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Mummy: I'm so miserable and I don't know why! Wednesday October 16, 2013

These were the words said to me on Saturday night by my eleven year old, tears running down her face.

I don't think any of us would wish to be pre-teens or teenagers again, would we: all those spots, hormones and weird things happening to our bodies and minds?

Fortunately this time I didn't have to say "It's just your hormones darling. I know it's a pain, but put up with it and eventually, I promise, it will get better."

This time I could use a much more logical argument.

"Just think about it. Yesterday you walked a fifteen mile sponsored walk in the rain. Then you went to the church youth club. Today we got up early, picked pound and pounds of apples, blackberries and sloes, and this afternoon we spent cutting up apples and crushing and juicing them, and you cut your finger so badly that only the fact we had four trained nurses on hand stopped us taking you to A&E. That was pretty traumatic. On top of that, you children ran off another couple of miles (in the rain) and brought back a few more pounds of apples to chop, crush and juice. You were so tired you couldn't eat any supper. Don't you think that, just maybe, your energy tank is running on empty? You feel miserable and tearful because you're desperately tired and need sleep."

"Oh, I hadn't thought of that." She said and flopped back onto her pillow. When I checked ten minutes later she was fast asleep.

It occurred to me that often we can feel down and miserable and beat ourselves up for these feelings when, actually, they are entirely related to the physical. If we have been working very hard, going without sleep, pushing ourselves beyond what is reasonable, then one of the ways our bodies let us know we've had enough is by signalling through our feelings. So instead of just screaming "Why?" at the universe (which rarely gets a constructive answer), why don't we just check to ensure that we're not, in the words of one rather precocious four year old I encountered, "Fizzily and 'motionally 'zausted!"

Sometimes we just need to cut ourselves some slack, and be as kind to ourselves as we would be to others in our situation.

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Anonymous Wed, Oct 16th 2013 @ 7:15am

Thank you so much for this; I have been feeling so low this week. I thought.. I am a single parent of 9 kids; 5 still at home. I am a therapist who is in part time work as well as studying, and dealing with a history of sexual abuse. Actually I am doing ok! x

Anonymous Wed, Oct 16th 2013 @ 8:11am

Maybe sounds like she needs to slow down a bit..?

Anonymous Wed, Oct 16th 2013 @ 8:22am

This is a really good post - my depression is (thankfully) pretty much under control these days - but when I over do it at work, do too much exercise (which is rare!) or miss out on a good 8 hours sleep - my mood will drop and I need to take action.

I see managing my depression like a set of old fashioned scales - with my depression on one side and the things I need to do on the other. A little bit of exercise, a drop of meditation, some sleep etc etc - When I get it right, the scales tip in my favour.

So my thoughts are with any moodscopers having a rough day......think about the triggers and see what will help (even something as tiny as texting a friend) to tip the scales a little.


Anonymous Wed, Oct 16th 2013 @ 8:30am

Nice post, Mary. How good that your eleven year old could voice her feelings!

G Wed, Oct 16th 2013 @ 8:40am

Thank you M for your comment. That is exactly how I feel lately and just this morning I observed my triggered depression calmly, and managed to carry out my routine without resort to crying and self-blamed.

Depression won't stay forever, so whenever negative emotion arises, clam yourself by thinking "this too will pass". And it will.

Julia Wed, Oct 16th 2013 @ 9:06am

Prolonged lack of deep refreshing sleep = tiredness = depression. For me and probably many others.
I do hope your 11 year old felt better when she woke up the next day. She certainly had a very physically exhausting couple of days with possibly not enough sleep to recover for the second activity filled day. A complete night's sleep without interruption and being woken early is so vital for children. Not always possible of course during school term time.

Alex Wed, Oct 16th 2013 @ 10:02am

Just the wisdom I needed today, thank you.

Anonymous Wed, Oct 16th 2013 @ 10:27am

So true. Even though I'm a lot older than 11 I often find myself asking the same question as your daughter - "why do I feel so rubbish today?". And some of the time it is simply tiredness or feeling under the weather that's causing or contributing to my depression. Maybe we all need to be able to "talk to 'mum' " in some way when we feel like this.

Brian G. Fay Wed, Oct 16th 2013 @ 12:09pm

This was wonderful. I often find myself in a mood that I can't understand and because I don't understand it, I feel victim to it. Those times when I can breathe a few times and stop fighting/surrendering, I most often find that I can live through it enough to begin understanding. That's exactly what happened last night as I went to bed. I breathed, let it be what it was, and then woke this morning feeling good and ready to move forward.

Thank you for a lovely reminder.

Anonymous Wed, Oct 16th 2013 @ 12:37pm

Excellent! Just what I needed! Will remember this next time my daughter is exhausted, depressed and cranky at work!

LaDawn Wed, Oct 16th 2013 @ 1:08pm

love this post!!!!!!

Anna-Marie Waite Wed, Oct 16th 2013 @ 1:14pm

I can relate to this and used to often beat myself up but after lots of meditation and picking up on when I do it I have got so so much better! I wrote a song about it and hum it to myself when those poopy thoughts come in my head "Speak slowly, speak softly and be kind to yourself. Speak gently, speak with empathy when you have those little words with yourself. Maybe it could help others, here it is :-) :-) Anna

Anonymous Wed, Oct 16th 2013 @ 1:22pm

It is so good to read this. I find myself being self critical about not coping then I think of what has happened in the last few days and, true enough, there are inevitably very good reasons why I feel overwhelmed. It is a really useful skill to be able to step back and objectively consider the reasons for our mood. Often easier said than done!

Stan Wed, Oct 16th 2013 @ 3:05pm

Such a good blog, and so important to remember. Peace and love x

fionaran Wed, Oct 16th 2013 @ 7:19pm

A very wise post. Thank you

Anonymous Wed, Oct 16th 2013 @ 10:24pm

What a wonderful post. Quite often we feel miserable because we are tired, exhausted or we just need to slow the pace down!! Thanks for sharing.xx

Anonymous Wed, Oct 16th 2013 @ 10:28pm

Great post I have often wished there was a tired card as I think it would help me to put the others into context in this way. I think it is very easy to succumb to tiredness in this way.

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