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I have (had to) become acutely aware of the vagaries of my emotional states since becoming a teacher, as personal emotional stolidity is a prerequisite for effective control and guidance of my typically unreflective charges. Most interesting has been the revelation that my moods are almost entirely determined by the quality of my previous night's sleep and the nature of the stimulation that my brain had to endure prior to plunging into the abyss, with watching football on a bright screen in a dark room worst - certain to unleash the black dog - and empty-headed relaxation with the curtains drawn and nothing on best. Even better is to force myself to retire before I feel it absolutely necessary: I awake the next day full of nothing less than the 'joy of being alive' - perhaps the body reveling in its own health. Despite knowing this, and of discounting too, I still rarely manage to impose an early curfew.

I now take my moods to be primarily physiological phenomena, making the drawn-out, angst-ridden interpretations to which I was once wont seem utterly ludicrous, and find that, should I fail to be sufficiently rested, a reminder that 'nothing is what it seems' suffices to prevent me from rash decision-making. I take my original confusion to lie in the fact that whereas physical pain typically causes emotional hurt, it is difficult to notice this when the locations of both coincide - after all, a stubbed toe would never occasion a midlife crisis.