Last weekend, I felt so blissfully happy that I said so, out loud, at least three times. In the space of one hour. There I was, in England with my Lover, both childless, shopping in (ahem) Primark and looking forward to a hearty pub lunch. My figurative cup was brimming over.
I should have known, from experience, that when I scale such a dizzy, euphoric peak, there is often a corresponding trough lurking just around the corner, for me to fall into. A trough, or perhaps a canyon. Sure enough, as the weekend drew to a close, a despondent mood crept stealthily over me. What I initially mistook for that Sunday evening, school-tomorrow-but-haven’t-done-my-homework feeling, coupled with vague apprehension about the late flight home and the likely effect it would have on my Tadpole – worn out from an energetic weekend with the grandparents – was actually the onset of something more sinister.
From the moment I opened my eyes on Monday morning, the world seemed utterly bleak. Where once there had been glorious technicolour, a warm, fuzzy glow of light-heartedness and optimism, now everything was shaded grey or black, my gaiety had drained away, giving way to mild paranoia, crippling exhaustion and relentless negativity. Black thoughts whirled inside my head, and an extreme effort of will was required to do the simplest things.
Lover, in England still, seemed remote, inaccessible. July, and all the plans I had spent the weekend going over, gleefully, seemed to slip from my grasp and recede far, far away. I could find not one thing to look forward to, to feel good about. Tadpole was being unpredictable, in turn an angel, then a demon, her demonic behaviour culminating with a “go away mummy!” and a slammed door when I arrived at the childminder’s house last night. It was all I could do not to curl up in a ball outside the door and sob.
And in my irrational, destructive state of mind, even though I knew full well that he was the one who could help me the most, I pushed Lover away. Held petty things against him. Twisted his words. Tested his limits. And, when, sensibly, he took a step back, waiting for the storm to pass, I hated him for leaving me alone. Willed the silent phone to ring.
My rational self looked on, knowing all along that this was madness, stupidity; it would pass, given a few days. It was no match for this other me though, who preferred to wallow in self-pity and pick at my insecurities, like a small child who can’t leave a scab alone.
Today, finally, I feel like I have found firm, level ground to walk on, and the world is slowly, cautiously becoming suffused with colour again. Please, oh please let it last.
Somebody stop the rollercoaster, I want to get off.