You wake up.
Maybe it’s your alarm, shaking you to your core as you attempt to find wherever your wretched phone is without properly opening your eyes. Or maybe it’s the sun, streaming in through the window and alerting your body clock to the fact it’s time to get up and crack on.
And then, as you adjust and realise where you are and who you are and what year it is – you remember.
You remember the night before and your stomach drops.
Because last night you were in a hideous mood. But not just any hideous mood – a really, really, really hideous mood.
You cried. You sulked. You thought things. You said things. You felt lower than you’d felt in a long time. You felt out of control of yourself and your emotions and you felt trapped within your own head.
You couldn’t escape it, you couldn’t ‘snap out of it’, you couldn’t self-soothe yourself with a bath and candles and a cuppa. This lowness, it just, well it just took over and wouldn’t let you escape its clasps no matter how hard you wanted it to.
But today is a fresh day, and, just as you’d hoped, you feel a *bit* like a new woman having had a good, deep, long sleep.
You know that a shower, a big cup of coffee and maybe your fave sassy gal lipstick will be enough to lift you back into you. That today you can be the version of yourself that makes you proud and happy and the version of yourself you like being.
And that your random bout of ‘lowness’ will disappear as if it never happened in the first place. You will put it down to hormones or being overly tired or stressed or FFS IS MERCURY IN RETROGRADE AGAIN?
But there is this anxiety that lingers throughout the rest of the day – this anxiety that last night, whilst stuck in a place that scares you, you didn’t recognise yourself. That maybe you exposed too much of yourself to the people around you. That maybe you somehow made them think less of you.
And that, my friends, is a low mood hangover.
I get them pretty rarely these days – mostly because those WTF IS WRONG WITH ME WHY AM I BROKEN moods don’t hit me quite so hard as they used to. And on the days where they do, I’m quite good at managing them before they explode into something bigger and more brutal than they need to be.
But when I do get them, they throw me off my axis a little bit. They make me question myself, but mostly, they make me feel embarrassed.
I wake up and I have to replay everything I did and said the night before – who did I see in the flesh? Who witnessed the horror that was last night’s Hannah Gale? Who did I text and what did I say?
It’s like waking up from a night out laced with vodka and noughties music and blurry phone snaps, without y’know, the alcohol.
You have to piece everything together and allow your brain the time and space to work out the details, to process it, to come up with a damage control plan.
I’m always scared that when people see me at my weakest and most vulnerable that it will make them like me less. That they will start to doubt that I am the person I am 97% of the time. That actually I’m not as cool and fun and happy-go-lucky as I’d have them – or myself – believe.
I guess it stems from my lifelong obsession with people liking me – or the fact that my first boyfriend would always walk away from our relationship the minute my mental health got too much for him to handle. It made me scared to share that side of me – to show a side that was anything less than happy and shiny and normal.
It made me realise that people feel uncomfortable or out of their comfort zone the minute they have to deal with people’s emotions – communicating with people at their worst isn’t as easy as communicating with people at their best.
I guess if there’s one point I want to get across in this post, is that it’s OK not to be OK every minute of the day.
It is OK to reveal a vulnerable and emotional part of yourself to the people you love – because that part of you isn’t worth any less than the glittering parts. It is all the different versions of ourselves that make us who we are.
We are both the good parts and the bad parts, not just one or the other.
And we shouldn’t be ashamed to talk about – or even, shout about – the low times as well as the happy times, because admitting that sometimes your head doesn’t feel as rosy as the cute flowers you Instagrammed earlier that day, is admitting that you are human.
You are not defined by your mental health, the same way you are absolutely not defined by one shitty night mingled into the thirty great ones.
And fuck it, I’m going to go all out and throw that fake Marilyn Monroe quote at you to round off this post. If they can’t handle you at your worst, then they sure as hell don’t deserve you at your best.
Over and out.