Pebble on the beach

Today was an average sort of day. I woke up feeling less tired than I have been this week, but not so fully energised that I woke up before my alarm. I engaged in my usual domesticity and went to work. On my way home I could feel my eyes welling up with tears, and I had no idea why.

They were not ‘almost tears of happy’. These I get quite a lot. A line in a play, a sentence in a book, the way the sun hits the glass and the rainbows and reflections that it makes. Some kind words from a friend. The world can be an awe happy place. But not this afternoon. This afternoon I was tumbling fast, whilst sitting in a cafe, eating cake that likely (definitely) had dairy in it (this sometimes poisons me a little) and drinking a cup of ginger and lemon infused tea.

It is a feeling that I recognise easily, logically I know that it will pass, but whilst it is present, this maelstrom engulfs every smallest piece of me. This would be the time where I could crack my head into a wall until I turn the wall to dust. But I don’t, I just feel terror after terror wash over me. I feel like an errant stone, laying ambiguously on a beach, waiting to be reclaimed by the waves.

I can talk, chat and smile whilst I feel this way, I may laugh and gesture easily, seeming softly at ease in my surroundings which I am. My surroundings are my familiar, reminding me that it is me who is changed and not them. I phone people up and have somewhat inane conversations just to keep holding on, to know that I do have connection. And then this first crash passes, and I slip into non.

From non comes tiredness, and a strong desire to sleep. I know that this too will pass. And then comes hunger, really big, hugely exciting hunger. I eat quickly to start (knowing that my brain will not register how full my stomach is for the first fifteen minutes) and then I pace myself until satiation arrives. And then I return.

Now I have energy, genuine light in my world, and I wonder what triggers these mad hours, these hours where I feel so incredibly distant from myself. I prod possible causes, have I eaten enough, slept well enough, am I putting myself under too much stress, is this an asd meltdown? Many questions all with easy answers, but as a cumulative whole? I don’t think that is so easy for me to understand. When do things get too much that suddenly all things become a problem? It would be incredibly useful to have an app on my body, reminding me that I need to recharge before I need a reboot. But until such technology exists I will continue to be secure in the knowledge, that whatever my mental state, I have many good people in my life. I am loved.

Map Point. Do I know when I should ask for help?




Memories for my daughter

Growing up I lived in a semi-detached house with a big garden, I remember me and my brother spending hours outside, sitting, playing, charging about. I also remember just staring at the sky, or the grass, listening to birdsong, and Sunday afternoon mowers. Possibly my favourite garden activities were cleaning out the pond (all day task involving trying to keep several large Koi Carp in a huge container whilst the cleaning was carried out (those things were monster Kamikaze and would keep launching themselves out of said container, to which screams and nets would ensue) and the other was the annual garden winter cutting back. These are exceptional memories.

Growing up with my daughter, we have never had a particularly user-friendly garden, or for that matter, in a few places, a garden at all. My friend Will commented recently that children need a garden, and I agreed.  I remembered my good garden times and then I pondered how I could provide that for my child, given our garden limitation.

Then it occurred to me that we live near the beach. My Mum has always, ever since my daughter was tiny, taken her to the beach regularly. As a family, we all know that a ‘paddle’ in the world of my young one generally equates to promises not to get wet and a full change of clothing. Often she has arrived home, wearing just my mum’s coat, grinning from ear to ear and requesting a bath.

Then a few weeks ago I went for the most amazing walk on the beach with her. She had a week of exams approaching and I decided that the beach was the place to begin. It felt natural, instinctive, we just needed to be in the outside, paddling in the surf.

I guess it doesn’t really matter what sort of exciting activities that people do with children, as long as there is outside time included. Being outside together, away from domestic tasks, homework and computers, all the indoor distractions, provides an amazing level of relaxation and chill. I seem to really easily overlook the things that I enjoy sometimes in favour of practicalities. But as of now, beach walking has become a priority. We need that open space.

Map Point. What are my favourite childhood memories?