Stupid

It’s 11.30pm and I am wide awake.

It may have something to do with the delicious coffee I made myself at 4pm. The one I knew I shouldn’t have, but as I’d only had one terrible decaf instant that morning- and now had a packet of fresh ground – it was allowed.

I’ve been ill all week. All week. I was also ill last week. By the weekend, I felt better. By Tuesday, I was not. I’ve been exhausted all week and just wanted a rest. Me time.

But no. That doesn’t happen much when you’re a mum. And even more so when each one of your children are also ill. Yep, all three.

I started my week with a three day trial at a special school. I was excited about this as ots something I’ve never done and I’m passionate about, having been around my SEN family members.

Nothing about the place shocked me, really. It was how I expected on the whole. I thought, being so excited, that I would either be massively disappointed and hate it or fall in love with the place.

Instead, for the first two days, I felt…meh. Not a lot. By the end of Tuesday, keeping in mind I was feeling ill, I was actually quite frustrated with myself. If this wasn’t intriguing me, what would? Maybe it genuinely is time to leave teaching.

The problem is…problems are… I like teaching. I just don’t like schools. I like helping children. I enjoy being creative. I just don’t like schools. I’ve looked for other jobs and whilst I often have many of the skills they look for, but because they’re not specifically from that industry, I think I don’t have a chance.

My last day was Wednesday. I had a good day. Maybe because I was more settled there – maybe because the children recognised me a bit more, either way I enjoyed it. One little boy came up and hugged me. Another did work when he doesn’t usually. I liked it. But at the end of the day, I walked out no clearer to what was happening. No one spoke to me.

Thursday I was back in my tutoring. The children had missed me. I felt appreciated. I like this job. I love it, in fact. I attended an important meeting for one of the children ans received some really lovely feedback about my work with him. I was also called by the agency to be told I was the favourite for the job at the special school. They had interviews the next day, Friday, and in the interest of fairness had invited me in on Monday for an interview too. OK, I thought. Gives me the weekend to think.

Except, I got a call Friday afternoon offering me the job without the interview. There was someone in 2nd if I rejected it, but they wanted me. There was talk about future responsibilities and permanent positions. There was also talk of a three month trial on daily supply rates – normal in this country- but actually higher than normal for me. Just less than I would be on in a permanent position. I froze, unsure, and asked for time to think. I think I shocked the agency

There was no one to call to discuss. (Woah, that’s just really hit home). I thought, hard.

I’d liked the school overall. It was fantastic experience and would look good on my already good CV. They have a forest school which I’m interested in. It’s local, better pay and provided all is well, it’s a year’s contract with promise of a permanent position. And the three month trial? Well, they’ve given me an escape hatch if I need one.

But…it’s a school. And they’re all the same. And I love my tutoring. And I don’t want to let my tutees down. And I could make good money there.

Except…there is no security, at all. I’ve made it clear how I feel to the recruitment manager and whilst he’s thrown compliments my way, has done nothing to keep me. At any point I could be out of contract. The travel isn’t subsidised, neither are all the resources I have to provide.

And so, in the end, I’ve accepted the job.

Maybe I’m stupid. Maybe I really have had it with schools. But I have to try, again. I need this stability for so many reasons.

I’d like to be able to go food shopping without feeling terrified. I’d like to fix things in my house…

I’d like to financially be ready if Wildcard ever decides to take the next steps. I need to make myself financially independent from my ex.

The experience is fantastic for my CV and for my business idea.

Maybe I will regret this. Maybe it will be the best thing for me. But I’ve made a decision and now need to stick to it.

8

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Balance reminders

I’ve taken a shower today. That’s a positive. Don’t take showers for granted: at your lowest, even taking a shower is too much.

Other than that, not a great day.

I didn’t sleep well. Minor issues with Wildcard played – and continue to play – with my head.

I woke to an email from work with a date to see Occupational Health next week. Considering I only sent in my sick note yesterday, I felt this was very quick. I sunk lower in to that dark pit and have struggled to get out of it since.

Why would anyone think I want to talk about how I feel about my work, my life, to a medical professional who is being paid by my employer? Maybe that is paranoia or narrow thinking. Either way, the thought of doing so fills me with complete and shuddering anxiety.

*****

I’m writing a few hours after the above.

I’ve spoken to my union who have given me some reassurance about the OH appointment. I feel a little better.

I have unfortunately, had another issue with Wildcard. I don’t know what to think. My catastrophising brain thinks that maybe, these recent problems are heading for the end.

We’ve had a few challenging weeks. My negative and anxious mindset about my job have caused issues between me and him. He’s forgiven me each time but no one can be naive enough to think that is the end of it. It tips the balance just a little the wrong way.

What with that, and the more recent issues, worried he’s beginning to think I am too much. Not worth it.

I’ve got another major issue going on with my son which I haven’t mentioned yet here. It started at the weekend.

In both cases – my situation at work and with my son – cultural and language barriers are preventing me from explaining to Wildcard well, and him from understanding well.

I’ve tried.

I know what some of you are thinking – if he can’t stand by you now, then he’s not the right person etc etc.

Truth is, how long should a person have to stand by you? Why should they suffer because you are?

If he walks away, any semblance of happiness I have will go. I will implode. But, I can’t blame him. I can’t. He’s under no obligation. We are not married. Maybe, I have just become too much. I love him so much that I should not be a source of unhappiness for him. Even if it destroys what’s left of me in the process.

I’m sat in my wilderness, cold and shivering.

I’ve made myself get out of my bed.

My daughter has pointed out that I’ve done all I can in each and every situation of my life that’s causing my stress. Despite the hours in bed and my overall anxiety, I have actively tried to find solutions and help for all of them. It was a positive reminder.

I will hold on to that.

The catch

Well, I did it. I have actually started my own business.

I know, can you believe it? Me. I have registered the name and business with the Government, paid for a domain and have started building my website.

There is a lot to do. And one could argue that it is not officially a business until I actually sell something. It feels official though, and that is what is important.

This last few days I have had to curb my excitement somewhat in order to actually work on my day job. My boss has given me some admin work and although time consuming, I’m actually enjoying it. By mid week though, I hope to be back on to my business.

For that reason, today has been a bit of a back step. I woke with good intentions but am not sure what I actually did or achieved today. I just felt overwhelmed with everything and didn’t know where to start…kids, business, house, work, garden, me….

Earlier in the week I actually timetabled my whole week. From experience, it is doubtfully that I will stick to it entirely, but it does help with overwhelm usually. When I feel stressed at my workload, I look at my plan and content myself with just doing what is on my list. I ignore the rest for the day they are scheduled. It works 90% of the time.

What I will say about my current situation, is that it is a lonely place. I wish someone was with me in all this. My sister dips in and out, my best friend made a whole load of promises she never kept. Wildcard is…. too far away. He has helped with some things.

Two of my friends have been a great help though. One, who has been a friend for 20 years now, calls me each Monday to see how  I am getting on. She is a great accountability partner and I look forward to her calls and how it spurs me on.

More recently, I reached out to a friend from here, just to say hello and catch up but she ended up giving me some great advice too. 😊.

There is help out there, and I appreciate it.

It is just over three weeks until I go to see Wildcard again. It’s been six months since my last visit. It will be a short one – about four days excluding a day of travel each way. He is worth it though.

Of course, that inner voice which I have learnt so much about has raised her ugly head. She tells me that he isn’t excited about me going, doesn’t care in fact. She tells me that perhaps I shouldn’t go, maybe I would be better staying alone.

There are moments when I believe her. I’ve listened to her for so many years, it is hard not to. Then I remind myself that she is scared. She’s just trying to protect me, keep me safe and in the status quo.  Change is scary and dangerous – she is just trying to keep me safe.

Equally, it’s hard not to let my mind go to La La land and imagine all the romantic things I want, that will not happen. Expectation is the root of all disappointment and I refuse to go there again. Well, I’m trying to refuse.

And there it is…the catch. To get what you want you have to follow your dreams. Except in love. Daydreaming about love doesn’t get you anywhere.

Too

I have completed my first “full” week of tutoring. Well, as full as it can be at present. I’ve got three full days and two afternoons. I’m loving those two mornings off but realistically I need to be earning more money.

Earlier in the week I was contacted by a teaching agency who had seen my CV online. I was invited to interview and the recruiter was very persistent in saying I could have full time work if I wanted in January. As a supply agency, I could also have short term and emergency cover if I wanted.

I was flattered at her persistence and agreed to go to the interview, which was this evening. I took everything I needed with me to work today, and planned to complete the application form over lunch.

I had a great day. I taught four session and three of those were 1:1. These new pupils could be potentially challenging- and I felt a little like a babysitter at first as I got the sense they were with me because the school couldn’t do anything else with them – but I worked my charm and they slowly but surely got on board.

These boys are only a year older than my own son. Added to that, I’ve always been able to get through to disaffected boys on the whole and get them on side. It’s what I’m good at.

The last session was cancelled so I decided to go and buy lunch before my interview. Except, I realised, I didn’t want to go. I get so much job satisfaction from this role. I don’t want to teach full time again, at the moment anyway. I enjoy working with small groups of pupils who often come to me with no confidence or self esteem. My aim is to give it them.

I’m pretty sure I’ve done the right thing but it has thrown up some questions for me.

How can I increase my income?

How long can I afford to do this?

Am I being selfish?

I still receive daily job emails and I’ve noticed that some of the tutoring agencies pay more. Like £10 an hour more. That’s potentially £250 a week more.

Problem is, I like this agency. It’s a small business and I like the way the owner thinks. He’s paying me the top of what he advertised but I’m wondering if I should have pushed for more when he asked what I was expecting. Weirdly, the agency I didn’t go to asked the same thing.

How do you price yourself? How do you ensure you are not asking too little or too much?

At present, I’m still on probation so I won’t be asking for a rise any time soon. But I will do in the future. The schools seem to be happy with me and 2 out of 3 have asked me to do more work. That’s bringing money in for him too.

For now, and at least until Christmas is over, I’m happy with what I’m doing.

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.

It’s cold outside – and in.

I’ve been awake an hour and I don’t want to get up. I’m warm (ISH) in bed: getting up would mean braving my unheated house until I get the fire going. How I’d love to hear the sounds of my Dad opening his bedroom door, walking down the stairs…. the sound of the fire grate as he starts the fire.

Not that I’m lazy or dislike making the fire: it’s just a daily reminder that he’s not here, from the moment I wake up.

No, I’m in bed because I can. My children are with their Dad until this afternoon. I’ve got plenty of housework to do. This post is my last procrastination before I get up. ☺

I started the week relatively positive. Once the dark clouds of Dad’s birthday and Christmas etc passed, I felt better. I’m trying hard at work, putting the hours in at home, and I’m having some success.

Yesterday was not a good day however: I had my absence meeting at work.

It’s been overdue. I knew it was coming. I knew it wouldn’t be pleasant but as it was with two members of my team, I expected understanding.

And there was, in words, but not in actions.

My absence record stretches back a year. I knew this. But I didn’t expect them to include my time off after Dad died. (I had three weeks off, or thereabouts.) That stung. I felt like I was being reprimanded for something that I couldn’t help. Like the world was punishing me twice. It’s bad enough to be grieving but to then worry that the grief is affecting my work in other ways was hard to take.

My other absences are a bout of flu, vomiting and diarrhoea and then two flareups of a longstanding medical condition which I’m under the hospital for and was given a sick note by my consultant.

I completely understand the importance of good attendance and the impact that my absence has. I don’t like being off. My health is usually such that I have long periods of no illness or absence and then I seem to get one thing after another.

In the case of the flu, I came in to work in the morning and left by lunch with a bad headache. I was in work the next day. I felt dreadful but knew that I had to show that I was trying. I ached and coughed and was told by many to go home. I didn’t. By the Sunday, my chest was tight and I called an out of hours doctor who said I had a chest infection. I took Monday off and then went back to work the next day. I’m repeatedly questioning myself now – could I have gone in those two days?

Regardless of any of this, the actions of my colleagues has hurt. I have a follow up hospital appointment next week for the serious flare-up of my medical condition I had a few weeks ago. During the meeting, I was handed my absence request sheet and was told to make the appointment for half term which is in another two weeks. I get it: you’ve had enough time off, make the appointment in your own time. But surely it’s best that I attend my appointment to help avoid future flareups? And why wait til this meeting to tell me I couldn’t go? I felt by this action I had done something wrong in requesting the time: a quiet word when I handed the request in weeks ago would have sufficed. Instead I feel like a point was being made.

And then, I was given a target of no absence until Christmas.

I knew I’d get a target. I assumed it would be until the end of the school year. That I understand. But until Christmas? Can I avoid a flare-up or any illness for eleven months?

I’m not saying I want time off or even expect it when I’m ill. I do go into work ill, when I’m able. I’m often told I shouldn’t be in and I should “look after myself.” The colleague who has given me this target is the same one who told me not to come into work until I’m better and that my health is more important. No, the point is, with my health condition, I feel like they’re setting me up to fail.

It’s not a question of “could I have made myself go in for those two days?” I will be in: I will drag myself in.

I did ask the question of what I do if I get a flare-up and I was told that I shouldn’t come in if I’m really ill. I get a flare up at least every six months but sometimes, when I’m run down, a lot more frequently. I don’t want permission to stay off but don’t the words and the target contradict themselves a little? The target length has been set because of my total days absence but that includes bereavement. I’m at a loss.

I know my colleagues are just doing their job. I know that on paper, my absence isn’t good. But all that meeting did was to make me feel even more isolated at work.

To be continued.

Vaulting ambition

I have written recently about my concerns at work.

I suppose I have always been an ambitious person. I was the first in my family to go to university. My plan from being a little girl was to work hard, be successful and look after my mum and dad.

And I did it, you know. Somehow I got a good degree, a job.. A career. I looked after my dad.

And I have worked my way up the ladder – almost without a plan at times. My focus has always been on the role at hand. I’d work hard, enjoy the feeling of success when the hard work paid off and then realise that the only way to experience that again was to go higher up the ladder.

My strengths at work are also my weaknesses. I’m hardworking to a fault – pushing and pushing myself until I reach success. I exhaust myself in the quest for success and self satisfaction of a job well done or a problem solved. I have a high emotional awareness to the extent that I’m perhaps too sensitive to other’s feelings. It’s nice that people want to talk to me about their problems, but it can be draining too.

All this leads to bouts of illness or, more seriously, burn out which I experienced a year ago.

My Dad’s death has fundamentally changed me. For once my hard work has not ended in success – I couldn’t have given any more time or hours to my Dad but even if I could, it wouldn’t have helped.

My emotional sensitivity hasn’t helped with the crushing grief I continue to experience. I was once very good at hiding my own emotions. Not any more. Staff I manage are asking me how I am, sympathetically, that look in their eye and that tone in their voice.

I’ve reverted to type this week though.

There have been some management changes this year. Two of my colleagues – both male – are vying for prominence and career enhancement. Unfortunately, my recent circumstances have left my role wide open for a takeover and a chance for them to prove themselves and their ambitions.

I’ve fought back, of course. That inner strength that has disappeared since Dad’s death has reappeared in one way or another. I’ve worked hard. I’m proving my worth again. Reminding people, and perhaps myself, what I can do.

I’ve listened to advice though too. I can’t pretend to be or feel something I’m not. I’ve been genuine and not tried to hide my pain or the changes this has brought about. I am what I am at the moment. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t work hard.

I don’t blame my colleagues for wanting to develop their careers. But I would never do what they have done. My career is not as important as it once was but at the same time it is something that I – and my Dad – was very proud of. I’m not giving that up, not without a fight. Not until I choose to anyway.

I don’t know long I can sustain this work ethic either. But I know I have to try until I feel secure in my role again. My Dad never gave up on any job and neither will I.

Presentation

MI’m sat in a hospital cafe with a rather delicious cappuein front of me. I’m waiting for my prescription which I’m informed will take 15 minutes. It’s usually longer.

I’m on my own, but that’s OK. The other four filled tables also have single occupants.

I’m feeling pretty miserable. Monday was my first day back in work after the Christmas holiday and the start of my new, temporary role. I was determined to ‘hit the ground running’. Show them what I’ve got.

I’m not the same person anymore. The loss of my Dad and the experience of his illness and death have changed me. I’ve tried very hard to hide this, to be the person I used to be – strong, capable – but I have failed. A conversation with work just before we broke for the Christmas holidays has proved that.

In telling me that, all they’ve done is acerbated the problem: for me, I’m failing at hiding it so I’m failing in general. I feel that people are doubting me, seeing my new weakness. I’ve heard that one colleague, in a show of support apparently, has called me a ‘broken woman’. That I am, but I’ve worked very hard for work not to see that.

But this new, temporary role was a chance to change that. A different focus, different expectations – a chance to prove my worth again. People have short memories – the past year I have been plagued by a burn out, the death of my beloved father and the subsequent grief and – I’m guessing – associated illnesses. I want people to remember what I can do, the years of success that I had before this.

Unfortunately, Monday morning I woke to a severe flair up of a pre-existing medical condition that rears its head when I’m run down. Not a problem, I thought. I will get it quick – make the emergency hospital appointment, get the usual medications and get back to proving my worth.

Apparently not. After a lengthy appointment at the hospital I was informed that this flair up was particularly bad. This meant my usual medications, plus steroids and a sick note for a week.

I was angry. I didn’t want this! I drove to work in a rage. I could ignore the note, just go in. But a conversation with my ex on the way (the man who never advocates unnecessary time off work) brought me to my senses. A senior consultant has told me that I need a week off. That means, I need a week off.

I drove to work to hand in my note and met with my boss. They were sympathetic, understanding. I don’t know what’s worse.

I was angry, upset, apologetic. I told him that I didn’t want the time off, that I wanted to prove myself. “Don’t give up on me.” Should I cringe at the memory of saying that? I don’t, because that is how I felt. How I still feel.

He told me to stop worrying, I couldn’t help it. He knew I was good at my job, knew what I had been through. Just get myself well.

Tuesday and Wednesday I was glad of the time off. Pain and exhaustion ripped through me and the illness took hold. My consultant had warned me it would get worse before it got better. Seems she was right about this too.

So today I am back for my follow up appointment. Although there is improvement, I’ve been given more medications for the next few weeks. This hasn’t happened for a long time. Again, I appreciate how bad this flare up has been now. This different consultant was sharp and quick. Not much care, but efficient. I didn’t feel like asking questions.

As I entered the coffeeshop, I was followed by two hospital staff, coming to fix the coffeeshop fridge. One of the men quickly got into a cherry banter with the coffee staff and his colleague, and as I was being served, me too. He made me smile and I watched the banter between colleagues in good humour.

As I sit drinking my coffee, I’m considering how we present ourselves affects others, perhaps without us noticing. Today’s consultant’s abrupt efficiency has meant that I didn’t ask questions I had. The experience in the coffee shop cheered me up – all from one man’s smiling face and sense of humour. I was lucky to be an onlooker of that, just for a moment, because it has made me realise how important your ‘outside’, your demeanor – whatever you want to call it – really is. I’ve tried hard to be professional, to be the person I once was. I realise now that it is impossible. Inside I am changed and that is ever present on the outside too, no matter how I try to cover it up.

So. What can I do about it?

My job is still important to me. I’ve lost some confidence in myself. I need to prove to myself and to others that I can do this. My demeanor needs to show this care and determination. Does it matter that I’ve shown people my more fragile side? I’m not sure. But I can’t change it. I can only focus on how I present myself from now on.

Myself

Oh the house is so quiet! For the first time in a while I have not gone back to bed today. So I am sat in a quiet, empty house (for now) enjoying the silence and relative calm. Last week was difficult. Although I think I have said that the new tablet seems to be having a more positive effect on me, I’m still having relapses of low mood particularly when I perceive that I have to do something difficult. Last Friday I had a welfare meeting at work. I won’t bore you with the details. But I made myself go to the school (hiding from any pupils who might see me). I met with the Headteacher and the Business Manager. I cried – a lot – but sort of silent tears as I listened to what they had to say. But I left feeling supported and hopeful that when I return I can put all this behind me. I don’t know if the stress of that and the impending Occupational Health meeting on Monday juat were to blame, but I came down with a violent cold and severe eye infection the next day. I’d been feeling pretty smug the week before that I had managed to ‘get away with’ a head cold whilst everyone else around me seemed to have a full blown cold/flu. Seems like this was not the case as my week’s worth of head cold turned into a second week of sore throat, cough and constantly streaming nose. I spent all day Sunday on the couch asleep. Monday I went to the Occupational Health meeting. I had been dreading this and if the appointment had been later in the day, I probably would have cancelled. Instead I went, eyes and nose streaming, hair a little greasy (yuk – I know) and just wanting to get it over with so I could go back to bed. It was fine, you know. She said a lot that I’d heard from my gp and counsellor and so that helped to reinforce their messages. She’s going to suggest to work that I have more than six counselling sessions if I need them. She told me to give myself time, be kind to myself and work slowly to get back. She said my tablets would take a good month to have full affect – I’m only a week and a half in. Yesterday I looked after my three year old whilst nursing one of those headaches you get from constant coughing. I did more housework than I had done for a while (but not enough, of course) and then spent the day alternatively playing and cuddling with him on the couch as we watched a film. It was heavenly, apart from the headache ☺. This morning I feel like I have turned the corner. I woke up without headache, sore throat or streaming nose. I have taken the children to school and then have put washing on and have had a quick tidy. I’m now sat drinking my first coffee in a week. Delicious. So what? You’ve had a cold. All I can say is, it felt like yet another hurdle. You know how utterly fed up you feel when you’ve been ill for a while? Well picture that when you already feel low. Not good. I’m at the stage in my recovery where I want to start thinking about everything properly. It feels like an open wound at the moment. It’s there; I can see it and feel it, but if I don’t look at it, it doesn’t feel as bad. But I know that if I don’t deal with it, it isn’t going to heal. I keep glancing at it, knowing that I’ve got to face up to it soon. I feel like to do this I need to prepare, like going into battle or, (perhaps better so I don’t mix my metaphors) preparing for an operation. I need to focus on only this, without disruption or distraction or interruption. I need to think, and write and feel at my own pace without pressure of anything else. What I would really like is to go away for a few days on my own. I’d like a little cottage or maybe even a B&B somewhere beautiful like the Lakes. I want to walk, to write, to contemplate. I don’t know if I can afford it and I would need my Ex to move in for a few days. I just think that this space would help me to truly focus and I love the Lakes. I’m missing my walks there with my friend. To be honest, in just writing this I have summed up the cause of all that I am feeling. There is no time in my life where I don’t feel pressured by outside influences; my roles as mother, daughter, sister, homeowner, teacher. I need to unpick all this, refine and define my roles and carve out a new role as caretaker for ME. That is the one area I am truly failing at, not the others like I believe. I need to keep telling myself that. My one, and only one, failure in my life so far is not caring for myself.

Not gone and definitely not forgotten

Depression does this thing to you. It does it very sneakily, cunningly. And although the thing that it does is so obvious, you fall for it every time. It’s depression’s way of showing you it is still master.

It disappears.

Depending upon your stage of recovery, it can go for a few minutes up to a few months or maybe years. You may wake up one morning and not feel that dreadful heaviness rest upon you like a second skin. You may actually look forward to your day, or your activity.

Maybe it is smaller. Maybe you are gazing out of a window (something you never did whilst on the fast-and-busy life train) because your world has slowed and your mind is numb and then something catches your eye. Perhaps a little bird fluffing his feathers against the cold frosty branch. Maybe it’s a single snowdrop, head dancing to the breeze. Whatever it is, whilst previously occupied with the Master (depression), your attention is now caught, your mind is clear and free from worry and guilt and pain and darkness. And you think, in that moment or the day or that week, it’s gone. Am I better?

And when the darkness, the heaviness descends again it can be so easy to add weight to its return by feeling like a failure because you haven’t actually recovered.

But you can’t let yourself as this is not the truth. Every moment of happiness or calm is another step towards recovery. It’s a step toward overthrowing the master. And sure, he’ll probably always be around but you will be the master of your own life then so his visit will be short – unpleasant and unwanted of course – but short.

The change in medication appears to be still having a positive effect. I’m tired from the insomnia but the thick-headed exhaustion I can only attribute to the previous medication, is gone.

I can’t tell you how this feels. If I wasn’t depressed I’d be euphoric. Strangely, sometimes I catch myself missing that feeling and searching for it but it has gone. I can’t believe that I out up with it for a year. Yes, it was worse when the GP initially increased it a few weeks ago, but that feeling has been there for a while.

And this has allowed my mind to think that perhaps it was the tablet that was making life so difficult. Maybe I’m cured! Maybe I’m free!

Then I get a courtesy call from work. Sure she’s nice and caring. Sure she tries to say things to out my mind at ease. But being told that I have to go to Occupational Health isn’t relaxing. Being told that you need a welfare meeting with her and your boss is not a way to calm you. And then, as gently as they can, telling you that tomorrow an internal advert for your role is being sent to all staff – albeit in a temporary capacity – tomorrow.

My did the Master steal the show then! He stamped his feet and screamed and pulled me down, down, down for the rest of the day.

Nope, you still have depression. You don’t have a medicine induced exhaustion anymore but you are still depressed. You are going to be a good girl and stress for the rest of the day about your decisions, your career, your life.

Fact is though, to even think that I am getting better shows optimism and that is progress. So, the master may have won today’s battle but I am going to win this war.