There are times when distraction is very valuable. Like now. For months, evening time, once the kids were in bed, was the toughest time for me. I literally just didn't know what to do with myself. Thankfully that's eased up a bit, but every now and then, like this evening, it'll rear it's head again and I find my mind heading over to the dark side. So what can I do?
There are so many things! I have a list, I actually went to the effort of writing it down once although what I did with it then is anyone's guess. I could read, do some yoga, watch a movie, walk the dogs, knit, call a friend..........Or if all else fails I could just call it a day and go to bed. Except what generally happens is that I do none of the above. I faff about on the interweb for a while, I spend a considerable amount of time staring at whatever happens to be in my line of vision, and all the while my mood is getting progressively lower and anxiety levels progressively higher. It's just one of the many parts of this whole thing that I can't understand. I know all about self care, treating myself with compassion, and I can talk it up really well for others. But for me? Meh, a bit of pointless wall staring is just the ticket. It makes no sense. And it infuriates me. This evening it really infuriates me.
I could try being mindful about it. Just sit with the kind of fractious, jittery feeling that won't quite go away, but that doesn't sound very pleasant. I could try thinking about something else. But as I don't quite know what the problem is in the first instance I don't know what negative thought I'm replacing. But, on the plus side, I'm aware that I'm not feeling very nice, and as I'm writing this post, it means I'm not staring off into space, which is also good. I'd prefer to be feeling better, but that will come.
Who am I kidding? I know exactly what's causing this. I have to go back to work soon and it's creating a world of anxiety for me. When I went back after my last episode I lasted just 4 months (having been off for 4 months), and during that time I actually had to take a few days off due to a wobble. I also had 3 weeks annual leave and Christmas to break it up. At the time that I left, work wasn't even particularly stressful.
So what is it about going back that scares me? There's the tiredness. A full time job with 2 kids, one of whom doesn't sleep all that well is no picnic. There's the almost military level of organisation that's needed to get us all out of the house in the morning. There's the evening rush to fit in food-play-maybe bath-bed when everyone is tired and cranky. There's going back to a whole new job. The guilt of working full time when I'd rather not work at all and be home with the kids. And always, always, the possibility that I won't cope again, that it will be too much and I'll end up back at the bottom of a hole.
In writing this I see what I'm doing. I'm only seeing the negative. There has to be another way to look at it, I'm scaring myself with this, I'm imaging the worst case scenario of every aspect of my back at work life. But Hubby and I have worked really hard to make sure that we don't hit the same level of stress that we had before. Standards around the house have dropped (dramatically) so that's one less thing to worry about. The kids are getting older, mornings are getting more manageable. New job? New beginning, clean slate. As for whether or not I'll cope, there's no way of knowing for sure. All I can do is try, take it one day at a time, be honest with myself about how I'm doing. Worrying about it right now certainly isn't going to solve any problems for me!!
Labels: anxiety, compassion, depression, distraction, mindfulness, mood