I am at home today, having what could politely be called a mental heath day. There have been some issues at work and yesterday at a staff meeting it all came out. Under performance was discussed and although I have been assured that they were not referring to me, I have recently had feedback that although I do a good job, I am too slow. Funny thing is, I think everyone in the room thought that it could be about them. Not nice. I thought I was handling it all Ok and the afternoon at work was more or less fine but when I got home, I burst into tears. Later Grace told me about some boys at school who hit her and she says she told the teacher and action was taken. But still, it's not the sort of news you want to hear. And all this is happening against the backdrop of sad news from around the world, the Christchurch earthquake and the terrible events in Libya. Day before yesterday as I watched news from Christchurch unfold, I felt so sad for that city, for friends with loved ones there, for friends who watched the house they were going to stay in be crushed by rocks. Awful horrible stuff.
So I feel in the context of all that is going on in the world that my dramas are somewhat petty. That I should be able to just get up and get on with it. But life doesn't always work like that and last night I couldn't sleep for the thoughts racing through my head, for the feelings of panic and anxiety that caused physical pain in my chest. In the end I did sleep a bit but I was awake before the alarm and when it came on with the news, I just burst into tears. Then I was thinking about going to work and initially thought, yes I should be able to tough it out, I will feel better if I just get on with it. This is my default position and usually I stick to it. But my thoughts kept racing, slippery and hard to grasp and place in coherent order. More tears. Then an image of a great big red and white stop sign popped into my head and I realised that I must have left it there before, some other time when I planned how I might act if this happened again. So I decided that I really wasn't in a fit state to go to work. I arose and went in to Grace. She asked me why I had been crying and I had to tell her that I wasn't feeling well and she asked if a cuddle would help. She patted my back and it felt all kinds of strange to be falling apart and be comforted by a five year old. Then we all got up and got on with it. I called work and I told them why I wasn't coming into work. I wish I could have told white lies and preserved my dignity. But I didn't, I said that I had had a major panic attack, had hardly slept and was concerned that I was heading for a manic episode and that no, I'm not OK and that yes, it is work related. I cried. As it happens, I have my monthly shrink appointment tomorrow. And after that I have agreed to talk with someone at work about how I am going. Shit, fuckitty, bum bum.
Truth is though, it isn't all work related. I have had some physical symptoms of anxiety over the last couple of months and I guess I have been hoping that all will be OK. Often it is. Maybe it will be this time. Or maybe I'm heading into the hall of mirrors again. Today I am so tired and so racy that I don't really know where I am. But I have managed to do a couple of loads of washing and get dressed. And I might clean the girl's room. Cleaning is a good use of manic energy, and at least you end up with a cleaner house. Crap. Crap. Crap. I am really far too busy for all this.