Jyanni Steffensen Her feet covered many cocoons...
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Letter 1

Dearest J,
My anxiety suddenly disappeared... and then re-appeared again. Here I am again with the nausea and the broken sleep, the constant and unrelenting anxiety, the body full of adrenalin and that awful feeling of unpleasure that comes with it. Most of all I can't stand the feeling of powerlessness, the inability to get rid of the feelings of extreme unpleasure, to put them aside or to put them somewhere else, to rip them out of one's body and just dump them somewhere else. My environment has become dangerous to my mind and there is no where to escape. Even though I know that I am obsessing about the unsafe environment -the germs, the viruses, the imminent danger - I nevertheless believe that it is true, that there is no where that I can be at the minute where I will be safe from catching something disastrous. I do not know any more whether this is a rational belief or not. The thing is that there could be some validity to this anxiety. Being anxious about the state of one's environment may in fact be a rational response, rather than a paranoid one. The problem is that the anxiety is causing me more physical discomfort than any viral infection that I may or may not have, or may catch in the future. I am too nervous to go to a doctor, as I believe that if I do I will be in danger of catching something even worse from the surgery. What evidence do I have to support this anxiety? Not a lot of hard evidence exactly. The truth is I woke early, ate some breakfast, waited until it was light and them went out for a jog around the oval, obsessing the whole time of course about how unhealthy this place is - the dirt, the constant respiratory infections, the constant spitting. I did a couple of laps at a trot. I can do this easily as my body is producing so much adrenalin that I could probably run all day without using it up. Right now the tension in my shoulders is acute. I am writing frantically in the hope that spewing all of this up in words will somehow relieve my symptoms of distress, at least take the edge off it. I don't think it is working.

What, I need to do is to make a plan to escape from this environment that I have become convinced is so deadly. Either that or I need to come to terms with it. I could just contact Malaysia Airlines (again) and ask them to put me on the next available flight. Li Zhou can take me to the airport in Beijing. I could be out of here very soon. Would my anxiety then abate? The thing is that I had my worst anxiety attacks in Australia. What makes me believe that I would be immune there? Obviously, I can have panic attacks anywhere. The thing is how do I stop them? Knowing that I am having one obviously isn't sufficient to stop them from happening. I know also that I am obsessing on my symptoms and should think about other things. The trick is that I can't think of anything else to think about.

love

Orlando Jones



When Werther (in the Ambassador's employ) writes to Charlotte, his letter follows this outline: 1. What joy to be thinking of you! 2. Here I am in a mundane situation, and without you I feel utterly alone. 3. I have met someone (Fraülein von B... ) who resembles you and with whom I can speak of you. 4. I keep hoping that we can be reunited. - A single piece of information is varied, in the manner of a musical theme: I am thinking of you. [13]

Poe's tale concerns the double theft of an incriminating letter, initially sent to an exalted personage Lacan calls 'the queen'. Caught unawares by the entrance of the king, she leaves it lying innocently on the table. Enter Minister D, who takes in the scene at a glance, steals the letter in full view of the helpless queen and the unsuspecting king, and leaves another in its place. The queen engages the prefect of police to recover the letter. When, after a systematic search of the minister's apartment, he fails to recover it, he calls in Dupin, an amateur detective. Dupin reckons that the minister, like the queen, would leave the letter unconcealed as the best way of hiding it: thus he finds it, dangling from the mantlepiece in a card-rack, and, arranging a distraction, he steals it, leaving another in its place. [14]