Acronyms are wonderful things. They can make the raw and the clumsy sound efficient and businesslike; and they can make everyday suffering sound neat and manageable. I am taking a MHD, a Mental Health Day. It feels less shameful than explaining that I’ve burned out, had a meltdown, stopped functioning, or any of the other dramatic, messy-sounding metaphors for why I can not be a productive member of society today.
This has been looming for a while and I’ve just been ignoring it, because fuck being ill. It started with sleepless nights, waking up at random hours of the morning with cold dread tying my insides in a knot. I started scrolling through social media compulsively, absorbing all the negative emotions expressed in it until it felt like I was consuming poison with my eyeballs. After a self-imposed sanity break from that, my mind kept running on overdrive trying to solve the awful problem of my life. Every once in a while I would offer it a crochet pattern as a distraction, which gave me a little bit of respite. But by then the physical symptoms had already taken hold: slow speech and difficulty talking, with sentences that seem to take forever to lead nowhere; nausea and lack of appetite (Christmas fun!); prickly skin, oversensitivity to noise and light; and that weird feeling that I’m being carried along by a flock of evil butterflies living somewhere underneath my sternum…
I crashed to a halt on Christmas Eve and spent most of the day sitting on the floor crying (something I often joke I ought to add to my CV: ‘in my free time…’) and, well, it got worse. After a bit of a break over Christmas, I managed to drag myself to work yesterday, but my concentration was shot. I haunted the office like a nauseous ghost, trying to remember all the things I had to do, and how to do them, and failing, mostly.
I needed a day to sleep, and to register with a GP so that I could finally talk to someone about this, and to renew my travelcard which I would have done yesterday if I had any kind of grip on reality, and just to figure out how I really am and how best I can manage. The fact I feel wracked with guilt about taking a day out for this probably shows I really need it, but doesn’t make it any easier. I might indulge in a bit of sitting on the floor and crying, for tradition’s sake.
At the moment, there’s a lurking cloud of bad feelings waiting to attach themselves to any thoughts that might feed them. Every once in a while, my brain helpfully offers up a memory for the guilt to feed on, or a little bit of logic which demonstrates how the world would be a better place if I weren’t in it (luckily Black Dog is on hand with a counter-argument, because who would he be snuggling if I were gone?).
My random apology of the day is to Midge Ure, for drunkenly heckling him in Aberdeen. He introduced Vienna and I said ‘YESSSSSSSS!’ and then explained – a bit too loudly – ‘IT’S THE ONLY ONE I KNOW’. I know it was a bit too loud because he sighed and said ‘yeah, thanks for that’ before beginning. Sorry, Midge. I really like Fade To Grey as well.
Be excellent to each other, everybody.