I have a new game to play. I like games. Well, that's a lie actually. I hate most kinds of games. The ones with cards, or balls or running. And Monopoly. I really really hate that - I mean, has anyone ever FINISHED a game of Monopoly? It doesn't end. It either explodes in a blinding flash of resentment and fury and long-suppressed grudges, or everyone gets really bored and gives up because it's SO FUCKING BORING. And I don't like the ones where people have to say what kind of animal you would be because they ALWAYS say I would be a horse and I don't want to be a horse. But I like some other ones like, um, no. Ok, fuck it, I don't like games.
This game is ok. It goes as follows. When an irrational thought or impulse enters my head, when my chest feels like a ten tonne hedgehog is rolling on it, spike side down, when I randomly email people - not even necessarily people I know - gibbering nonsense, when I send poor M a photo of my cleavage (she's a GIRL, it's allowed. Weird, inappropriate, but allowed), when I decide that only lying on the floor of the Ladies for hours at a time with my legs on the cistern will do, when I want to rub my own face off with a pan scourer, when I feel like my head is going to burst open, I ask myself this question.
Tired, hungry or mad?
Because finally, long experience has bestowed a few shreds of self-knowledge on me. Yes.
The world may not be ending. I may not end up alone in a gutter being eaten by feral capybaras just because I am feeling a little wretched.
I might just be hungry! Or tired. Or I may be mad. This one is harder to solve.
Yes, this almighty revelation has kept me from submitting to the sin of despair on several occasions in the last week. I imagine that sensible people know this kind of stuff instinctively. I don't. If the world feels like a black vortex sucking me in, then I assume it is because the world IS a black vortex sucking me in. I don't factor in low blood sugar. UNTIL NOW.
Now, when despair threatens to engulf me, I play my game. When, I ask myself, did I last eat? And what was it? If Bonne Maman Petits Pots à la Crème or chocolate, discount. Eat proper foods including protein and complex carbohydrate and then reevalute just how overwhelming the despair is. Win!
I feel I am condemned to die alone, penniless, in squalor, suffocating on the shedding hair of a thousand badly behaved weepettes. Hmm. How much sleep have I had in the last 24 hours? Up until 2am stroking the dog's ears and playing on the internet? Disqualified from drawing any conclusions about shitness of life until sleep debt paid back in full!
I have stared at the same screen pressing refresh for 5000000 hours? Am I perhaps mad? Yes. I might well be. Ah well, this is the nature of the game. You can't win every time. If mad, the only solution is to up my dosage of every pharmaceutical in the house until some alternative symptom replaces the particularly unpleasant one.
As you can tell I am inordinately proud of my new game for emotional retards. I am thinking of adding several new categories, such as:
- Hormonal (always takes me by surprise after all those years pregnant or breastfeeding or too thin)
- Trousers too tight (this has a surprisingly profound effect on mood, I have found)
- Needing to talk to a real live person.
What do you say? Are there other categories I should include? Am I an idiot with the emotional maturity of a five year old?