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Dear Diary – last week

Disclaimer – this blog entry has been extremely hard for me to write, so please be kind. 

Dear Diary,

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.

Love

Dee
xoxo

Join the discussion

  1. Ailsa

    Don’t feel you have to tell anyone anything. If the truth be known, most of us have days like the one you had. Good on you for having the courage to seek advice/help. Keep shining and smiling 🙂 Stay strong. xxx

  2. Rochelle

    Xoxo

  3. Sarah

    Another excellently-written, honest and brave entry. Sounds like you need to stop feeling like you’re doing something wrong by feeling like this. When somebody overworks and doesn’t eat well, they catch a cold. Whatever has lead to this has lead to you feeling this way. You feel how you feel and you need what you need, don’t feel guilty.

  4. ash

    Oh Dee, I’ve followed you long enough to recognise you going through all the same things I went through years ago. You walk around with a big mirror in front of you. Did you know that? You know how you’re always afraid of what people might say when you leave the room? How you interpret every little gesture, face, or utterance as personal to you? It’s because of that big mirror. And unfortunately because you don’t like yourself very much, and haven’t for many years, everything going on around you becomes interpreted through that lens. Everything becomes evidence that you’re ‘not good enough’ – even things that have nothing to do with you.

    I don’t have a solution for you (it took me more than 10 years to get over my own self-loathing… many stages throughout) but I can tell you two things that I think might help you;

    Have you heard of toxic shame? It means that you think there’s something wrong with you, through and through. It means that you constantly feel like people are looking at you and judging you. I have it, and I think you might have it too.

    Shame by it’s very nature makes us want to hide – or hide ‘it’. But do you know that by ‘hiding it’ – or covering it, or ignoring it, is only reinforcing its shamefulness?

    So when you have toxic shame, if you try to ‘think positive’ and ‘be a better person’ – sometimes you only feed that shame, because you’re ignoring it, and covering it, or trying to change it.

    The way I got over my toxic shame was to embrace all the things I hated about myself. And to own them. Sure they weren’t lovable things, or nice things, but if no one else could love them, at least I should. It’s like a ‘fight for the underdog’ thing.

    I hope that makes sense.

    Secondly – getting rid of that mirror. There are methods for this they will teach you in counselling but of course they’re always easier said than done. I can recommend something that really helped me; acting classes with Michael Saccente, the Meisner method. Acting classes teach you to focus on other people and they take away all sense of being self-conscious. Michael’s classes are based in the Mt Albert area so if you cannot make it, maybe try to find another local acting class where they use a similar method. I know it sounds scary (I had a panic attack my first class!) but if you can push through it’s a great way of removing that big ol’ mirror once and for all.

    Best x

    • Dee

      Wow!! Thank you so for the feedback guys … talk about food for thought!!! I’m definitely all about finding away through this. Watch this space!!!

      Acting Class certainly sounds like something I’d enjoy. Once upon I fancied myself as an actor… or a writer.

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