The Marvelous Moods of Midlife Meg

Moods moods moods. Moody mornings, moody Monday, moody Mom.  Moody Mom on Monday Morning. I am like a depressive Berenstain Bears book.

Sometimes the moods are fun, zippy moods, where everything cracks me up and I’m friendly to strangers and downright goofy with my daughter.

Sometimes the mood is just a black cloud hovering over my head, Charlie Brown-style.

I used to take mood medication, but I quit. I took it on and off for about 15 years. No, I’m not embarrassed to share that with you.  Half the population is on anti-depressants, and if we’d all just admit it, there’d be a lot less secret shame in this world.  (Secret shame feeds the collective bad mood.)

Since I quit the mood medication—and by the way, I’m not advocating that anyone else quit; that is between you and your doctor—I have noticed that I have to re-learn self-control. I feel that bad mood coming and I feel the big giant anger and I want to kick and scream and shout ugly things, but I’m a grownup, and I’m well, so I CAN stop that behavior.

That doesn’t mean I always do. I lose it when I’m driving, when the dog pees on the carpet, when my boss loses it first (he started it!) and worse, I lose it in front of the kids. Sigh. Sorry, kids.

But, for the most part, I manage. I reel in the rage and the f-bombs and I don’t explode…but I’m left with the mood. I get to work with my crappy mood and I log into Facebook (so productive!) and see all the fun you had this weekend, with your cute, skinny friends and your cocktails…or you, on your vacation with your well-established husband, and I think CRIMINY, what’s wrong with me? Where’s MY cocktail? Where’s MY husband?  A few minutes down that path, the Charlie Brown cloud threatens to crack wide open and become a full-fledged, non-cartoon, tornado-type storm, with flash flooding and cows in the air and EVERYTHING crashing down.

I can stop this behavior, too.  Reach for the gratitude, Meg. Some days it’s a gratitude umbrella, some days it’s a gratitude life raft, but either way, it looks like this:

  • Two healthy children
  • Best family ever
  • Super awesome co-worker
  • Job with a paycheck
  • Car still starts
  • And so forth…

Sometimes I don’t actually feel grateful; I still feel grumpy. But the process of stopping and counting my blessings interrupts the mood spiral and gives me enough space to change my focus.

If that doesn’t work, there’s painting. I’ll tell you about that in another post.

What do you do to dispel a bad mood?  If anyone is actually reading this, let me know.