I’ve written a lot about my mental state over the years. I’m not bi-polar or owt, but regularly fall victim to All The Feelings. And sometimes, like today, it leaves me in a big ol’ confused several-pairs-of-headphones-at-the-bottom-of-a-handbag tangled fucking mess.
It’s awkward, because I can never see it coming, even though my saintly husband starts producing wine and carbohydrates to distract me and daughter covers me in cuddles, I am always so, so agonisingly oblivious that the ten tonne truck of tears is coming round the corner that it always clips me round the head with its wing mirror. Ouch.
You’d have thought I’d have been a bit more attune to it after all these years, wouldn’t you? After all, if everyone else notices that wonky Mummy might be about to mentally crash and burn, then surely I should be first to the party? Brains are funny fuckers like that. Mine particularly has the, frankly, marvellous party trick of making me paranoid, telling me that I’m shite, other people can see I’m shite and I deserve what’s coming for trying to pretend I’m not a fucking loser once in a while. It steals my reason and laughs at me like a playground bully.
At this point only hindsight exists. So, like a midget on a motorbike going ninety miles an hour in the direction of a concrete wall, the inevitable happens. Splat.
I am having precisely one of those head clutching, post-collision mortification moments as I type. I’m in analysis mode and can draw a timeline that pinpoints all the obvious identifiers: The hysterical laughter, the narrowing eyes, bad dreams, the little bruises everywhere from bumping into doors and tables, the offence taken where none was intended, the itchy skin, the music that is just perceptibly too loud, the non-stop chattering, the harshness, the paranoia, the endless energy, more paranoia. Then I snap and I am exhausted.
Today is the day of quiet, apologies and embarrassment. I can feel myself entering a level plane. My brain is unravelling and my muscles hurt.
The people who love me are kind and patient when the cogs start crumbling. They reassure and comfort me. They show me that this is ok, lots of people are just like me and that we should stick together against a world that likes normal too much. Without them, I would retreat into a bunker, frightened of the inner workings of my head.
I know today well. I’ve had hundreds of ‘todays’ in my forty-odd years. I can’t prepare for them and I can’t make them go away. I just have to allow them to exist and put them down in words, so they are real and I can keep going.