I’ve been thinking there was something wrong with me for the last few weeks. I’ve felt more and more listless, unable to sit at the computer and write, unable to get a string of words together. I make sure that I exercise and do all that stuff; after learning the hard way, I know that if I don’t exercise, I don’t sleep, and sleep is a vital ingredient to feeling good and having your life work. Sleep is as precious as diamonds. Hence, I exercise and stay physically active, I fall asleep quickly and I sleep well. So why am I feeling more and more lifeless, more and more depressed? Why don’t I have much enthusiasm for anything? Why are things getting to me so much? Why can’t I cope with life, taking things personally and blowing everything out of all proportion? What is wrong with me?
It all came to a head yesterday. It’s been a particularly stressful week and I’ve no doubt you’ll hear about it in one article or another. There have been massive upsets with Keeley, concerns about Kira, arguments with Jamie, things going on with Ryan, chats with teachers, emails flying all over the place, arrangements rescheduled, Christmas is hurtling towards us and I hate the whole Christmas thing, and John went into hospital for an operation on his jaw.
He was understandably nervous about it, having had a similar operation 18 months ago and being in a lot of pain for several weeks.
I sat down yesterday morning, and decided to start putting down onto paper how I was feeling. Then the text messages started. I have a fantastic relationship with the kids and I speak to most of them most days. Plus, there’s always lots of text messages and photos flying round. On top of that, John’s operation had gone much more smoothly than the previous one and he was justifiably relieved and happy and wanted to share that happiness around. He was also keen for me to engage in one of our favourite pastimes: criticising other people’s eating habits and feeling all superior about ourselves.
He sent photos of the tray of food he was brought for breakfast. When the nurse put the tray containing white bread, cereal, milk, orange juice, a lemonade and (horror) white sugar down, John was told, “This isn’t yours, it’s for next door, but that’s okay.” Well, it kind of is but it also isn’t, because John asked for Gluten-free and lactose-free food. The nurses scurried round for so long, trying to find gluten-free and lactose-free anything, that John gave in, ate a packet of coco pops with milk and subsequently had to go and get some antacids to help sort out his stomach.
After heaven knows how many text messages from various members of the family, I switched my brain on and put my phone on ‘do not disturb’ but it was too late: I was so irritated that I was completely out of the flow and had no clue as to what I wanted to talk about any more.
John carried on texting me - pick me up now; no don’t, they’ve changed their minds; come now; no, do the shopping first; I’ll wait outside; you have to come in and get me – and then my emails started to play up with one account refusing to connect to the server. I tried everything Apple suggested and then did what the Apple community suggested, which was to delete the account and reinstall it. At which point, Mail decided to download three years and 3000+ emails that I already had on my laptop, and most of which were junk or spam anyway. Great. Nothing I did would stop it. By the time I left home to go and pick John up, I was late, I wasn’t sure whether I was going in the hospital or not, whether he wanted me to get stuff from the shops or not, whether I needed to sign anything or not. I basically had no bloody clue what I was meant to be doing and I was really fed up of the constant bombardment of text messages and the 3000+ emails that I now had to sort through and delete, and I was late. So, of course, it was inevitable that I would run into heavy traffic and idiot drivers. Which I did.
Probably due to the fact that I was no longer responding to his text messages, John decides to call me; he’s down at reception but he’ll grab a coffee so that I can go shopping before I pick him up. I take a left turn to head towards Robina Town Centre…
And end up on the wrong road. Stuck behind more idiot drivers in even heavier traffic. I start to swear because it’s the only thing I can do to stop myself having a complete meltdown and bursting into tears. There was a high possibility that if I started crying, I wouldn’t stop for quite a long time. The frustration at not being able to do what I wanted to do was immense, and I felt so unbelievably tired; I could have happily lay down and gone to sleep right then. What on earth is wrong with me? I kept wondering. I sleep well, I don’t have sleep problems anymore; what is going on? Am I sick? Am I depressed? Am I not eating right? What is wrong?
During a brief interlude at a coffee shop, I seriously considered whether to release all my pent-up frustration and irritation onto a single person when one of the staff was in a shitty mood and decided to take out her frustration out on the customers. I hate rudeness, I hate it. It really infuriates me. And it’s the little details that form that very fine line between disrespect and courtesy. I’d placed the serving number off to one side of the table. Having served our drinks, she asked whether we were waiting for anything else. When I responded that we were, she reached across the table, so close to me that I jumped back, grabbed the table number and slammed it down right in the middle of the table, right in front of my face. She has no idea how close she came to suffering a painful, lingering and very public death by humiliation. But I was very proud of myself, I managed to get a grip and not make everything worse by making some poor fool feel even worse than they already did.
Tea drunk, breakfast eaten, we headed home where the meltdown reached its climax. “I have no life,” I confided in John, “no future, there’s no point in me doing anything, I have no purpose, no one needs me, what’s the point?” After half an hour or so of me making no sense whatsoever, while John, befuddled from the medication, bemusedly wracked his brains to try to figure out what the hell was going on with me and what he could do to make it better, I was worn out by all the emotional turmoil. To John’s great relief, I decided to do a quick meditation to try to calm myself down and perk myself up… and woke up three hours later. The only reason I woke up was because the sun was shining right onto me and a little voice in my head was telling me that I had a chiropractors’ appointment soon.
I felt so much better! I was tired! That was what was wrong with me: I was simply tired. I am sleeping well at night, but I wake at dawn. My bedtime is the same, but dawn is earlier and earlier, so right now I’m getting maybe six hours’ sleep a night and it’s obviously not enough.
One of my friends tells me that there is a major astronomical event that’s going on that’s causing all sorts of angst and emotional turmoil and is responsible for how I’m feeling (me and half the planet, it would seem). Apparently, some planet is going backwards and some other planet is somewhere else. Oh, and there’s something about the moon being full too. All of this completely explains why I’m feeling the way I have, but not to worry, because soon it will all get better: in the next few days, the Sun joins one of the planets in some festive place, they’ll totally have a party and we can all join in and be merry. Just in time for Christmas.
In the meantime, I’m going to buy myself an eye mask to wear, which will hopefully help me to sleep a little longer and feel a little more emotionally relaxed. Mind you, I don’t really do emotionally relaxed at the best of times, and Christmas definitely isn’t one of my best times, so perhaps I shouldn’t set my hopes too high on that one.
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Hi! I’m Karen O’Connor, hormonally-challenged, menopausal writer, blogger, self-confessed sarcasm enthusiast, mother of 4, wife of 30 years, destroyer of souls... no, wait, that's just in the mornings...