Sometimes I get down. Sometimes I get angry. Sometimes I scream and shout and cry. Sometimes I feel down and depressed.
I wish I didn’t get like this, but I do. Not often, just sometimes. It’s normal for me and for a lot of other people too. It’s probably a mild form of depression. And I’ve read enough written by people who are properly depressed to realise that it really is a mild form.
So it’s normal. Nothing to write home about. But it’s not normal in our family. The adults in our family don’t scream and shout and cry and throw things. My behaviour isn’t normal and I shouldn’t do it. I don’t want to do it, but it’s how I deal with things that upset me. The adults in my family don’t think I should behave like this because nobody else does. They don’t think it’s normal, something to be ashamed of to raise your voice.
My husband says I shouldn’t do it in front of the kids, that I will damage them. This is something which happens maybe once every six months. It makes them cry to see me crying and I hate that. I don’t want to damage them or hurt them or upset them. But I don’t think it does any harm to see that adults have emotions too, that adults get hurt too. Plenty of children see things worse every day than a parent in tears once every few months.
I think three times in the last couple of years it’s got all too much. I think it was a panic attack. When everything got so overwhelming I literally couldn’t calm myself down. I was out of control and frightened. When this has happened it’s frightened the person who had upset me and they’ve stopped having a go at me and started to calm me down. (I’d like to say at this point that this has always been adults, not the kids.)
And then when I’m calm, it’s all forgotten. We don’t talk about it again. They pretend they haven’t seen me like that.
And next time, I get upset they tell me to calm down, not to over-react and not to embarrass myself. But really they mean themselves. Because I’m not embarrassed to have emotions. I’m not embarrassed that I get hurt and upset. It’s just a part of life.