Tip of the Iceberg
Written by
Julie Orchard
Story by
Performed by
Seroca Davis

Tip of the Iceberg

For many, lockdown troubles are just the tip of the iceberg. But is feeling nothing better than feeling everything? TIP OF THE ICEBERG is about learning to cope, in any way you can.

Audio description – performed by Kayla Meikle
Story transcript

Hello my name is anonymous and I am addicted to ice. I love ice so much I once wrote a poem called Ode to ice. I’m captivated by its crystal clear beauty.

It calls to me to my body my emotions my mind my soul my psyche. I can’t give it up in this lockdown. I have given it up a few times before.

It all started in 1996. I was pregnant with my 1st child. My dad, who was a difficult man, died. I craved ice. Keep cool and carry on was my motto. When I was breastfeeding I had this theory that as I consumed the ice it held love in it. I believed i was feeding myself self love as i was feeding my baby. I didn’t realise that the desire to consume ice would consume me. That decades later I would be so compelled to have it, compulsively preparing to get it and now i make it.

I’ve had partners who have tried to control me and even confiscated my ice or others who have enabled me to get it. I am not talking about the drug ice, the street name for crystal meth. No. I’m talking about ICE, frozen water.

My son is in his 20’s now, and it annoys him and he yells into the kitchen. ‘I can hear you’’ I stop crunching and try to silently suck the ice but it’s not the same, although I do like how as it melts, becomes thinner, crumbly and at that perfect consistency, in that precise moment, time freezes, everything drifts away and it’s just me.

That’s where my story starts, the tip of my iceberg.

For me life has no certainty and is like walking on thin ice. i freeze. that’s how i have survived. I dont fight or flee or fawn, although i can, i freeze stay cool keep calm, numb the feelings and then i won’t fall through.

My 1st babies dad died. He was a fisherman and drowned. My 2nd baby died before she was born and then my lover, friend, father to that child died. So so many deaths. Grief is a burning hot pit of emotions i needed to numb my tears so …… I froze them and took up drugs, like proper numbing ones like heroin and crack. No more tears. No more fears. My thinking was i could get off drugs later. I can’t get off this grief. It wouldn’t stop. So the new ritual of cold hot started. I would eat ice to cool me down then i’d take heroin to warm up in its glow. When i moved onto crack i gave up ice. I can’t remember how or when. I had hit my rock bottom.

Before lockdown came I had given up these drugs but I was back on the ice…I’d thrown my freezer away as I was trying to cut down. I had regular haunts I could get my supply of crushed ice from. Cocktails bars and Subway sandwich shops.

This gave me some social interactions as I sat crunching my free ice as long as I took my own cups which I carried in my pockets and rucksack. I would listen to stories as you are listening to mine now.

Then lockdown came and compounded, and compressed my situation like condensed layers of ice, crushing my emotions down on me again. the feeling of being controlled and contained in my own home caused my cravings for ice to increase as my supply for ice decreased.

Larger and local shops ran out of it. Venues that I frequented shut down.

I didn’t know what the virus was capable of. I was compelled to watch the TV with its daily death tolls. This just reminded me that nothing is certain and brought out my worst fears. People die.

I bought an ice crushing machine but it broke. I bought another freezer, it broke. I think it’s because I opened the door too often back and forth ,filing or getting out the trays. I bought an upgraded freezer. I aspire to one of those big american freezers that make you ice. I looked it up once, this craving for ice, It is linked to anemia but when it becomes a compulsion it’s called Pica.

Lockdown is lonely but i am here with my constant companion ICE. I make cubes , little sweetie shapes and penguin shapes. I have to keep a check on my compulsive behaviour around it. It’s become a ritual. Quite close to addiction. I can’t leave the ice tray empty. It worries me. While I am sharing my story with you now, I’m ok because I know I’ve got ice to go home too. Sometimes I have a hot bath so I can eat the ice.

I believe water retains memory so I chant love and compassion while I fill the ice trays. So when I eat the ice I am feeding myself love again.

When you crunch down on ice it breaks a chemical bond and releases oxygen. as it melts it changes in composition. As I’m crunching I am in control and processing my deep emotions.I might not be able to change everything but as the ice disappears at least I can change something.

Through this lockup I have followed “the challengers’’ of governments and mainstream news. The Pandemic of covid 19 has raised many issues and concerns . It’s hard to be certain… What is true? Alternative views and news about the virus or the vaccines are labelled conspiracy theories. Social media sites are getting shut down as Cancel Culture rears its power. State Control increases. Guidelines become rules, rules become laws…with fines and prison penalties. Confused? Concede, Comply or be Cuffed.

Stay home lose your civil liberties and Save lives.

Or are They? Do They ? Want to Control and Cull the Population? If not through a virus then through a vaccine and as always through Poverty. Is it a Pandemic?

I Know what People are capable of.

Again I’m back to being fearful and want a cube to crunch to release the pressure.

I’ve got a dentist appointment next week and I am dreading that they will tell me there are consequences on my teeth.