It has been awhile, the main reason for this was I had a burnout, or as close as you can get. Thankfully I realised before it was complete and it took me a couple of weeks to get back on my feet not 3 months… if you want a bit more info on burnout this one of the articles I read before realising I needed to take time off sick to recover and couldn’t avoid it anymore. I ticked all the boxes and it was only getting more desperate, if I’d left it longer I might have had a total collapse.
So its been a rocky few weeks. I had two weeks off work entirely, the first week of this was a lot of doing nothing while feeling guilty that I should be doing something. Sleeping, eating, showering with some back to basics of looking after myself without any major emphasis on Doing anything. I didn’t even pick up the housework since I was home (I have a very understanding husband who agreed with this fact). It took a solid week of this before I woke up with any energy or real emotion, a sense that I could do or achieve anything. I had rested my way back up to baseline normality (for me) and could finally start building myself back up. This may sound like a long time to some, or no time at all to others but I know from reading up that it could have been a Much longer process just getting to that stage.
I had since that afternoon I talked to work and told them I couldn’t cope anymore and needed the time away been planning on calling a mental health line they had an arrangement with. I knew they would help and it would be useful for me, but at that stage I couldn’t face talking about how I was feeling to some stranger on the other end of the phone line so I put it off and off. It was most of another week until I could make that call, I got advice about talking to work and choosing a phased return and to stand my ground at implementing the changes I needed to stop me ending up right back in the same state. I was supposed to call back once I’d made those arrangements with work and assess for face to face counselling… I didn’t.
I’m not sure why at that point other than my number one rule in life seems to be if its not in your comfort zone procrastinate until its too late or something worse has happened. I am trying to be an advocate for open honest conversations when it comes to mental health, but whilst this is my goal it is still out of my comfort zone. However, once I open that gate a little it ends up with a flood or what I sometimes call ‘verbal diarrhoea’ where everything just spills out in a hap hazard fashion and usually more than was intended, sometimes more than was smart, gets said.
Strange (or not) as it sounds sometimes it is almost like I feel scared of getting better, because then I run out of excuses to be rubbish. Which runs me into the second half of today’s blog.
I think this is one of the things that gets in my way the most…I’m a fake, a fraud, I don’t deserve help because even my struggle is fake… sound familiar? I don’t feel good enough to be a friend, a co worker, a wife… I don’t even feel like I can do being mentally ill ‘right’ or I’m just not unwell enough to warrant the help even though I’m barely managing to get through each day sometimes.
In my head everything I do would be done much better by anyone else, anything I know is understood much better than someone else. When I get something right its dumb luck, when I get something wrong well that just proves how much of a fake I am. When I am struggling it is because I am not good enough, because I am just faking it so of course I can’t do it. Still sound familiar?
This is all impostor syndrome and I have had it since my late teens. It often goes hand in hand with being a high achiever, we make ourselves unrealistic goals almost with the sole purpose of destroying ourselves when we don’t make them. We wouldn’t hold anyone else to these same goals and I myself have found what I would call a complete disaster and failure perfectly acceptable ‘your only human’ behaviour from anyone else. We are often much better councillors when it isn’t ourselves in the picture. I often try and think of how I would advise a friend if they were in the same situation. The difference in standards can be startling and it isn’t because I feel so good about myself…
This as I have come to realise is my largest hurdle in life, my working life is the most affected but it bleeds into all aspects of life.
I have been trying different things to help myself. As most readers know this blog was inspired by my first attempt at self help by reading the Self Care Project in my post > Hello
I have also been trying deep tissue massages to relieve tension and of all things acupuncture after several conversations with a friend who seemed to think it could cure nearly every ailment I have… I’m sceptical but I am willing to give it a go. My way of thinking is that it sends messages gallon the nerves to promote certain self healing or corrective reactions in the body that it hasn’t been taking care of by itself… it can’t hurt.
I sent in a self assessment to Leeds IAPT in May for counselling. I just got a response back saying I qualify for CBT but the waiting list is 9-10 months… I knew the system was overloaded but Jesus! That kind of puts pay to my idea of waiting for help from IAPT so now I have to jump back out of my comfort zone and call the helpline that work gave to me for counselling.
I keep convincing myself I can bring myself round through this that or the other without anymore help and no matter how much I prove to myself that won’t work or I can’t be self sufficient it creeps back in as a thought. I think, and I am not saying this is right, that for me it feels more like admitting weakness and failure than anything else. But look back at that waiting time, there are 10 months worth of people in the same situation as myself.
Modern life makes us sick… the news makes us depressed… life just feels like its going down the shitter sometimes. So focused on money and career that we forget to live. Or we choose to live entirely for other people and let ourselves fall by the wayside. If we then choose to do something for ourselves we are selfish horrible people… Sometimes it feels like there is no way to win.