I’ve just spent four days in total hibernation which is highly unusual for me. My usual frenetic whirl of running around everywhere, trying to cram in as much entertainment as possible, was replaced by some quiet reflection, catching up on episodes of “Mad Men” and reading some Graham Greene novels whilst stretched out on the sofa.
I’ve been feeling slightly fraught lately and quite sensibly (for me) didn’t make grandiose plans for the week off work which I had booked. Instead I spent four days growing a beard (I did however shower daily, of course), wearing pyjamas and only left the house once to go to browse some charity shops and stock up on cigarettes and Paracetamol (three shirts and a beautiful 1960s silk tie acquired). Human contact has been limited to daily calls to Paul and I’ve even spent less time on social networking sites.
It’s felt difficult to step back a gear and to rest a little. I’m just not good at relaxing. In fact, relaxation is the least relaxing thing I can do. Doing nothing makes me feel panicky; like I’m missing out on something. Whale music and soft lighting makes me positively psychotic. I relax by being frantic and running about in a mindless whirl of activity. It felt like things were coming to a bit of a crunch though. My sleep was poor, my appetite had left the building and I was more irritable and resentful than usual. I could see the signs of an “episode” looming. An all consuming lack of pleasure and flat outlook was invading me.
It suddenly came to my attention yesterday that I have absolutely no food in the house. I was down to a scraping of butter, 2 slices of bread and an onion and an inspection of the food cupboard revealed the following: a box of cold remedies, hand cream, cigarettes and several tins of soup. This caused me no worry. At least my hands will stay soft and I’m prepared for winter bugs. I briefly considered changing my kitchen into something more useful such as a personal pharmacy or library. I abandoned the idea again, as I only had it all re-tiled a couple of years or so ago and I need somewhere to heat my tins of soup.
There’s an irony to the fact that I’m actually a pretty good cook. I can rustle up great meals when needed, be inventive with random ingredients and my techniques are sound, thanks to a grounding of expert cookery lessons by my food loving father. I just don’t see the point of it all. I’d rather be able to make hand cream and cold remedies. They’re more interesting to me.
Maybe it’s a sign of maturity, years of therapy or bitter experience, that I’ve finally been able to recognise the signs and take corrective action when my mood is plummeting and I’m getting fragile and low. Hopefully it will work.
I’m finally leaving the house today. Shaved and dressed and pressing a tissue to the nicks where my razor caught against the lengthy stubble, I’m off to Manchester to see a play and stay overnight. Perhaps it’s for the best. One more episode of “Mad Men” and I may turn into a chain smoking cynic with a collection of suits and pocket squares. One more Graham Greene book and I’ll be a guilt ridden ex-Catholic with mental health issues. Hang on: that happened years ago. I may just watch a few more episodes and wade through another novel when I get back.