Water everywhere, steam filling up the room and a hissing noise that wouldn’t stop. That was my Sunday night.
I came into my house, washed my hands and started making fajitas. Just as I was frying the onion I could hear a strange hissing noise from the sink. And then to my horror, I could see water pouring out from the counter unit, Not this, not now, all I wanted was a fajita.
I yelled up to my flatmate and we frantically ran around the house throwing towels on the ground and desperately tried to stop the water. Unfortunately the leak was coming from a pipe that was fully behind the solid kitchen unit that couldn’t be moved. So I rang my dad who informed me I just needed to turn off the stopcock.
Well that sounded simple enough. Unfortunately for us this was a lot more elusive than “the old tap underneath your sink”. I was full-on panicked at this point, running around barefoot searching every pipe in the house exclaiming that this is impossible. After fully searching the kitchen and the bathroom, I decided to pull out the washing machine and saw a old wooden board which revealed a tap behind it. Of course at this point I was so panicked I couldn’t even turn the tap. Thankfully my flatmate still had one braincell left, he started turning the tap and all of the sudden the water stopped.
Just after this my other housemate came home, and straight away we were just laughing about it all. I phoned my dad to assure him the house wasn’t fully submerged, I think before that I had hung up on him just dramatically wailing that the water was everywhere and our house must just not have a stopcock. It turns out when we were mopping up all the leak that it wasn’t nearly as bad as it was in my head, I felt like we had flooded the whole living room. Within about an hour it was as if nothing had happened.
Panic is the body’s response to stress, and sometimes (like on Sunday) it’s useful – we seem to move twice as fast and our brain is forced into taking decisive action. Sometimes not weighing out the options properly can be useful, it forces us to find solutions fast. I probably made a few bad choices on Sunday but throwing towels down, hauling out the washing machine and calling my dad were all extremely necessary and I did them without thinking.
But often I find myself acting like this when my living room isn’t filling with water. Maybe it’s when I’m behind on an assignment and I write loads of it without actually considering it properly. All kinds of situations can make us stressed, but not all situations are emergencies.
Half the problem with wanting to improve our mental health is we don’t even recognise when we are panicking. Sometimes, we need to just step back and question if we are thinking with our heads or if we are just throwing towels and running around the house barefoot. I need to learn to recognise this in myself so I can work out what things in my life are causing it before I take action.
So in the spirt of making good decisions, this week University College Birmingham is running some Unibuddy sessions. These are opportunities to have a conversation with current students about life here at UCB. There are sessions on Wednesday and Thursday this week between 12 and 1pm and it’s a great opportunity to find out even more about studying at the University. Click here to find out more about the students who are running the sessions.
Let’s hope we have no broken pipes this week!