His face shines on me

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I’ve not been in a great place for a while. Sometimes I find it hard to tell at the time, not so good at that insight thing the professionals bang on about. I’ve particularly struggled the last couple of weeks since finding out my probation is being extended. If it was about mistakes I’ve made that would be hard but tangible. This is more about who I am, it’s like trying to catch wisps of smoke. Looking at the minutes from that meeting, it seems to be about agitation and anxiety being visible sometimes. Popping out in ways that others don’t really get.

I’ve struggled since then because that’s exactly the person I do not want to be. I want to be calm and collected and I’m not, no matter how hard I try. And I want to be someone who can think clearly, but I’m not, not about myself anyway. So for the things I don’t like about myself to be the exact things that are holding me back at a job I love, well, that’s me good and triggered. Argh, why can’t they just accept me? Fair enough in the last job, they were a bunch of ignorant wankers who just couldn’t seem to understand mental illness, no matter how hard I tried to educate them. But now I’m surrounded by people who should be better able to understand.

Round and round I go, is this about me or my mind? I’m not even ill, am I ill? Do I need these pills, maybe I should come off them, there’s nothing wrong with me anyway, I’m just a bit more intense than other people, there are good points to that, I just need to squash the bad points. Seems a bit of a small thing really, is it really enough to warrant extending my probation, what if I can’t overcome it and then don’t pass probation in three months? I’ll lose my job and what will I do then? They’re just being overcautious, boss said in the meeting that I’m on target for everything else, no one’s perfect. So what if I get a bit agitated sometimes, from their observations it seems like that always happens in a safe space, never in situations that necessitate calmness and clear thinking. Why can’t they just accept that they have a slightly unstable person in their crew now? Am I going to be met with this hypervigilance wherever I go? I need to get better at hiding emotions.

Easter came along. I was tired, fighting off illness, surrounded by memories of Easter two years ago, of being deeply suicidal, not knowing where this whole death on a cross thing fits, what it even means. Sometimes faith just doesn’t mean anything, not when faced with life.

At a church service on Good Friday, as we meditated on the death of Jesus, something struck me. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Good forsook Jesus on the cross, he turned his face away from him, when he never had before. Jesus didn’t deserve it, he’d never done anything wrong. What pain, I can’t imagine what it must have been like, but sometimes I can imagine it a little bit, like on Friday night. I knew with absolute certainty, so rare for me, that God will never forsake me, he’ll never turn his face away from me. That knowledge touched the raw parts inside me that feel like I’m wrong, I was made wrong. I can stand in church and it doesn’t matter what I’ve done wrong – my bad attitudes, my flared temper, my increasingly paranoid conviction that I’m being watched and judged, my confused thoughts, my nervousness and doubt – I can stand in church, I can stand in front of the cross and lift my face and I don’t need to close my eyes or hide in the darkness. I can stand in the open and know that my God’s face smiles upon me.

Tomorrow I have a probation meeting. If I weren’t unstable I’d be being signed off as a fully fledged member of staff. Instead, my boss will be addressing some of the issues that stop that happy moment. I want to fight it, or to run from it. To defend myself or admit defeat. Either one or both reactions could show at once, proving everyone and myself right, that my reactions can’t be assessed or relied on. I want to be calm and collected and if I can’t manage that then this cycle could begin again.

Some acceptance crept in yesterday though. I was at church again, feeling happy there, which I haven’t for a while. I love singing and Easter is great. 🙂 And it dawned on me, I’m not stable. Whether you conceive of it in terms of mental illness, Bipolar, anxiety, depression or just general eccentricity, I don’t know. Either way, I’m not mentally stable. Living with mental illness involves struggle every single day, and being happy and settled in life makes not a tiny bit of difference. It’s not a realisation I like, neither is it a new one. But it’s one that needs to be accepted, over and over. The therapy I had? I’ve been trying to wrap my head around that again recently. I’ve been wishing I could talk to my old therapist, but I’ve had my allotted NHS time. What does it mean, what does it mean? Well, it means that. Accept myself, the way I am, whether it’s ill or healthy or just a bit less stable than other people, the whole of me. Very hard to do. Very hard for other people to do.

Easter came along at a good time. After trying different ways to sort out my perspective, Jesus did it, when he looked at me from the cross and said, it is finished.

The Lord bless you
   and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
   and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face towards you
   and give you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

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Easter

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I love Easter.

Christmas. The man who was with God, was God, in the beginning of time, had been together with God for an eternity, became a human. God with us.

Good Friday. This man, who had always been in communion with God, not just for the 30-something years he’d been a human, but for the eternity with God in the heavens, became everything that is wrong with the world, everything that is wrong with humanity. He carried all of the horror of this life, was beaten beyond recognition, humiliated and then killed. For the first time in an eternity, God chose to turn his face away from this man, to forsake him instead of forsaking me, and because of that he will never, ever turn his face away from me.

Easter Sunday. Everyone who loved Jesus was devastated, grieving, their lives shattered. They went to the tomb and he told them he wasn’t there anymore, why were they there? This man, what a man. His face smiles upon me, will always smile upon me. So glad I have had time to go to church this weekend. 🙂

Me and the frog, together again.

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.

Don’t let the dust cling

The day I went for my job interview I felt sooooooo peaceful. I was nervous but I had this song on over and over and I went in smiling and I came out smiling and I went home smiling and I sat in the garden that evening smiling. I knew that what I was doing was right. That if I got the job it was right and if I didn’t get the job that was right too.

I walk this path you lead
You keep moving me on
I know you’re with me
Lord, in Zion.

To him who sits on the throne
To him who reigns forever
To him who sits on the throne
To him who reigns on high

Be blessing and honour and glory and power
Be blessing and honour and glory and power

That’s what I listened to and what I felt and knew to be true.

Then I went back to work and had a horrible summer, filled with stress and unhappiness and fright.

During the month I took off work I tried to brush that old job off me. It wasn’t easy. What I did right at the end of the job caused more stress, mixed with pride, and I came to some painful realisations about the two years I spent there. I was a mess by the time I left. I struggled to be around people, to cope with noise and movement. I tried to let it go but every time I’d stop thinking about it for a few hours, I’d get a text or an email. Something silly like being asked where a key was. And it was all back. I got an email from HR and felt flustered. I got an email from a colleague and I felt angry.

There’s a bit in the Bible where Jesus told his disciples that if they went to a town to preach and the people rejected them they were to leave and brush the dust off their feet. I can’t be arsed to go into that passage and that’s not what this blog is about anyway, but I that’s what I was trying to do during the month off. Brush the dust off. When my mum asked me if I was looking forward to the new job and I sort of hesitated she said, don’t let the dust cling to your feet.

I hadn’t thought about it like that before. During the summer, when I had to do a thing, I thought a student would be really angry with me for doing it. It took me an hour and a half to pluck up the courage to do this small thing. An hour after doing it the student thanked me. I dissolved into tears when he left my office because I realised that two years in that job had left me metaphorically walking around with my arms in front of my face in case someone hit me. Only six months ago I thought I wasn’t capable of doing any job, that I would always be inept and unhappy. This last month I had started to become scared that I wouldn’t be capable of doing this new job. I was scared that I’d have a bad boss. I was scared I’d have unwelcoming colleagues. I was scared I’d be unhappy.

Don’t let the dust cling to your feet.

This week has been wonderful. Leaving aside what I’m actually doing, the people, wow. The people have welcomed me. They’ve smiled at me and chatted to me and explained things to me and showed things to me and helped me. They welcomed me. It’s not right that I should be so overcome by this but I am because that didn’t happen in my last job. My boss there welcomed me, kind of, but days went by without any other colleagues talking to me in my first week. I was left to sit at my desk and read papers. That was my induction.

It’s silly but when I first walked into this new job I was nervous because the loo is outside the office and I thought, oh no, people will know when I go to the loo. Because in my last job I hated anyone seeing me go in or out of the loo. I hated anyone seeing me make a cup of coffee. I hated anyone seeing me eat. That’s how uncomfortable I was there for two and a bit years. It’s not like that in this new job. After a couple of hours I didn’t mind going to the loo. I didn’t mind nipping out to make a cup of coffee. I didn’t mind walking into the office. In my last job I had to brace myself before going into the main office. People tended not to look up or acknowledge me when I said hi. I didn’t know if I was supposed to say hi or walk in silently. I ended up like I was at school – when I first went to sixth form college the other students said I was the ghost. I’d learned how to walk without drawing attention to myself and two years in that job turned me back into the ghost. I smiled to myself on the bus home from work one day this week when I realised that I’m already fine with walking into the office and saying hi. I couldn’t say goodbye in the last place. I sloped off without anyone noticing, because when I had said goodbye to people, they’d acted like I wasn’t there. Now I can even leave and say something banal like, right, I’m off, with a smile and not afraid that I’ll be ignored.

My new boss is so friendly! And competent. She can teach. She can teach and smile at the same time. She asked about me, how I’d ended up in this job. And you know what? I just told her. I told her about some of my experiences with mental illness and how that has increased my compassion so that now I just want to help somehow and not do a boring admin job that doesn’t mean anything. That wasn’t disclosure. That wasn’t me gently walking some ignorant twat through the process of disclosure and managing his fears about having a mentally ill person contaminating his office. That was just me talking about myself. Her face didn’t cloud over. She didn’t stamp MENTAL to my forehead. For the first time, being a bit mental is working in my favour. I know some stuff that they don’t and people listen to me. They value my observations. Each time something like that happens I have to squish back tears. Tears of relief and happiness.

I’ve finally realised just how bad it was in the last job. Nobody should ever have to be that unhappy at work. Nobody should have to hide, to be scared to go to the loo, to say hi in the morning, to walk into a sodding room. Nobody should have to eat their sandwich on the floor of an empty corridor because there’s nowhere else to hide. Nobody should ever, EVER, have to hide anything about their disability because they’re judged for it. Nobody should be surprised when someone is nice to them at work. Nobody should be so crushed that they beam with delight when their tiny observation is greeted with respect because they’re so used to being criticised or just plain old dismissed.

Just as I was leaving the other day, the manager briefly chatted to me. He had such a gentle smile as he quietly reassured me that two very experienced staff members will be with me during my next shift and that I’ll be fine and not to worry about anything. Wow. I beamed at him and beamed all the way home.

Now I get to do something that helps people. I’m crying just from writing this post so I’ll leave that for another time.

I’m so happy. The dust is finally being brushed off. On the way home from work a couple of days ago it was raining on one side of the train and sunny on the other side. I looked out of the window and saw a stunning rainbow and knew that God was saying to me, see? I keep my promises.

I walk this path you lead
You keep moving me on
I know you’re with me
Lord, in Zion.

To him who sits on the throne
To him who reigns forever
To him who sits on the throne
To him who reigns on high

Be blessing and honour and glory and power
Be blessing and honour and glory and power

Not calm or collected

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Things got … new since I last blogged. The summer contained a new type of stress that forced me to deal with things in a new type of way. I’ve wanted to write for a while and now seems like a good time because a chapter of my life has ended and a new one is about to start. The old one is still right in my head, giving me nightmares. But I hope they’ll fade.

I knew that working my notice would heap pressure on but I had hoped that the knowledge that it would be over quickly would propel me through. It didn’t. When I cracked enough to open up to a colleague she asked me that and I felt weak for admitting that I was struggling to cope with such a short time left, but there you are.

This summer has seen me asking for help to an extent that has bewildered me. I knew when I was applying for new work that my notice period would be tricky. The spotlight was on me to do all the things and prove that I’d done them. I do did lots of things in my job but the things I’d been avoiding had to not be avoided anymore. That was always going to be hard. Doing the things I’m afraid of and fighting off the things that made me afraid of them at the same time. You might do it wrong. You might have already done it wrong and it’s too late. You’ll be found out. You’ll be told off. That was the early part of August and the beginning of needing all the help. There were panicked crying attacks on a train, on a station platform, in a coffee shop, hiding in the loo, on the floor of my office, in the shower, on the sofa with a friend. Bottles of wine were downed. Pleas for reassurance were … pleaded.

I felt like I should have been able to handle this on my own, or at least with my trusty friend alcohol, but nope. Knowing that I had to do everything made me clutch at anything that would help me. Even letting some friends see my wussiness in its wheezing, snotty glory. Even begging for benzos. Dropping the jokes and asking for help. A few of you deserve medals for your patience as each little fear got dumped in your laps.

A couple of weeks in things got harder because, trying not to drop anonymity entirely, the notice period was handled badly. I shouldn’t really have expected otherwise. I got so stressed I even broke my ‘don’t ever talk to boss’ rule and asked him for help, which was wasted breath.

I’ve always wanted to be a calm and collected person. I’ve looked up to my step-mum for years. She actually is a calm and collected person. We’re quite similar in a lot of ways at our cores, but I’m neurotic and unstable and sort of flaily. I hate that I got so needy this summer. So completely unable to handle anything myself. Changes came out of nowhere and floored me. I know I’m a panicky person but I’ve been learning to give myself a bit of breathing space and wait for non-panicky feelings and thoughts to provide balance. That adaptability disappeared this summer and each time something new was thrown at me I froze. In a moment of shame I deleted a bunch of my more flappy posts to my friends so some of my neediness has become a bit hazy. Stress does funny things to the memory. Shame tells me that I have really good things happening and I should have been grateful and stronger and not whined so much when other people have worse things to deal with. I’m trying not to let shame gain too much of a foothold because I guess the important thing is that those people I reached out to have been patient and kind and I got the things done. Thank you so much.

The unlucky few even boosted my confidence enough for me to stand up for myself at work right at the end. I agonised about doing what I did because it felt like it was motivated by revenge. I’d dreamed about making my boss pay for months and now I was finally taking the chance. That’s not very Christian. But what I did will hopefully check him and protect future employees, maybe even the existing ones. And I finally protected myself when I needed to. The satisfied smirk of revenge tells me I should probably remind myself of those fruits of the Spirit nobody really likes to think about when they’ve been hurt. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

I’ve also had to deal with some consequences. I royally pissed off some colleagues and I got a knife twist in the form of a realisation that not many people I worked with gave much of a damn. And a new set of fears have said hello. I’m feeling sad today so probably shouldn’t be blogging at all. Some people did give a damn and that’s lovely. But I’m bruised and sore. My emotions are squiffy. I get overstimulated and turn into a Catherine wheel really quickly. I’m scared I’ll be rubbish at the new job. I’m so glad I took a month off before starting. Even now, a week and a half after I finished the old job, I can’t find resources inside me to help stabilise myself. I’m using my environment to do that now. We went away somewhere peaceful and pretty for a few days and I think the stillness seeped inside me a bit. When the Catherine wheel slows down a bit I remember I stood up for myself. I’m making a big change that could be, y’know, really great, and I got through a horrible summer not unscathed but with my head held high at the end. I have fledgling feelings of pride. Now I’m home for a few days and doing not much but knitting. I did a little meditation two days ago. I should do more of that. I listened to a sermon last weekend and even took notes. I should look back on them. Maybe even listen to the mp3. But right now I have yarn and it’s very pretty. 🙂

Powerful

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What. A. Mindfuck. It’s been two and a half months since I finished therapy and today I had a review appointment with one of the therapists, the bully one, not the gentle one. I used to argue with the bullying one a fair bit but she is incredibly perceptive. Scarily perceptive.

“So, how’s the mindfulness going?”

Oh yeah, that. *Cough* Well, you know, erm, well, I haven’t actually been doing it that much actually.

It’s hard to write about because I’m going so fast. Everything is fast. I am fast. Fast enough that she narrowed her eyes and starting doing risk assessment questions, which I flicked away. I know those questions too well.

I did tell her stuff. I told her about not doing mindfulness and why and how irritating it is because I have to drag my mind back over and over again and that’s tedious and annoying. I told her about what I’m doing with my life now. I told her that I crash and burn sometimes. I told her about the pavement. Her response? “Well, that wasn’t your finest hour.” Hence risk assessment.

She was delighted to hear what I’ve decided to do. She looked bowled over actually. Get in, I shocked the therapist. 😀 She recovered and asked me what comfortable shoes I’m wearing as I climb the mountain. “You do realise that you’ve just put yourself through massive amounts of stress and borrowed tomorrow’s energy, don’t you?” Ohhhh, the spoon theory. “Did you even think about your blisters?” So I’ve to think about what comfortable shoes I can wear as I climb through the next few months. Because, great as the epic new stuff is, I have a vulnerability. Her word, not mine.

She told me that which she has told me a thousand times before – I’m incredibly self-critical, guilt-driven and the self-compassion element of the therapy is my weakest point.

She said that for a woman who understands language as well as I do, I’m remarkably dense about recognising the shite language I use about and to myself. She said I need to slow down and stop pushing and interrupting long enough to see what I do to myself. She said that if I had slowed down long enough to see what was going on inside my head yesterday, I might not have taken all afternoon and evening to recover from my boss mentioning my sick leave in a hushed voice as if it was something to be ashamed of.

She said I’m a bully. I bully myself. I don’t take the time to assess what I need to do to take care of myself. She asked what I did when I lost the plot last week and when I told her I was sensible and went home she asked why I had gone to work in the first place. Why hadn’t I realised how bad things were? Why do I only ever take action to look after myself when I’m desperate?

Oh.

But here’s the mindfuck. She also said I’m a very powerful woman.

Uh, what?

She said I’m driven, ambitious, intelligent, headstrong, passionate, persuasive, forceful and very powerful.

The woman who last week was rocking and crying on a pavement? And a few weeks before that was rocking and crying on the floor of a toilet cubicle while her friends had fun outside? I mean, when my sick leave was brought up yesterday I instantly started worrying about being weak. I’ve never thought of myself as powerful before. She certainly succeeded in shutting me up. I came out stunned and I have no idea how to process what she said.

She said I have to learn how to use and control my own power because I’m so powerful that I could do amazing things and I could also really hurt myself.

*Stares*

Dropping the pretence

So I got a new job. It’s all very cool and very exciting. I’m incredibly happy and a big grin spreads over my face whenever I remember. I’ll be providing practical support for people who have a mental illness and who also live in supported accommodation. I’m taking a hefty pay cut and will be working shifts over 24 hours. Our lives are going to change! Bring. It. On.

This post isn’t about that so much because I have another post planned. Sort of. In the way that I plan anything, which I don’t really. This is just a splurge post because argh and weirdness.

My mental health went tits up around three months ago and I didn’t tell my boss regardless of who advised me to, not husband, not mentor, not therapists. I can’t trust him. Thing is, the cognitive effects of mental ill health have a delayed effect and they are slamming in now. They were ramping up in the few weeks before I went on holiday but I trudged on and tried to fight them. I got back from holiday to a couple of pissed off bosses because I had forgotten to do one thing I had said I would do, and was late with another. So poor academic boss had to do some work for a couple of days and wasn’t best pleased about it. Professorial whinging aside, fair enough. Once the stomach lurching and uncomfortable meeting with the other boss, the main boss, was over, I sent the required grovelling apology. I am gooooooooooood at apologising. In fact, I have been trying to stop, my therapists were trying to help me to stop. Now, as I am faced with an increasing list of things I have forgotten to do in recent weeks, and the consequences of being too scared or depressed to do a list of other things, the only thing left to do is apologise.

Such an emotional meltdown this week. A day and a half on sick leave – with the work related box ticked. Last week, in the uncomfortable meeting, after being told I need to communicate better, after nodding and smiling and knowing I won’t, I was told to provide drafts of things for things that have an actual September deadline. Right, OK. So I didn’t for a couple of days because I knew they wouldn’t be good enough and I’d be criticised. My first meltdown happened on Friday. Finally on Monday, when I became more scared of being told off for not doing them than I was of being told I’d done them badly, and after I had already stumbled upon something else I’d forgotten to do, I sent them to my boss. Naturally, they weren’t good enough and I received a terse email in reply. “I am surprised this is so sparse.” I don’t remember much of the rest but I know it contained a list of all the things wrong with it and expectations for improvement, which is a bit odd because why should it be good enough? It’s not due until September. I dissolved in my office, shut the door, hid in the blind spot and proceeded to break down in style. After a while I knew I needed to get out before I was spotted so I slapped more makeup on to hide the swollen eyes and dashed round the corner, found a seemingly quiet spot of pavement, sat down on the fucking floor in the middle of London and sobbed out my fears and failures and can’t-cope-ness in a ridiculously high-pitched and too-fast voice to the friend I know who understands me the most. On a pavement. With people walking past. Staring. That’s a low point right there.

Of course, it didn’t help that I was waiting to find out if I’d got this awesome job and had convinced myself I hadn’t got it and would be stuck in this nightmare job for the rest of my life. I did the most sensible thing I could have done. I went home. Later that day I was offered the job. God only knows what the woman thought of me, she had to repeat it three times before I understood what she was saying.

I went back to work yesterday and quit my job. Whoop! Boss was visibly relieved. He’ll be as glad to get rid of me as I am to get rid of him. The pretence can be dropped. This is the wrong job for me and I’m messing it up. I won’t have to work my full notice period (three months, FFS) and I have to come up with a list of tasks, do what I can, hand over the rest and leave. Excellent. I still have to get through what notice period is left though. More fucked up things have come to light today and although my boss is being quite nice, quite jovial in a condescending way, with his acknowledgement that I’m in the wrong job, that makes it quite easy for him to place responsibility for fuck ups firmly on me. He ain’t gonna get away with that. My mentor is continuing with her advice – keep him at arm’s length. Good and necessary advice for this job. But she has now expressed such happiness for me that I am not entering a third year of intolerable pressure from a boss who remains wilfully ignorant of what it means to line manage somebody with a severe and enduring mental illness. He will know on Monday that I have been ill for some time and hiding it from him because our working relationship has been so fraught since I got ill last year that I don’t feel comfortable telling him anything. He will know that I am not forgetting everything simply because I’m bad at this job, I am forgetting everything because that’s what happens when I get ill. The cognitive problems that accompany and follow episodes of mental illness last. They never really go away. Each time I seem to lose a few more brain cells and I’ve now reached the limit of how much I can function in this job. There are just too many things to juggle. And I have no support.

Our disability advisor at work died last month and I have missed her so much this last week or so. I am so sad that I can’t tell her what I’m going on to do. She would have been so chuffed for me. And when I broke down on Friday and Monday I had nobody to call. She would have known exactly how to help me. She was my only support in this job. I see my mentor once a week and she is a lifeline, but on a day to day basis there’s nothing and no one. He will know what he has done. It will be brief on Monday because all I really want him to know is that I have been ill and I will continue to struggle keep up with what I need to do until I leave and I have deliberately kept this from him because he is untrustworthy. The full exit review will happen when I leave. That will be delicious.

Mental illness doesn’t go away just because things are good. Mental illness goes on holiday with you. It goes to the pub with you. And it follows you to work and fucks you over even when you’re so happy you could burst. But I am so happy I could burst. 🙂