I finally caught up with my google reader this evening. I was going to just mark all as read because I was SO behind, but I am in a good mood so I decided not to be so unsociable. I still have emails to reply to and birthday cards to send to various people though. I’ll catch up with myself eventually…
ANYWAY. I have good news! I plucked up the courage to talk to my manager earlier today, and told her about my Christmas problem. She said since the residents will have more visitors than usual at Christmas and probably won’t need me to entertain them as much as usual, she could swing it so I could have a day or two off either side of Christmas. I’ll be going down to Dorset on either the Thursday (after work) or Friday, and coming back on the Tuesday. I’ll only have three or possibly four days at home, but it’s much more than I expected, which was none 😛
This is a lesson I should probably learn from. I didn’t think I would get to go home for Christmas because company policy states that no one gets annual leave during the last two weeks of December. But it was always a bit of a confused issue, because although the carers obviously can’t get time off over Christmas (the residents can’t care for themselves, otherwise they wouldn’t be in a residential home!), I didn’t read anything specifically about activity coordinators. I should have asked when I had my first meeting with the new manager, but instead I found myself making myself ill with worry – feeling tearful and sick going into work, being unable to get to sleep/get back to sleep if I woke up early because I was going over and over the situation, giving myself horrible headaches from being so tense. I almost didn’t ask today either – I walked past my managers office three times over the course of the half hour when I was waiting for the residents to finish lunch before I found the guts to ask her if she had five minutes. She seems like a reasonable and friendly person, I don’t know why it was such a terrifying prospect. Well, actually I have a good idea of the why – it was a typical Katie fear of seeming presumptuous. Asking for something I probably don’t deserve! How dare I? – but I should have realised it was irrational and asked anyway.
So I got it over with, received the answer I didn’t expect, spent a good half hour feeling great, then started getting anxious again. I was suddenly struck by the thought that it would probably snow too much, and then I wouldn’t get to Dorset anyway. Or else I would die on that plane to Washington in November. Or the metro would stop working and I’d miss my train. Or I wouldn’t be able to find a ticket cheap enough (they haven’t even released the advance tickets yet, so that’s just silly).
Touché, brain. I see what you did there.
One of my friends who is really struggling with anxiety at the moment keeps insinuating that I can’t really have much of a problem these days if I can deal with the practical aspects, like doing things I’m scared of rather than avoiding them and getting myself into a mess. To be fair things have changed a lot in the last few years. I’m no longer agoraphobic, which is a big plus. I can arrange to move house, which entails using the (scary) phone to call (scary) people I don’t know and negotiating with (scary) landlords (none of which are scary in reality, it’s just anticipatory anxiety. But it’s a LOT of anticipatory anxiety). I don’t (usually) listen to my ED thoughts any more either, despite the fact that they still keep trying to insist that starving myself would make my life so much more simple and easy to cope with. Some days/weeks/months there are no thoughts of that ilk in my head at all, but the more stressed out I get the more insistent they become, until I have to give myself a stern talking to so I remember just how irrational and harmless they are. Stress also makes me want to get drunk. Sometimes I do. At home, by myself. I’m not half as good at coping as some people want to believe. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a raging alcoholic and I’m still at a healthy weight, not using eating disordered behaviours. It’s just really hard to keep things that way.
This isn’t about being proud of how far I’ve come, or giving myself credit for my hard work in recovery, or anything else like that. It’s a quality of life issue. My head is constantly busy, looking for something to worry about. Sometimes it finds something big, sometimes it finds nothing at all and so makes something stupid up. It’s exhausting. I don’t think there’s much I can do about it – I’ve had quite a bit of therapy, of all sorts of varieties, and I’ve read pretty much every self help book ever published (definite exaggeration, although it feels that way sometimes). I’m a veritable encyclopaedia of self help techniques and mindfulness practices. But all the insight and mindfulness in the world can’t change my basic personality and biological make-up. I’m just an anxious person.
I would like to be a happy person, or a calm person. But in the absence of a miracle, I will settle for being a person who gets to visit her family at Christmas. That half an hour this afternoon was the first time I can remember feeling really happy in months 🙂