Avoir le cafard

CockroachI was feeling a little low last week. For a few days, everything seemed sort of overwhelming and pointless. Guess you could say the cockroach came to visit.

‘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?


  1. davidprosser · May 7, 2015

    I’m sorry to hear you were on a downer Mel, it’s really no joy is it.When my cockroaches move in they tend to make it open house inviting all their friends and relatives to join in. It makes eviction a bit harder, but when the last one is gone it’s like I could conquer the World..Funnily enough though the last time I tried that and invaded Russia they didn’t seem to keen. It was a case of BogOffski Kamerad. They just don’t know what they’re missing. I’d be a Beneficial Dictator banning all wars and promoting glasnost.Maybe I’ll invade somewhere closer next time.
    I’m glad you’re feeling better this week after your work went through. I hope your husband is soon home again and you can resurrect your plans.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    • MELewis · May 7, 2015

      Leave it to you, David, to offer sympathy and hilarity. A beneficial dictator you would be indeed. Long may Lord David reign as king of the world! 😉 Big bises xx

  2. Liz · May 7, 2015

    Of course you know Mel that you are not alone! I thank God for the new day we get every 24 hours…. A chance to start again! It really is a gift! Liz 😊

    • MELewis · May 7, 2015

      Sure is Liz, and one that Mom also appreciated! Cheers!

  3. BigLizzy · May 7, 2015

    Oh, sweet Mel.

    This is lovely. I stand beside you, sis. I totally get it.

    In every word you offer, the heart in you shines, despite the pain, despite the cockroaches, the darkness. I often tell myself that it is through my deepest wounds that Source/God enters and does the greatest work. Your willingness to be vulnerable is a sign of your true courage and gift.

    It’s through the pain that we stretch ourselves and re-emerge transformed, better, stronger, the Phoenix from the ashes.

    You burn bright, my friend. Even in your darkest moments. And, it is all of us who enjoy the light that you continually cast outward.

    I’m holding your heart today, sis and every day. Bises!

    • MELewis · May 8, 2015

      So true, as always, Lizzy dear. The darkness is normal, so why do we resist it so much? Sometimes I wish I could just go with the flow and take the down days in stride…but when they hit, it’s like the end of the world! Thankfully, having people to share it with who really get it makes all the difference. Thank you for your words of support. I feel better and stronger knowing you’ve got my heart! xx

      • BigLizzy · May 9, 2015


        It makes perfect sense for us to resist pain and darkness; that’s a reptilian process, my lovely friend. So, don’t beat yourself up over it. At some point in a depression cycle, I like to breathe into the pain and see what’s there for me, but I’m not always able to do that. I do it when I can. Sometimes, like you, all I can do is just lie there and hold on for dear life, waiting for it to pass.

        Whatever you are doing is right. Whatever you are doing is enough. It takes real courage to be here in a body and hashing all of this out. So, you are free. You are always supported, connected to spirit, and safe. All of us are. I love knowing this. I love seeing you in my mind’s eye as the truly resplendent, uplifting, and abundant light-worker that you truly are at your core. It makes me smile with happiness. You are always well. Love, your friend forever, Lizzy.

  4. Mél@nie · May 7, 2015

    ❤ Mel dearest, we come across a cockroach(or more!) one day or another… j'ai un énorme cafard depuis 2 jours, but I've chosen and decided NOT to "impose" it – to anyone… N.B. I'm not tellin' you this as a "prix de consolation"…
    * * *
    yeah, we all have bad days and des idées noires, what makes the difference is how we handle and how we get to control them… as we're all different and unique, so our reactions are personal and particular to each "cafard", situation, circumstance… bon courage, try to stay positive and remember that everything is temporary(relative)… ❤ lots of friendly hugs, Mél@nie
    * * *
    P.S. if you have some spare time and envie: 🙂

    • MELewis · May 8, 2015

      It’s always surprising when the ones who share so much light reveal their darker side. So sorry to hear the cafard is with you at the moment, Mélanie. Sometimes I think that the transitions between seasons make it harder to cope – your ‘bad day’ post written just before winter, mine in mid-Spring….But I am sure you will bounce back soon brighter than ever. Bisous xx

      • Mél@nie · May 8, 2015

        mille merci, MEL! ❤ it's not quite a cafard or a "dark side", je suis "partagée": one of our 2 "old babies"(sic!) has just moved across the ocean and it's kinda surrealistic, even though we did know it would happen some day – sooner or later, but it's been sooner…
        * * *
        bonne-nuit & bisous back… ❤

      • MELewis · May 9, 2015

        Know the feeling. It happened ‘sooner’ to me…our eldest left for Canada 7 years ago. He was only a baby (18) and it felt like my heart was ripped out. Now, he’s coming back home for awhile. No matter how far they wander, there’s a chord. Don’t worry, you’re allowed to feel down but I am sure it will all work out! 🙂

  5. Osyth · May 10, 2015

    Banish that beetle and feel happyier soon 🙂 x

    • MELewis · May 12, 2015

      Must be working, Osyth, as this week is much better. Thanks for your thoughts!

  6. butterflyface · May 13, 2015

    The cockroach.. I’ve never heard this term and I love it.
    I have a Bear climb on my back, I big heavy grumpy Bear. When I can no longer function with him there, I just fall back and allow him to envelop me in his thick warm soft fur and use him as comfort until I recover my strength to chase him away; and I always do 🙂

    • MELewis · May 14, 2015

      Thanks for sharing, Butterflyface. Hope your bear is off your back or at least keeping you warm!

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