It’s been a while since I posted one of my pieces from the Feelgood in the Irish Examiner. This was last weeks edition, inspired by the mid-term break.
Last week I was struck down by a dreadful condition which affects large numbers of the population but most are unaware of its existence.
The condition I refer to is called ‘Mid-term.’
What is it?
Mid-term is a condition affecting mainly the parents of school going children. It flares up approximately every six weeks or so throughout the school year, typically striking a few days after parents have congratulated themselves on having their lives in order. Its symptoms are particularly severe during the winter months when the days are cold and wet and children like to play indoors.
Mid-term is a condition which affects both parents but symptoms can differ greatly. It is believed that those with young children or multiple children experience the worst effects. While the parents of older children are not immune, their symptoms are generally not as severe.
Since discovering I have this condition, I’ve spent many hours on Google trying to understand it, but it would appear to be a hidden affliction of which I alone am the leading expert worldwide.
How do you know if you are suffering from Mid-term?
Have you ever been asked, ‘What’s wrong?’ and you’ve answered, ‘Mid-term.’ If so, you can be sure you are a sufferer.
What are the signs and symptoms?
These vary from person to person and not every case of mid-term is the same.
Symptoms often begin at least one week before the main event and are usually brought on by the appearance of a note in a child’s homework journal or a throw away remark about the children having no school the following week.
Initial symptoms include a sudden high pitched shriek often followed by a run to the calendar. In some cases it may lead to a semi collapse possibly accompanied by moaning and the holding of head in hands. In extreme cases the sensation of a heart stopping has been reported.
Over a period of days symptoms tend to progress, sometimes at an alarming rate. Sufferers experience feelings of annoyance and dread which may escalate to a feeling of impending doom, most commonly brought on by hearing the weather forecast for the week ahead is for rain.
As the body does its best to cope there may be brief moments of joy when the prospect of no school lunches, drop offs or collections are remembered. It is not uncommon for this joy to turn to full blown mania at the idea of no homework for a week.
However, as the days pass and injuries are suffered from stepping on discarded Lego or toys scattered about the floor in every room, this mania lessens and in some cases has been known to swing to thoughts of violence towards teachers who have holidays. It is important not to panic at such thoughts as to date there is no known case of anyone suffering from Mid-term causing actual bodily harm to a teacher.
How to manage Mid-term?
Knowing you suffer from Mid-term is the first step to learning to cope with it. Plans can be put in place to manage the worst of the symptoms by predicting when an attack is likely. One of the best ways to do this is by use of the ‘Calendar method.’ This is a simple method whereby you can predict Mid-terms arrival knowing that schools never open for longer than six weeks at a time and usually close either side of a bank holiday. Clever use of this method can ensure you have grandparents, relations or unsuspecting friends at the ready for mental health days.
The effects of Mid-term generally last approximately ten days, peaking mid way through. There is no known cure but many suggest taking medication by day and alcohol by night can help sufferers to cope.
It is rarely fatal.