Disclaimer – this blog entry has been extremely hard for me to write, so please be kind.
I’ve known deep down for a while now that I’ve been slowly sliding into an unhappy place, those who read my blog probably knew it too. I’ve been panicking, losing sleep, and worrying over everything and nothing. I woke up during the night several times last week with tears running down my face, and I have no idea why. I found myself restless, unable to relax and wandering aimless around the house at night.
Once again I felt I could only inhale and not exhale. Simple decisions were getting harder, getting dressed for work was starting to feel like a chore… as was brushing my hair. Once at work I’d get distracted straighten things on my desk… shifting my stapler 3mm to the right so it aligned with the edge of my monitor, rearranging a stack of papers from the left hand side of my desk to the right and all the while constant emails and phone calls streaming in asking me where I was up to with things, had I done things yet, could I do this, this is due now, this is due tomorrow, followed by meeting after meeting and no time for actually doing. This isn’t my employers fault, this is down to me and how I’m churning through all the information in my mind, once upon a time I did all of this just fine.
I turned up an hour earlier to my standard doctors appointment last Thursday, I don’t even know how I got the time wrong, I need to see the doctor and now I was going to be super late for work. The receptionist (who I’ve never met) held my hand across the counter and said “I think you just need a break, you should just sit and wait for your appointment and have some time out.” I hadn’t realised I was wearing my pain on my face, but I took her advice and sat for an hour waiting for my appointment. While I was sitting in the waiting room, at times alone, the receptionist walked over to me again and said “you need to be kind to you”. This was by far my weirdest ever doctors appointment, and trust me I’ve had some weird one’s (I used to see Dr Suresh in Hamilton). How did this woman know? How could she tell? I was pretty convinced I was holding myself together brilliantly.
I sat hundled in the corner of the waiting room, wearing my puffer jacket and scarf almost like a protective armour. Finally when it was my appointment I shuffled into the doctors room. Before I even opened my mouth to speak she said “things aren’t good are they?”… she was right. I told her what was going on with me, and after I finished speaking she asked what I was doing for the day. “Going to work” I told her, to me it seemed like a bizarre question, she knew I worked full time! My doctor looked right into my eyes and said “No, you’re not. No, you need to go home and rest and relax” she must’ve sensed my panic when she told me this (I can’t just NOT go to work, there’s so much to do… what about co-workers I can’t expect them to do my work). She explained what she could see and implored me to take the time, and that she would supply a medical certificate.
I’d never thought things would get so bad that I wouldn’t go to work, at this point I felt truly crazy and worried about what everyone at work would say about me. Nothing has ever upset me more than the thought of people talking about me, and I knew not going to work would definitely be the cause of conversation. However, as a wise person once reminded me “It’s none of your business what other people think.” Holding onto that statement, and knowing that people were only worried for me I acknowledge the doctor was right and agreed to take the time off work, initially thinking she just meant that day and I’d be back tomorrow. She looked at me, with a mum type gaze, showing she was truly concerned for me and said “I don’t you back at work tomorrow or all next week either. You need time.”
A WEEK… ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING! I couldn’t take a week to relax, that sounded like giving up or running away. I can’t avoid work forever. Sensing my panic at taking a week off we agreed to me going back to work Tuesday, however she would catch up with me Monday to confirm she was still happy with this. I felt like all my strength and been sucked away and I was sudden very human and very vulnerable.
After making my phone calls to work, saying I wouldn’t be in, I stood outside the pharmacy waiting for my script and soaking up sun while trying to make sense of everything. I was visibly shaking, what would happen to me? While I waited outside the pharmacy , a woman who was also waiting at the doctors while I was, walked up to me and said ” I just want to hug you and make everything better. You’ll be okay. You just need to look after yourself”. This was odd, I’d never spoken to this woman and she hadn’t be around when I’d spoken to the receptionist. I really thought I was holding myself together, but I guess not.
I’d got ready for work that day, and then I found myself driving home sobbing because … well because the charade was over, because I felt defeated, because now everybody would know. I got home, climbed onto the couch and lay there staring at the wall for four hours before finally watching a movie.
I slept a lot of the next five or days, I did random chores, some writing and watched some chick-flicks. Figuring out what to do with myself on my time off was tricky, I didn’t want to “relax” too much, after all I was meant to be at work but people kept asking what I was doing to get better…. and nothing seemed like the wrong answer.
For me now the most frightening thing now is the attention, and I know it only comes from a place of concern from friends and family… but in all honesty I just want to ignore this, be treated like normal and battle on in my own way. I know people have been discussing me and what’s going on, and I’ve received all the text messages, emails and voicemails but I just don’t know how to reply. I don’t want to be the focus of anyone’s attention.
Thank you to my friends and family who have shown me so much kindness this past week, sorry if I’ve seemed non-responsive, I don’t really know what to say anymore. I know you’re all concerned but don’t worry I’ll be fine.. I brownie promise!. Thank you for the evening walks, phone calls and emails. Thank you to my work family for helping with my workload. Thank you to the love of my life for being my pillar, my strength and home.