Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Start The Day On The Right Foot

There’s nothing quite like lack of sleep to put an otherwise happy person into a bad mood. And there’s nothing like another person being in a bad mood to exacerbate the situation. I mean, that’s how wars start.

I like to think I’m a happy go lucky kind of person but I do occasionally start the day in an absolutely foul mood. Usually being woken by screaming kids at 5am is what does it. And now we have two kids, the potential for being prematurely wrenched from an otherwise peaceful slumber has doubled, as has the general tiredness. Watch out world, bad moods a plenty.

When I wake up under a dark cloud everyone around me gets it in the neck. And I realise I’m behaving badly which only makes me even more cross (with myself) and bad behaviour can quickly sink into a full on adult tantrum. And don’t anyone dare mention the word “hormones”, atomic bombs have been detonated for less.

I just hate waking up in a foul mood. And when it happens I know I need to do something quick lest the rest of the day spiral into misery for all in my wake. The only thing I have found that will pull me out (aside from a good purge on a blog post) is exercise. Serious, hardcore, sweat till you puke working out. It’s the only time of day when I am capable of turning my brain off and not thinking. For some people it might be meditation, reading celebrity magazines, gardening or a big glass of wine (not recommended at 7am), but I have discovered the rush of cardio. Believe me I never thought I would turn into an exercise evangelist, it is a very recent development in my life. But in these trying times (2 small children), exercise is fast becoming my saviour. It’s true when they say that exercise is the best medicine for anxiety and depression. It does cure a bad mood quicker than anything else I’ve tried. But the trouble is keeping that buzz when the bad mood threatens to return, someone else being a bad mood can really deplete the endorphin levels.

The man also often wakes in a bad mood. We both have a teenage sense of bedtime in that going to bed before 11pm is giving in to the parental pressure (the parents nowadays being us) and before 10pm is positively childish. Which means that very often we suffer from sleep deprivation, the fact that it’s of our own doing only makes things worse. And if our bad moods collide that’s when things take a nasty turn. Very quickly a simple comment can turn into world war three, not only deepening bad moods but positively engraining them into the fabric of the day like chilli into the skin, making your eyes, mouth and other, more delicate, body parts sting every time you touch them. A morning argument is, for me, the hardest to get over, and a Monday morning argument even more so. Don’t even get me started on a New Year’s Day argument. I can’t help but think of that saying, start as you mean to go on, and then I worry that I’m going to be locked into this bad mood for the rest of the day, month… year.

Part of my problem is I’m not very good in arguments. I mean, give me a laptop and an hour to write an acerbic email, and I’m come back queen, quick witted answers to everything that has been thrown at me fly off my finger tips like vomit from a sick child’s mouth. But in the moment, verbally, when it really counts, I’m rubbish. I know I’m over sensitive, flippant comments cut me in the heart and my mind goes blank. Blank, except from self hating questioning, and usually taking the original comment to the whole next level. One small offhand remark turns into a full on criminal self investigation, usually with me sentencing myself to the rest of the day of self loathing. I am always the first person to say I’m sorry, regardless of who started it or whose fault it is, because even if I am convinced I am right at the beginning, by the end of any argument, my judgement is so skewed that I will ALWAYS blame myself. The other person wanders off, having forgotten the whole thing within minutes and I am left stewing over it for hours on end.

I read somewhere that children need to see their parents arguing and resolving the argument so that they can learn how to argue healthily and not descend into name calling, violence or disrespect. That’s all well and good but I just can’t seem to finish an argument with anything other than crying or self contempt. Not quite the strong role model I am aiming for.

I was told recently I need to grow a pair of balls, proverbially speaking of course. And I think that’s right. I need to grow a pair of balls and get practiced in the art of confrontation. Because honestly, I hate it. My heart starts to race, my palms gets sweaty and I feel sick, it’s not a nice sensation. So I have avoided it at all cost and haven’t actually had that much chance to practice. Others seem to be so much better at it than me. How come, do they have bigger balls than me? Or are they just more argumentative? Discussion and debate are one thing, and I can argue the rights and wrongs of society all day long, but when things get personal I don’t have the necessary tools to fight a fair fight. And it’s really not something you can avoid in life. It’s a necessary evil. We can’t all agree on everything.

So yes I do need to grow a pair of balls, and getting myself to bed at a decent hour would also help. But still, don’t ever, ever mention the word hormones to an angry woman, lest you want to end up like me… ball-less.

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