As it is #WorldMentalHealthDay I’d thought I’d share my very current story….
For me life is always a balancing act, I work a very demanding day-job and teach upwards of three Yoga classes a week. Add into that daily yoga practice, time with my partner, family and friends plus housework, life and business admin and things get pretty busy.
Today I’m not ok…. work (day-job) stress has been unbearable for the last few months and this last few weeks it has got me…. I’m not coping, I don’t function well at work, I barely function at home. I have no energy, no motivation, I can barely bring myself to empty the dishwasher (first world problems hey!).
At work I’m creating bad feeling because I am overwhelmed, I panic each time something else comes my way, or break down when one of ‘those’ emails lands in my inbox and I’ve been feed a plethora of chocolate and brownies by some awesome colleagues (you know who you are, thanks guys :-)).
In all aspects of my life I am unreasonable, moody, negative and I burst into tears at the slightest thing. I can go from happy to furiously angry in a split second. I have revisited and become gripped by almost every bad habit I’d banished, because at times like this old coping mechanisms rule. My yoga and meditation practice feel like drudgery, although I know it will make me feel better I just don’t have the energy, or will, to roll out my mat – I’d rather mope and feel sorry for myself. I am avoiding friends and family because I know I’m an angel of doom. My partner is despairing of what a total bitch I can be, and I have been so overwhelmed and self-absorbed that I just don’t care.
But this week I have taken the first steps to recovery. I have seen a councillor specialising in stress-management, I have seen my GP and have (finally) been signed off work. It hasn’t been an easy road I saw the doctor two weeks ago, when I knew this was getting bad, and he wouldn’t sign me off. So against my better judgement, but on Doctors advice, I kept going. I walked into the office each day feeling more and more exhausted, my resilience depleting with each shitty senior management decision, my will to fix myself dissolving every time I was caught in the middle of more internal politics that I can’t influence, my coping mechanisms failing each time senior managers failed to understand what I was there to do but regardless had a say in how it was done…
Then yesterday I stood up for myself. After a difficult Doctors appointment where I felt I got nowhere in a follow up phone call I did something that terrified me…. I asked for a sick note…. I realised that my mental health is far more important than pushing a thankless project over the finish line for my employer. To get better I need to drop some of the many plates I am spinning. I need to remember that work is just what I do to earn the money to have a life. Life is everything that happens outside the office, and right now I don’t have a life.
It is also a powerful lesson in resilience and knowing what is best for me. Two weeks ago was the time to have asked for a sick note, I’d felt this coming for months. I know my mind and my body, but I was led by others and pushed on through – which was not the answer.
But today feels like an opportunity, an opportunity to rest, to heal, to recover to reassess my life balance and to become me again!
For anyone else who may be feeling any of these things – you are not alone…. you have all the power and the strength you need, no matter how deeply buried, or impossible, it feels. You CAN take positive steps to a better you….