The pain was like nothing I had ever experienced before. I was doubled over in my bed, on top of the blanket, with my knees tucked in close to my chest and my arms wrapped around them. My knuckles were white from gripping so tightly. Seconds later, I released my legs and laid flat on my back, staring longingly at the ceiling through the blurry window of my tears. I rolled onto my left side, again tucking my knees into my chest, and for a moment, I gave into the pain, letting my head lull on the pillow, feeling the tightness in my chest increasing. It was three in the morning and I knew I had to get up early for work, but nothing would make the pain stop, or even ease. I had experienced this same pain on two other occasions in the last 6 years, and I think it could be likened to heartburn, but I imagine much, much worse. It felt like there was something trapped inside of my rib cage, right at the bottom, where the left side meets the right. This ‘something’ seemingly wasn’t sure whether it wanted to be in or out, because it would tighten one minute, and then the next minute it felt like it was pushing against my rib cage, almost to breaking point. The scariest part is that it was so painful to inhale, and every breath seemed to become shorter and more strained. I had tried heartburn relief when I experienced this pain before, with no luck. During this specific episode, I was blinded by pain and must have dosed myself with a questionable number of ibuprofen tablets, but nothing helped. It was mid March in England, absolutely freezing, and yet I had droplets of sweat pouring out of my skin at an alarming rate. The last time I experienced this same pain, I was with my ex-boyfriend, who was aware of what I was going through, and so I felt safe knowing that if I needed to go to the hospital, he was there to take me. This time, I was alone. I had moved to the UK late December in a ‘quarter-life-crisis’ fashion, hoping to see some of the world while gaining some career experience. I guess I was technically not alone, as I lived in a dark and dingy share house with 6 other people who I barely knew (constantly closed bedroom doors never did lead to building those ‘lifelong friendships’ that people always rave about after going traveling). Regardless of the other inhabitants residing in the High Wycombe icebox we called ‘home’, I had never felt more alone and terrified. I was conflicted; the rational part of me knew that the pain would eventually subside, as it had done in the past, and that I had to ‘stop chucking a wobbly’ (classic dad term for throwing a tantrum) and get on with it; the two other sides of me were arguing back and forth between calling out for help from one of the sleeping strangers in the house, and just accepting that I was going to die. None of my thoughts won that battle. I am not entirely sure how I got to sleep, whether the ibuprofen eventually did its job or I passed out from the pain, but either way I have a vivid memory of seeing the numbers 5:49 light up as I tapped my phone before drifting off and thinking...fuck.