Home  »  Relationships

Megan Nicol Reed: My roller-coaster mood swings
Source: nzherald.co.nz   |   August 26, 2017   |  137 Views

We do not lose ourselves in a day, nor in a storm. But when day piles upon day, and rain comes down upon rain, then, yes, I have learnt, it is possible to mislay your true nature. Was I really ever capable of joyfulness, I asked myself a fortnight ago. Was I really ever that laughing woman, I thought, looking at a photo taken of me at winter's outset. Haven't I always been this sour bitch? Hateful of husband, harsh on children, irritated by everyone. If only I was an anchorite. An anchorite, mind, with Netflix and some kind of sweet pie all to herself. To retreat from the world; the very idea of it! Plans had been made, though, and obligations required meeting. Forced from my cell, I did not go graciously. My name was Misery and I sought likeminded company. I sighed, I carped. Isn't this just normal, I asked, washing handfuls of salty nuts down with great slugs of wine. No, said a friend. It's not. And even though I know her to be currently burdened with her own set of challenges, she told me she loves life. That there is so much to be grateful for.

The purported benefits of seeking out pink sunsets and small beauties, of documenting your gratitude, were not news to me, but for some reason a penny dropped. Maybe it was because however valuable ideas may be in theory, they are rendered most meaningful through exchange with others. Mercurial at the best of times, life for me is usually a roller coaster of corkscrewing moods and undulating emotions, for whatever reason, though, I had spent the past six weeks in a continuous state of flatness. But, galvanized by my friend's gladness, and keen to avoid the anti-depressants I knew the doctor would likely recommend, I decided to undertake an experiment upon myself.

There was a youthful period when I fancied myself an actor. It was the early 90s and I was infatuated with Theatresports; that improvisational comedy, in which teams compete to convincingly execute random, farcical scenarios. Thankfully, however, an awareness that my talents did not equal my enthusiasm eventually prevailed, and when, in the early days of our relationship, my husband and I sought therapy, I cringed and awkwardly coughed my way through the counsellor's fondness for role play. ("Now I want you to imagine you're him and he's you and you're lying in bed together on a rainy Sunday morning. How would you want the other person to behave toward you?") But one thing I did take away from those excruciating sessions was the popular psychological notion that you only have to "act as if". That in order to change your feelings, act as if they have changed and before you know it this assumed state of mind begins to feel natural.

I would begin the very next day, I decided. I would wake up and I would fake being loving and kind, being happy. I would give the dog a lengthy tummy rub rather than just resenting her muddy paws. I would applaud my son's bed-making rather than grumbling at the bunched sheets. I would kiss my husband fully on the lips on his way out the door rather than just yelling, "Recycling!"

It was not miraculous. I cannot, in good conscience report, dear reader, that overnight I transformed from rancorous harridan to saintly spreader of goodwill. At first it felt downright fraudulent. What a dick, I thought, smiling at small children squealing on a seesaw. And, needless to say, there were no lols from my side of the bed when I was woken at 5am one morning by my husband saying, "Hey Siri," into his phone. Still, it's surprising how quickly it can feel right. How quickly you find yourself greeting the strange man in the cleaning product aisle at the supermarket with a "Lovely day!" How you find yourself noticing the gentle lapping of the high tide without noticing you are noticing it. Of course I'm still feeling my way. Still having to remind myself that a bad day is not Armageddon. That nobody goes right through happy always.

| January 07, 2018
Are you morally obligated to divulge your friends affair, or is that...
| January 03, 2018
The end of a relationship can sometimes feel like the end of the world. How do you pick yourself up...
| December 04, 2017
Every relationship always has different phases it goes through and yet most people tend to drop...
| December 04, 2017
Every guy should know to win his woman’s heart over and over again with sweet words and give...
| November 24, 2017
Nigerian socialite and ‘psychologist’ Joro Olumofin is back with a continuing episode...
| November 20, 2017
We Fall In Love With Potential I cannot possibly be the only one who has made this mistake....
| November 15, 2017
Dating in the 21st century is a flurry of delirious anticipation. There's the potential to meet...
| November 15, 2017
The month of December is a time to love and share. This is more of the case with...
| November 15, 2017
One of the questions most single ladies ask is how to realize when a guy is in love with you. As...
| November 08, 2017
Guys love girls. Some of them, they adore. But while you might be under the impression that guys...