Laptop, chocolate and Jasmine Tea at the ready; it’s time to write.
It’s been just over a month since I last wrote here, and I finally feel ready to try and blog more frequently. I wouldn’t say much has changed in my life over the past month, the most significant change has been within me mentally.
My phased return back to work is not complete, but it is a good way there. This week is my first on complete full days (i.e. on my contracted hours…I have been building up slowly week by week), and day to day I am back to full duties, with the exception of external meetings and training sessions. In the wake of my time off and extended period of heightened general anxiety, my confidence is completely ruined and this is compounded by one of the side effects of my anxiety medication; I can frequently get words audibly mixed up. Part of my role includes giving training to groups of people and anxiety over this “word transposition” happening in the middle of a presentation is horrible. I am blessed with an understanding boss and an employer who has heeded my doctor’s recommendation and allowed me to build up my hours and duties slowly. Next week we will meet in person (for context, I normally work from home) to discuss a plan on how to best tackle bringing the face to face external work back into the fold, so I am 100% returned to work.
The end of February and beginning of March were sprinkled with ‘trigger dates’; things that I knew in advance would upset me. February 24th was the anniversary of my Grandma dying last year (as well as my Mam’s birthday, who like my Dad I no longer have a direct relationship with). March 2nd was the 4 year anniversary of the dog attack and the trigger point of so much change in my life. March 6th was Mother’s Day here in the UK, which was hard for one who no longer has a relationship with her mother, and who grieves the passing of the woman she thought of as a second mother, my wonderful Grandma. And finally, today is one year since I said goodbye to Grandma; one year since her funeral. I had never seen a dead body until a year ago today. I don’t regret seeing her in the Chapel of Rest; I had to say goodbye and would have regretted it more if I hadn’t. But it wasn’t her anymore. I was saying goodbye to an empty vessel.
I wasn’t sure, going into February, how I would survive these few weeks. Part of me was slightly convinced that I might crack and end up off work again. But I have survived. I’m not entirely sure how, but here I am on the other side. It’s been tough. There have been many many tears. Much lack of sleep, I was actually on sedatives for a while (I’m off them now). But today feels like the end of a long, drawn out few weeks, and I’m ready to let them go.
In my last post, I mentioned that I was on a month long break from therapy. That break ended today, which almost seems fitting. I told my therapist that I want to stop viewing my father as the monster figure he has become in my head, and eventually I want to get to the point that if I happen across him, I don’t have a panic attack like I did the last time that happened. My therapist was blunt with me; I need to make a conscious choice to let go of him. I dedicate a lot of mental energy to ruminating about him, on things that have happened in the past, and to the anxiety and depression I have now which are greatly compounded by the impact my current lack of relationship with him or my mother has on other areas of my life. My therapist asked me outright, do I foresee ever having a relationship with him again; do I think he will ever change? My honest answer to that is no. So I basically have a decision to make; I go down the cognitive behaviour route of learning again how to live with things are they are, making the decision to “let him go”, or if I want to talk at length about what happened in the past, how I feel about it…I try counselling.
I have decided to give therapy another shot. I can’t change what has happened, it’s done. I can talk and talk about what happened all those years ago, the effect it’s had on me, the way I behave as I do now and why. But that won’t change anything. I am hoping that this time around, whatever tools I come out with will help and stick; last year I had barely been out of therapy a month when Grandma died and I started on the slow decline to where I eventually ended up at the end of the year.
If afterwards, I still struggle with my feelings about my father, I can always give counselling a go at that point I suppose.
I have decided that my therapy journey is something I want to write about here. I didn’t blog about it the last time; I did share things on Instagram, but you are limited to how much you share there. The blog format will allow me to say more, although I will utilise Instagram as well. It’s been a source of so much support in the past for me.
I am next at therapy in two week’s time. Between then and now, I have to write an imagery description of my father. My therapist wants a clear understanding of how I see him in my head. This piece of homework is not going to be fun. But it is necessary.
In general, I feel a lot more like me than I have in months. My silly side is starting to come back in abundance, I am a lot more on top of things in the house, and I’ve started to wake up naturally again at around 6:45am. There is a long way to go yet, but I feel more positive about the ongoing journey than I have in a long time. And that feels bloody good.
This is Lindsay, signing off for now. It won’t be a month until my next update, I promise! ❤