I am surrounded by a dense, dark, oppressive fog. I can’t see it, touch it, smell it, but it is real to me.
I sensed it on the periphery of my day, quietly, ominously gathering force. I pretended it wasn’t there, at first. I blogged about my daughter, made some notes for an interview, bounced flippant messages back and forth with friends on gmail and MSN. I suspect there was a vague undercurrent of hysteria, of volatility in some of those exchanges, but mostly I was successful at cloaking it in humour, denying its existence, even to myself. Until Tadpole was safely in bed, and the evening yawned emptily ahead. I tried to read a book, but the words wouldn’t stick. The walls crowded closer.
Words like “sad” or “depressed” are hopelessly unequal to the task of describing something so visceral. There is a heavy stone in my chest, a shallow shortness of breath, a desperate fluttering in my stomach. My body shifts gears and slips beyond my control. It’s poised for fight or flight, there’s a pent up energy it can’t contain. The overriding – utterly irrational – impulse is to release the pressure by lashing out at someone I love in some petty, spiteful, childish way.
I take a bath and wash my hair. I tidy the kitchen, manically. I pour another glass of wine. Finally, just before I turn off the lights, I reach for my phone and type a text message worthy of a hormonal teenager.
The results are woefully predictable. I provoke anger and incomprehension.
There is no earthly reason for me to succumb to the undertow, right now, when everything in my life is about as perfect as I can conceive of. I have everything I could possibly wish for. This Boy. The Book thing. Financial security. Nine days out of ten I’m happier than I can remember ever feeling. Why is it then that I seem to be hardwired to try, periodically, to destroy everything I touch? When the rational me, the real me, I hope, knows full well that I’m being unreasonable in the extreme. And idiotic. And wrong.
Hunched under the bedclothes, arms around my knees, I press my dry eyes tightly closed, willing it to stop; hating myself with a fierce intensity. Feeling stupid, pathetic and small. Terrified that one day I will go a step too far and exhaust the Boy’s reserves of patience. That he will see even this explanation as an attempt to abdicate responsibility.
When the feelings refuse to recede, I try to drive them away with words. And this helps. Not a lot. But a little.