What are you like on a bad day? Do you get grumpy with people, retreat into your own headphoned world, comfort-eat ice cream, get a little short a little more often?

We all have bad days. Sometimes there’s a reason – someone did something out of line, the rain soaked through your shoes and you’re stuck in wet socks for the day, it’s a Monday. Sometimes there’s no reason and you simply wake up in a bit of a mood. Either way, bad days happen to us all.

But a bad day with the black dog… that’s more than comfort-eating ice cream. A bad day when you’re living with that black cloud over you can so quickly turn into a day when you are short not with others but with yourself, where you can find no retreat in your world, where you question your very value to anyone and everyone. Bad depression days are hard.

This week I had a bad day. And, somehow in a way that makes it even more of a kick to the teeth, it was a bad day after so many good ones. So many good ones that I had dared to think the black cloud might just be retreating once and for all. Until the bad day happened. I woke up feeling tired. I caught the bus in the January cold with a headache making my eyes hurt. I got to work and cried at my desk. I left work and cried on the bus. I got home and cried in bed. Some people I told about my bad day; others, I knew they were having one of their own and so as much as all I wanted was a hug, I did not ask for one.

I wish I had asked for that hug.

One a bad day I can still be crying long into the night, because sometimes when the floodgates open it can take a while to force them closed again. I want to sleep but my body doesn’t want to let me. I want to be hugged, but I don’t want to be the person that asks for a hug. I want no one to know I had a bad day, but here I am writing about it anyway. Why? Because however bad a bad day is, it is not a bad life. It is not a bad person. It is not a failure or a weakness or a mistake or a shame or anything other than just a bad day. We all have them. Mine just look a little darker sometimes. So I am going to tell myself what I tell those I love on their bad days – it’s okay. Maybe if I write it in black and white, I might just believe it. And maybe someone else out there will know, too: it’s okay to have a bad day.

Because – and here’s the best bit – ‘today’ doesn’t last forever. Yesterday was not bad, tomorrow will be better, and what’s twenty-four hours in a lifetime? Just one day. And there are so many good days to come. Here’s to those good days.

What do you like to do on a bad day? How do you keep the black dog away? Share your ideas in the comments below.

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