I’ve been a bit tetchy lately.
My usual laidback, calmness personified state of being has not always been in evidence as I’ve grappled with what I can only describe as “Aaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrggggghhhhhhhh!”
I don’t think I’ve been as bad as the angry folk the acerbic Charlie Brooker identifies, but it is safe to say that frustration has loomed large on my personal horizon since Christmas.
As a result, everything from the cat’s noisy cleaning techniques (he had a few teeth extracted a while ago and squelches as he attempts to suction up the grubbiness on his fur) to the inability of motorists to signal at traffic junctions, sent me into seething little rages. The impatience which causes people to attempt to enter the Cross-City line train carriage before it has stopped at the station saw my blood pressure rise way beyond normal.
I wished all kinds of hell on the chirpy assistant at my local supermarket who insists on making comments about almost every item I purchase and in the next breath bitches constantly about her working conditions and employers – she probably says: “Cheer up, it might never happen” a lot too.
I cannot even begin to explain what I wanted to do to the scutter who deposited a half-eaten bag of chips and half empty can of lager in our front hedge.
In short, all of life’s little trials and tribulations were getting to me a lot more than they should. Life is too short, after all, to get so wound up by the sort of chirpyness and chippyness displayed at the supermarket.
I know the cause of my frustration – it is ME/CFS.
My wife endured a miserable post-Christmas period as she battled both CFS and a belligerent virus that refused to go away because her illness has decimated her immune system. I had the same virus and it went away after a week or so, but it lingered languidly and lengthily in my wife so that she effectively remained bed bound for a month.
The double whammy knocked her sideways and I felt unable to do anything useful – the absence of that magic wand again.
My sense of frustration and mood wasn’t helped by a visit to our local GP surgery and a rather disinterested doctor (not Rachel’s normal GP) whose body language even as we walked in suggested she didn’t want to listen – when does a vocation and a calling become just another job?
It intensified still further when Rachel showed signs of finally getting over the virus, only to be laid low by another dose a few days later.
But, it is good to talk. I had a long chat with Rachel and managed to start putting a little perspective back into my world.
We returned to the GP surgery and got a much more sympathetic and professional response second time around. Rachel’s second viral attack is easing and she’s getting her sparkle back – not to mention her creative urges.
I managed to drive down to Cardiff and back in a day without a single outburst at another motorist. The cat now deserves sympathy rather than sharp words as he recovers manfully from a fox attack.
Even the chirpy, chippy supermarket woman didn’t manage to get under my skin, despite her cheeriness at the picture on the front page of the newspaper I was buying quickly giving way to a complaint about the staff canteen facilities – I didn’t care in the slightest, either about what she thought of the person in the picture or what she does for her lunch, but I still managed to smile and nod in a suitably shallow way.
So have I banished my big ball of frustration?
I hope so. I miss the laidback me.
The frustration will still be there, obviously, as my wife’s illness and the impact it has on her will not be going away any day soon.
But there are more important things in life to worry about than bad drivers, annoying people, slurping cat noises and all the other petty little grievances that get thrown up.
Taking my wife out to enjoy some of this winter sunshine, for example, is firmly at the top of the list.