Weird Headspace

My head’s in a funny place at the moment.

Yesterday, yet again, I woke up feeling low. This, in itself, is not a bad thing as I have recently been through a period of severe depression and mood swings. ‘Low’ is a lot better than things have been! But low is also disappointing because I have recently also had a few ‘normal’ days where my mood felt basically OK. I had hoped that everything was leveling out and I would benefit from a period of stability again.

It feels like a long time since I had a period of stability. In the bad old days, in my late teens and early twenties, I was all over the place for most of the time. But with effort and support things gradually improved and I learnt to ride the periods of depression without making life-changing decisions like quitting a job or a relationship. Then came periods where for many years my mood was pretty level, and things improved further as my mood began to shift in response to events rather than erratically and for no apparent reason.

Lately, though, things have been getting weird again. I find it quite frightening to be in a place where I don’t know what I am going to wake up to. And the low bits are almost worse than the depressed bits. When I am depressed there is simply nothing I can do except cry in corners – I can’t work, or contact people, or motivate myself to do something. I just have to hope that I don’t do anything stupid.

It’s hard to explain what ‘low’ is for me. I was trying to unpick this with the friend I was on a day out with yesterday, and failed miserably. I just wake up feeling flat and sad, and am prone to bursting into tears when faced with the smallest thing. But also, as I said to my friend, ‘low’ is not an insurmountable thing – if I go somewhere or meet someone I can feel quite happy and well for the period when I am busy. The trouble is that as soon as I get home or am alone again, I feel that deep sinking inside and everything is an uphill struggle.

Our day out, by the way, was wonderful. We went to a Heritage Open Day at North Lees Hall in the Peak District – a very quirky place with ornate plasterwork featuring arms holding onto branches of oak and, even more strange, legs above light fittings in bas-relief. (Apparently a previous owner lost a leg and decided to represent this for evermore in the plasterwork of the living room!) The house also has the most beautiful and ancient spiral staircase made of elm, and has literary connections with Charlotte Bronte who visited and used the building as the basis for Thornfield Hall in her novel, Jane Eyre.

But, true to form for my low days, the moment I got back home from the lovely day out I felt completely flat again. I was weepy and uptight about little things and could not settle. The joy of standing at the top of Stanage Edge with those stunning views and the company of a good friend seemed like a lifetime ago. I went to bed early with a cup of tea and tried to read myself to sleep.

If anyone has advice for me about how to approach low days, it would be entirely welcome. Learning about other people’s stories has really helped me, and the mutual support I’ve received has kept me going through some tough times. But perseverance is hard work and sometimes the daily grind of simply keeping going feels just too much to bear.

In the meantime I will share a few photos from our lovely day out. Maybe it will redress the balance a little towards the positive side!

01 North Lees Hall - Plaster Leg! 03 North Lees Hall - Frieze - hand oak leaves 05 North Lees Hall - Elm Spiral Staircase 1 08 North Lees Hall - Window detail 15 North Lees Hall 1 25 View back to North Lees Hall 27 Beginning Stanage Edge


Swapping pine beds with my son when he moved house. Lots of things to unscrew and large pieces of bedframe to fit into his capacious car! It took ages, but was a lovely excuse to spend time with my only offspring.


My lovely day out with my friend and the beauty of Stanage Edge.

© Anne de Gruchy

3 thoughts on “Weird Headspace

  1. I believe that one’s mood going up and down (even for no apparent reason) is simply part of life’s rich pattern.

    I can certainly identify with that flat/slightly low feeling and wonder if our mid-fifties hormones are playing a part (how did we suddenly get so old?!).

    Recently, my own life has been on a more even keel, following a few years of various crises with Mum and teenage children; I think that we can get used to being in “emergency mode” and consequently feel quite flat when things calm down,, especially when you’re not at work and having a whole set of mini-crises there. You’ve certainly had your fare share of recent stressors (eg Lawrence’s op) and may be feeling flat in the aftermath.

    Then there are the increasing number of sad/challenging events that are affecting friends and family, even when they don’t directly impact on us. I’ve had quite a lot of this recently and now don’t feel as safe and secure as I once used to.

    And of course, there’s food/nutrients and exercise … . I read a good book on this recently and have made an effort to change my diet (a bit). A few supplements were also recommended, which I think have helped.

    Best wishes

    Karen X

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Anne
    The one thing that really helps me when I go through “low” times is acceptance. I don’t know if it is the same for you, but when I’m feeling low, I get super anxious about it. I get upset at the fact that I’m not feeling happy, which ends up keeping me in the low place. When I can let go and just let myself feel low or blue, I seem to come out of it a lot faster.

    I hope you feel a bit better today.


    • Thank you Kim! You are absolutely right that acceptance is the answer. I call it ‘sitting with’ how I feel. I wrote the post at a time where the ‘lowness’ just seemed incessant – I was getting really fed up with trying to keep plodding on – day after day, week after week. These last few days have been brighter. It’s so lovely to have a supportive community out there – thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

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