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So it goes

I am dreading returning to work tomorrow. I have a huge to do list already I know, but there will likely be 200 – 300 emails waiting for me also. Part of me wants to wade through my inbox this afternoon, just so that 8am tomorrow is a little more bearable. I am not going to though. I’ve not checked work emails this holiday and although the dread about going back has never really left me, I know this has helped a bit to give my mind time off. I realised yesterday that I won’t hear if I am off probation this week after all because I would have needed to have signed off on the forms before they went to the committee. The last date to get everything to the committee in time to be discussed at tomorrow’s meeting was December 20th. As I was on leave that week I didn’t look at emails to see when the forms with the statement from my head of department came back to me for final sign off, so it won’t have gone in. It will now likely not be considered until 20th or even 27th January so that is a long time to wait. I mean, it’s not a long time in the grand scheme of things, but when so much is dependent on it it does seem a very long time. I wish I’d remembered I would need to do this as I would obviously have done it whilst on leave – it is literally just a signature on a form. Anyway, it is what it is.

Last night the panic over not being able to end probation this month was intense. I had to take diazepam at 1am or I never would have slept. I am so in need of some time off sick, but beyond that I really need a year where I am not having to say yes to everything and do loads of ‘impressive’ stuff to show I’ve met the criteria, so I really just want to know if my application has been accepted. I’m obviously scared it won’t be and I’ll have to wait the full 5 years. I worked out if I do get promoted this month, the pay rise will enable me to pay off my debts so that I can probably move to 3 and a half days a week from January 2022 (if I’m allowed to do this). That would be incredible, especially as Nina will be 15 then and it would be nice to have more time for her, and myself, during the GCSE years. Money would be tight, but I also know I cannot keep going like this as it puts so much strain on my physical and mental health. A friend who is signed off from the same institution but on the admin side of things said I have to put my health first when I was saying I can’t afford to reduce my hours at the moment, but the thing is it is not that simple – life is expensive and not having enough money and staying in debt would just create another whole host of worries. I could only just afford to go down to 4 days a week now if I stopped therapy and I really don’t think one extra day a week would help enough. The impact of where I work wouldn’t disappear with a 3 day weekend as it wouldn’t change the nature of what I have to do there. And reducing hours is only possible if I disclose my disability and get it on that basis, and I am not willing to do that until I’m not on probation. And so it goes on…

Just after Christmas the anxiety over work was so high that I didn’t think I would be able to go back at all. I had a seemingly never-ending virus from the 18th of December and last weekend I was feeling so ill and I didn’t think another week off work would be anywhere near enough. It hasn’t been, but I’ve felt more or less better from the virus for the past couple of days and I am going to go back. I mean, I feel I have to but also if I took a couple of weeks off what I’d come back to would be far worse. I have plans in place to try and get through till early April when I can next take some annual leave. I have committed to doing a yoga nidra practice (yoga sleep, like a guided meditation done lying down – it is incredible and I really recommend it to anyone who hasn’t tried it as the level of consciousness and type of rest it enables is mind-blowing) every day if I can, rather than just sporadically as I have been for the past few years. It’s an incredible way to give both body and mind a rest both during the practice itself, but it also helps with relaxation and deeper more restorative sleep generally too. I’m meditating twice a day also and starting my day with yoga, both of which I did last term until right near the end. And I want to spend more time outside if I can and remember to take breaks and also read novels as focusing on a book really helps my brain when it is over-stimulated too. I just hate how much of my time and energy and capacity for social interaction work takes out of me. There is so much I want to do with my life and whilst I am there I never seem to have enough time. I also know that when things get bad it is easy to think dramatic statements such as ‘I never get time to myself’ ‘I never do anything fun’ or ‘all I do is work and parent’ when they are not actually true, so I am making the effort to recognise when I do enjoyable things and get time to myself as well, to make sure I don’t fall into this mindset. And once the Spring comes and there is more daylight things will lift and feel more spacious I’m sure.

I’ve always been taken with the quote about the need to remember how much we once dreamed of the life we now have. I know this is true – 5 years ago I was just about to graduate from my doctorate and would have given anything to know that what I wanted so badly then would be mine one day. In that time I’ve achieved so much at work and at home but the problem (which isn’t really a problem as it is part of healing from complex trauma and dissociation but is problematic in this context) is that I have changed so much in this time and so I have discovered that what I wanted then no longer serves me. Like I’ve written before, until this year the impact of my PTSD brain on my life and well-being wasn’t really that clear to me. It was all about attachment work and survival a lot of the time. There was always a reason why I was so exhausted and overwhelmed that wasn’t really to do with work, so I thought it would get easier. Now I’ve really seen what the work is doing to me I am no longer able to tolerate it in the same way. My priorities have changed also – I want a gentle life, time to do yoga and write while Nina is at school, time to be in nature when the sky is blue rather than hunched over a laptop indoors. I want more space and time for myself. Many of my colleagues are able to have a life as well as work where we work, but I need so much time to wind down from things that I just don’t seem to have space for much more. I am no longer willing to live like that and it makes it hard as I know I have to keep going for a number of years, till Nina is 18 at least. It helps knowing I am not going to stay forever though, and it changes what I do now as the longer term and moving up the career ladder there are less important. I still love so much of what I do, but it is not compatible with the life I want and need to live.

Anyway, this was mostly just me processing where I am with things at work, so not terribly interesting but it has helped me get some perspective. Holding out for the end of January when I should have heard, and if I’m not successful at that point then I will have to think again about what I am going to do to make this year more manageable…


4 thoughts on “So it goes”

  1. I’m so with you on making life simpler and enjoying being under the sky more. Like you, I’ve spent most of my time so busy surviving that I can’t seem to find other things to fit in and am at a bit of a loss what to even do if I had the time or ability. You’re also completely right about how life improves with the increased daylight and warm weather… soon we’ll be able to say we did it! We survived another winter and here comes the long awaited summer again 😄

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yay, bring on Springtime and a more simple life for us both. I have no shortage of things I want to do to be honest which is why I find work so frustrating when it robs me of my ability to have a life outside of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad you’re keeping the boundary by not checking your emails today – the work will be there tomorrow regardless, so you might as well enjoy today. I really like your perspective too about how everything we have we once dreamed about. You’re absolutely right and it’s a good reminder for me on a Sunday when I dread work on Monday. Thank you for that. I hope your day tomorrow goes well and you can feel prepared. How awful to have to sit in this state of limbo, but keep making good choices for yourself. You are tolerating the distress admirably.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I’m glad it helped you also to be reminded of the need to notice to how much we once dreamed of having our present lives. I’m sorry you’re dreading Monday too 😐 I am tolerating the limbo well I think, but I’ll be so glad when the wait is over and I can make a short term plan!

      Liked by 1 person

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