In my experience there are two ways forward after a day like yesterday:

  1. You take up position atop the Breakdown Slide. All you can do now is let yourself go. It will be a very fast and familiar ride, making it both crazed and comforting. NB: totally un-fun.
  2. You take up position atop the Breakdown Slide, where letting go is very tempting and usually unstoppable, but somehow you are able to turn around and climb down the steps instead. ItΒ will be a very slow and unfamiliar climb, making it both tedious and terrifying. NB: also totally un-fun, but with better prospects at the end.

The best way to get into position atop the Breakdown Slide is to get back into bed at 9am, as I did this morning. This will assure you that you are firmly heading towards NOT COPING HQ which will lead to you becoming unemployed, unattractive and unreachable within a week.

Other factors which may lead to your descent include:

  • Taking 750ml of Tesco Finest Barolo the previous evening, followed by 350ml of Rioja just before bed
  • Watching a film called Manchester By The Sea which you had no idea would feature more death and grief than your own blog/life
  • Sleeping like a baby – i.e. fitfully, craply, tearfully…

In bed this morning at 9am, teetering on the edge, you consider all the lovely messages people sent yesterday and how you felt you didn’t deserve them and also that you were seemingly grotesquely seeking them. For the eleventy billionth time in your life you ponder the dilemma of how to get the support you need when you hate needing support.

You also remember how surprised you were to find that many folk were feeling similar shades of shitness that day, or maybe not that day but definitely on other days. They wrote to tell you. This helped muchly. This is why you started the blog, to turn your everyday bafflement into something comprehensible and shareable. And whilst you never expected to write quite so much about your own childhood and mentalness, it is opening you up considerably. That yakky wall of shame and secrecy is getting knocked down, which is good as it never did the job of protecting you anyway.

And when you think about it, you didn’t tearfully collapse into bed just now. You have a cup of tea, yesterday’s papers and your book; hardly the tools for self-loathing. An empty bed is still and silent; a whole duvet to yourself can be gathered around you, all the pillows and cushions are yours, to be perfectly placed for propping, nest-like.

So I nested. I read a bit. I slept a bit. When I got up, I felt alright. Not amazing, not rejuvenated, but definitely not a crumpled heap at the bottom of the slide.

I made coffee and edited the fridge door as it brewed: out with the already-paid tax forms and already-attended hospital appointments; extra space for the list of youngest’s first words, rediscovered in a drawer a few weeks ago; pride of place for eldest’s University offer letter.

By the time I was sitting with coffee and a fag in the sunshine, I realised I’d tidied the kitchen and the front room, sorted a pile of washing and thought about dinner. All unthinkable when mid-slide. In this bizarre, playground-themed metaphorical landscape wot I ‘ave drawn for you, somewhere between getting back into bed and drinking coffee, I had turned around, climbed back down the steps and was now walking firmly away from the Breakdown Slide.

Unfortunately, parks and playgrounds can cover vast areas of land, incorporating various instruments of childhood torture and physical exercise. It will take me some time to get to the perimeter fence and out into the safety of…erm, let’s end this metaphor now, before I begin to compare the main road to the journey of life…

Still, it’s nice to feel I’m out of the woods – oh hang on, that’s the wrong metaphor, I wasn’t in the woods was I? I was in open parkland with the treacherous slide in the background…oh YAK, writing cannot cure all bafflements!

What I mean is, ALL I mean is: I don’t feel too bad today after all. And I think that might be partly because of YOU LOT.

So thank you…xxx

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