I'll come clean. It's official. I'm having a nervous breakdown. Or something. I'm cracking up. Falling apart at the seams. Turning into a lunatic.
Okay, so maybe I'm exaggerating a little. I don't want to make light of proper mental illness, but really, I'm not feeling altogether my normal altogether.
It's the build. I am consumed with uncertainty. Is it really a good idea to put a bloody huge chimneybreast in the middle of your kitchen?
I've bored friends and family rigid banging on about it. Everyone is kind and patient and reassuring: it's a great idea, they say, it will look wonderful, they say, don't worry, they say, but still I fret and angst and hand-wring. Is this just one wacky plot too far?
Here are my reasons: we feel overlooked by the house behind, we wanted a wood-burning stove and there's really no where else to put it, we're having a pitch roof with glass in it, as well as velux windows all down the side, so, in theory, there should still be plenty of light, with two views instead of one. It should look something like this...
Should. With two, metre wide, doors either side.
Nevertheless, sudden consciousness in the middle of the night is becoming very familiar. Why am I awake? I think, go back to sleep, I am exhausted, this is silly. And then it starts -
The brain whirring.
The things I remember I've forgotten.
But most of all, the worry about the bloody damn stupid chimney.
I never used to be like this. I used to sleep like a baby. (Why do we say that? In my experience babies don't sleep at all.) Even when I had loads of stressful things going on. Even with a nerve-wracking work day ahead. Even before an important interview or when I was about to direct a three-camera studio at the BBC with absolutely no idea what I was doing (and that was in my early twenties, how did I do that?).
So, what can I do about it? I'm working on a 6 point plan...
Lists. I'm a big list writer. Can't live without lists. Then I tick things off. So now I've taken it a step further and I'm keeping a pad and pen by my bed so I can try and empty my mind before sleeping. Not really working though...
Exercise. That's a good one. I try to row on the rowing machine at least every other day, and I try to get out every day and walk, even if it's for only 15 minutes. I love a good walk, and it definitely helps. Maybe I'll try and take up swimming as well. Although I'm not quite sure when...
Talking. And writing. Both ways to offload. I do a lot of that and I find it helps. I talk to my friends, (my poor friends) and my mother and Husband, and well, just about anyone who will listen. And I write this, of course, and other things.
Alcohol. I know, I know, it's not a good stress-buster, certainly not in the long-term, but on a Friday night, a cold glass of white wine? With a bowl full of crisps? Come on.
Other physical activity. Without putting too finer point on it, I think it's fantastic for stress. Only problem is you have to be not too stressed in the first place to be up for it... I'll move quickly on.
Family. I know I have a tendency towards schmalz, but really, I can't think of a better stress-buster than curling up on the sofa with Youngest, my arm around his little shoulders, his head nuzzled under my chin so I can smell his not-properly-rinsed-out-shampoo, the fire on, (the gas fire!) my other two beautiful boys nearby, Husband asleep and dribbling on the sofa next to me, The Great British Bake Off on TV...
And especially if I have a glass of wine on the go, I've just written one of my lists, I had a nice walk that day, I've talked to my mates, and I'm on to a promise.
Let me know if I've missed anything. I think I need help.
Maybe a shrink?
Love E x