Today is Monday. Last Friday we had visitors, a family friend of my husband from way back who I’d met a few times before. With her were two of her friends who she was staying with and who had known the area when younger. I was fine with it, showing them around the garden and our home, ‘chatting’ about what we’d done to the property since we’d moved in five years’ before.
Thinking about it now I know there wasn’t much ‘chatting’. I talked facts. I only spoke with one of them at a time and usually, when outside, when we were distanced from the rest of the group. Indoors I addressed myself to each of them as individuals. A bit like an interviewer eliciting information or responding to questions in a very focused way.
Three days’ have passed and I’m still feeling exhausted. I’ve been weepy each day. I’ve been more jumpy, sensitive to noise and light. More sensitive to perceived irritations of the mind and the body. I’ve dropped more things. I haven’t engaged with the crafts that I would usually immerse myself in and opted for simpler food combos that don’t need too much prep. But the main change has been that I’ve fallen asleep in my chair after lunch.
In the past when these changes in me had been apparent I put it down to low mood brought on by unknown factors. I’d be irritated with my husband for his (constant) questioning about the reasons. Sometimes – often – I’d lash out verbally or physically, sometimes both. A mood, a backlash, that came from nowhere. Now we both know what’s happening and where it’s come from and how to deal with it. We can even name it: ‘social exhaustion’.
As soon as you learn something’s name you can start to take control over it. This is the powerful message behind the folk tale of Rumpelstiltskin. This is why I’m not against labels because these can often be the key to research and knowledge.