Back to work last week. Just two short days. It was OK, but enough. Two full days coming up this week which I think will be OK too. It's kind of weird leaving in the middle of the afternoon, so it will be good to work normal days with proper rhythms. With an hour for lunch (instead of half). Being at home for four weeks has made me realise anew what a difference it makes to have an hour to myself in the middle of the day. Especially important when I come home from another kind of intense day and have to go straight into the bath, dinner and bed routine. Complete with tantrums.
Some of my colleagues thought that I had been on holidays (leadership not being specific about why I was absent due to privacy reasons, which I appreciate) but for some reason, that really bothered me. So, I've started to tell people that I was ill, and if they've asked, I've said that I had a manic attack, that it was pretty serious and that I'm getting better. There have some interesting reactions, one being that I seemed alright at the Christmas party and you wouldn't have known. Which may well be true. I guess my actor continued to present the calm/normal facade for short periods, although she did get a bit tired and haggard there for a while. I really, really need my actor, but sometimes she needs a rest.
Some have said they think being honest is really brave but I doubt I'm ever going to buy the whole bipolar / mood affective disorder / mania / depression / whatever it is I have / as just another health issue that can be managed just like diabetes thing until it's not shrouded in shame and secrecy. I'm sure blogging about it and the supportive response I've had is a big factor in why I feel more or less OK about being upfront. Sure, I do worry about my career (such that it is) and about being labelled and about having a return to work program, but less than I would have thought. Blogging means I'm used to expressing my thoughts, used to making a narrative about what's happened to me. That's given me a confidence I might not have had otherwise. So, once again, thank you all for being here. And for reading.
Last week I also had two(!!) by myself outings at night. Firstly a mother's group dinner at a local place, which was great. Although I felt a little sun worn and sweaty, as I chose not to go home after my doctor's appointment, but to walk by the river with my camera instead, and then catch a tram to the restaurant. Then the next night, drinks (sadly softies for me) with a woman friend at a nearby pub. It was interesting to walk into a hotel by myself for the first time in about eight or nine years and scan the room for my friend. I noticed a number of men of roughly my age group look back. Not that I would dream of anything untoward, but you know, it's a funny/interesting feeling when you're a forty something, somewhat shrewish mother with a partner and all the responsibilities that go with that life to have a man make eye contact with you. Indeed. And then later walking back to my car (on a main road not far from where I met my friend), I was harassed by hoons driving past yelling take our photo. When I refused, because I was only interested in the lovely soft rain (oh yes!) and the lights, and because I'm fairly arrogant that way, they said, hey look, she's not a man! Hah. All in all though, it was really great to be out and about. I'm going to do it again. For sure.