead, frozen landscape where the horizon is obscured by towering skyscrapers of ice and that every alleyway, every dark narrow street, is blocked by frozen figures, crouching like macarbe statues - echoes of the person I used to be, guarding the way forward like malevolent sentinels. I want to explain that a lot of the time, the cold in itself is enough to numb me, enough to freeze the tears in their tracks, but when it isn't - when the incessant howling wind that slices through every defence I have gets too much - I would do literally anything to be warm again. How can I explain to someone whose seasons ebb and flow, who knows that even in the deepest snow, sunshine will come again, that I spend my waking moments nurturing a single flickering flame of warmth and praying that someday I will make it to spring?