We’ve all heard the saying, “When you hit rock bottom, the only way to go is up.” Personally I’ve always been a believer in that very saying. We’ve all felt like we couldn’t possibly get any lower and of course life laughs and tries us even harder. But there comes a point when things have to change and we start to see a positive turn around.
I’ve been experiencing that myself these last few weeks. I finally managed to escape from the hell hole that was my last job (mentioned in my previous post) and found a job in media earning more money than I ever have before, my anxiety has been improving, my health has been better and I’ve even felt in enough of a positive position to get back to eating healthily and shifting some of the extra pudge I’ve gathered in my relationship’s very own honeymoon period.
Then today came along and shook all the positivity I’ve been feeling. It all started last night; unable to sleep I clock watched as it got later and later and counted the hours and minutes until my alarm would be going off. I fought off the anxiety that threatened due to my fear of sleeping in and managed to avoid reaching for the Amitriptyline to get me off. So far so good.
This morning, I overslept…majorly. I missed my transport to work and I knew there was no other way I could possibly get up, dressed, out and into my swivel chair in time. Normal people would text their boss, explain they were going to be late and crack on. But it sent me into a spiral. All of a sudden the anxiety overwhelmed me. I started sweating, I felt sick, I was imagining all sorts of horrific things happening. I was stuck between the rock of not wanting to phone in sick after only 6 weeks in my new job, and the hard place of not being brave enough to tell my boss I had slept in and have her think badly of me. My anxiety made the decision. my legs wouldn’t work, my stomach churned. My emetophobia showed up late to the party and reminded me I couldn’t possibly leave the house. In short, I was in hell.
Eventually I crafted a text to my boss, knowing she was in a meeting. She replied and asked me to call her at 11am. My morning both flew by and dragged in equal measure. While part of me knew that I was perfectly entitled to be ill, the other darker side of me niggled at my low self-esteem. Everyone would be talking about me, judging me, thinking less of me for calling in sick. I would lose the respect I’d worked hard to gain as the newbie, or worse, lose my job.
When 11am finally came, I bit the bullet and made the call. I was shaking, sweating, on the verge of tears. I was asked what was so bad I couldn’t come to work and I felt like a fraud for not being there. I was told the expected, as I was still on probation I would lose a day’s wages. And then the unexpected. As punishment (not the word used) for having a sick day, I would forfeit half of the bonus that I have flogged my tits off to earn. My anxiety reared again as I felt the blow of this information. It made everything I had fought against for the last 6 weeks feel worthless. It made me feel worthless.
Now this may sound like the most pitiful thing you have ever heard. If that is the case, I don’t judge you but I also know that you have never suffered the darkness of anxiety. See, I have spent the last 6 weeks leaving my comfy 8 year old bubble and putting myself out there to try and make a career and have success. I have left the house early on a morning and alone. I have sacrificed being able to use my phone whenever I feel wobbly. I have sat in a room with people much more experienced than me, felt the inadequacy and fought it back. I have pushed myself harder than I have in a long time to stand out and make a mark in my first few weeks. And all of this has pushed me to make changes in my personal life to. I have been a whole new woman these last few weeks and this morning I was conquered by a missed alarm. I felt ashamed, devastated, angry and deflated. I spent half an hour loathing myself and questioning whether I was good enough. I felt lost.
Everything I had worked hard for felt like it was slipping away from beneath me. The rage burned. Because I wasn’t strong enough, wasn’t brave enough, wasn’t clever enough…my whole day was ruined because I slept an hour later than I should have. I didn’t know whether I wanted to sit, stand, scream, cry or walk for miles. I felt that familiar ominous presence of my mental health that I have kept at bay for weeks.
I spent the day relaxing; had a coffee with my best friend, spent time with my mother, eagerly awaited my boyfriend coming home from work with one of those magic hugs that make it all go away. The entire day was spent agonising over the things I should have done.
When late afternoon came and the waves subsided I began to feel more of a sense of calm. I need to treat this as a lesson, as something that was meant to be. I need to remind myself that I am strong, I am a capable. That I am better than no one and that no one is better than me. That I am NOT my mental health, I am the queen of my life, the heroine of my story.
Maybe I have been spoken about at work as the new girl who’s off already or maybe I haven’t crossed their minds. My self-esteem will not allow me to even think that maybe people are wishing me well and feeling disappointed for me that I will lose half of my monthly bonus.
I can sit and worry about it all, I can sit and pull myself apart. Or, I can put my energy into remembering what I have done.
I have found the confidence to step out of my comfort zone.
I have found a new job in a industry where I have no experience, and I have proved I can do it.
I have overcome my anxiety everyday to get myself to work and last the day without fleeing for home.
I have fought.
I have won some battles and I have lost some.
And I’m not done yet.
Stay strong guys and gals. Remember, the only way is up!