In which my mood lifts

The last week or so, I feel like I have been tottering on the edge of an abyss. It's been quite bad, long days of feeling rotten, bizarre and frightening nightmares, stress related dental issues, tetchiness and the feeling that not being me for a while would be quite a relief. There have been pleasant interludes where I've been out or have had visitors when I've felt good, but once I stepped back into the everyday, the crappiness returned.  I know I'm not the only one to get anxious or sad around Christmas but it occured to me today that last Christmas I was still on mood altering medication and the Christmas before that I was pregnant with Grace, and full of happy hormones. It's been a while since I've done the lead up to Christmas cold, so to speak. And now that I'm a responsible mother type, I can't revert to (very, as in last century) old ways and spend my non-working hours getting off my head. So I'm kind of stuck with myself.
Thankfully the cloud has lifted. Thursday was awful. I hadn't slept and the apocalyptic weather seemed never ending. As were the customers at work and the TV in the tea room. I contemplated not going to my mother's group Christmas dinner but didn't have the energy to make the decision not to go. I walked there in the rain, yes the rain. Light rain, but enough to make the lights shiny and wash away the dust. Dinner was lovely. I ate too much, talked too much and drunk too much. Walked home in the rain and crashed. Slept like I hadn't slept for days. Yesterday there were clear skies and clean air. I had a good day at work, inasmuch as one can working in an organisation which appears to be becoming increasingly kafkaesque with each new policy twiddle.

Last night I slept well again, even slept in till ten. Yes, yes I know I'm a lucky mother to get to do this. (Thank you G) And now everything feels OK. It's not like my life is perfect or anything, just that I can bear to be around myself again, which means that things will slowly spiral upwards instead of speeding ever downwards. I spent the day doing not much at all. Reading in bed, (finishing Susan Johnson's memoir A Better Woman, which despite the grimness of the subject matter, is one of the most engrossing books I have read for a while.) A fair bit of talking on the phone to my mum and my sister about this and that, making pancakes to eat with plum jam, reading the paper, and dyeing my hair.

I've finally taken the plunge and left the henna behind. Despite the warnings in the instruction leaflet, nothing bad has happened. I did test the dye on a hair sample before committing the bottle to my head and wonder why I didn't think to do this before. Even so, while it  was developing, I kept imagining my hair turning green or falling out and having to shave it all off. And being nearly bald in our Christmas family photo which we are having taken by a friend tomorrow. Anyway I'm quite pleased with the result. No more brassy red.
Tommorrow, I need to start on Christmas stuff, like decorating the tree and making Grace's present. And organise to go shopping. I think I'll make a detailed day by day plan slash list. Yes, a list again. Or maybe more like a running order to co-ordinate the various lists. So every day I wake up and know exactly what I have to do. Keep it simple, relax and have fun. Try not to let my cynicism about the magic of Christmas, as portrayed in magazines or on television, and its relationship to the work of women cast a shadow on my preparation.It will all be alright on the day.


Shula said...

Never underestimate the comforting power of a good list.
It can calm even the most short-circuiting of minds.
I read today in the paper that domestic violence incidents have risen by 33 per cent. It's that time of year again when it becomes fashionable to completely lose it.
I have at least one day at this time where I fall into the Black Hole. It actually helps me to hear that I am not the only one adversely affected by the onset of the Festive Season. Some years it's been so bad that I have come to actually fear Christmas.
The List, girl, the List. And thing at a time.

melissa said...

You're not alone! You expressed so well how I've been feeling over the last couple of weeks.
Those photos are beautiful and I'm glad you're feeling better.

VictoriaE said...

Hmm, perhaps you work for DHS?
Christmas is a huge pressure for mothers particularly, and I never realised it until I started feeling the pressure myself this year. It sucks yes, so stick to your own list I say and don't take on the pressures of the world!! Nice to find a new interesting blog. I like your photos.
Prepare to receive obscure comments from me on things you wrote months ago!

Janet said...

Thank you all. I does help to know that I'm not the only one. Not that I want anyone else to feel bad. But you know.
Shula, I have written the mother of all lists, with activities assigned to each day. I'm still skittering a bit from one thing to another but the motherlist is helping.
Melissa, thanks about the photos.
VictoriaE, not DHS, perhaps worse. I wish I could write about it more directly because there's a lot I'd like to say but the union advised me not to. Sigh. And I love obscure comments.

Kel said...

it's not called the silly season for nothing
and this year I seem to have a pretty big dose of the sillies :(