So, odd day. Started off, as every other Tuesday does, with therapy.
Suddenly realised something about me, and how I manage - or don't manage - my moods.
My Mum's most common refrain, if I, or my brothers, is playing a certain kind of music - such as Radiohead, the Manics (GATS, THB, JFPL only) etc etc is "why are you listening to that suicide music?" She even said it once when I was listening to Josh Ritter's Hello Starling (my response? "it's not suicide music, it's about the return of hope" her response "pff!")
It's an infuriating little quirk and no amount of explanation of what a song is about, or what a certain genre of music is doing will change her. However, it reveals a little about how my Mum deals with extreme feelings: WE DO NOT TALK ABOUT THEM.
I've always been rather British about this and concluded that not speaking about dramatic emotions is good and right. But over the years, and through the diagnoses that attitude has begun to change. I am thinking about how this attitude affects me because if I do move back in September, I'm going to be living under the same roof as it again
My main fear is that if things do go a bit pear shaped emotionally/mentally for me again I am going to be under enormous strain trying to keep it hidden - as I did as a teenager - which, of course, compounds the problem. I've spent the last 7/8 years expressing most of what I feel as it happens to my friends and partners, and being allowed the space to simply express
it, with no repercussions, no being told not
to think/feel those things, no being told to push it away, ignore it, no being told it's "not as bad as you think" or "you always take on so, don't" or simply "you'll feel better tomorrow".
The thing is, all of these bits of 'advice' from my Mum come with the best possible intentions. Deep, deep down she truly believes that if she doesn't acknowledge any of the things I say are happening to me/I'm feeling then they won't be feeling. My two eldest brothers had complete mental breakdowns - full on break with reality - and she very nearly
managed to pretend that things weren't as bad as they were/happening for the reasons they were. In short, my Mum makes denial a world class sport.
The effect of all of this is that somewhere in my head is the hard-wired idea that both expressing and
experiencing extreme emotions of any kind is wrong
. It's reductive and not a little absurd to suggest that all my problems come from this deny/suppress environment, but I think it's fair to say it doesn't help.
Interestingly, my Dad has a very practical approach to all this, he's brilliant at coaching and counselling my brothers and has the gift of being able to provide practical perspectives and solutions to emotional hardship. However, I'm his only daughter, and I'm the youngest. I feel like being number 4 of 4 kids with some sort of mental health failings means that I am the failure, I am the disappointment and if I told him I'd either disappoint or worry him - most likely both. I don't want to do that.
Of course, social factors aside, most of the things that mentally shit me over are probably genetic. Genetic like the ligaments and joints that comprise my knees.
After I finished with therapy and had lunch I headed along to the Doctor's Surgery to talk about my knee pain. My burning, flaming knee pain that happens whether I stand up for 8 hours at work or not and I was told that.....I have arthritis!
Joy. Bought glucosamine, despite my massive scepticism of alternative remedies and went away with instructions to keep my knees straight when sitting - i.e. not sitting with my legs splayed apart with the knee joint turned outwards and to never cross my legs. Or do the breast stroke when swimming - although I used to swim competitively and was taught to swim racing breast stroke which has a much straighter extend rather than kicking to the side so I might ignore that one. Finally I was told to work on building up my quads - continue cycling to work and do some weird toe curling exercise when sitting. Le sigh.
My seagulls remain in ruddy health and are growing like weeds. Managed to capture two not-very-good occasions of them feeding, in each case I got my camera to the window after the main feeding was over. Turns out nature is difficult to film, who knew!