Your head is pounding. Your hands are shaking. That's definitely a pain in your chest. It could be a heart attack, you think, as you rub the back of your neck, which, by the way, feels like iron.
Your husband's taken refuge in the shed, your daughter's bawling in the bedroom and you, according to the website you're currently browsing, are exhibiting several common symptoms of stress.
Overeating and possible obesity is another manifestation of the condition, you read. Dismayed, you throw the remains of your sixth chocolate chip cookie into the bin, but quickly retrieve it when you realise it's the last one.
Averting your eyes from the crumpled packet lying beside your keyboard, you decide that its presence is proof only of your appalling stress levels.
The Wolverine has not taken kindly to being told that you'd rather boil your eyes than allow her out in public between 9pm and midnight in a teensy micro-mini, some kind of halter top and a pair of purple hooker-heels borrowed from a friend.
A friend, she informs you wildly, whose mother is a normal person and not a control freak like you.
Then she runs upstairs, the stilettos clattering on the wooden steps.
Other manifestations of stress, says the website, can include loss of appetite and baldness.
You ring your sister. She, lucky thing, has a pair of lovable twin girls aged three who never sleep and a few little black lines under her eyes. Pshaw!
You unload your barrel-load of woes.
"Look," she says wearily, after about an hour, "at least you're getting some shut-eye."
When her girls grow up, you warn her, she'll have more to worry about than lack of sleep.
Things aren't worse when kids get older, your sister observes in a lordly tone -- they're just different. How would she know, you snarl.
There is a pause and then your sister tells you that it's already 8.30pm and she has to go to bed. She hangs up abruptly.
There's a rustling noise. You whip around. It's the Wolverine, glaring.
She was going to say sorry, but then she heard you giving out about her to Auntie Josephine.
Listeners never hear good of themselves, you retort.
The Wolverine departs.
You ring your mother. She chuckles.
"You were always hanging around with your ear to the keyhole," she says. "Then you'd come barging in, furious because we talked about you behind your back."
You clear your throat.
"That's not the issue here," you say.
Pot, kettle, black, observes your mother and hangs up.
Health & Living