Three years ago the school I work in moved the Christmas exams forward a month to late November. There were many reasons why, which aren't important here, but what it means for me this week is that, given the exams are on, the usual 8am-5pm routine, the flow of my 5 day working week, has been turned on its head.
There are merits to this and it was on those merits my focus lay early in the week. A chance to catch up on sleep, to attack a load of work admin that had piled up, to see some friends and to try and get some headspace away from the hustle of life. I achieved some of that but after Monday what started becoming more pressing was the open time with no plans - a sort of yawning abyss of loneliness. I found myself wandering around uncertain of what to do or who to call. I went to the cinema for pure escapism and found myself getting unusually upset at any vaguely emotional scenes. I quickly became insular and apathetic. I stayed in, ignored invitations, turned down helping hands and wallowed. It wasn't really a choice, it just sort of happened.
Yesterday the same feeling came on again and I faced it. I decided I wasn't going to fall into it. I then broke down in tears walking down a main street. I tried to pull myself together but couldn't. I changed the music I had on with little or no effect. I made it to a friends house and cried on shoulders. Then I ran a 5km race in the cold and in the rain. I finished it elated, a feeling of positivity that has swept through to today.
Perhaps most importantly, I understand what happened, how it happened, why it happened and that it will happen again. That means a lot to me. Recognition and understanding give me strength and if I can learn from the lows then they will become ever so slightly less low. That is today's hopeful thought.