It will surprise no one to know that I have always leant towards the dramatic. “Run for your lives” was my childhood catch phrase. Oft repeated as I tore around the garden sporting a cape made from an old curtain and fully prepared to assist Wonder Woman in the foiling of dastardly plans.
I am the living embodiment of making a mountain out of a molehill and a drama out of a crisis.
I do really well in a crisis. I’m majestic under pressure. It’s the mundanity of daily life which I crumble under.
There is, isn’t there always, a downside. I am prone to panic. My imagination knows no bounds. Helped along by my extensive reading, watching and listening to post apocalyptic, dystopian and the end of the world fiction.
Should my long suffering husband be 10 minutes later home than expected he’s dead. No not in a threatening I’m going to hurt you way. In a horrible accident, police at the door, sobbing widow way.
Now a sensible person would use the tracking app thingy to locate him or phone to check in. I carefully and methodically begin planning his funeral. Agonise over how I am going to tell the girls. Break out into a cold sweat at the thought of navigating the parents in law without an ally. All because he’s stuck behind a tractor on the A96.
I am conscious that this probably isn’t terribly good for my mental health. Let alone my cortisol and adrenaline levels.
I have been attempting lots of mindfulness and distracting myself with gratitude lists and the like. It has had absolutely no impact.
About a fortnight ago I was having a bit of a wobble. In an effort to attempt to settle to sleep I put on radio 4, only to hear a news report about the escalating conflict between India and Pakistan in Kashmir. Immediately, I go straight to – do they have nuclear weapons? Shit I think they both do. I’m now navigating my way through the post-nuclear landscape to Tesco to get a shopping trolly and head out like in Cormac McCarthy’s Road.
Sleep was not going to come. I switched on the light and wrote. A big list of worries. It was a much easier list than those gratitude ones I had been agonising over.
The employment prospects of my eldest daughter – she’s 13 at the moment so I have a while to worry about this one!
Will we ever chose wallpaper for the bathroom.
India and Pakistan. Syria. Sudan. Yemen. All the other places where my limited geographical knowledge lets me down.
All featured on the list. The very act of writing them down released me of the need to continue to bounce them around my head. I slept better than I had in ages.
My new bedtime routine has me skipping to bed. Where I perch, pencil poised ready to list all the things that want to keep me up at night. I’m having such fun. As was my husband, laughing at me.
Although he shut up pretty sharpish when I threatened to put him in the blue suit when the grey suit looks much better open casket. It would appear that actually telling people you have spent large chunks of time planning out their funeral doesn’t lead to them sleeping quite so soundly.