I just couldn't bear the thought of having a stranger in my home for a day, with the associated disruption to my ordered environment.
Friends and colleagues were sympathetic, but mainly about the lack of central heating and hot water and the expense of the new boiler. Very few mentioned the installation itself.
Although the cost was painful, I'd gladly have paid five times the amount if the work could have somehow been done without any intrusion on my space.
As for the heating and hot water, for a crazy five minutes, in the middle of yet another sleepless night, I toyed with the idea of managing without a boiler. The portable heaters I had on loan were effective; I could buy my own. And the kettle was sufficient for washing up and filling the bathroom basin. There was the small question of bathing - I couldn't use my neighbours' showers forever - but I was sure I could work something out...
|Image courtesy of idea go/|
The anxiety left me with a perpetually churning stomach and dry mouth. I was light-headed, unable to focus and too nauseated to eat: I lost 3lbs in weight in the first week alone.
The impact on my OCD was also significant, with old compulsions quickly renewing their hold on me. Some I'd given up only recently, while others hadn't troubled me for years. I felt myself sliding back to the lowest point in my life; a time when I couldn't leave my flat unless every last thing was in its rightful place.
I recognised, though, that this was an unavoidable slide. Compulsions shouldn't be a solution to anything, but sometimes they seem the lesser of two evils. On this occasion, either I caved into them, or I'd lose it completely.
Other events in the early part of February contributed to my fragile mental and emotional state: an operation I'd been expecting to have was declined, and a close colleague unexpectedly resigned and left days later, leaving our team shell-shocked and short-handed.
Life seemed to be just one piece of bad news after another. I became fearful of what might be next and clung onto my compulsions as the only thing I could be sure of.
And all of that was before the boiler was even installed.