Sometimes I get to feeling a bit maudlin. Often there is no clear reason for this. It may be merely that a friend has been a bit offhand with me. I may be worrying about a patient. Other times I absorb the mood of those around me - feeling unsettled and sad because a friend or colleague is unhappy. Sometimes the feeling I have is most like loneliness. I miss spending time with my friends - time that is just no longer available now that we have children.
When I get in a funk, I wallow for awhile. I soak up cuddles from my kids, and have to resist the urge to cling to them. I go over events in my mind, I think about everything that I dislike about myself. I fantasise about quitting work. I whine to Fatty and my friends. I wallow.
Inevitably, because this is just a crappy mood and not depression - (so no comments suggesting drugs or therapy, please!), I stop navel-gazing. I lift my gaze and see the real problems in the world. I try to think of what I can do for someone else, to make someone else's day easier, happier.
I'd love to say I do things for others because I am such a good person, but the truth is I try to make small gestures (make a cake, send a card, deliver dinner to a sick friend) because it gives me a sense of purpose, and makes me feel good. Of course I want to help out, but I'm also getting high on this sense of purpose - filled with joy at doing something for someone besides myself. I can highly recommend it as a cure for those transitory blues.
So today, instead of considering how I feel, I am going to consider how everyone else around me feels. I'm going to try to make a difference to someone else's day, no matter how small.
Yesterday, a close friend listened to me, empathised, and restrained from telling me I was a silly selfish cow. Now it's time to pay it forward.