In which I learn to use a new word

Today I considered ranting a bit more about being knackered, but that’s not terribly helpful. It’s a curious thing that if I tell myself that I can’t cope, I instantly find it harder to cope. I DON’T believe that thoughts like these are the only thing between myself and full mental health, and I don’t believe that recovery is just a matter of learning some positive affirmations to tell yourself when you’re stressed, but at the same time, one of many factors that I have to bear in mind to maintain my sanity is the way I talk to myself. It’s similar to the way that, after a certain point in my recovery, spending time with my CPN used to make me feel uncertain and scared about staying well, and the way that considering myself to be disabled made me feel more so. I do believe that mental illnesses are every bit as real as physical illnesses, and for a while I was extremely disabled and unable to function due to my illnesses, but this is no longer the case and I have to make sure I don’t get too bogged down with “things that are wrong with me”. In relation to work, knowing this about myself helps a lot, because if I find myself panicking and thinking “I can’t do this”, “I shouldn’t be in this job”, “I am losing my grip on this situation”, etc, I have to stop telling myself that and take myself away for 5-10 minutes to calm down. Usually I go and write in the residents notes or organise the supply cupboard 😛 methodical tasks like that are very relaxing. I know I’m odd.

Earlier on today I had my second counselling degree interview – different college, same course, same university affiliation. It went really well and I am hopeful that I will get into at least one of these courses, but I got into a bit of a strop on the bus afterwards. I am the sort of person who is brilliant at holding it together in a crisis/stressful situation – but who will then go to pieces afterwards. Although I’ve worked four days in a row (I know, in comparison to 70 hour a week career women this is nothing, but I am new to all this!) and spent my day off on another three hour interview, I was calm and confident until an hour after I left the college – then I got all upset about being tired and having all these demands on my time when I’m not used to being so busy. Next week I am working five days, at the ED charity I volunteer for for three evenings (preparing a display for our AGM), I have choir rehearsal on another evening and it’ll be a long one because we have an event in a fortnight, and I have to work on ideas for the summer fair at work and my talk for the AGM in my spare time. What set off the panic earlier was an email I got from the ED charity’s development officer, asking me to come in at 9.30am on my day off, on top of those other three evenings.

So I taught myself how to use a word I don’t usually say when people ask me for a favour. NO. NO NO NO. I love my voluntary work and I know the AGM is an important event, but I’m knackered already and I will be spending Thursday morning in Durham, with Jonathan, preferably asleep.

I have a habit of burning myself out until the point at which my body and mind quit functioning and force me to stop, and I am not doing that this time. My mental health is more important than anything else and I will treat it as such. I won’t be any use to anyone if I get stressed out to the point of breaking down. Been there, done that, not doing it again.

I have the whole weekend off this week too, and I intend to spend it doing very little 😉

*******

Three points to finish my post from two days ago:

1. I wasn’t being hard on myself. I don’t judge myself for having these difficulties – I’m used to them, I challenge them and/or work around them, but I know that beating myself up won’t accomplish anything. For example, I worry that other people think that I’m aloof or arrogant, but I have proof that this has happened in the past, it’s not an entirely irrational anxiety. I don’t think I’m a bad person because people misunderstand me sometimes, and I accept that it’s easy to mistake shyness for being stuck up so I don’t think badly of the people who do that either. So that really wasn’t a whole post of me beating myself up!

2. I wasn’t overestimating my problems. I might come across as being okay socially, but that doesn’t mean that I AM. It’s a bit like being someone with an eating disorder who is at a healthy weight. I have learnt to compensate for my difficulties, but they do exist, and although I might not show them all the time it takes a lot of energy and stress to cover them up. Anyone who spent time with me in a social situation when I’m very tired or anxious and couldn’t put my usual facade on would see what I meant.

3. I wish it was just an after effect of being ill for a long time and not being used to socialising, but I’ve been like this my whole life 😉

I don’t think those aspects of my post were all that obvious, and being a pedantic nerd I had to clear them up before I could move on 😛

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3 responses to “In which I learn to use a new word

  1. Oh dear, it seems as though most of the misinterpretations were on my part…we all know I’m the master of getting the wrong end of the stick or, even if I get the right end of it, phrasing my responses to the stick poorly.

    I didn’t mean to belittle your problems or suggest that you were exaggerating them, only that I admired your methods of coping with them and mindfulness in that regard.

    And good for you for saying ‘NO:’ you already have a busy schedule by anyone’s standards (70-hour ‘career women’ are all secretly crazy anyway :P) And if you need more downtime at the weekend, then don’t worry at all. As you say, YOU come first and I wouldn’t want you stressing over trailing around with me 🙂

    *hugs*

    xxx

    • I wasn’t aiming those clarifications at you, Jess 😛 lots of people thought the same thing! I guess it’s testimony to what a fabulous actress I am…(blowing my own trumpet rather there, hehe).

      I am going to send you a message on Facebook in a bit. I’ve been meaning to all week! Brain is not working properly 😉

  2. Sometimes it helps to step back from it all… OK, I am maybe stating the obvious, but I think you and I are quite similar (except that I’m an old fart and you’re a young spring chick…). I know I find socialising exhausting mentally. That doesn’t mean that I don’t love my friends and family (of course I do), but it means that I have to recognise my limitations and the fact that rules that apply to others don’t necessarily apply to me. By that I mean that some other people can work 40+ hour weeks, be with people all the time and cope easy. I just can’t. One of my close friends cannot bear being alone and gets high on being social. I am the opposite. And so I carefully schedule both my social and my solitude times.

    BTW, I have spent many a therapy session trying to explain everything you wrote in your last post and clarified in this post. Thankfully I eventually found a psych that seemed to ‘get’ me and to understand why 🙂

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