mental health day

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.

flowers in the kitchen

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.


Suse said...

Oh Janet. Wishing you several solid nights of sleep in a row, a cathartic session with your shrink, and the air at work cleared soon.

In the meantime, enjoy your clean house.


Sue said...

The cleaning helps me too with major panic attacks or I try and get into the garden to prune the roses or something else! Hope that it all clears up - it only takes small things to set off panic attacks, I have suffered them for quite a few years now and the chest pains arent very nice at all. Hope your feeling more calm soon and happier.

Acton Belle said...

"Crap. Crap. Crap. I am really far too busy for all this."

Just how I felt this morning. I don't know what's come over me but despite the spring sun shinning outside, my world feels very grey and overcast lately.

Sending you warm wishes and the knowledge that you're not alone x

Gillian said...

Janet,so sorry to hear about your panic attack. Hope you will soon be feeling less tired and overwhelmed by everything. Just keep thinking about all the love and care you are surrounded by at home and take things one little step at a time. Wishing a good night of refreshing sleep.

librarygirl said...

Thinking of you and hugging you too xx

Frogdancer said...

Talking about that burst of energy makes me wish I had manic episodes... my house is a tip!
I take the occasional day off work.. I call them 'Psychologicals' and they are oh so sweet.

Hope that the appointment today clears the air and you feel better.

Kate said...

Those physical symptoms of anxiety are the WORST. The thing is that then it's a vicious cycle of anxiety, because I often don't clue in that that's what they are and think I'm having some horrible attack or something. Luckily I've not experienced it often - often enough!

I'm glad you managed to stop when you needed to. I hope all the meetings and blah go ok. Shit fuckety bum bum indeed.

fiveandtwo said...

Oh man, that is really shit, fuckitty, bum,bum (I really like that, I have filed it away for use in similar situations).
I do think you've handled the whole situation really well. Your Grace is a sweetie.
Sending you good sleep vibes.

Marg said...

My mantra for times like these -

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

Leonard Cohen