The wave of misery swept over me like a tsunami. I was walking down the road to the bus stop, to collect my daughter from her third day at "big school", when it hit.
I literally had to stop dead. The feeling was so intense it brought a wave of weakness and I felt as if I couldn't walk another step. I wanted to sit down, right there on the pavement, and weep.
I didn't sit down, but I did lean against the wall of someone's garden for a moment. I took out my phone and texted Richard (you remember Richard from last week?) "Send hugs!" I tapped. "I need hugs!"
"Sending them to you…" was the immediate reply. "Big hugs. Enormous hugs. Huuuuuuuuuuggggggggssssssss!"
I smiled, felt a bit better and was able to carry on.
I received more hugs. No, you're right of course – hugs from Germany, Italy and the other side of the UK, sent over the phone, are not the same as the hug I received from my daughter when she got off the bus, but they helped and they enabled me to carry on.
But that swamp of desolation was mystifying.
Where had it come from? Why did it appear out of nowhere? What was the reason?
I went back over my day. I'd conducted a really positive business meeting with a woman I'd met while networking; I'd prepared my studio for the class I was teaching the following day; I felt quite proud because I'd given blood; I'd cooked tea...
Hang on – I'd given blood!
Now, some people can give a pint of blood and carry on with no ill effects. Some people keel over. My husband was advised not to give blood after the third time he collapsed before even getting to the tea and biscuits. With me, it hits emotionally.
I used to suffer from debilitating migraines. Some people get a visual aura as a warning before one hits. I used to get an emotional aura. For no reason at all I would experience an overwhelming urge to hide away in a corner and cry. The feeling would pass after a few moments, but twenty minutes later a red hot poker would stab behind my left eyeball so I could hardly see from the pain (fellow sufferers will wince here with sympathy).
Our physical and emotional states are inextricably bound together. If our physical wellbeing is compromised, then very often our emotions will follow suit.
Knowing this and, more importantly, acknowledging it while it's happening, does not necessarily make us feel better, but it does tend to stop the guilt. I am sure I am not the only one who regularly beats myself up for feeling down. If I know there is a physical reason for the way I feel, then I'm far more likely to be kind to myself about it.
And to ask for more hugs. Hugs are always good, even if texted from a thousand miles away.
A Moodscope member.