I’ve been in a bad mood for a week now. The universe seems to be conspiring against me. Bad things keep happening, creating a kind of chicken and egg scenario. Am I in a bad mood because things keep going wrong? Or do things keep going wrong because I’m in a bad mood? You know the theory: send yuck out, get yuck back. I’m like Pig Pen, only instead of dirt, I have a cloud of negative energy surrounding me. Don’t come                                                 into my force field if you know what’s good for you.

Recently, an unsuspecting friend got sucked in. When she came to the door, I was struggling to get my wheelchair, myself, and a bag of garbage outside all while keeping Frankie in. Hearing her voice, he pushed past me. Once outside, he took off down the street. My friend gave chase, inspiring him to greater speeds. And she left without food. One thing I know about Frankie — he doesn’t care who you are or what you have to say unless there’s food in your hand.

While they circled the block, I stayed inside to stew, worry, and generally be useless. Unfortunately, during the first few moments of Frankie’s escape, with everyone outside and the door open, Bella had seized her own opportunity. When I managed to get back outside (in full-blown panic,) I found her tiptoeing across the carport. I scared her back in with lots of yelling and foot stomping, just as my friend and Frankie came back, Frankie leading the way. He walked in of his own accord to collapse on the tile floor, dirty and panting. I’m not sure she ever caught up to him.

The day before that, I spilled milk all over my legs and the floor. And the day before that, a bag of dog food. It tipped over in my lap and of course, I made it worse trying to right it, sending kibbles flying throughout the kitchen. Frankie was helpful during the cleanup in both instances.

To understand how this happens, first you need to realize that pictures don’t do me justice. You really must see me in action to begin to understand just how uncoordinated my handicap makes me. The other night, for example, I planned to read in bed when I threw a pillow onto the floor. It hit the cord of the ceiling fan light, sending it up into the blades (which were spinning.) The cord broke and was whipped across the room, leaving Bella and I on the bed in complete surprise and darkness in a matter of seconds.

Enough is enough. During the season of merriment, when everyone is at their jolliest, I don’t like being the bah-humbug type. So, I researched some cures that guarantee to banish the blues. If you’ve been grumpy too, here’s what you might be missing:

Exercise – It’s long been known that working up a sweat releases feel-good neurotransmitters, like endorphins, into the brain.

Vitamin D – When the days are shorter and the weather’s worse, your body could be running short of “the sunshine vitamin.” Upping your intake can rebalance your mood.

Friendship – Feeling alone can only increase bad feelings. Don’t isolate yourself. Pick up the phone and call a friend.

Fish – Try to have 2-3 servings a week of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish or take a daily fish oil supplement.

Chocolate – Some sources say to cut back on sweets to avoid suffering from a sugar “crash.” Others point out all the wonderful ingredients and properties, including mood-enhancing dopamine, that make chocolate good for you. Guess which take I’m going with?

Having just finished a nice bar of chocolate and making a lunch date with a friend, I can feel the cloud beginning to lift. I think my funk is starting to fizzle. I even think I’ll listen to some (dare I say it?) Christmas carols.