'What's mithering you?'

Have you ever heard the verb 'to mither'? My dictionary (not Wikipedia!) describes it as of northern English derivation and meaning "to cause unnecessary worry or bother'' as in ''such-and-such a thing is mithering me''.

It's a word I learned from my grandparents on my late father's side, who moved down to Worcestershire from West Yorkshire in the early-1930's in search of work. They used 'mither' a lot and it's stayed in our family's vocabulary ever since; even Mrs Warrior, who is of Irish ancestry but was born in Birmingham, uses it.

She used it this morning, when I was having one of my regular low moods. "What's mithering you?" she asked as I sat silently gazing into my cappuccino. My usual response (everyone's usual response?) is: ''Oh, nothing.'' But this time, I explained. I told her about something that has been hanging over me since February. In my brighter spells, I brush it off, look at all the possible outcomes and concentrate on the positive ones.

On days like today, I convince myself that only a negative outcome is possible; I let this thing 'mither' me.

Now I know you can train your brain to think more positively. I know we have something like 80,000 conscious thoughts a day and that 80 per cent of them will never happen. But those concepts assume the existence of a 'normal' brain. A damaged brain, one affected by a stroke for instance, is very different.

I wrote last week about a couple of the lasting effects of stroke, one relatively trivial and one less so. My mood-swings are perhaps the most difficult for me (and certainly for Mrs Warrior) to deal with. On my low days, nothing will snap me out of it; I will sit in an armchair staring into space, ignoring (or worse, shouting at) Mrs Warrior, shouting at the dog and the cat (like they are listening, lol) and generally being a pain to live with. 

The number of relationships or marriages which break up after one party suffers a stroke because "he/she is not the person I married" is frightening. And of course I'm not the same person that Mrs Warrior married. I've gone through a horrific and life-changing event (several, actually) and lived to tell the tale. It's obviously had an effect.

But Mrs Warrior and I will celebrate our 28th wedding anniversary tomorrow (July 21), assuming all my usual provisos about getting through today and waking up healthy in the morning. Excuse my language, but that is one hell of an achievement these days for any couple, never mind a partnership who have been through all the stuff we have.

And the marriage vows do say "for better, for worse......in sickness and in health'' don't they? We're going out for a posh meal to celebrate. I promise I'll try not to let anything mither me for at least 24 hours......