Work stress

Work has been incredibly stressful. One of the women has resigned and for two weeks building up to her resignation she complained to me constantly. I realise I need to take some accountability, I should have shut that down, but I didn’t. I took it all on, so I became increasingly exhausted, drained, miserable etc. I wasn’t sleeping, I was doubting myself, dreading work. I’d already found my starting at the company incredibly stressful but I’ve stuck at it. When things finally felt like they were levelling out, this happened. She was asked to leave the company within days of her resignation as opposed to work her 4 week notice period. She felt very hard done by. Of course there’s two sides to every story and I shouldn’t have been so quick to believe her side. Gradually the story has unraveled and in fact her conduct has been anything but professional. She jumped ship before disciplinary action commenced. I have taken on some of her clients; so I can see her poor work. It’s been a total head fuck. On Thursday I completely broke down. I was so exhausted from not sleeping and the atmosphere at work was grinding me down. My mood has dropped and I’m TERRIFIED of becoming unwell. I miss seeing the kids everyday and the relationship with Steve is either civil or horrible – there’s no middle ground. I had reached my end. Instead of taking time out, I forced myself to conduct a meeting with a client in the mental health ward, he was incredibly aggressive and security was called. I lost it. I panicked and ran out (obviously the ward is locked down so I could only run to the doors). I did this in front of my colleagues. Totally unprofessional. I hate that I did that.

I took a huge gamble and told my boss I felt under huge stress and the thing with my colleague had really affected me. She seemed to be really understanding. If I go by the colleague that left, I’ve just made a huge mistake. But I don’t know what’s real anymore and who to trust.

I’ve spoken to my CPN, he knows I want a new psychiatrist. This current one has done nothing for my sleep. She won’t prescribe zopiclone, and whilst I understand her concerns – she’s not prescribed an alternative either! And everyone knows sleep is a major trigger for people with mood disorders. I think it’s really poor management on her part. My CPN is arranging that for me in the long term but is arranging an urgent referral in the short term. He has been really good to talk to. He really put my reaction in the ward into perspective. He said a lot of mental health workers have days where they get easily triggered by patients. It’s part of the job, but it’s important to talk about it. I just feel like I’m being judged all the time.

Last weekend Steve was away and I had an absolutely fantastic time with the kids. It meant the world to me. This weekend Steve is with the kids and I’m making an effort to catch up with friends. Also a friend has given me some zopiclone so I’m having some good sleep which is making a world of difference. I’m making a concerted effort not to keep thinking about work and I’m planning to try and start Monday afresh.

I just hope with everything I’m doing I can keep my mood from slipping.

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All work, no play

I’ve been to so many support groups recently – I’m feeling pretty drained! Not to mention my boss has got me driving constantly as a resident ‘leaflet distributor.’ – I’ve come to realise that she’s so threatened by me, she’s keeping me busy in other ways. Unfortunately for her it’s backfiring because people are talking to me and wanting to sit and chat with me which is going to get me in a whole new load of trouble. She’s been off the last couple of days. But I’m already in trouble because the groups she’s sent me to have resulted in connections – which you’d think would be the point, but I think it unnerves her that I’m able to establish a rapport with people so quickly. I’m trying my best to just keep my head down and stick at it. But it’s a really unpleasant work environment.

The other night I was invited to a ‘Realities’ group – a group for people with distorted realities. My company have been trying to get in there for months, to effectively market to the participants. But were told not to go by the people that run it. I was invited, which my boss was happy about and pushed me to go, even though I can’t relate to the content of the group. It was late at night in the city too, and the weather was shocking. But I thought I might garner brownie points. That, and a few others, plus I had my own survivors group on Sunday. I’ve been pretty tired.

The group on Sunday was good though. I did talk about the job and the difficulties I’m facing. It’s good to get a fresh perspective and get reassurance that I’m not just paranoid. I can also hear new coping strategies. I do want to make this work. I’d much rather be working than doing nothing all day. Although I’m missing the kids terribly.

My weekend was busy. I caught up with a good friend on Saturday although I was late because I slept in (unusual for me, but my sleep has been shocking) and caught up with another friend before group on Sunday (which I was also late for because I slept in!). Sleep is really off the charts. And my psychiatrist is being really anal about zopiclone which is having a big impact on me. She’s irritated the hell out of me, so I’d rather just not see her at the moment and pick up what basic prescription she gives me. I don’t have the energy to argue or ironically, advocate for myself.

I’m still really enjoying my home! I’ve realised that I’ve completely stopped looking at other houses. That may change eventually. I miss having a garden – but it helps coming up to Steve’s periodically, and I know the kids get plenty of room up here.

Things between Steve and I remain mostly civil. It’s hard to capture! It changes so often. My feelings can be excruciating at times. I miss him terribly and get hit by tidal waves of grief. Anything can trigger it and there’s a lot I avoid (songs, movies, places, etc). Memories can suddenly overwhelm me and make me feel like my guts are falling out. But I’m not sobbing everyday. I’m not texting everyday looking for some kind of response. Small steps, maybe progress? I think it’s taken a long time to accept it’s really over. And before that happened I was never really going to grieve. I miss his friendship more than anything else. It’s weird to have lived in a bubble with someone for so long only to find yourself having new experiences alone. And these experiences keep happening and therefore this realisation keeps happening.

Team meeting tomorrow. Dreading it.

Therapy

I saw my therapist which helped a lot. It felt like ages since I’ve seen her. I was able to talk about the job and witches I work with and the stress I feel. I was also able to talk about the flashback and panic attack. She takes this to be a sign that I’m healing – that my body is processing things. I got emotional at times talking to her but it felt good to finally have someone that I could pour out my heart too.

This weekend I’m supposed to be getting the company car so the expectation is that I’ll be out of the office more. This is what I was hoping for. I find being in the coven all the time really draining and stressful. It’s the constant negative energy that I can’t keep batting away and pretending it doesn’t affect me. I realise that part of it is my own paranoia, and my own self doubt, but they have definitely rail roaded my confidence with their comments. I saw a new client the other day and I full blown didn’t believe I had the capacity to conduct the meeting. I’ve had doubts about myself before, but never to this extreme. And this has come from the constant; ‘if you can’t do (whatever it is they’re talking about) you can’t do the job’ repeatedly way of training me, and knowing that everything I say or do is repeated back to the boss who then grills me over it. Or being told to do things a certain way, I do it that way, the boss tells me it’s wrong, then who ever told me in the first place agrees with the boss, giving me the feeling of being thrown under the bus. So while I can account for my own paranoia and self doubt, there’s also a lot that hasn’t helped.

Hopefully being on the road will help, although in saying that, there’s a lot of control and paranoia around the company car from the boss! so I’m not looking forward to that either!

I’ve had the kids most of the week which has been fantastic. It’s really helped give me something to look forward to and helped ease getting up in the morning. I’ll be with them all next week as Steve goes away again next week.

I’m seeing the psychiatrist next week to discuss this new medication which I think is making me quite restless. Presumably it’s helping my mood as I’m not experiencing any major mood changes and my tearfulness is in keeping with the stress of the job. Although having said I’m quite irritable as well but that might also be the job stress as well.

I’m going back to the survivors group next month and also a support group for people with mood disorders, both at the start of August. I would like to reengage with my peers and hopefully get some advice.

Hoping August will be a better month!

Flashback

I had a flashback in the week. I’m not sure why. Perhaps feelings in the job of inferiority and vulnerability are making me more open to them? It wasn’t a nasty one, and I was able to handle myself (I was at work).

Despite being a mental health organisation, the team I work with offer no empathy at all or understanding around my neurosis or anxiety. They just seem to get fed up with me. I can’t do much about it and their comments just make it worse.

On Friday, despite my financial concerns, I decided I’d have some wine and pizza and really relax. I’m a bit gutted that Steve has decided to stay all weekend so I won’t see the kids for longer. This means I’m still up at his house. Because hey, might as well use his laundry facilities and keep warm here.

Unfortunately I watched a movie with a man in that reminded of someone from my past and this gave me a panic attack. I’ve not had one for a while. It was awful and probably not helped by the wine. I had no one to call or talk too. I felt very alone. I think the panic attack from the man comes from the flashback, I’m not sure I’d have reacted as strongly otherwise. It shows how these things accumulate.

I’m just feeling really down at the moment primarily with work stress. I dread the mornings and usually leave in tears. Nothing in my private life is helping, my communication with Steve is terse and usually unfriendly, as I said I’m stressed about finances and I’m still bloody deaf in one ear! I’d like to feel a bit more grounded. Of course, being able to see my babies again will help.

Speed wobble (again)

Today has been tough. You know when I think I have my shit together, I’m always proved wrong.

The weekend was lovely. I’d had the kids, it was awesome. Then they went to Napier and I went to dinner with a couple of friends on Sunday night and it was a really good laugh. I’m very lucky. Great family, great friends.

Then today, the job.

The morning I spent in the notorious ‘Ward 27’ think ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest’ with slightly better decor. I’d been dreading it because frankly I was scared. I didn’t want to get shanked with a plastic spoon, or have fecal matter thrown at me – stereotyping much? Er, yeah! But I’m nuts myself so I’m allowed. And frankly this place is notorious for a reason. But instead of being scared I was confronted with a very real reality. I was facing myself. I have been that ill. When I lived in that area I was threatened with Ward 27 often. There’s no private facility and no alternative and at times I was regarded too ill for respite. It was Steve that advocated for me to stay out of there. Had it not been for him, I’d have been in there myself. I was facing a very real reality for myself. And not only that, a future possibility, although admittedly not in that hospital as I don’t live in the area anymore, I could become unwell like these people. It’s never too far away. My instinct was to want to run away. I felt panic. I wanted to hide from it if I’m honest. But the Ward is locked down. I was effectively trapped. So I had to rely on my colleague to manage the meeting to guide me through the processes.

Afterwards I wanted to sob. I wanted to express my fears, I wanted to cry for the old me, and again I wanted to phone Steve immediately and thank him for what he’d done for me. None of those were options. I chatted a little bit about my experience but kept emotionally void.

Returning to the office I felt drained. I’m still deaf in one ear, I still have a cold, I miss my kids, I felt emotionally raw and sure enough the three women skipped off to collude together in their coven. I felt left out, fed up, miserable, alone, etc. When they returned the giggling started up and I just simply wasn’t in that mood. When they started talking about going home I said fine, I’m going then, and left. As I reversed, I nearly ran my boss over who came flailing out behind me. Not to check if I was ok, but to have a go at me for leaving abruptly and making everyone feel uncomfortable. I can’t win. I apologised. She went on a bit and I felt my defences drop. I was just too cold and too tired. In the end I admitted how I’d found the day confronting. She told me I should I have talked to her about it. I explained it was pretty hard when the three of them were hanging out. She got a bit defensive. I think we both paid lip service at this point. I left – on I think, good(ish) terms.

As Steve is away I’ve come up to the house. It’s warm, I’ve snuggled under a blanket, had the heat pump on, watched his big tv, had a bath, now I’m in his big bed. It’s a hotel. It’s sad that what was my house has become a ‘treat’ but at least I don’t view it as ‘home’ anymore. Steve has really killed that off for me. I had hoped he’d offer some sort of support today, yes I stupidly and naively text him and no of course he didn’t reply. He’s not even with the kids apparently, he’s probably shagging some high earning suit in some posh hotel somewhere laughing about his crazy ex wife. Why should I even care? But sadly I do, even as he loves to point out, it’s been three years! Get over it!

Anyway, I’m just sore because it’s been a long, emotionally draining day and it would be really nice to share it with someone. Still, I had a good cry in the bath, so at least I’m not bottling it up. Hopefully I can see my CPN soon and rearrange counselling to a time outside of work hours. I need all the support I can get at the moment.

In a pickle

Today is just a total cry fest. It’s been extremely emotional. I think there’s a lot of reasons for this. And I’m trying to acknowledge my feelings.

I sat and wrote out two letters to my children – in the event of my death. I have two more to go but it’s extremely emotional. I think I may have mentioned that I’ve organised things and left detailed instructions as a way to take control over dying. It’s taken some anxiety away. Not that I plan on dying any time soon, but a health scare does make you question your immortality. It was suggested by my counsellor and it’s been helpful.

I’m anxious about the call tonight from England. Hearing details, going over old ground, questioning myself and tormenting myself over my role to play.

I’m anxious about tomorrow. The most likely answer will be that the seizure was random, they don’t know why, they don’t know if I’ll have another one. Which isn’t helpful at all. And I hate the thought of trying to live life normally with the threat of collapsing in the back of my mind. Epilepsy is another possibility. I initially was terrified about that. But I guess like all illnesses, it can be treated with medication, and there’s no reason why I can’t live a normal life. Finally it could be a brain tumour. I can’t dismiss the idea out of hand, I do suffer with chronic migraines, I feel faint at times and I get blurred vision. Although as I’m writing this down it seems even more unlikely! My anxiety this last week made me think I was having a heart attack! And I’m bound to feel every little thing in my body and let it compound into something bigger. Other than that, I can’t think of any other possible answers.

A good friend once said to me, the opposite of love is indifference. I realise I go through a real cycle with my separation. I hate Steve, I want him back, I grieve the loss, I wonder about us getting back together, I’m angry, I’m sad, I’m rejected, I’m angry with myself, I go over old ground. This is not indifference. I have often used the term ‘indifference’ when describing his reaction to something. Steve is indifferent towards me. I can barely make him even angry anymore. He simply has no interest. Clearly he got there a lot quicker than I did. He’s presumably done his cycle and come out the other end. I’m still in the cycle, but have finally accepted Steve’s position. And it hurts. A lot.

So today I’ve been reading my books quietly curled up on the sofa with a blanket.

I’ve realised I’ve made some significant errors. When I left the skating rink the other day, I should have stayed. It wasn’t about me, it should have been about my kids. On the holiday Monday I felt sorry for myself because I missed my kids, and in my mind it was Steve’s week, therefore I couldn’t see them. Wrong. Steve wouldn’t have minded if I’d have taken the kids out or had them down at mine. I was creating my own drama and heart ache for ‘principle’

I’m making significant errors in judgement at the moment. I don’t know if it’s a period I’m going through, the stress I’m putting on myself, or I’m just an idiot.

I just need to get through the next couple of days. Come what may.

The email

To my counsellor

The MRI was as panic inducing as I expected. In fact I anticipated a seizure as a result of the huge stress on my body. Had it not been for  a friend holding my hand – I couldn’t have done it. The hole was so small and the noise just terrifying. But I am relieved it’s done. I’m also relieved that I didn’t have a seizure – this is surely a positive sign?

I heard on Friday night that the cop in England was found guilty. He will have a record and be unable to work for any police force, corrections, security type roles.

I’m still struggling with it. The guilty thing was decided which indicates he was in the wrong and I feel vindicated. Yet another part of me thinks that he is so less worse then the rapist. He was only ever nice to me – even when he was commanding. He manipulated me in such a way that he made me feel safe, even when he made me feel ashamed and dirty. How can that be? I hoped that Steve might see the ‘affair’ in a different light, that is, there was no black and white. But he has moved on/no longer cares. This outcome is something you and I need to discuss in more detail. Also, the investigating officer is calling me on Tuesday night to explain in detail what it all means and in her words ‘to ensure I have good support in place.’

It’s certainly been a roller coaster of emotions. The betrayal of good friends, the stress of the MRI, the results of the investigation and also learning that Steve is not and cannot be my ‘go to person’

Yet I still learn nothing. Today (Saturday) I longed for my family, for my role as mother and yes I admit I longed for a partner to bear part of my burden. I didn’t consider my fragile emotional/mental state. Instead ploughing on with my expectations.

My eldest C had horse riding and my other children wanted to go roller skating. I was happy to take C and then meet Steve and the kids at roller skating. I longed for the ‘normal’ family outing. Instead the complete opposite happened – as I’m sure you could have predicted. C fell off her horse, once I knew she wasn’t hurt I began a tirade of vitriol towards the horse she was on. My daughter was upset by my comments. She told me I ruined good things for her and that’s why she didn’t like me taking her horse riding. What could I say to that? I have let my own daughter down with my anger.

I was angry because I was scared for her. I couldn’t catch her, I couldn’t save her, so instead I placed all of my powerlessness at the horse. Plus the fact the damn horse did cause my daughter to fall!

So we drove on to roller skating. Her, refusing to talk to me. When we arrived H wanted to skate but my fears clawed at me straight away, the roller skates weren’t made especially for young children, there was no helmet, no pads! My little boy would be vulnerable. I think by this stage Steve saw me as a total nuisance.

I wasn’t needed. I was just a taxi, this was Steve’s show and I was encroaching. I didn’t belong.

Why did I have these ridiculous expectations? Why can’t I learn? This is not my family anymore. We’re not a unit. I am mother on my time, nothing more.

My friend S has continually been by my side, trying to keep me focussed on reality – I cannot appreciate her enough.

I left the skating ring. I didn’t want to physically turn away from my children, but I realised that this wasn’t my place. They had Steve and he was more than enough.

I got some wine and lie miserably on my couch. Images of England and what happened barking at my heels, my hidden fears about my health, the sense of loneliness and the pain. Reality fucking hurts.

The positive things to come out of this is that as we discussed I have taken some control over my death (if that was happen). I sat and wrote everything out. My wishes, the practical aspects, access codes. I saved it as a draft email. I won’t send until I’ve completed my letters to the children. But I know I have at least made things easier and there is less to worry about. In doing this I realised all of my outgoings, so I’ve had to face up to this and make some serious changes.

The week about starts next week as Steve isn’t travelling. I’m deeply saddened that it’s come to this. I grieve again for the home I’ve lost and the sense of partnership I imagined for myself. But I realise I can’t emotionally sever ties until I start removing myself from ties.

Tonight I feel a sense of relief that the week is all but over. I’m so grateful to the friends I’ve come to realise are true and can reach out too. But I’m so sad, so lonely and so fed up with myself (more than Steve is – which is saying something!).

I felt so much lighter after our last session and wanted to get down everything that’s happened to make some sense of it. To fill you in and get your much appreciated feedback.

If I don’t hear from you tonight (and that’s ok!) I’ll see you tomorrow,

Much love