LOOK AT ME, posting from my relatively shiny refurbished desktop computer. IT ARRIVED. Soon I'll get to play computer games ALL DAY. WINNING. Some things have been happening in the time I've only been updating on my tablet, using my chubby fingers. I've now had four driving lessons and am still enjoying it. Had to experience a BIT of an emergency stop as apparently there's some weird taboo about 'not crashing into the curb', but other than that, it's fun. I can now steer properly. I'm glad I went for this instructor, he's the perfect person to teach somebody like me. I never get the impression that he's annoyed or impatient with me even though I am QUITE STUPID when it comes to knowing anything about roads.
I've been having a bit of a horrific week, the title of which could be 'When Mental Health And Work Collide'. I had another panic attack on Monday, which made me have to face up to the fact that I do actually get panic attacks. I say 'another' panic attack because looking back, I've worked out that all the other times I've felt faint or weird at work (5 or 6 times in the last year), it's all been because of a panic attack and I hadn't even realised, possibly partly due to denial. Reassuring in the sense that there's nothing physically wrong with me but terrifying in the sense that I never knew it'd be so very far out of my control. I always thought that a panic attack would occur when I'm at my most anxious, but on the occasions they have occurred, I've been roughly on a 6/10, anxiety-wise. The difference is that it's nearly always been when I've been trying to talk to someone, which adds a lovely dose of humiliation and drama to the horrible mess that has been this week.
So as I recovered on Monday, I sat in the kitchen at work and there was a man there repairing a tap, who very casually said 'Oh, panic attack, is it? Aye, I'm the king of them, me'. Then we had a short but very productive conversation in which he just empathised with what I was going through and didn't give me any advice other than 'have some wine and a bath'. I can't even express how nice that conversation was to have, even though it was with a complete stranger. I thanked him but didn't think I could really say 'You are so kind, and I will remember this conversation for quite literally the rest of my life', because that would have been weird. As would saying 'I'd like to have your panicky, but kind babies'.
I didn't think I had panic attacks to contend with, but there we are. For the rest of the week I've felt a bit like I've been trudging through sludge. I shouldn't have come in on Tuesday but, of course, was too terrified to make the phonecall to say 'Sorry, too mental to work today'. Had the added humiliation of being quite  very weepy and although everyone's been lovely about it, I hate people seeing me cry. Quite ruins my highly tough image #lies
My little trolleagues have been most excellent, as has my mum. I'm glad I told them about it. When I saw the #timetotalk hashtag trending all over the place, I was like LOL HOW VERY APT. And how very wise, too. I should have known, really, that talking to and relying on the people you're closest to is the best option. What I'm not glad about, and I know this makes me a bad 'mental health stigma-reducer', or whatever, is 'escalating' the issue with a view to getting help. I'm just speaking personally, and just based on this week, really, so this is in no way meant as general advice. I wish I'd only told my friends, and pretended to everyone else present that my 'funny turns' or whatever were due to a blood pressure issue or something that people wouldn't see as my fault. I could call in sick and pretend I've got a cold, rather than because I've not slept because my heart's been racing and keeping me awake.
I'm not saying all this for sympathy or advice, I just needed it off my ample chest. Luckily I've gone through so many 'crazy patches' now that I've developed ALL KINDS of self-care strategies. Cooking and washing up isn't really happening, so it's been TAKEAWAYS GALORE. There was a planning meeting tonight about a new Wetherspoons they want to build right by my house. I was planning to go but I knew it wouldn't go my way and that there'd be all kinds of conflict, so instead I'm going to play computer games to take my mind off things a bit. I'm leaving early on Friday to catch up on a bit of sleep, and MIGHT maybe possibly just 'man up' and ask for this sick leave, and if I get judged for it or people think I'm weak or whatever, that is not my fault.
OK lol bai just off to play Crusader Kings II now.

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