It starts around Tall Girls birthday and seems to wear off just after Boxing Day. The symptoms range from sadness, to being cross, short tempered and grumpy, worrying about his own health and finally (when bad) taking to his bed. He will often blame his mood on Christmas (bah humbug), and years ago when his mother was well enough to travel, I assumed it was her upcoming visit that got to him (not a good relationship there as you may have guessed!) However she no longer comes to stay but the mood continues. The taking to his bed bit, as it happens, usually manifests around Tall Girls birthday week. My reaction to it ranges between sympathy (just a little!) and crossness (mostly) because I don't want her to pick up on how he feels or have anything spoil her special time. I think his reactions are echos from his own childhood and I certainly don't want her to suffer in the same way.
Anyway, last Friday night I came home with the children, after having quite a sociable hour with friends, to find him in bed. From where I was standing he was having a panic attack, but he thought he was going to die.
To cut a long story extremely short, after speaking to a doctor and various other things, he seemed to calm down and eventually all was well. But the dark cloud is hanging over this house. I can feel the storm gathering and I very much hope we're not in for too much of a bumpy ride.