Epic rage


Yesterday I almost killed my own child.

I woke up foggy headed after a lovely evening out with Rosie. We went to a friend’s wedding at a stately home in Hampstead. It was pitched perfectly. An intimate gathering, a short ceremony, some live piano accompaniment and a special reading, which turned out to be the Owl and the Pussycat – the perfect combination of whimsy and romance.

Rosie spent the evening playing with my friend’s daughter – an old friend who no longer lives in London. I spent it chatting to people I’d never met before, all of whom were welcoming and engaging.

I was in a fine mood, and when dessert came along, I took an antihistamine to pre-empt the unpleasant effects of eating chocolate cake and creme-fraiche (I’m allergic to wheat and dairy), and enjoyed the rest of the night.

Fog and mirrors

The next morning, I woke up heavy headed and irritable. It took me a minute to remember I hadn’t drunk anything the night before (since I don’t drink any more), and another minute to remember I’d fallen asleep at the very decent hour of 10pm and couldn’t possibly be tired.

I got up, did my usual crazy work-out while Rosie had her breakfast, all with the intention of taking her to her swimming lessons. As the day progressed, my mood became increasingly darker. I found myself snapping at Rosie. Snapping and apologising, snapping and apologising, careering from one emotion to the next like a ball bearing in a plastic pinball machine.

After swimming, I did some music with Rosie, but as always, she was reluctant and silly. Each time she dallied or refused to play when I asked her to, the blood rushed to my head. I felt like Bruce Banner – no joke – about to pop my shirt. Any minute I was going to turn green.

At one point, I ran to the kitchen, and in a fit of rage, dashed a bowl in the sink, strawberries and all, sending chips of pottery flying. I did it because I didn’t want to hurt Rosie. I felt out of control, dangerous, murderous – and exhausted.

I don’t want to remember the things I said to her. They were awful, hateful things. It was like a storm had swept into our flat and churned me up until I was spitting venom. Then every so often, the winds would drop and I would kneel in front of her, saying: ‘I’m sorry, Rosie. I don’t know what’s happening to me. Something’s wrong with mummy. Forgive me. Stay away from me.’ And then a gale would sweep in and I would lose sight of her again.


I couldn’t understand it. I was terrified and confused. And then I wondered about the antihistamine I’d taken the night before. I looked up ceterizine hydrochloride – a common ingredient in many antihistamines, like Zirtek, and one I take frequently for my food allergies. Apparently, it has certain side-effects, one of which is fuzzy-headedness, exhaustion and rage.

I thought back to previous occasions when I’d taken ceterizine hydrochloride, and could recall a number of occasions where I’d felt similarly groggy and irritable – although nowhere near as intensely as this time.

By the time Ben arrived for his usual weekend visit, the worst effects of the drug had dissipated.

This morning, I woke up feeling much as I had the Friday before, happily reading to Rosie, cuddling her and being firm with her without losing my temper. It was a classic Jekyll and Hyde moment –  one I have no wish to repeat. I’d rather suffer the allergy than turn into that monster again.


7 thoughts on “Epic rage

  1. Wow, that’s scary! Good thing you’ve figured out what caused such a mood so you can avoid that particular antihistamine in the future. And yes, maybe you should talk with your doctor and see if there is something else that might work for you without those side effects.

  2. Pingback: Stupid lonely me | married to an alcoholic

  3. Pingback: Why don’t you just admit you hate me? | married to an alcoholic

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