This hasn’t been my first hiatus and perhaps it won’t be my last. It’s no surprise I found no motivation to keep updating this, even though I find it cathartic. I set myself a goal today to update it again and I hope I can keep going and catch up with all the amazing blogs I follow.
I’m currently on three weeks stress leave from work after essentially having a meltdown in the office just minutes before I was due to go home for the day. I was triggered by a colleague and I tried to get help because I knew I was about to burst. I work in mental health and I attempted calling my manager with no answer. I sought out another colleague who was in a meeting, and everyone else’s door was closed. I wish I could erase what happened because I feel like it’s always going to be there residually when I go back to work.
What followed was a lot of calls and crying. I was convinced I’d ruined everything, that I could never return to work so therefore I was unemployed and nothing was ever going to be the same again. I’m sad to say the thoughts of ending things entered my head. I haven’t felt that helpless in years and it’s coincidental because I had only just spoken to my psychotherapist the evening before about the last time I felt like that and wanted to end it all.
There were so many signs that I was heading for a meltdown and, in my defence, I did try to avoid it. For a while, I was beginning to accept Lexapro was doing nothing for me. It left me feeling numb and unable to cry when the urge came, which I don’t feel is healthy. Two weeks ago, I had my very first panic attack. I was sat at my computer, working from home, and the day was nearly over. All of a sudden a feeling of dread came over me and my stomach started to knot. I wanted to call my mam (who was closest to me geographically) to get her to come around and simply tell me everything was going to be OK because right then I felt like nothing was going to be OK. It passed and it left me shaken. Where did it come from? Will it happen again?
After a particularly stressful day the following week in work, I decided to go to the doctor and I was lucky to get a cancellation appointment the following day because it’s impossible to get a doctor appointment these days. He confirmed what I experienced the previous week was indeed a panic attack. I’ve now been put on Remeron. He had mentioned stress leave to me before but I refused because I’m one of those people that can’t take leave unless all my loose ends are tied up, so it’s not surprising he didn’t offer it to me this time. Again, hindsight is twenty-twenty. I should’ve taken leave while I was transitioning between medications. Unfortunately, it’s not a case of jumping from one to other. I had to wean myself off Lexapro before I could start Remeron. I had no medicinal crutch to hold me up in between and no way should I have been in work while this was happening.
The transition to Remeron is not complete yet. I’ve been on them a week and after having a lot of negative side effects (sudden exhaustion, restless legs) after just taking one, my doctor advised me to take just half a tablet for a week to let my body get used to it. Tonight is when I take a full tablet again so I’m quite nervous. I want to be relieved that at least I have these three weeks to see how I get on without it impacting my job but there’s the guilt of not being in work. Taking sick leave is never easy for me. I take it only when necessary and never have I taken it for mental health reasons. I feel I need a physical symptom as proof that I’m worthy of the sick leave I’ve been given, which is sad. I feel odd going outside to the gym, or running because shouldn’t I be laid up in bed, unable to move? I fear all these worries will not allow me to take full advantage of the time I’ve been given to “sort myself out”.
My sister, who has taken stress leave before, sat down with me and helped get my head somewhat straight. She recommended I make goals for each day I’m off to do something I want to do rather than feel I have to do. Hence, this is one of my goals. She told me to go to gym, go for a walk, go to the cinema, etc. My favourite of her suggestions was to spend a day binge-watching a Netflix series and not apologise for it. She knows me so well. This I do intend to do, but I know I’ll feel lazy for it.
My psychotherapist has no idea any of this has happened (from the meltdown onwards) because it happened the day after our last session. I was going to call her the day it happened, but I’d had calls from so many people that I just couldn’t find the strength to keep talking. I’m meeting her later this evening for our next session and I’m not looking forward to going over it again because I just want to forget, but I’m curious to hear her interpretation of it.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you. It’s another of my goals to keep updating.