Things aren’t that bad. No one has died, there’s a roof over my head and a job to be done. But I feel so sad. Namelessly, crushingly sad. Destabilised because of a little administrative shift in what is familiar. A change. And my grief seems – is – utterly disproportionate, and so private because I feel ashamed.
Sadness spikes happen and for many of us they remain a secret shame; something to be hidden and papered over. Something to endure and to forget. Tearful. Bereft. Not depressed. That is something entirely different.
But surely I have no right to be sad. Surely these kinds of tears have to be earned through tragedy or extreme disappointment; through real loss rather than shadowy loss. And so I can’t tell you about how I cried when I walked to the bus stop this morning, howled in the bath last night, wept as I woke up. I judge myself, so why shouldn’t you? I think I ought to pull myself the hell together, so why shouldn’t you?
But there is, I suspect, a purpose. If I keep this quiet then I can swim in it and feel it and go through it. Going through things takes longer than going round them. And if I stay schtum then I can experience rather than actualise, process rather than dramatise.
So don’t ask me why my eyes are red. Don’t be too nice. Because then I might cry in front of you and that is precisely what I need to avoid. I am not this person. This strangely grief-stricken person. In public.