It is my first day back and I am on a break.
It has been much tougher than I expected and I feel on the verge of tears.
I had some lovely comments from staff and pupils which have made me feel welcome. And yet I feel so displaced, unsettled. Like I don’t belong here anymore.
I suppose the only way I can explain it is that I thought it would be like putting on an old pair of shoes again: they would feel different to what I usually wear but comfortable too, particularly once I had got used to them again. Instead they feel like shoes that no longer fit, that actually aren’t as comfortable as I remember.
When you have depression, when you have a breakdown, you lose yourself: the person you were; the things you liked and disliked; your reactions and the way you coped with life.
For me, recovery wasn’t just about finding myself again but about tweaking my old life to prevent this from happening again. I suppose by going back, I’m trying to fit new me into an old me shape. Does that make sense?
I can’t change my job. I can’t leave work. Nor do I really want to. But today I feel trapped and lost at the same time. Work is familiar yet unfamiliar too. It is disorientating. It is displacing. It’s horrible.
Do I keep pretending? Roll out the same behaviours, expressions and tools that made me, once, so good at this job? Will that shoe finally fit again? Or does it need breaking in anew?
So, I lasted until 2pm then I came home. I couldn’t take anymore. I know I should feel proud for lasting that long but it feels like I step backwards. I really thought that it would feel like I had never been away but it didn’t. I was told to not be hard on myself – this would a good start. Let’s hope I feel that way tomorrow.