Good evening, Internet, and a Happy New Year to you all.

I seem to have taken a break from blogging over the festive period. I didn’t mean to but it just worked out that way. I was brought up not to speak with my mouth full and as I have spent two weeks fattening myself up for Christmas (and New Year as it turns out), I simply haven’t had enough time between mouthfuls of roast potatoes and gin in which to put fingers to keyboard.

I did attempt a Christmas blog post, and I have included this after the jump. I could have posted it today instead of this missive but it’s the 2nd January and I couldn’t bring myself to do that for the sake of chronological integrity (I am nothing if not particular about chronology. Ask anyone).

Today is the 2nd of January (as previously stated (Clearly I am not particular about repetition (or parentheses))), and so as far as I am concerned it is the first day of 2012. I realise that this sounds contradictory given that I have just made a point of my own fastidious approach to the prevention of anachronism, but internally, this makes perfect sense. The 31st December/New Year’s Eve/Hogmanay (delete as applicable) is like walking to the end of a cliff and being tipped abruptly into the 1st January/New Year’s Day/Hangover Day (delete as applicable). This seems very bad planning. I like the idea of waking up at the bottom of that cliff bright, alert, ready to take stock of the new landscape with enthusiasm, planning my ascent up the next cliff face full of optimism. But to do this, you need a little time to brush yourself down, recuperate from the fall and blink the dust out of your eyes (or, to speak plainly, to down a few paracetamol and hide under the duvet until the vomiting abates – meh tomato tomato). My point is that you need a buffer day. So I suggest that the 2nd of January be considered the first day of the New Year from now on and we just write off January 1st for the wash out that it generally is.

So, time for a few resolutions:

  1. Start new year with a hacking cough – DONE (it’s always good for morale to tick off one resolution early.
  2. Finish PhD –pending
  3. Drink less (I am aiming to be a moderate drinker by this time next year).
  4. Go back to the psychiatrist and explain that the reason I never answered their letters was because of the ADHD they diagnosed and that this is proof of the pudding that is my need for my prescription to be resumed.
  5. Be less neurotic (take it from me, by the end of this year I’ll be updating my blog daily with, like, affirmations of my own positivity and going with the flow and just being generally so relaxed that I’ll maybe fall asleep on the keyboard thusly: nnnnnnnnnkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkllllllllll but hey, who cares, right? Zen.

Right I’m bored of making resolutions now. I will just resolve to try to have a nice day as many times as possible in the coming 365 (one day down but this year is a leap year so I think my sums are accurate). And not to die. I would quite like not to die too.

So continue reading after the jump if you want to see a back-up of my brain from  27th December, otherwise –

 

Many happy returns of the New Year!

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C’est ne pas une pipe

December 8, 2011

Good afternoon, Internet!

Actually, you know what? It is a good afternoon here. In fact, it’s been a good few days here in wonderland. Here are some reasons why I am in a good mood:

1) I finished a first draft of my PhD thesis.

2) I Finished a First Draft Of My PhD Thesis

3) I FINISHED A FIRST DRAFT OF MY PHD THESIS.

4) I FINISHED A FIRST DRAFT OF MY PHD THESIS THANK FUCK !!!!!!!!!! (whew, yep, that’s the one)

Here are some other significant things that have happened over the last few days:

1) I went to the Central London ADHD meeting. It was bloody brill. So nice to meet people of the Internet (yes, people of the Internet, I did not mean to type people off the Internet, since if that is what I meant I would clearly write people from the Internet. Sorry to be a stickler about this, but people have drawn my attention to missing ‘f’s before and because I can’t stand the thought of anyone reading this and thinking about that missing ‘f’ which is, in actual fact, not so much missing as purposefully excluded from the party, I thought I ought to clarify the point early. We all sorted now? Good. Off we go.) Where was I? Oh yes. So it was wonderful to meet people who previously I had only met on the Internet. Shiny was every bit as shiny (in personality, I mean; she didn’t look like she needed a wash) as I expected her to be and more so. Indeed it reminded me that I love ADHDers for their sparkle and the way the everyday world goes into their brain, gets all mashed up like a play-doh fun factory and then comes out of their mouths in weird and unpredictable arrays of colour.

What I loved about Tuesday was the way I could look around and recognise familiar little expressions or patterns of speech. I could tell that people were already thinking about what they wanted to say next when they were listening to somebody else, I could see them biting their lip so as not to interrupt. Of course we are all different people with different lives, backgrounds, and personalities, but it’s like there’s a base level of shared understanding that can be taken for granted and doesn’t need to be explained. There’s something incredibly comforting about that, and something very refreshing too. It’s like a cold lemonade in summer, and a cup of hot bovril in a storm. Not together, obvs. I feel like I really need that at the moment (the ADHD meeting, not the lemonade/bovril cocktail. Bovade. Lemonvril. Ugh). It did me good, and I had a fantastic time. Top bloody banana!

2) Right, I’ve totally run out of time now (am going to buy a small Christmas tree in a minute. I only have six baubles so it is not going to be an extravagant affair) but I do want to briefly tell you about SuperCoach Bev. She’s ace too. I had my first coaching session with her by phone yesterday and not only is she Northern and very nice, she has also proved to me already that ADHD coaching is not the waste of time I feared it might be. In fact, I am feeling quite hopeful. Short of getting myself medicated again, I think SuperCoach Bev might be the answer. I will tell you more about this tomorrow, when I also have some other things of importance interest value total pointlessness to tell you.

In the meantime, I had to share this with you. The other day I got a sign. A sign it was going to be a good few days. I am a great believer in the universe giving us signs. Actually that’s a complete lie. A massive lie. I am not at all a believer in the universe giving me signs (why can’t I tell a lie on the Internet without confessing? What’s the Internet for if I can’t pretend the universe sends me signs???). The universe prob does not give us signs, people. If it does, it should probably be targeting someone a bit more influential than me. Like Obama or Cameron or the people who invent internet memes. It should be telling political leaders to stop fucking up the planet and killing and torturing people. It should be banning Littlewoods from advertising on television and the radio until they can produce something that doesn’t make my brain vomit out of my eyes. Yep, the following, which I saw in the remnants of a vegetable stir-fy, was probably not a message from the universe, but it did make me smile:

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Solidarity

November 30, 2011

 

“A Banker, a School Teacher, a Tory MP and a Daily Mail reader are sat around a table. In front of them is a plate, on which there are ten biscuits. The Banker scoffs nine of the biscuits, then the Tory turns to the Daily Mail reader and whispers in his ear “watch out, that teacher is after your biscuit” -Source unknown.

“Unions: the people who brought you the weekend. And capped working hours. And employment rights and protections. And fair wages. And pensions. And ended child labour. What a bunch of greedy bastards.” – Priyamvada Gopal

Dear Weekend,

You’ve been a long time coming. I’ve not just waited for you since last weekend. You’ve been looming for a while, for months. Until recently, you didn’t really seem real. You have been this artificial point in the road, a make or break, a hurdle to be jumped. You’ve been a built-in trip switch.

Well, fuck you weekend. You don’t scare me and you’re just not worth the hassle. I refuse to allow you, unusual weekend though you may be, to cloud my judgement or blind me to what’s important: all the days and months that follow you. I won’t let you be a part of those.

With love and trust,

Monday evening x

 

 

November 2, 2011

Bah ha ha ha.

Sometimes I like to amuse myself procrastinate by looking back at some of the search terms people used to find this blog. Some of them are funny, some are completely nonsensical and some of them are downright disturbing ( I am talking about YOU here, person who searched for ” the voices in my head are telling me to kill you “)

Anyway, I thought I’d share some of them with you because, clearly, I have nothing else I’m supposed to be doing (ahemm), and although I’m almost certain that you probably do have something better to do, you’re obviously procrastinating too because you’re here. So it’s a win-win situation for us both.

So without further ado, dear Internet, let me present to you….

The Fucked Up Search Terms Awards 2011

There are several awards I would like to make here. I have divided them in to categories. Because that also seemed like a good way to spend an afternoon. First up…

1. Nominees for most fucked up cat search…. (clearly it is the case that 99.9% of the Internet is about cats, or produced by cats. There are feckin hundreds of these but the shortlist is presented below)

how to tell if your cat is plotting to kill you

sneering cat

cat boxing

laughing cat

yoga cats

sneaky cats

cats in cups

marmite and cat

smug cat

clumsy cat

exhausted cat

no shit sherlock cat

cats in clothes

half naked cats

keyboard cat       (yay!!! If you’re not familiar with keyboard cat yet then go look – go on)

cats computer

cat exercise

devouring cat sex

my cat pants

strangling cat     (wtf? Srsly Internet, sort it out)

sex cats

fucky cats

And the winner is……Devouring Cat Sex!!!  This was a difficult decision but I found that the ambiguity appealed to me. Is the searcher looking for footage of cat sex which s/he can avidly devour? Or is s/he looking for cat sex in which the participants devour each other? No idea but it’s a winner.

Ok, next up….

2) Nominees for search terms that this blog Is Definitely NOT able to help you with:

de-cluttering chaos in your home     (ha ha ha, sorry anonymous searcher, can’t help you there)

adult adhd i am fucking lost somebody help

small flat tits    (move along, move along, nothing to see here *cough*)

thing to do inorder to forget scary things   (Who asks the Internet this? Really?)

chip van with two fit girls (wtf..this is very specific. A real shot in the dark that, surely?)

terminal procrastination   (Love this. Both the description itself and the irony inherent in the search itself)

my tea’s gone cold and i’m wondering why? (hahahahahhaha)

messy advice     (I can’t advise you on this. It just comes naturally. Unless you’re looking for a cure? lemme know when you find it)

reminders to bathe (erm…..)

And the winner is……… my tea’s gone cold and i’m wondering why?!!!! Well, it just had to be really, didn’t it?

…Finally, I want to make a Special Epic Search Term award to what has to be the longest search term ever, threatening to bring down the whole of the Internet under the weight of its effort to be SO VERY EXTREMELY THOROUGH:

” emotional flu blog ignoring your feelings pretending something hasn’t happened overeating excessive drinking of alcohol exercising compulsively any type of compulsive disorder always keeping busy so you don’t have the time to think about anything even closely related to ‘emotions’ keeping conversations superficial burying angry emotions or masking them blogspot ”

Yes, people, that is one search term. And although I can’t help this searcher, I would like to put my mirth aside for a second and say that actually, my heart breaks a little bit at the desperation enclosed within those speech marks. I am so sorry you feel that way. I hope you found some better advice than I can offer, somewhere in some dusty corner of google, and that things start to look up for you. If not, google “fucky cats” instead. Everyone else is. Apparently.

Am in a very good mood this morning. There are several reasons for this but here are some of them:

1) I has warmth.

After the painful saga that was having a new boiler fitted back in May, I have been aware that that the heating still didn’t work (I know this because it has been switched on at the boiler ever since but no heat. Clearly, during the summer months, this was fine but I sort of knew it wasn’t quite right and the day would come when this situation would be entirely unsatisfactory), but I was unable to put myself through the stress of having possibly the most stupid and annoying man in the world back in my flat in order to fix it (if this sounds harsh, consider that it turned out that the expensive new boiler was unnecessary as problem persisted even after replacement. Also he put the thermostat on the wall upside down. Fail). Anyway, I was finally driven into action by the cats, all three of whom have been protesting against the cold by burrowing underneath the duvet while I sleep, tracing the letters SOS into the cat litter, and googling the RSPCA helpline. After calling said annoying and stupid gas man, I had to sheepishly admit that no, I hadn’t actually checked the radiators were turned on. Turns out I may be the stupid one. However the main thing is that there is now a cat on the windowsill above every radiator and the flat is toasty.

2) Sobriety

I have been mostly sober for a week now. Mostly. Unless I’m actually drunk, I don’t count it as drinking. This might not seem like a big deal but it is. Not only am I warm this morning, but I am warm and I am not hungover. I can’t overstate the novelty of this. V proud of myself. I’m not going to go into this too much because I’ve wanted to write a post on alcohol and ADHD for a while now. But I drink too much. I know I do. I’m not sure if I have a drink problem as such but my drinking is problematic so I think this is something to which I ought to give some attention in the nearish future. For now, I’m adding ‘prevent slide into full-blown alcoholism’ to my list of things to sort out after I’ve submitted the thesis. Which brings me to….

3) Today is a PhD day

After three days at work, I have today and tomorrow to work on the PhD, and I am full of optimism. I am currently drafting the final chapter. I aim to finish it by the first week of November and then draft the conclusion by the third week of November at which point I will have a complete first draft. It’s a tight schedule but I am determined to do it. Really determined. Once I’ve finished writing this, I’m going to make a herbal tea, sit at my desk in my nice warm study and write until my eyes bleed and my fingers cramp up. No procrastinating, no panic, no stress. Just me and my PhD.

4) Tomorrow is Friday.

Tomorrow is Friday and so if all goes according to plan, I can totally legitimately enjoy a drink having safely banked another 2000 words into my PhD account. Wish me luck.

As an aside: It’s ADHD awareness week apparently. Excellent. I’m not entirely sure what this involves but I’m behind it 100%. Go check out the page here.

A bientot x

Dear J…

January 18, 2010

This weekend was your 30th birthday. It was also 7 years ago this weekend that I first met you. You had invited my housemate to you your birthday party and she had dragged me along despite the fact that I hadn’t slept for two nights owing to an essay deadline. I had made the deadline (just) but was unable to sleep, and just had to sit it out until the caffeine of about 40 coffees had begun to leave my system. They say you meet people when you least expect to.

I was intrigued that you were vegan. It was something I had thought about and dismissed as not being feasible. It was the first time but certainly not the last that you showed me that anything is possible with a little bit of determination. I didn’t speak to you much that night but I remember thinking you were unlike anybody I had met before. You were standing by the stove stirring several different curries, calmly stepping over your friends as they wrestled, naked but for a pair of shorts and a smattering of tattoos, on the floor. You were quiet. I would have been tempted to say shy, but that wasn’t quite it. You spoke when you had something to say, something worthwhile to contribute, but your voice was gentle. This was especially noticeable in comparison with some of the others in that room whose conversation always dominated. I felt their voices like bindweed, reaching out and strangling mine. You were also very thin, I noticed. Since adolescence my boyfriends have been skinny. I think it’s less that I find skinny attractive, and more that I tend to find bigger builds too masculine. You had very dark hair  (though not quite as much as you have now) and dark brown eyes, the colour of chocolate, and they melted when you smiled. I learned from other people that you were in your third year of a music degree and that you played in two bands. You didn’t talk much about yourself.

A week or so later my housemates and I had a house party. You and your friends came round. They were teasing you about your obsessive compulsive tendencies. Somebody opened a computer and pointed to various parts inside it. “What does this bit do, J?” they would ask. And you would reply as if reciting a textbook from memory. I couldn’t work out whether you were unaware of the joke or just pretending that you were. Later that evening, I showed you round the house. I showed you my bedroom which I had just finished painting and was very proud of.

Because I was so proud of it and had only just finished it, it was very neat and tidy. I can see how this first impression of me might have been more than a little misleading. I had furnished it with old fashioned furniture from the local antique/junk shop, and I had a big old armchair in one corner where I was writing a children’s story about mice. You asked about the room and the writing. We sat and talked and I found that I liked talking to you. You were interesting and interested. There was no trace of ego but you were firm and confident in your beliefs. Occasionally we sat in silence, thinking about something one of us had said. Each silence that settled between us made the loose thread beginning to tie us together grow tighter. It was in one of these silences that one of the others came to fetch us back downstairs. You and the boys left shortly afterwards. I stood in the hall and watched you go. I remember thinking that if you looked back as you left, I would know then that this was a beginning. And standing there, framed by the doorway and the winter night, you did.

We’ve had a lovely weekend. On Friday night we went out for drinks with friends and then on Saturday we braved the rain and indulged your love of the city by visiting the Tower of London. Afterwards we went to the Rootmaster bus just off Brick Lane and had a dinner so delicious that it should probably be illegal.

A totally vegan restaurant on the top of an old routemaster. It really doesn’t get much better.

Happy Birthday, J, I love you x x x

2010: I Resolve…

January 10, 2010

Right, I’m sidling up a little late here on the New Year resolutions. But hey, I have ADHD so that’ s ok. Just as my day seems to start  2 hours later than most people’s, and my bills are paid several days later than most people’s, so too will my 2010 start on January 10th. So without further ado, HAPPY NEW YEAR, Internet!

Here are my resolutions for the next 355 days:

1) Finish first draft of PhD

2) Be happy

Ok, so these are sort of vague, but this is a blog about ADHD and many of my posts here end up kinda long, so for my fellow ADHD-ers out there, I thought I’d cut to the chase and keep it simple. However, in the spirit of January hyper-organisation (which inevitably gives way to February lethargy), I have made a list of a series of sub-resolutions which I hope will enable me to achieve those two main goals for 2010.

So, if you’re casting about for some resolutions of your own, or you’re naturally curious, or if you have finished the rest of the internet and are running out of distractions to fuel your compulsive procrastination, then read on. Those sub-resolutions can be summarised as follows:

1. Sleep Well, Eat Well.

At the risk of sounding like a January issue of a trashy women’s mag, I reckon this one is pretty important. I am currently half-way through a two-week detox. Very modern and trendy of me. I’m not doing one of these totally hardcore all-juice diets with skin brushing etc. I just want to be able to get up in the morning without a struggle. Even when I go to bed at 10pm (very rarely) it’s a completely traumatic experience to get up before 10am. And since nobody needs 12 hours sleep and lots and lots of other people manage to get up at 6am on a regular basis and still have a life, I think I need to address this asap. I definitely need to make some improvements to my health and fitness and since I’m an all or nothing kinda gal I decided to go the whole hog and cut out the booze, the coffee (by far the hardest), salt (suprisingly easy since I used up our salt de-icing the steps), processed food, bad carbohydrates, and most other fun things. The result was a horrible headache for the first two days but now I am fully embracing the fennel salads and the chamomile tea. I am even going to bed at about 10pm (instead of 3am) and yesterday I woke up feeling a million roubles. V good start to the year – am patting myself on the back with smug smile (cannot wait to sit down to a lovely Sunday Roast made with marmite roast potatoes though- mmmmmmm). Is J’s birthday on Saturday so am finishing this healthy eating lark on Friday so that we can go out for a nice bit of dinner and a beer. However I am definitely going to allow myself NO MORE than two cups of coffee a day for the rest of the year, and will keep taking multi-vits, eating brown rice, going to the gym (yak) and getting into other healthy little habits, particularly as all these things are supposed to help with the ADHD.

2. Get Organised

Ok, this is another one that crops up on everybody’s list every year but I reckon that it’s worth giving it another go. And let’s face it, when other people say they need to be more organised they’re talking about a whole different kettle of fish to the chaotic life, house and finances of the average ADHDer. In previous years I have spent three days obsessively writing hundreds of lists and crafting elaborate filing systems that even I didn’t understand by the end of the week and had no hope of maintaining. So this year I have devised a simple yet foolproof filofax/google calendar double whammy that cannot fail to help me achieve all my lifetime dreams. No, honest it’s great. Actually I’ll do another post on this. Other things in this category include working through this book and implementing the advice therein.

3. Make Life Simpler

Sometimes I don’t know how much of my problem is ADHD alone and how much is that my life is genuinely cluttered with stuff that I have to do but that I don’t really want to do and that I only have to do because it is something that: a) I didn’t say no to when asked; b) was incredibly enthusiastic about to begin with but predictably got bored with; c) agreed to do out of a sense of guilt; or d) feel that I ought to do in order to be the kind of person who is involved in hundred of different exciting projects while still living in a whirl of social events when in actual fact I just want to stay at home with my cats and my slippers and my J and meet up with some mates to do the occasional pub quiz every so often. Well, maybe I need to find a healthy balance of the two somehow. Nevertheless, I am absolutely not going to say yes to another thing or invite stressful events/people into my life this year. Not unless it would be an unmissable professional/social opportunity, and only then if another commitment can be ditched to make room. Also, I probably need to address the fact that there are a few people in my life who take more than I’m willing/able to give for whatever reason. I need to do a post on that too. Remind me.

4. Trash Clutter

Every single day I hereby resolve to delete junk emails, and emails that do not interest me or apply to me (seminars on Medieval literature etc) and to unsubscribe from email lists that I never bother to read anyway. Ditto snail mail. I will also clear out my wardrobe and excavate my desk. Oh, and I will FINALLY put up the mail organiser/mirror type thing that I bought in 2007 to go behind the front door.

5. Time It

I will use a timer to set myself tasks for 15 minutes. Even I should be able to find the motivation to tidy up for 15 minutes, and if I set a timer when I decide to have five minutes to play on the Internet then I stand a chance of not accidentally losing 2 hours. This might work for studying too. Set the timer for 45 minutes at a time and see how much I can get done in that time. After each of the 45 min slots, I can have 15mins to fuck about. Brill.

I am feeling very positive about all this de-cluttering and have high hopes, which is nice. Maybe it’s all those herbal teas and salads but I feel sort of….happy! Tomorrow I’m going to visit my granny who is currently snowed on. She can’t get out to get any food or speak to people. I’ll be a bit like red riding hood taking her a basket of goodies – hope I don’t meet any nasty wolves on the train to Suffolk. Gotta get up early to get to Liverpool St station so am off to have a bath and read a book till bedtime. Lovely.

Bonsoir, Internet x

And so this was Christmas…

December 31, 2009

Despite the lack of Christmas cheer I was experiencing at the time of my last post, I had a lovely christmas. I hope you all did too, and that those of you going through difficult times found some comfort from the people around you. That’s kind of what this post is about. A bit of a reflection about the people I spent Christmas with. I missed J lots, of course. He went to his dad’s over Christmas (next year we are hoping to spend christmas in the same part of the country although our flat is too small to entertain in and blah blah blah).

Anyway, I went home to the small Yorkshire village I grew up in, and although there are always a few ghosts of your sixteen year old self to contend with when you go home for christmas, I find that these days I can sit round the table with those ghosts in companiable silence. I no longer feel an uncomfortable ache of nostalgia for the person I used to be then. Well. Mostly.

And how can you fail to feel Christmassy driving home for Christmas in this?

Up North

Or waking up in your childhood bedroom on Christmas eve and looking out of the window at the snow.

The village hasn’t changed much. It still has one shop, two pubs, a chip van and, bizarrely, a football ground.

This is where I grew up. It’s beautiful -I just never realised that when I lived there.

I took this picture of the Emley Moor Television Mast on a boxing day walk with my mum. As always, Christmas was Christmas, in the end because I was with my family. Without wanting to sound too sentimental, (actually, fuck it- I don’t care if it sounds sentimental) this is what I liked best about my christmas -playing a family quiz with my parents and my brother; sitting in front of a coal fire with my mum, cats on our knees; my dad helping me take cuttings from some of his houseplants or making soup whilst listening to gardeners’ question time, festive edition.

Speaking of my parents, I snapped these sneaky shots to illustrate where the ADHD in our family comes from. The only real source of mutual chagrin for mum and dad is my dad’s ADHD tendencies – his mess, his compulsive bargain hunting, and his refusal to throw anything out. Ever. Most of the house is really very nice but my mum has to fight to keep it that way, constantly picking up old nails, random batteries, charity shop “finds,” not to mention the debris from hundreds of his “little projects” as she calls them. So the house becomes a battleground upon which my mum desperately tries to impose order onto chaos:

Mum's Order

Dad's Chaos (although he would probably argue that he is making omelets which requires a certain amount of eggs be broken)

You can see how the ADHD diagnosis made a lot of sense for us all. I love how different they are to each other, how they tease each other, how they understand each other and me, even when they pretend not to. I love my dad’s eccentricities, my mum’s tolerance and generosity. I owe my parents everything. I strive to be somebody they’ll be proud of even though I know that their pride and love is unconditional. They have taught me what family can be, what love should be, and I no matter how old I get, I will always grow towards them like plants grow towards the sun.

c.1984

I love you, mum and dad- thank you for another beautiful christmas x x x

Now you mention it, yes, there is something missing...

Warning! Readers of a sensitive disposition may find some passages depressing.

So, according to every major retailer (and also some of those less traditional staple Christmas gift go-to’s  – I’m looking at you, AbraViagra.com), each of whom emailed me this morning to remind me, there are now six days until Christmas. SIX DAYS!

And yet, despite several end-of-term social affairs, numerous glasses of mulled wine, and three (yes, count ’em, three) Christmas cards, I am still not feeling festive. Not in the slightest, not a tiny little bit. In fact, I feel something else entirely, a dull dragging ache. Not exactly dread, although it’s not far off. Just a sort of flatness, an emptyness, like I’m out of sync with the rest of the world, a sort of robot, mechanically wishing people a Merry Christmas whilst wondering with three fifths of my brain whether that grinding irritation in my upper abdomen possibly signals the need for a nuts and bolts check-up and using the other two fifths to try and remember where I put the WD40.

I just don’t get it. I mean, I’m not usually one of those relentlessly excited festive folk. You know, the type who deal with the banality of modern living by exclaiming, ‘Only two-hundred and thirty-eight sleeps ’till Christmas !!!!’ (yes, really. Indeed, the four instances of hyperbolic punctuation I have included here are, if anything, turning down the volume of this kind of exclamation). So I’ve never indulged in the ‘start-writing-xmas-cards-the-day-after-Easter’ kind of festive cheer but I’ve always had that modest little bubble of good-will and cosyness that often accompanies chilly noses, 3:30pm dusks, and the thought of my loved ones opening carefully chosen gifts with one hand while they sip pre-pre-pre dinner sherry out of little glasses that haven’t seen the light of day for a whole year and whose faint smell of dust only serves to highlight the significance of the big day.

Granted, it’s not the same as it used to be. I don’t think it’s possible to retrieve that magical, glowing excitement that the eight-year-old version of one’s self used to feel. And that’s probably the way it should be. I’m willing to admit that the psychiatrist would probably have more than ADHD and a touch of anxiety on his hands if I was still reciting ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ from the 15th onwards, ascribing the voice on the other end of the phone to Santa on Christmas Eve despite all evidence to the contrary (it was actually my uncle impersonating St Nick  – the Welsh accent should have been an immediate giveaway), planning a nutritious carrot-based meal for Rudolph and a somewhat more alcoholic refreshment for Santa (Rudolph totally draws the short straw there, no? But he has to do all the work really. Santa just navigates with a sweep of one brandy-leaden arm that is not dissimilar to the ‘fuck off’ gesture you get at last orders when you dare to suggest that if somebody is making no effort to put any distance between their shirt front and their own vomit, then they’ve probably had enough). *Sigh* Those were the days. Filled with wonder, love, and genuine excitement. I remember being so excited one Christmas Eve that I had to get up at 2am and do star-jumps in order to make myself sleepy (I know the logic there is a bit flawed, but I was only about six so I’ll let that one pass without a full analysis).

I accept that I’m never going to feel like that again and that, framed by nostalgia, there is no point me holding up the childhood Christmasses of twenty years ago as being  the model of Christmas cheer. I do know this. But I would settle for that gently simmering feeling of well-being, humming ‘Silent Night’ to myself as I contemplate whether I have enough Christmas paper left over for each of the presents in my Top Secret Stash of Christmas Gifts or whether I’ll have to resort to Birthday Wishes paper for the last few, or how pretty the tree will look blinking away like a proud hen atop its nest of clumsy yet lovingly wrapped parcels. Most years, once the shopping is done, the cat-sitter booked, and the logistics confirmed, I look forward to Christmas – to the over-eating, the family time, and (most of all perhaps) the legitimate time off from studying.

But this year? Nothing. Zero. Zilch. Zip. Partly, I think, I am truly exhausted from the end of term. By the last day of term I felt as though I had no energy left for anything else, like I just wanted to press pause on the whole world and sleep until the will to live came back. But I couldn’t because I was already a month past the deadline I had agreed with my supervisor in a fit of optimism and had got to the point that I was no longer replying to her emails because I couldn’t bring myself to respond without attaching something that justified the wait. So I had to produce something but when I finally sent her 9000 words (desperation, apparently, makes me quite prolific), I felt even worse because that 9000 words was 90% utter crap. I waffled for 8000 words in that meandering, ‘if I keep writing I might work out what it is that I want to say’ kind of way, and then I ran out of time, energy, and patience all at the same time so I sent the bloody thing just to get it out of my sight. So now, far from experiencing the satisfaction of a job well done, I cringe every time I think of  her reading it and am dreading ever having to reopen the document. Bleugh.

So perhaps it’s just a case of it being difficult to change gears and go from ‘fucky fucky fuck, fuck – it –  y –  fuck’  to ‘fa la la la laa, la la la laa’ in three days with only some panic-fuelled Christmas shopping in between during which Slade’s hyper-festive wail of ‘It’s Chriiiistmaaaaas’ served as a soundtrack to the strangled silent scream of my hyper-anxious heart. What I need, I think, is a few good nights sleep. In the meantime, here are some things I am going to do in a last-ditch attempt to feel Christmassy:

1. Have a bath.

A long, long bath. With imaginary candles. Imaginary, because this time last year I forgot to switch the bath off and flooded the flat downstairs. Adding real candles into the equation is pushing the ADHD risk assessment too far into the danger zone. Nevertheless, a long, hot bath is in order. Not least because it has been several days (I seem to forget to bathe when I am writing), and I imagine I have some of those comic-book squiggles decorating my person like an unpleasant aura.

2. Decorate the flat.

I don’t have a Christmas tree. But remember that avocado plant I started growing last spring?

3. Make some mince pies.

If that doesn’t work, nothing will.

4. Have a girls’ night in on the mulled wine and the ‘festive spirits’.

Fortunately, I have just such an appointment arranged for tonight. Love those girls, love ’em.

I’ll let you know how I get on. Hopefully you’re all feeling exceedingly Christmassy and need no such encouragement from me.

And if all else fails? Get yourself down to Homebase. I hear they have seasonal offers on crockery, portable heating, and Christmas cheer…

Season’s greetings (of a sort) xx