Episode 2 -Has the potential to be a Season Finale

Today is not a good day. I’m angry. At everyone.  At the tablecloth, At this laptop for losing one of its rubber grips so that now it’s wobbly when I type. Stupid bloody laptop. Now my dogs are jumping up on my lap. Stupid bloody dogs. Can I not just have a laptop that works? Everything I touch breaks. Fuck off world. That’s what I feel like saying today. Keep your fucking gripless laptops and your trampolining  puppies.  Stupid fucking world.

I fixed the unsteady laptop. Well I slid a folded Lidl brochure under the amputated side. I hate Lidl. I find it depressing. “You’d find anything depressing!”, I hear you say. But Lidl is 1980s gloom materialised and marketed as a saviour to the urban masses.  It’s so quiet you can hear yourself think. I don’t like hearing myself think.  When I’m in Lidl I usually become a bit of a voyeur. Fantasising about real people’s lives. I like looking in other people’s shopping baskets. I’m guilty of judging their baskets too like some ethereal nutrition goddess who doesn’t have her own real life to nourish but who tsk tsks at the contents of the trolleys of the mortals. Why does my grocery basket not seem real? Why do I not seem real? Young women in their gym gear trawling the isles for something that won’t make them lose the only power they have over their carefully controlled calorie psyches; GAA playing lads on their way home from training distracting themselves with bottles of Lucozade from the emptiness of their grimy rented duplexes; outwardly fulfilled, inwardly screaming mums with squealy, needy toddlers: “this is was not what my Killashee House wedding vows foretold”;  the grey faced, suited and booted afterwork crowd dashing the isles to find something to urgently replenish the corporately drained souls;  the bearded and braided hipsters painstakingly groomed to appear dishevelled and disinterested with their olives and natural yoghurt and spinach and organic whatever the fuck they can find to feed their days. I feel like Patrick Swayze in Ghost when I’m in Lidl. Dead and looking on.

I’ve had two good days. I didn’t want a bad day. I was afraid of this. I’m worried I brought on a bad day through fear of having a bad day. So I feel guilty. I don’t know whether I should go into my life details. The actual of my life. It’s funny thinking there exists an actual because I feel so far removed from it. I don’t know this body, this face, this life. All I am today is a burning black hole. I’m like the Bugs Bunny shaped hole in the wall running away from whoever he ran away from. Those cartoons remind me of Sunday afternoons after the big family roast. It was still technically the weekend but you knew Glenroe was coming up soon and that was impending doom for every Irish child of the 80s. I’m Glenroe today. Jaysus Biddy. An ould biddy. Fucking Dick thought he was the business. Himself and Terri. Glenroe – everyone watched it: they didn’t really think it was much good, they weren’t that sorry when it was finally axed but now everyone reminisces about it. I live my life, I haven’t enjoyed it for a long time, I couldn’t really care less if it were over but I’m sure I’d romanticise if I were to have a white light moment with the angels.

Well isn’t this a barrel of laughs for a Sunday? I’ve always hated fucking Sundays. I used to be dragged to Mass and at least the was a good looking  Indie boy who was dragged too so my 15 year old self could day dream about listening to Nirvana and Pearl Jam with him.  Now it’s sort of a nothing day of trying to pretend it’s still Saturday and letting on you’re enjoying the “family time”. Blah. Does anyone really like Sundays? I doubt it. But then does anyone really like any day of their lives? I don’t know.

My mother, who shale henceforth be known as My Lady, the Queen’s Mother (the name Margaret Beaufort bestowed upon herself – Google her, she was really something else) tells me all these musings are normal. If they are then why the hell would anyone stick around? Are we all just letting on we don’t want to activate the Get Out Clause? Because this is fucking bullshit.  Are Darragh and Suzanne and Tony and Mark and Siobhán and Niall and all the Saoirse/Conall/Aifric/Abhainn/MacDara entitled offspring of the post-Yeats Celtic Mystics all just letting on they are real people with real lives that they actually want to live? What about celebrities? Stupid fucking word. Celebrated for what? Save it for the truly special ones, not Mourihno. Does Pat Kenny wake up in the morning and go “Another fucking day of talking shite to get through”? Did Beyoncé name her kid Blue Ivy because that’s how she feels all the time: choked by her own creeping nervous system? Has George Hook often thought that even the lovely Ingrid isn’t enough to keep him hanging on? Does Graham Norton think of keeping all the booze on his show for himself and drinking himself into a stupefied coma? Does Michelle Obama wake up and think “I don’t care if every American kid gets fat and dies a bed bound diabetic, I’m going to use my fabulously sculpted arms to wring my own neck”? Maybe Christine Lagarde gets up and looks in the mirror at her trailblazing, elegant French self and says “je veux  retourner au lit et ne jamais me réveiller”. Maybe My Lady, the Queen’s Mother is right. Maybe life is this shit for everyone. Maybe nobody can live in their own heads. Maybe I should shut the fuck up.

Weekends are always the most difficult. I thought most people loved them but apparently I’m not alone in my dread of the 9-5er’s Holy Grail.  Apart from the necessity of living in your own head for 48 hours with no career chasing to fill up the deadened Emily Dickenson crevices, you feel like you should be enjoying yourself.  Is there such a thing as Modern Guilt? Now, that would be an interesting mockumentary concept: fly-on-the-wall camera on couples, families, singles “living” their everyday lives. Then get them on the sofa in their symmetrical, sleek glass shell homes; their traditional, cosy, two-cars-outside-and-one’s-a-people-carrier or their quirky, Oxfamery filled alternative abodes and see how they really feel: guilty as charged? I can’t be the only one. The weekend: the Dowager Countess Grantham didn’t know what a weekend was. I wish I didn’t. If it were a Facebook status it’d be:

“that awkward moment when the expectation of two days

off featuring a blow dry; brunch with the girls; a glamorous night

out looking like Jennifer Aniston; followed by a trendy flea

market visit and some organic Bangkok Street Food in Iveagh

Gardens withers into the reality of sitting in your

ex-boyfriend’s oversized sweat pants on the floor

of your kitchen with your dogs licking your ice cold

blackened soles and eating Bran Flakes from a box with Janis

Ian whingeing on Spotify”.

I may hate Sundays (and there’s always an extra depressing lineup on the telly as if to hammer home the point) but boy is there relief when it’s over. At least you can be openly fed up, a sort of coming out for the depressed: you don’t have to pretend to be happy/interesting/busy/relaxed/fabulous. You can just be your miserable self and drip unnoticed into the well of sodden dreams that is Monday morning.

Mondays. The word is almost onomatopoeic in its grimness. The dreary mmm and nnn sandwiched around the ambiguous “o” that’s neither a proper “o” nor a “u”. Not like a Friday: smooth and rolling but with a snappiness, like a Fry’s Chocolate Cream. There’s not too bad for fat content, as an aside, maybe that’s why I don’t think of a traditional fry for Friday– I can’t think of a more disgusting thing to put into my body, churn my stomach in an oily sludge and sit on my hips taunting me until I can starve it off.

Mondays are synonymous with misery. I say I love my job, I do. Well I think I do, as much as I can be sure of my feelings on anything. But my god. on Monday mornings all I see is the clichéd black clouds. I have an hour long commute out of Dublin to my school and I swear those clouds chase me down the M11. The Nordic gloom sets in around Donnybrook as the panic gives away having begun at about the time I get in the door from taking the dogs out for a wee. After I pee (in an actual toilet, I haven’t descended into peeing down a lane…yet), I throw off my second PJs (when I say PJs I mean that loosely: an old NYPD t-shirt and shorts are the first things I find, no matching organic Eberjey cottons round here)  from the night having already changed them once at around 4 am and spread a towel on last night’s cold-sweat soaked bed linen and dress myself sexily for the Eddie Stobart delivery men at the Tesco Express across the street in aforementioned oversized sweats and my precious Harvard hoodie (a much worn symbol of the expectations of myself and my intellect to which I never quite lived up), I usually close the door behind the wakening world and wish I didn’t have to go back out there in an hour (if I’m lucky – usually we’re running late and an hour would be a luxury).

Speaking of dogs… (I’m guessing you’re becoming accustomed to my parenthesised tangents), My Lady, the Queen’s Mother has hidden all the medication she has ever accumulated over the years including that of my 92 year old grandmother, Miss Marple,  who requires considerable amounts of pharmaceuticals to keep the old ticker going. Although I seem to rattle when I run now (which hasn’t been much this week what with all the medical appointments and breakdowns and what not). My Lady, the Queen’s Mother has taken to dispensing my pills, keeping them stashed away in one of her hundreds of costume jewellery boxes or IKEA “storage solutions” ; one of her favourite collectibles. I swear she’ll end up a Channel 4 documentary eventually. Anyway, my 14 year old daughter (yeah, we’ll get to how crap and selfish a mother I am later, like really later) told me that My Lady, the Queen’s Mother decided it was necessary to hide the dog wormers. You know because, they’re the number one choice for the suicidal, sorry those wishing to activate their Get Out Clause. I mean, My Lady, seriously, do you think I want to shuffle off this mortal coil through dysentery?! We often say our puppies’ farts are lethal but worming medicine, vraiment?! At least I can laugh about it. I’m like Chandler, humour is my defence mechanism. Only I’m not nearly as funny and this isn’t a sitcom set.

Tomorrow morning I have my first ever appointment with a psychiatrist. I say appointment because it’s just that: scheduled to happen at an appointed time. Of course, last week, as you may be beginning to ascertain,  was something of a catastrophe. I met with two other psychiatrists, but they were more impromptu gatherings shall we say. Is catastrophe too strong a word? I hate the way the media overuses the word “tragedy” and now here I am claiming Episode 1 was catastrophic. Although in my brain it was. It certainly felt like my dénouement. My brain was shutting down. That’s how I felt. I knew I was struggling. For months I knew that. But I’m Irish and I’m a woman and Irish women tend to get up and get on with it. That child won’t feed herself. Those floors won’t mop themselves. That pay packet won’t fill itself. For twenty goddamn years I’ve got up every day (often I’ve had to go back to bed but that doesn’t count, right?) and I’ve tried to keep going. Some days have been lovely. Some weeks have been lovely. A few months have been for the most part, lovely. But there hasn’t been a full year that’s been lovely. Screw “lovely”, there hasn’t been a year that has been ok. I’d settle for ok. Ok would be my lovely. Ok wouldn’t be a constant struggle.

I’m always so aware of how self indulgent I sound. Oh, look at me over here with the loving family and the beautiful daughter and the nice apartment and the decent car and the summer in the States and the good education and the rewarding job. Aren’t I so fucking hard done by? Here comes the guilt again. Of course I’m lucky in many ways. But I’m tired. I’m so very tired. And often none of the above aforementioned assets matter. I don’t have the energy left to pretend any of these things are what I want. Because I want nothingness.

My daughter. My precious daughter. She’s the reason I still am. Only for her…

I wonder what the psych will make of me. Two nights in A&E last Monday and Thursday.Two GP visits. A Community Psych team visit. An ambulance call out of which I have only a vague recollection. How could I put everyone through all that? Was it real? If it was then I’m sorry. For the four hundredth and fifty sixth time, I’m sorry. I’m sorry John Knox (we call my father John Knox because at my wedding – yes, I was/am married, don’t ask – he stood up to make his father-of-the-bride speech and opened with “As a historian…”. He spent the best part of the weekend at John Knox’s house on the Royal Mile, another one to Google) has to drive me to Baggot Street tomorrow because My Lady, the Queen’s Mother doesn’t want me driving into a crash barrier. It’s been one of my options, I’ll give her that. But then I thought what a waste of money when they could sell the car and pay off my debts. Well you’d need a Bugatti Veyron to pay off my debts but anyway. Paint the hall. Go on a cruise. Blow it all in Dundrum. Better that then in the scrapyard with no insurance payout.

I’m hoping I’ll sleep tonight. I’m sure I will. The wonders of My Lady, the Queen’s Mother’s Medicine Cabinet should see to it. But then I’ll wake up wet and cold like a wrinkly ould herring shivering and squirming having been caught by the hook of my nightmares, unsure whether it’s better to dive back in and just keep swimming or let the air drown me and float away. Forever.

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