At My Sparkling Worst

Far too many mornings, I wake up feeling anxious and have to stage an in-depth mood intervention before I can face the day. 

A fizzy drink overflowing

I KNOW I’m going to have a bad day if I wake up feeling Fizzy

‘Fizzy’ is my catch-all term for the anxious, sometimes mildly suicidal, feelings that I often begin the day with, but that can crop up at any time, given the right/wrong stimuli. 

Feeling Fizzy usually announces itself as a combination of a very slightly raised heart rate and marginally faster breathing – leading to a low-level, fidgety type of trembling within me and a nasty premonition that something is going to go wrong. 

It can also present itself as unpleasantly intense brain activity very soon after waking –  usually as an argument between two parts of my brain, over something quite irrelevant to my life.

​But whatever the subject, one brain part generally flings an accusation that is unfair or unpleasant at me even before I am properly awake, and that sense of danger and defensiveness sets the tone for the day ahead. 

If I don’t deal with it quickly, it can grow, and bubble over into a rage that ruins not just my day but that of everyone around me. 

I have learned, particularly over these past few years, that Fizzy feelings can have multiple causes.

Am I worried about something I have done or don’t want to do? Am I worried about my family? Did I sleep badly or well? Did I have nightmares or stress dreams? Did I have a drink? Have I exercised? Or have I over-exercised? 

The other thing I have learned is that it takes a long time – a wearyingly long time – to calm the feelings down.

​There is a lot of list-making, mental and actual, trying to identify the factors that have combined to make me anxious this time. And remember: this is usually a day that I was planning to make sandwiches for my kids, or go to work. 

Often, the best and most immediate way to exorcise the Fizziness is physical: a run, a ride, a swim or a weights session, after which I normally end up feeling stronger and happier. 

Like many, I also find that preventative workouts can stop anxious feelings from turning up in the first place. 

However, my Fizzy feelings don’t just fuck off with a 10-minute stroll up the shops. It takes quite a big commitment – at least the equivalent of half an hour of running – to get rid of mine properly.

And then there is the danger that you can overdo it. A double danger, because physical tiredness not only leads to feeling Fizzy and anxious in itself – it also means that you are too knackered to try and sweat out the blues if they come back anytime soon. 

And that was my problem this morning.

I’d had a great weekend with the family, and also done a big lift plus a big cycle. I’d resisted the idea of a white wine with my Sunday dinner and expected to sleep well and wake up feeling great. Instead, I woke up Fizzy.

Because doing all that exercise had left me sore in nine (9!) different parts of my body and so tired that I’d had a coffee yesterday afternoon. And because I’d had a coffee, I’d slept badly and… well basically, I’d fucked up and I was Fizzy. 

I listened to myself worrying: about my therapy appointment this afternoon, and the prospect of going through the mental wringer again. I fretted that I had nothing to write about this morning and – even though I have done all I can to help him prepare – I was stressed about the start of my son’s GCSEs this afternoon.

I wish – genuinely, earnestly wish – that I was one of those blithe souls that can banish negative feelings simply by leaping out of bed, grabbing a hot or cold shower, and yodelling along to some Magic FM. 

But me, I need my routines. My interventions. My time-consuming distractions from Fizziness, such as 20 minutes of German practice every morning; the same amount of guitaring or singing. Perhaps another 20 minutes of letting it all out in Diary form. 

But this morning, I knew they weren’t going to work. I did the German, I did the diary. But I still felt shite. I wanted a coffee, but I wasn’t going to fall for that one again.

Instead, I sliced up an orange and got some grapes out of the fridge: healthy  energy. 

It made me feel a bit better. And then inspiration struck: I would log into the Mindfulness App I hadn’t used for two years and do the Sitting Meditation that I used to find so helpful. 

And it worked!

Midway through, when I was encouraged to think of my anxious thoughts as trains passing through a station, I did better.

I imagined a slow-motion 3D-skyscape, where I hovered like Tilda Swinton in Dr Strange, swishing trains, ‘planes, thoughts, people, feelings around with a fingertip, like an empyrean Jamie Carragher. Mindfulness had been the tool I needed to get back to my best!

It had taken hours for me to conquer the Fizziness, but at last I was experiencing some calm, and I had found a subject for today’s blog.

​In your face, Mr Magic FM! 

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