Dear Future Hope,
I feel exhausted today.
My head feels too heavy for my neck. It is all droopy and wobbly. I’m worried that it is just going to give way and my head is going to come crashing down on to my shoulders!
This week has tired me out…and it’s only Wednesday.
It sounds odd but it feels like a good exhaustion. This exhaustion hasn’t grown out of my depression, it hasn’t grown out of a day of doing nothing, it hasn’t grown out of my body wanting to find an excuse to hide away. This exhaustion has come from me pushing myself, proving to myself that I am alive and that I can do things. These past three days have taken everything out of me but they have left me feeling like I am not a failure or a lost cause and, right now, I’ll take feeling exhausted if I know that there’s hope for me.
I had a string of good days at the end of last week. I felt positive and driven and I was able to complete tasks and feel like I was really living and participating. It almost felt like a high compared to how I’ve been recently. It just made me feel so happy and light.
During this high I had a bit of a chat with myself. I have had numerous appointments with my GP, both in the past few months and whilst I’ve been signed off work. We have considered and discussed medication, but during this time I have also referred myself to the NHS’s therapies service and been in touch with the services available to me through my employer (sorry, top secret). I had heard nothing back from either service and felt completely abandoned and lost, in need of someone to help me. I spent the three weeks that I was signed off work really struggling to get a decent grip on the world around me and felt separated, detached, void of any hope or potential of improvement. My string of good days last week (i.e. Thursday when I helped Mum in her garden, Friday when we went to Nanny’s and then I bought a clematis, and Saturday when I had a lovely calm day with Pete) made me feel like I had started to rebuild a bit of my armour, I didn’t feel quite so vulnerable and I felt a lightness that I can only describe as me feeling not rock bottom. Don’t get me wrong, I am not far from rock bottom. But the fact that I wasn’t right at the bottom, the fact that there was clear air between me and the bottom made me feel so far from the bottom that I thought I could do anything. And in that moment, while I felt that I could do anything, I told myself that waiting for help to come to me is not going to make me feel better any time soon. Feeling vulnerable and scared, locking myself away while waiting to be told that I am on a waiting list for an appointment is not going to make me feel better. And even if I do get help, they are not going to make me feel better. They are not going to make me well. No, they are going to help me do that. They are going to provide me with the support and the tools to do the work myself. So if I will be doing the work then how about starting right now? How about showing myself that I am strong, that I am determined, that I am brave? How about standing up to my mind when it tries to trick me into feeling worthless, feeling incapable, feeling out of my depth, feeling undeserving? How about questioning it, pausing for a moment, giving myself time to determine what is really there? How about standing up, standing tall, fighting back? I am capable. I am resilient. I am worthy.
These words are important and it was whilst I was repeating this to myself that I decided that I would go back to work on Monday (or at least try to). I knew that the longer I stayed off the harder it would be to return. So on Monday I woke up early (but not so early that I gave myself time to talk myself out of it, just enough time to get ready calmly and without rushing around) and I chose what to wear and I did my hair and make-up. Then I walked to Asda and bought myself some lunch, then I got in Rupert (my car). It was while I was sitting in Rupert that I had a bit of a wobble, so I called work and spoke to Kelly, who was quite surprised as she didn’t expect me back until next week. She asked me if I was sure I wanted to come in, which obviously came from a nice place but actually wasn’t much help as it gave me a legitimate way of backing down and I was determined not to give up. She told me to drive to work and then if I really couldn’t do it then to call her and it would all be OK. The drive was pretty hellish. My mind was telling me at every moment that I was incapable. As I approached the Pork Pie roundabout it tried to get me to believe that I didn’t know how to do the roundabout. Of course I know how to do that roundabout, I do it pretty much every day! I told myself, no, you’re wrong, I can do this. I can do this. I am capable. The same happened when I had to drive around a row of parked cars, and then again once I’d reached the car park when I had to press the buzzer and wait for the barrier to open. I parked the car (which I also tried to convince myself I couldn’t do) and then had a bit of a wobble once I realised that the next step was to walk into the building. I almost didn’t. Very almost. But I did.
I spent the morning with Kelly in the office. We had a long chat, a bit about me, a bit about her. She said that she only wanted me to work three mornings this week (I did my third today so I’m done for the week) and that we could review how I got on next week to see if I am ready to go back to my normal working hours. It was nice to feel supported, like she understood and wanted to do what she could to help me feel better. I stayed and ate lunch with Kelly, Gill and Deb. I didn’t realise how much I had missed being around them until I was back with them. Even though they normally do most of the chatting and I listen while doing the sukoku or whatever, I know that I am really cared for and that they missed having me around.
It was not easy being back. I felt very nervy, on edge and very over-stimulated. But I felt an enourmous sense of accomplishment as I left. I had told myself that I could do something and then I’d proven that I could do it. It was hard, but I had survived. And that felt huge.
I went through the same thing yesterday. And then again today. I am proud of myself for lasting all three days. But it has taken its toll. I am so tired. And I’m nervous that I will be too tired to get all of my jobs done in time for my Eurovision party on Saturday. I have an appointment with my GP tomorrow morning at the ungodly hour of 8.10am and then I’m meeting Mum and Alfie for some breakfast. Then I want to get on with all of my jobs. They include, but are not limited to, cleaning out the buns and the fish, cleaning the dining room, cleaning the kitchen, finish cleaning our bedroom and tidying the spare room. The front room is already done as I managed to do that after work on Monday while I was riding the high of accomplishment. I just hope that my tiredness doesn’t cause me to think negatively as then I’ll be paralysed and I won’t get anything done.
Oh, I almost forgot. After telling myself that I needed to start trying to help myself as best I can because I won’t be getting support any time soon, I have received an appointment from the counselling service at my employer. It isn’t until Thursday 26th May so I still have two weeks to wait, but I really hope that they are able to offer me something.
I am still feeling pretty positive, not as deleriously happy as I was at the end of last week, but balanced. I’ll take balanced for now. The extremes are exhausting. I am looking forward to the weekend, to seeing Lizzie, to celebrating with my friends. Hopefully that will help me through this week and will keep me up.
Wishing that you know just how capable you really are,