I cried as soon as I got to work this morning. I got it together to do something important. Then I cried all through my occupational health appointment. And explaining to the disability advisor what I experience, all the different symptoms, because of chronic abuse and trauma as a young child really brought it home to me that I have a lifelong disability caused by my own parents. Like, what the fuck? It is just so hard to comprehend that the two people who should have loved and supported me, who in many ways tried so hard to love me, have damaged me so much that I will forever carry the scars. I then broke down into huge sobs with a colleague after seeing some negative feedback from the young people I work with, despite there being a lot of positive comments about my sessions too, as the shame is just so hard to bear. (She has since offered to look at my feedback and tell me the constructive comments, so I don’t have to look at it, which is nice but also scary because then she’ll see anything negative).
And then I had my PDR and cried and cried and told my AL (like my line manager but also a mentor, and I’m not accountable to him if that makes sense, so any reasonable adjustments couldn’t be determined by him) that I have CPTSD and a dissociative disorder and because of that experience chronic pain and a million other things (I kept it brief). He was super nice, although embarrassed by all my tears I think, and said it was clear how enormous what I was dealing with was and how well I’ve done to get where I am now (K always says I’m the only person she knows who has been through anything as extreme as I did and experiences such significant symptoms and is not on the mental health ward (no disrespect to anyone this is the case for of course, my coping mechanisms have led me to where I am and haven’t always been for the best for me)). My AL and I talked about some practical things, but ultimately really I need to reduce hours and take an extended time off sick I think. I was hoping, but knowing it wasn’t possible really, that it could be taken into account on our workload allocation that I need to take time between things to avoid getting overstimulated, but that would only be possible with a pay reduction (and then I can’t afford therapy, so…).
We also talked about the amount I have on at the moment, and how it really will be just a matter of surviving until the end of March (which at present doesn’t feel manageable because even surviving until the end of next week doesn’t feel possible) but after that I can maybe begin to streamline and focus and say no to more. The OH advisor I saw can’t do anything until I get a formal referral from HR, and then I will need to have a proper discussion with my head of department, but I want to wait until I’m off probation which I really hope will be before Christmas but may well not be now. She said also how the nature of the work I do means that the things I struggle with will always be a part of it and I know I need to consider longer term what I am going to do. I honestly look in my calendar and look at my to-do list and the number of emails flying in with new requests and I just don’t know how I’m going to make it. I just want to go off sick but no one would cover anything so it would create a stressful mess for the young people I work with and I’d come back to a worse shit storm than I’m in now.
I just want to be able to do the work I love. It is filling me with such grief and hopelessness that because of my childhood my life is so curtailed. I really didn’t sleep well at all last night, dread catching in my chest every time I was about to fall asleep and I’d be wide awake again with a sense of panic over all I have to do at work, so I hope maybe I can sleep better tonight and tomorrow and blitz through lots so I don’t have to work too much over the weekend. This morning I thought it was Wednesday and when I discovered it was Thursday I wasn’t pleased it was nearly the weekend but even more stressed because I had less time to get things done. That feels like such a ridiculous state to be in. And I’m so aware that my desire to not let down my colleagues and the young people I work with is taking priority over my own well-being (and Nina’s to some extent) but I was conditioned to do that and I don’t know how to even make my own health more important to me than it is now.