Black Dog / Grey Dog
OK - here goes. This is going to be weird for me to write about. But if I had a dollar for every time I've sat at this keyboard to blog and thought that, I'd be a rich woman indeed. I've had a few weeks off work. Unfortunately I've not been on the long needed holiday Peter and I are desperate for. You see, I woke up just over two weeks ago and felt numb. Not physically, but emotionally. I had an appointment with the doctor and within a few minutes of talking to her burst into tears.
Work has been getting increasingly stressful, and all meetings about workplace change with management are combative and upsetting. They are dismissive of how their staff feel and fail to understand the distress caused by their inability to consult in any meaningful way. ie. listening as well as talking. I guess 'fighting the good fight' took its toll. So much has been going on in my head, and this has been compounded (almost ironically) by one of the subjects I am studying this semester. Human resource management. I think our directors are focused on the 'management' word, whereas I think they should be focused on the 'human' part. It is upsetting as everything I am reading highlights how things can and should be done differently.
So sitting in the doctors room, crying, we spoke about words like anxiety and depression. Anxiety and I are old friends, but since making the radical shift in my life to a better relationship, it has subsided greatly. But I never would have associated myself with the word depression. For the most part I've always been able to get up and keep going. I guess I thought depression was far more intense and all consuming. But like all things in life, the black dog is actually many shades of grey. Crying at the thought of some things, and disruptive sleep patterns began to tick boxes on the doctors checklist.
The reality is that I was coming to the conclusion I was going to have to talk to someone soon, as thoughts of pain and guilt over the breakup of my old relationship were creeping back. As much as I could intellectualize that I have a right to be happy, the pain caused by the vitriol of my ex, and the guilt of causing him pain was doing my head in. I found myself sitting in my car at traffic lights with tears running down my cheeks. I think holding it together for 18 months to get through the horror of legal battles, threats and abuse, served me well. But time had come to deal with it all. And the workplace stress pushed me over the edge. One aggressive, abusive relationship too many.
I've had two weeks at home with my beautiful husband and spent some time (between doctors visits and emails to lecturers for extensions on essays) having coffee with a couple of dear friends. My oldest and dearest friend Denise has been a great sounding board for my current headspace. I don't know if she understand just how much our chats in the last few weeks have meant to me. Perspective, understanding and assurance are wonderful things. No - I don't need anti-depressants, I just need to talk to someone because I have a lot of shit going on. It's true. Funnily I'd be the first person to recommend to a friend that they should seek professional support, but taking a dose of your own medicine can be tough.
But last night, Peter held my hand as I went to talk to a psychologist about the effect this workplace stress and the ghosts of relationships past were having on me. Many, many more tears were shed, but it was nice to offload how I felt to an independent and supportive ear. We will work towards coping strategies, but there was talk of the impact of toxic work environments. Perhaps my colleagues and I could get a group discount on this advice! Change will need to happen for me to get through this. Some of the change will be me, but change may also mean a new job if things don't settle down. I turned 41 a few days ago, and I am learning to put myself first. Finally. I am lucky in that I have wonderful supportive people around me. It's time to leave some of this crap behind, so I can move forward...happily, freely and unencumbered. Time to let the grey dog off it's leash.