iTunes is working now, but my mother told me Saturday afternoon, once I’d sorted it out and happily charged the old iPod back up again, that she hadn’t wanted to leave the house and go to a fitness class that morning in case I (and let’s open some quote marks here) ‘went into a fury’. Apparently, she was afraid my ‘fury’ would be not just furious, but also ‘damaging’ and ‘uncontrollable’. I thought it was funny at first, but then I thought about it and got pretty offended. She thought that the loss of my music would be enough to trigger me into, say, setting fire to the garage? Into ripping up all of our bedlinen? I don’t know. I think I just got offended because it makes me seem kind of petty. I wasn’t going to go into a fury, incidentally; if she’d gone out I’d have sat down with part four of the Aeneid and done some hard-core Latin revision for a while.
So, that got me thinking. I know since finding out I’ve got some well-hidden depths she’s been treating me like a fragile vase (‘not too stressed? Not too angry? You’re OK, right, Su?’), but that’s just because she loves me. I’m in a sensible frame of mind right now and so I know that’s true. Catch me some other day and I’m sure I’d be convinced she hates me and hating her right back, but today, nope, I know she loves me. That’s why she’s so paranoid about me lately: she doesn’t want to leave me alone when I’m irritated and angry because she doesn’t know what’s happening to me. I mean, after I spoke to my GP for that first time, he called home and told my mother that her eldest daughter was hearing voices in her head, hallucinating, trying to kill herself, and self-harming. She hung up, walked out into the hallway looking like she’d just returned from World War One, and said in a very strange, wobbly voice: ‘Suzanne… I didn’t realise you’d been hearing voices in your head…’ And I got mad at her, because I hadn’t known the doctor would call home, and I felt patronised by that phrase, and I didn’t want her to know, and I don’t self-harm, and they weren’t in my head, I’d told the doctor that, they were outside my head. No one was listening to me. I felt like I was just being treated like a crazy kid, and that wasn’t what I wanted.
Getting back to where I was originally going, I simply never realised that my mother perceives me as the kind of girl who might fly into such an out of control rage. I’d never realised she might be afraid to leave me on my own for fear of what I’d do to myself and everything around to me. And I definitely never thought she thought I’d do this over iTunes.
With this still hanging over me yesterday, and with me and my friends being stuck in a long queue for this…
… going nowhere and going there slow, I decided to see just how many people would hypothetically agree with my mother. Let’s get a re-enactment going:
“Hey, guys, would you say I get mood swings sometimes?”
“Ha!” says Lucy.
“What?” says I.
“What, like bad ones?” because her and Ellie are practically wetting themselves laughing at this point.
Ellie is vaguely nicer than Lucy about such things, so she says: “Sometimes, right, you’re just like really jokey and laughing and then you’ll be like not joking anymore but we’re not sure why, and you seem really angry. But we’re not sure if you’re joking. And you get angry about it.”
I watch a shrieking party of hyper twenty-somethings heading off into a dark tunnel in a plastic log and contemplate the deeper meaning of this. I don’t see one.
“Let’s just say I don’t want to get on the wrong side of that side of you!” she says, and starts laughing again. Lucy is still cracking up.
“They’re scary, Su!” Lucy’s not stopped laughing, but she’s watching me when she says it, all wary-like; she thinks I’m about to turn right now. She thinks she’s overstepped the mark and triggered Scary Suze. She makes me feel like Jack Torrance feels at the end of The Shining, when Danny and Wendy are terrified of him but trying to act normal, so he doesn’t start having ideas about those roque mallets they have in the Overlook’s shed.
So that was me told.
OK, I know my moods swing like Rush at Thorpe Park. I vaguely know that they’re not quite the same as the ones other kids in my year get (I’m not sure how different, though, because my evaluation wasn’t very useful at telling me how much of what I’d felt was psychosis-related and how much of it was hormone-related). I know they snap around at least five times a day usually, and I suppose I know that they’ve got to be pretty obvious, because I’ve seen my friends withering and hiding, and when I still had bolshie friends (all my bolshie school friends deserted me last year after a series of mega-fights: now all my school friends are very shy, low-self-confidence types, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it means that when I’m being angry and rude and seriously out of order they don’t throw it back in my face, they just sit there and take it and wither) these bolshie friends would get mad too, because I was being unreasonable, and we’d have huge raving arguments over such pressing matters as biscuits, and carrots, resulting in deep hatred on my part and seething irritation on theirs.
This is the problem. I know I fall into screaming arguments just as often as I fall into other realities; just as often as all my self-esteem deserts me for someone more worthy of its attentions; just as often as I end up sitting and crying at the wall for no real reason and just as often as I get angry without a purpose too. I know all this. I just never realised I was scary.
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