Day 2 – sleepless

I had every hope that I would sleep well last night but I didn’t. I mean, a long day of packing and travelling…stress…weeks of not sleeping..

The room is comfortable enough. Nice bed, air conditioning, blackout blinds. Unfortunately, I overlook a motorway and so that is what I could hear most of the night.

I turned down the air conditioning as that was loud too – it just helped me hear the road more!

It’s not just that, of course. There are a million and one things in my head still. Will my transit flight be OK today? Will Wildcard be there waiting for me? Will he calm once I’ve arrived?

Will everything feel as it did, or better? Or worse?

When I first met him, I had known him 3.5 months. 3.5 months of talking daily, mind you, multiple times a day.

Now, it has been 19 months.

I’m staying for two weeks and I think this will say a lot. He is not on holiday so will be working. This won’t be a holiday, it will be daily life with him. I’m perfectly happy with that because I get to see the truth.

I’m also worried about work. What if they find out?

But then…what else could go wrong? They don’t want me back. They’re trying to be difficult so I leave without the conditions I’m entitled too. They’ve caused me this stress and anxiety. So much so that this trip is as much about getting away from it all as it is seeing Wildcard. Well, almost.

So, after being up at 5.30am, I eventually went back to sleep and then went down for breakfast. Happily, there were gluten free options!

Gluten free rolls

Unfortunately, unlike yesterday’s bread, these clearly had been cooked in the microwave. They were chewy. I only ate one (which was all I had asked for) and was happy with fruit and yoghurt.

So now, I will shower and prepare. Happily, I can stay in my room until 12 so I have some time to prime and preen. And to try to squeeze everything in my case again.

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Sleeping Beauty

I’ve dreamed about school over the past two nights. Strangely, about my primary school, not where I work. Or worked.

The first night, I dreamed I was helping out tidying, and I sneaked a look into the attic. Inside were boxes and boxes of memorabilia, items from the last. O couldn’t set foot in the attic because the floor was made of split bamboo canes so it was precarious to walk on. (Even in my dream I wondered how all the stuff was up there). I saw children’s ballet shoes and reminded myself about my little ballet bag as a child.

Last night I was back at the school again. This time, the school was renovating a classrroom/kitchen. I was helping to peel wallpaper. There was much discussion on how it should be decorated with people changing their minds. I carried on with what I had initially been asked to do. Then it was open evening and parents and small children were there. I walked around with my school ID and explained I was there to support the children.

I kept wanting to leave though as my dog was locked in my car. I had stayed longer than intended. I kept walking round the maze of the school, trying to find my handbag and keys. At one point, I was asked to help as a first aider- a woman had a hole to size of a ping-pong ball in her arm. There was no blood.

I eventually found my things and spoke to the new Headmistress of the school who congratulated me on my work stripping wallpaper. I toured th school with her, pointing out how it had been altered since my time there. I then let my dog out of the car, and walked him towards the school field where a carnival was starting. He turned into a pony, as things do in dreams, and some students of my current school petted him.

🕥

So it is 10.30am now. I’m still in bed. I haven’t walked or jogged or even had my coffee.

Yesterday after a really positive start, I slid into exhaustion. I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I waited patiently for my union rep to get in contact as he was making the first move to me leaving. He contacted me at 2.30 to say a meeting was planned for today. I then went back to sleep.

This morning, I slept through my alarm. I woke at 7.45am and hurriedly got my youngest ready for school. Once his dad had picked him up I went back to bed and to sleep. I woke again at 9.45 when Wildcard called me.

He knew something was wrong – when doesn’t he – but I didn’t want to talk as I’m not sure what is wrong myself. Only when he mentioned the meeting did tears suddenly appear.

I still haven’t got up.

My head is woozy and all I want to do is shut my eyes again. I’m thirsty and hungry and I know if I take the dog out I will feel better but I just can’t. My sadness is like a weight in my head, dragging me towards sleep. I’m tired of everything and everyone. Even Wildcard.

Will I wake from a long sleep, the worst over, beautiful and with a full and happy life ahead of me? My body clearly thinks so.

I did it!

This morning, I got up at 6.15am. I put on my exercise clothes which I had set out the night before. I got my dog on the lead, started the podcast and completed my very first session for the Couch to 5K NHS programme.

I’m proud of myself.

What I noticed:

  1. I love being put early morning in the sunshine.
  2. Having everything ready was a great motivator.
  3. My dog enjoyed it.
  4. I probably need to be out earlier to avoid other dog walkers and to feel less self-concious.
  5. 60 seconds of jogging isn’t as long as I thought it was.
  6. I couldn’t brisk walk by the end.
  7. My legs felt like jelly on the last run.
  8. Completing a 6 minute stretch routine at the end helped.

Tomorrow is a rest day but I’m going to go out again for a leisurely walk and do some yoga.

It is only 8.45am and I could go to sleep!! I found it really hard to get to sleep last night, maybe because I knew I was getting up early. I aim to be in bed by 10pm tonight.

Other developments which caused my insomnia are that work called me yesterday and requested a meeting on Thursday. I have a meeting with my union rep this morning to discuss and plan.

I know I can’t go back. There is a war in my brain as I keep thinking I could, this isn’t happening, I’m over-reacting. But then, I consider the truth. I had one day off for a migraine and I was sent a letter offering a settlement to leave. This was before I had phoned the doctors for a sick note. I need to face the truth that they just don’t want me.

I’m leaning more and more towards the tutor business but I’m scared. How will I make enough money? Where do I even begin?

I think, once the meetings are over and the settlement is signed sealed and delivered, I will feel better and resolute and ready to go.

For now I’m going to take a shower and hopefully wake up.

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Erm….no.

Have you read my last post? Please do. You will hear me tell you that my antidepressants have really helped me stay calm today, on the third anniversary of my dad’s death.

I’ve spent the afternoon crying and anxious. So, no it hasn’t numbed me.

Then just to top it off, work called me before. They have received the Occupational Health report – I haven’t- and the big academy boss wants a meeting on Thursday. Instantly, I felt sick.

I’ve called the union guy but no response as yet. I’ve been anxious and nervous ever since.

And no, Wildcard has still not discussed his borders opening and his desperation to see me as soon as possible.

Ok, then.

Mud

Ever had one of those dreams where you are desperate to get somewhere, or away from something, and even though your panting and sweating and giving your all, you are not getting anywhere? It is like your feet are in quick sand or mud and there is nothing you can do about it.

I’m living that at the moment. I know I need to keep busy. I know that there are lots of things that I could be doing – should be doing- in regards to a new job or career. Motivation is like the tide at the moment – sometimes it is there, sometimes it is not.

Today, I didn’t want to get up. I haven’t logged on to my online course. But I did finish my painting and I have worked through another few chapters of my self-help book. I also, finally, picked up my increased medication.

The book has made me consider all areas of my life and what I am not happy about. It has then asked me to write down all the excuses I have for not doing something about my unhappiness. Fear and confidence seem to play a big part. No surprises there then.

But, I am not going to get anywhere unless I do something. And that is what the book is about – motivating yourself through the fear, the lows and the mud-wading dreams.

It is also interesting to see where I can’t change things because they are out of my control. Most of my concerns around Wildcard are just that – things out of our control. I wish knowing that stopped me worrying. It doesn’t. And out of all the areas of my life, it is the one I worry about the most. Well, until all this bother with work.

Work. What a sticky yucky mud-fest that has turned out to be. An area of my life that I once had really pride in. Now? Here are my choices…

  • Go back to work and ‘fight’ for my job whilst watching my back and being very aware that they want me and my expensive salary gone
  • Quit. Find another teaching job. There are few teaching jobs at this time of year and none at my level. Unlikely they will want to pay me for a standard teacher post as I am too expensive.
  • Quit. Try tutoring. I’ve no idea if this is enough to keep me afloat financially.
  • Quit. Get out of teaching completely. How transferable are my skills?

It is a mess. And of course, I am getting differing advice from different people. I’ve wanted my own business for along time but, savings are few and I am alone in this.

I will never know unless I try. I’ve had two weeks of intermittent wallowing. I’ve another two weeks off. Time to put my all into trying. Wish me luck.

Fight

I’m exhausted but I keep going to bed.

I’m medicated but I am still sad.

I’m fighting and I’m losing.

Well, it is more like a stalemate. At times, anxiety is completely kicking my ass. But the fact that I am trying…well, that has to account for something.

So, what is my battle plan?

  • I’m getting up and following my face and make up routine. Even though I didn’t want to.
  • I’m still showering (I didn’t last time.)
  • I’m keeping in touch with people better (not hiding away yet).
  • I’m looking for jobs.
  • I’ve applied for a job.
  • I’ve planned a business
  • I’ve bought a domain name.
  • I’m doing some housework each day.
  • I’ve started a course and enrolled on another.
  • I’m trying to get out the house each day.
  • I’ve bought and am reading a self help book.
  • I’ve completed a financial review.

Anxiety’s counter attack:

  • Tight chest and panic attacks
  • Can’t sleep at night
  • Wake multiple times in the night
  • Constantly thinking about what has happened and my predicament
  • Keep finding myself in bed.
  • Don’t want to get up in the morning.
  • Doubting everything.
  • Worried – even more – about my relationship
  • Can’t trust people
  • I want to be alone
  • I feel scared – a lot.
  • My eating habits are bizarre.
  • Sometimes I just …sit.
  • I could do more on my business but I can’t.
  • I could apply for more jobs, but I can’t
  • I keep crying.
  • I probably need to take the increased medication I have been given but I haven’t yet.

And that’s it. That’s my daily battle, minute by minute.

Me, trying to make myself carry on and do things and be proactive.

Anxiety, making me tired and paranoid and crushing my chest like a vice.

My sick note runs out on Tuesday. I know I can’t go back. I know I need to use this time wisely. I just need to win the battle first.

Be better: be bold

I would like to think it is my strong will and determination that is the force which is clawing me inch by inch out of the black whole. I’m not convinced. It may just be the medication.

Armed with the resolve that o can’t let my children see this beat me, I have tried this weekend to be positive. Sometimes it has worked, other times it has not.

This morning, I conducted my recorded interview. It was ok. Not quite what I had read about but I was confident and said what I could in the very short count down for each question. I wasn’t myself, I know that, but I did the best I could in the circumstances. There are two more rounds until the final interview. Now, only time will tell.

Do I want it though? It is a career I have been considering for 20 years, on and off. I believe I could do it with some training. I like that it opens more opportunities than teaching.

I have always wanted my own business though. I’ve had many ideas for businesses over the years and have never even tried to pull one off. I once had the idea of a database of local, trusted tradesman. Kind of kicked myself when a year later, someone else had had the same idea AND the guts to put it into action. No doubt it is a multimillion pound business now.

I just want to live comfortably. I want to be passionate about what I do. I want to do it my way and learn from my own mistakes, not someone else’s. I want control over what I do and when.

What is stopping me? Failure. Not making enough money quick enough to survive on. It is a real threat and yet one my anxious brain keeps putting off. I have time, I have time.

Is there ever a better time to be bold than now?

Kick

Wednesday was a day of promise and productivity. Thursday was a slump day that slid into a morose Friday.

I’ve bought a book from my favourite motivation speaker, Mel Robbins. I couldn’t read it. I’ve still got my online interview to complete and two courses to start. I did neither.

Instead, I meandered around the house, aimlessly trying to find motivation only to somehow find myself back in bed. My settlement letter finally arrived – recorded delivery, so they didn’t need to keep calling to ask if it had arrived.

My cat walked in dripping with blood from an unknown source. A £220 trip to the vet later and we are still hoping he will be ok.

I had two missed calls from an unknown mobile number. No messages left. That had me in an anxious state for hours until they called back and it was Occupational Health organising a meeting.

And whilst the celebration of Eid means my gorgeous boyfriend is less hangry and tired, three days of family time means reduced time for me. He still called and text regularly and told me he loved me and missed me, but calls were short. I know I am being completely selfish here. I just really needed him and wanted him.

My sister chose this week to have another argument about him. Whilst inunderstand her caution and wariness, the only arguments she has for me not being with him are:

His nationality

Her disbelief in long distance relationships.

Hardly concrete arguments. I said she is prejudiced and negative and whilst I understand her concern, she doesn’t need to bring it up all the time and be critical without just cause. Apparently because she loves me and has known me the longest, I should listen to her. I do, I just don’t need to hear it all the time. Or see the look on her face.

My other sister, whilst generally supportive and stuck in the middle, is going through her own crisis at the moment. Covid has delayed her nursing career starting (ironic, I know). She is anxious, paranoid and is arguing with her husband. She doesn’t listen and she doesn’t let things go. She is also constantly needing financial help – fine, when I have the money, but I don’t know how long I will have it for.

So, in summary: I’m feeling very, very sorry for myself. I feel like I am kicked from all angles.

And then…

Last night, my ex came by my house to pick up my daughter and to collect various items as it was his turn to have the children.

My beautiful boy: my ADHD, autistic 14 year old was in despair. He wouldn’t speak. He didn’t want to leave. He started crying, hyperventilating. Finally, finally, after a big hug he opened up.

He hates seeing me sad. He is worried about me being alone. He is scared that I am going to commit suicide.

And that, friends, was the biggest kick up the backside, slap in the face, reality check I needed.

How I handle this situation is going to affect my children. In a way, this could teach them the power of resilience and positive thinking.

Or, I could continue to feel sorry for myself and let them suffer as they watch me indulgence self pity.

So, this morning, I have got up: washed, dressed, applied make up. I’ve planned my meals for the week. I’m now going to start some housework. This weekend I will get the house in order. Monday, I am going to get my career sorted. Or start to.

I’m going to have bad days. That’s normal. My kids need to see that too. But they need to see that giving up is not an option, and the strong mother they have known is still there.

Better news

Nope, I’m still not wanted. I have a lovely letter offering me a way out.

In contrast to yesterday’s self pity, today I was determined to feel better.

I woke at 5am (my sleep is awful at the moment) and after letting the dog out, made myself a coffee and completed an online application I had half-heartedly started. I showered, actually put make up on- just a little to hide the dark circles – and took my children to school.

When I came back it was still too early to speak to Wildcard, so I forced myself to clean up the house. Up until today, I’ve mainly ignored the housework. And lay in bed. And cried. But no, today I tidied and cleaned.

I had a long and productive talk with my union rep who is confident that we can lodge a grievance. They’re not following correct procedures but they will know that. I think they hoped that I was weak and would just roll over. Sensitive and emotional, yes. Weak, no.

I can’t go back. I know that. But there needs to be enough of a settlement for me to be able to recover from this shock and sort my life out. What they have offered so far, whilst unsurprising, is just not good enough. Particularly for ten years of my blood sweat, tears and sanity.

After making some lunch I went to pick up my new laptop. I guess school will want theirs back soon enough when the settlement is finished – and I at least need one to apply for jobs. If my new niche tutoring business takes off – well, I will definitely need it. I’m trying to be positive.

And talking of positive, the application that I sent this morning at 6am? I have a video interview! I have some time to prepare which is good. It is a different industry, but one I have worked in before. My leadership ‘skills’ (apparently I don’t have any) are transferable. It is worth a shot, just to get me back in the swing of applying and interviews.

I feel some relief that the union are helping me. The advisor is an ex-head teacher- honest, explains well. Huh, the kind of Headteacher I would have liked as a boss. Oh well.

So, for now, I have two – four weeks off. The doctor signed me off. Not sleeping, panic attacks and chronic crying will do that for you. It gives me, and the union, some time to write the grievance.

It feels weird, of course. I know it gives me some time to breathe and think and plan. But my full pay won’t last forever and I need to find another job.

I’ve booked two online courses. One is how to set up a small business. I don’t known if I have the confidence – or the funds- to pull it off, but I will try.

This time of year, so close to teachers’ resignation date there are very few jobs. And I don’t know whether I even want to walk straight back into a school. I may have to consider supply, but I probably won’t make enough money. First job tomorrow on my shiny new laptop is to work out how much I can trim off my budget.

So. I’m not a hysterical mess today. I still have a job but not for long. And I have np idea what I am going to do with my life. What fun.

Uncertainty

I know I have been absent for a few weeks. I began to write a few posts but my heart hasn’t been in it. What to say? How to explain?

I suspect, now being a few days in to the Easter Holiday, that I have recovered enough to feel able to write.

My anxiety is in full possession and control right now. I’ve had panic attacks before work, during work and in the evening. In fact, I feel like I am staving one off most days.

I am dreaming a lot. Not nightmares as such but the dreams always have a common theme – things going wrong, being in the wrong place, forgetting something.

I don’t know if it is the antidepressants doing their job but I don’t feel like I am depressed just very, very anxious.

But… I do have to say that at some lower points in the past few weeks, I have wondered if …well, you know.

Whilst the thought has crossed my mind a number of times recently, I wouldn’t do it.

I hate anxiety. I hate it.

I am exercising. I am trying to eat better after weeks of binge eating again. I’m writing in my planner, being thankful and celebratory. I’m quoting daily mantras. I’m trying.

Uncertainty is anxiety’s partner in crime and the pair of them have got me well and truly cornered, again.

I’m so tired. Tired of worrying. Tired of wondering. Speculating. Panicking. What if, what if, what if. Maybe, possibly, could…

Work has been hard and I got some tough news in the penultimate week of the term. I’m working hard to rectify the issue. I don’t know if it will be enough.

Uncertainty.

Every day…no, more than once a day…I am reading the news to find extensively conflicting information. Travel to resume in May. Travel to be banned until Sept. This airline has added more flights ready for June. This holiday company is laying of hundreds of workers. This MP is hopeful. This one gives a warning.

I can’t keep up. I’m constantly in a state of flux: hope and then despair.

I have booked for July. Should I book for May, just in case? What if I can go but there are no flights left? To book is to hope and I am not sure I can cope with another set back.

He loves me, he loves me not.

I’m tired of being scared, of second guessing. I’m sick of over analysing and worrying.

I don’t know of my negative mind is finding false evidence for my fears or my gut is right and I don’t want to believe it.

How can I ever know?

If I don’t go soon, will he get bored and move on? Does he really love me or do I just see what I want to see? Am I anxious and paranoid or is there truth in my fears?

Could I ever live without him?

Am I wasting my time?

Will my dreams ever come true?

Am I betraying him for doubting? If I don’t doubt am I stupid? How will I ever know? Could I walk away? Would I ever love again?

Why would he ever love me? Even more so with the ever present anxiety and fear?

How can I get this house in a better state? Who can I find to help me? How do I know they will do a good job? How do I know they are not scammers? What should I work on first? What is more important?

Is this Covid’s fault? Am I having another breakdown? Should I stop fighting and let it consume me? Do I have ASD? Should I see someone about my fears? What’s the point?

I am so, so tired of it all.