“I’M so stressed. My life is so stressful. This is so stressful.”
I gathered that my daughter was under some degree of stress.
There she was, lying on the sofa, arms covering her eyes and moaning like a banshee.
“My life is gone to shite,” she said. “I’m going out!”
With this, she peeled herself off the sofa, grabbed her headphones and slammed the front door.
I have to say, I was a bit relieved that she had gone, thinking that the fresh air and a good old bitching session with her friends would do her some good. How foolishly optimistic was I? Within the hour, she was back, her mood even more thunderous than when she’d left.
Turned out that rather than getting sympathy from the girls, she had a rip-roaring row with them. The argument was apparently over which one of them was the most stressed. Drama queens, each and every one of them, no-one was going to win the competition over who could moan the most.
She had then phoned her father, who told her in no uncertain terms to shut up and get on with it. There ensued yet another row.
By the time she had returned home, she had wound herself in a black knot, as my mother would have said. My mother would know about such things, having raised nine of us. She had put up with a house swirling full of teenage hormones and moods over the years.
My daughter, having slammed the door on the way in, took herself upstairs to her room. The sound of Taylor Swift and Ellie Goulding was soon pounding through the floorboards.
“Ah,” I thought, “that’ll cheer her up.”
Wrong again. She came barrelling down the stairs, threw open the kitchen door and made an announcement.
“I know what’s wrong with me,” she said. “I’m tired, I crave chocolate and I’m in a foul mood.”
Jesus, how insightful, I thought – a rare moment of self-knowledge.
“I have diabetes! I Googled my symptoms and I definitely have diabetes,” she shouted, delighted that she found something that would feed her hypochondria.
Now, if my mother were here, she’d tell me to pay plenty of no-notice to such carry on. Limbs would have to be falling off before she’d even think about listening to our ailments. As a nurse, she knew it was best to stand back and see how mysterious illnesses unfolded before she’d take any action.
“So, when am I going to the doctor?” my daughter asked me.
“Darling, if you look up Dr Google, you’re likely to be diagnosed with just about anything,” I reasoned. “Give it another go and I bet you’ll have leprosy.”
“Oh, for foook’s sake, mother! I’m sick, I’m stressed, I’m not myself. Can’t you see?” she roared back.
But all I could see before me was a perfectly healthy 15-year-old who’s in the middle of her mock exams and who’s stressing like crazy over it.
At least there are just two more exams to go. Hopefully, then, some level of normality might resume.