My thoughts could be so much easier to process if I kept writing. But it’s weird having a blog where everyone knows you. I resisted writing posts and only letting certain people read them because then I’d have to let them know a password and it felt a bit like I would be actually asking people to read them and how self-obsessed would that be. I created a new blog where no one knew me but it didn’t feel like home. So here I am.
Essentially, this post is about the ongoing adventures of life after therapy. I was given 16 weeks of therapy by the NHS and it really was life-changing. 16 weeks isn’t that much after six years of multiple useless drugs and locums and early discharge from services and waiting four months for an urgent referral … but I’ll take what I can get. My entire life changed, starting three days after the therapy ended when I got brave and decided to make my life change. Here I am, doing a job I adore. There’s nothing to it that has anything outwardly to like. The pay is shite, the job can be very menial and incredibly demanding but I get to help people and the things I’m good at – helping people and understanding people and being kind to people – are valued.
But still, I’m me. And ‘me’ got her probation extended by three months this week. I’m too emotional, too erratic. I feel all the feels and it’s a great thing now because I feel other people’s feels too and now I can use that to help, but the flip side is I got my probation extended. I’ve been trying to process it. I feel like I’ve failed. I get stuck in trains of thought about endless failures. I got a fuckload of praise from my boss last week. I’ve been doing lots of things well. And yet there’s something about me that she doesn’t trust, no matter how gently she worded it. I don’t get it. And at the same time I totally get it. I’ve handled some things in recent months that not many people would be able to handle. I can be cool as a cucumber when the need arises. I have a unique perspective and knowledge at work that finally gives some usefulness to years of mental ill health. But man, I wish I could contain my emotions sometimes.
My boss wants us to work on ways for her to better support me. My mind goes blank. My default reaction is that I will be blamed for things because I’m the mental one, the one not to be trusted. That’s what my history tells me, the two years in the last job particularly. She went out of her way to tell me that’s not the case now but I don’t quite believe it and my paranoia and anxiety became slightly out of control those last two shifts at work.
It doesn’t help that I’m cross about a bunch of stuff right now and have been nursing resentment for ages but too private to tell the people who have upset me that they upset me. Some of that is going to be worked on now, with a bit of help. But it all gets mashed up in my head and one thing leads to another thing and then I’m thinking that I’m rubbish and useless and there is CCTV in the office and I’m being watched and everyone hates me and I should just go and live under somebody’s stairs.
Which leads me to the therapy. I’ve been trying to ramp up the mindfulness. Funny that I practised it on my way to work the other day in the hope that it’d help me be calm and collected in the probation meeting but then dissolved into tears as soon as the revelation that I’m too emotional was revealed. I saw the funny side even as my boss passed me the tissues. Mindfulness doesn’t work like that, it is not a miracle cure, no matter how much bullshit goes around the internet.
On a different note, I was at church yesterday, feeling upset and grumpy, and I listened to a bloke I can barely stand read a passage from the Bible that I can barely stand. The parable of the talents, know it? I don’t like it. Some blokes were given some money and they doubled it so their boss said well done. One bloke was given money and kept it safe but didn’t double it so was insulted and chucked out. I usually end up thinking, oh no, does this mean if I have five non-Christian friends I have to make ten Christians? And if I don’t I’ll get thrown out? I sat through the sermon thinking I have to be a perfect Christian and listing all the ways I’m soooo not perfect. Thankfully the pastor made a bit of sense of it for me. He gave a version of the story as being faithful with small things and then being trusted with more, which makes much more sense, and gives me hope that helping someone in a tiny way at work counts as kindness and being faithful and God might be happy with it and maybe not demand that I be the perfect Christian. Maybe other tiny kindnesses are acceptable too.
So maybe I don’t have to be perfect at work either. And maybe I don’t have to be the perfect friend or the perfect wife or the perfect anything else. I have my old therapist in my head at times, she was a forthright woman with a deceptively gentle Irish accent. When I told myself, “get a grip, you silly cow” when I cried at work and cried on the tube on the way to the pub after, the therapist in my head was quite sarcastic. Want to put another insult in there? Oh right. Compassion. I value compassion and kindness. Good job I’ve got a week off work to “get a grip” on myself, but I should probably try and do it with a bit more kindness instead of insults! Silly cow.