15 Jul 2018

Spare change

The last six months in my head looked a bit like this:


“I can’t wait to leave this job and start my new one. Everything is looking up.”

“They’re gonna love me. They’re lucky to have me. I have so many ideas and I’m quite literally gonna save lives sharing them.”

“What if they don’t?”

“I’m in HAMPSTEAD HEATH, it’s SO LUSH, I don’t have to get the TUBE anymore, I am so lucky.”

“I have no idea what’s going on.”

“I’m so grateful to be out of my old workplace, it was toxic.”

“Shall I go out for lunch on my own or wait for someone to ask me out?”

“I’ll just have a wrap every day that I can eat at my desk so I don’t have to walk across the office to microwave anything.”

*cries a bit*

“Oh I can’t, I have plans tonight, sorry.”

“I can’t breathe.”

“Please don’t talk to me.”

“I miss my old job.”

“If I sit quietly and don’t move, nobody will even notice me to not like me.”

“I sounded like a fucking idiot then.”

“They’re staring.”

“I can’t have a simple conversation.”

“My head hurts.”

“I shouldn’t have left.”

*cries a lot*

“I want my mum.”

“Don’t look anyone in the eye.”

“I don’t know what I’m doing.”

“Maybe the old job wasn’t so bad.”

“Am I horrible?”

“I’m so tired.”

“Yeah yeah, I’m fine.”

“Why isn’t anything funny anymore?”

“I don’t deserve this.”

“I’m rude and ungrateful.”

“I’m a failure.”

“I’m not good enough.”

“No one would like me.”

“Why am I crying again?”

“But I love my new job.”

And that’s when I knew I had to go back on my antidepressants.

The hardest thing about my anxiety storming its way back into my life and dragging depression behind it on a chain, was that I knew it wasn’t fair. Underneath all the unhealthy thoughts was myself, banging on the window and shouting that it just. Wasn’t. Fair. 

I loved my job. I loved my work and the location and everyone was nice and I had a line manager who really cared about me and I was finally on decent money and the work was so motivating.

So why did I feel so bad? 

This was a good change and I’d put it on a pedestal. This was it. After months of feeling like I was stuck in my old job and would never be able to leave, I was out. I’d been saved. I was going to feel settled and happy. I could plan for the future. I’d be supported and I’d grow and everything was going to be wonderful. 

I knew I needed to go back on my antidepressants way before I actually said it out loud, obviously. In fact, I only said it out loud when I booked the GP appointment. I didn’t tell anyone beforehand. I know. Me. The one who never stops talking about her mental health, who overshares until her soul is crawling along the tarmac towards the drain, and who insists time and time again that you should not be ashamed of support you need and of what’s going on in your head. 

But I did feel ashamed. I was scared. I thought I’d ruined everything. I thought I was going back to square one so if I didn’t even give that thought the time of day then it wouldn’t be real. I didn’t want to go back on my antidepressants.

But I also didn’t want to try and jump in front of a train again, and that thought was much scarier. 

And too much effort. I, quite frankly, could not be arsed to be back in that place.  

So I sucked it up and went back on my antidepressants. And it worked. I feel fucking great. Mostly. I feel silly for waiting for so long, but it wasn’t my fault, as a counsellor told me on Friday.

It wasn’t my fault.

It wasn’t my fault.

It wasn’t my fault.

Yeah, I got Good Will Hunting vibes too. 

Sometimes, however self-aware we think we may be, we just don’t realise how much we need help until we get it. Until someone else tells us that it’s not our fault. That this isn’t normal. That you’ve been fucked over. That this is a healing process. That you deserve more. That you have shit going on and you’re strong, yes, but you can’t and shouldn’t heal by yourself. That trauma can come back and bite you when you least expect it, even when you thought you’d dealt with it all. That sometimes things aren’t so simple. That this will take time and then some.

Oh, this wasn’t just standard anxiety and depression, then. Oh. Oh, right. I didn’t… really? I mean… oh shit, ok. 

Those feelings of unwanted and unexpected anxiety threw me back to university, when I kept quiet and did as I was told and hated myself before anyone had a chance to tell me that I was hated. That was another big, positive change that I couldn’t wait for, but in reality it affected my confidence and independence and humanity in ways I didn’t even realise until I tried to jump in front of that train.

That wasn't normal.

But being affected by ‘good change’ is. That is normal. Good change can make you feel like spare change because our personalities and beliefs and feelings are shaped by our environment. New environments mean change, and that thought is fucking weird and a bit scary. It makes you vulnerable. And trauma will feed on it.

I need therapy. 

I’ve always joked about needing therapy but I’m tired of joking about it, because I do need therapy. I need someone to force me to talk about all the different shit I’ve been swamped in over the years - and survived and flourished from, more importantly - and help me pick it apart. I need to stop ignoring it. I need to stop thinking I’m strong enough and smart enough to just carry the fuck on. 

Change makes you vulnerable and there will always be change. And I can’t let the past be dragged up every time I feel vulnerable. I can’t let trauma seep through every damn time because it’s tiring. I’m tired. I’m tired of being unable to go a day without thinking about the men who abused me, about the breakdown I had in the doctor’s office, about what a bad time university was for me, about the bad things I saw as a child, about how god damn fucking confused I feel about it all and how bad it all actually was.

I need more people to tell me it wasn’t my fault. I need more people to tell me how bad I’ve had it. I need more people to tell me to stop and slow down. I need people to tell me that I can’t fix it and I was never expected to. I need people to tell me that I am enough and will always be enough. I need people to tell me that always trying to be the best and be impressive and be loved by everyone will not erase my memories of the past and it will not replace my vulnerability. I need people to tell me that going, “LOOK! SEE! LOOK I’M FINE, LOOK AT THIS COOL THING I’M DOING, LOOK HOW OK I AM NOW AND HOW MUCH I’M FLOURISHING,” will not make it so. I need people to tell me that I don’t need more. I don’t need to keep going, to keep grabbing, to keep achieving, to keep proving. I need to be. I need to just… be. 

As Hannah Gadsby says in Nanette, I was not in my prime. I was not in my prime then, through it all, and I am not in my prime now. 

I love my job. I love my colleagues. I love my work. I love this change. I love my antidepressants. I love me. And I deserve it all.

So, anyone know any good therapists?

1 comment :

  1. I've only just seen this but a lot of it was like reading about me. Next year contains huge changes, good changes but big ones. I am so excited but scared too because I am not good with change and the fact you say change makes you vulnerable is so true. I've also started counselling recently and I'm hoping it will help!