‘Avoir le cafard’ (literally, to have the cockroach) is the how the French say they’re down in the dumps. They even turn it into a verb: cafarder (which, by the way, also means to snitch on someone). It is the opposite of how you are supposed to feel: ‘Avoir le moral’. To be in good spirits.
You will often hear the French say: “Ça va? Tu as le moral?”
Most of the time I do. I am an optimistic, happy person. But we all have bad days, occasionally even bad weeks.
I had a job to hand in and it felt too hard. I was afraid of failing and therefore put so much pressure on myself that I became a self-fulfilling prophesy. Then, my accountant made a comment about how I needed to consider whether it was really worth working freelance if this was all the money I was going to make (he didn’t put it quite that way but that was how I took it). The same day my husband announced he was going to the US this week, throwing a bunch of plans we’d made into havoc.
That was when the cockroach moved in.
It was nothing that others haven’t felt before me. It seems the expression was coined by Charles Baudelaire back in 1857, 100 years before my birth, inspired by the way les idées noires (black thoughts) have a tendency invade your brain rather like cockroaches infest a home. Come to think of it, if I really did have cockroaches in my home, that would be depressing.
The good thing is, at least with me, the cockroach never stays too long. I was able to pull myself up by the britches (“Failure is NOT an option!”), stick my nose to the grindstone and deliver the job the following day. The client is happy. I feel much better. And my accountant actually made a good point – one that is causing me to reconsider my priorities – how hard I want to work and how much money I need to earn doing it.
Le cafard packed his bags and left. I found this video and played it to celebrate.
Makes me realize how hard people with depression have it.
The fact is, we all have our shit to deal with. Mine is: fear and anxiety, a noisy and often negative inner dialogue, a tendency to blow my stack when feeling stressed. But the beauty of having a bad day is that, almost always, the next day is better.
How about you?