I'm going to be brutally honest for a moment here. Not that I am ever anything but, but you know how it is. You want to present the best side of yourself, glossing over the dull, scared, frazzled, sad, frustrated bits. I figure, no one wants to read about someone who is depressed (unless they can twist their take on mental illness to make it hilarious, à la the magnificent Dooce).
But the truth is, I have been having a hard time of it. I'm desperate to go home, feeling lonely and strung out, not enjoying my work and wondering if my life will ever be settled. It's been so tough. I am trying to help myself. I am taking anti-depressants (they are helping me to get some sleep, but have had no impact on my mood - my brain is surprisingly, stubbornly resistant to any kind of chemicals) and seeing a psychologist to try and sort some long-standing stuff out.
Blah-low-self-esteem-moan-no-one-listened-to-me-blab-overly-critical-parents-yada-yada. The same issues many of us share, but that some of us struggle with more than others.
Late the other night, on my way home after a long and emotionally fraught day, I stopped at the corner store for some ice-cream. I plonked the tub down defiantly on the counter, back straight, daring the shopkeeper to show any trace of pity in his eyes. I marched out into the cold night, tub safely stowed in my backpack, thinking of nothing but home.
I was almost there when I came across a group of guys walking in the opposite direction, talking too loudly and swaggering in a way that was designed to intimidate anyone in their path. I could feel the aggression coming off them in waves, and I was immediately on my guard. I tried to walk with more confidence so that I wouldn't betray my fear, but I hastened my steps as I drew nearer to my front door. As I fumbled with my keys, I could hear them talking about whether they should join me. Finally the key turned in the lock and I hurried inside, turning to slam the door on their leering faces. It was only then that I realised how heightened my state of anxiety had become - my hands were trembling and nerve endings were sending little electric shocks down my arms, and I suddenly felt so tired that I could have collapsed under my own weight.
It was a terrible ending to a not-good day, and I don't think I've ever been quite so relieved to climb into bed in my warm, safe house with a bowl of ice-cream. I savoured the delicious combination of marscarpone, passionfruit and truffles that Mr. Häagen-Dazs had prepared for me, and I felt better.
I highly recommend it. The ice-cream that is, not the being-threatened-on-your-way-home-late-at-night.