The timeline for recovering from a breakdown is not a finite thing. It’s different for everyone. For me it’s taken a good two years (and by a good two years I mean nearly three) to get fully back in touch with the real world.
There is a buddhist saying that new beginnings are often disguised as painful endings. In my last blog I mentioned that I had lost a contract. Whilst this was very upsetting at the time it prompted me to go out into the big wide world in search for new employment. For the first time in two (nearly three) years I found myself employed in a place that was not my house. I now have to leave my safe home office and venture into the real world at least two days a week and surprisingly enough, I’m loving it!
I’m actually almost enjoying the days I spend not in my sheltered little office more than the ones I do. Well not all of them…
Last Monday I arrived at my place of work and had to open up for the first time. To make a short story relatively shorter security alarms AND panic alarms were set off, a fundamental piece of security equipped became irrevocably lost, causing two call-outs from two separate security companies, a whole recalibration of systems and the arrival of some mildly annoyed/amused policemen. All this happened on the same day that a kind passer-by informed me that my arse had been generously displayed to the park during my walk to work. My large M&S skin-tone knicker-ed bottom. Knickers that would put Bridget Jones to shame. Needless to say that when I got back home I had a very large sherry, a big cry and was in bed and fast asleep by 8pm. But the next day I was fine again.
So that was not a great day and one that wouldn’t have happened had I been in my home office. However, I’d take one terrible day like that if it means I get all the other perfectly lovely days I’ve had working in a place where other people are. I actually like being round people now. Even the ones that I don’t know! I really never thought this would happen. I thought that I’d be cooped up in my home office for the rest of my working life. That this would be the only way I’d be able to earn a living.
Despite all this I am glad that I’m not working away from home full-time, the days that I am working from home are really good recalibration days. The down days are as important as the up days. My advice to anyone else recovering from any kind of mental health breakdown would be to take baby steps. Sometimes it takes people two months to feel ready for the world again and sometimes it takes people five years. The important thing is to take your time and do it bit by bit. I’ve taken a couple of big steps forwards only to have to take several back again. This time I took some tentative steps and now I’m pretty excited about all my work! It’s a lovely, scary, odd, fun, tiring, but most of all hopeful feeling.
So this week has been a really shit week. It all started with cat piss. Cat piss is the worst kind of piss. Even after you’ve soaked (literally soaked) the whole area in pure bleach you can still smell it for about eight years after you’ve cleaned it all away. My cat, Nunney (I didn’t know that was a euphemism for vagina when I named her that btw) went through a phase of pissing on the kitchen surfaces, right next the cooker – hygienic. This has resulted in the cupboard where I keep MY PLATES smelling like cat piss for months on end. I finally thought we’d solved the problem by various different methods and have gone without pissy plates for about a month. But oh no, I went away for one night, ONE NIGHT on Friday and to punish me Nunney started pissing on the bloody kitchen surfaces again.
In my quest for mental peace and stability I have come up with many different mantras from many different schools of thought and whilst they have all helped me in many different ways, one is helping me over and over and over again.
For those of you who don’t know what Miss Fisher is, go to Netflix. Go there now. NOW. And watch it. If you like 1920s fashions, strong female characters with gumption and tenacity, and some light-hearted murder, then this is the programme for you!
What Would Miss Fisher Do helps you answer questions when you either don’t know the answer or you do know the answer but feel weirdly guilty about the answer, mostly the latter, for example: Continue reading “What Would…”→
It’s been AGES since I did one of these! I spend my life dressing up as things/people and every now and again I like to record these dress-ups in the form of a #FashionFridays blog. This is one of those occasions! Continue reading “#FashionFridays!”→
At the risk of sounding odd, I find teenagers fascinating and frightening in equal measures. I seem to be always driving somewhere when they’re walking home from school and watching them (from the safety of my locked car) is so interesting. During my mildly stalk-like behaviour I’ve noticed a couple of things about young adults, (mainly how early they seem to finish school these days. I was driving home from the supermarket at 2:15pm today and kids in uniforms were walking home! 2:15!), things that caused me to compile a list of advice for all teenagers.
I love old ladies. Not in a weird way, I just love their style. I spent all of last week trying to look like a cool skier person and it’s just not in me, I don’t have the ‘thing’. I call ‘ski pants’ salopettes, my sunglasses are prescription and I burn like a ginger person, the whole baggy ‘ski pants’, cool sunglasses that somehow look good when combined with a slightly grungy hat and a ski-bum goggle-tan just completely passes me by. I tried but it turns out that I’m just more of a woollen jumper, felt hat kind of gal (we all knew that already), so this week I’ve just embraced it.
I like to think of this look as an older Audrey Hepburn dressing for a slightly wintery lunch in the garden of her Swiss safe haven, La Paisible. The skirt is from a Holyake charity shop, Holyake is the capital of old people, so I shop there all the time. On the downside it did take me about 3 weeks of airing this skirt in the garden to try and irradicate the smell of old ladies perfume and fag smoke from the 60s – it’s a little less musky now, I’m trying to embrace the scent as just part of the old lady look!
There is also something of espionage about the whole look…
As far as I’m concerned a day isn’t complete if you haven’t pretended to be following ‘a mark’ at some point during its unfolding. Plus this coat was also bought for £14 from a charity shop and I only bought it because there is a lady at my Oma’s residential home called Anise who has a mac just like it and I completely love her style, it’s like older Audrey meets older Katherine Hepburn – bliss. Yes I bought this coat to emulate a 72 year old with Alzheimers, but the woman looks good, there’s no two ways about it, I’ve never seen anyone rock Marks & Spencer’s loafers quite like it. Plus (and this is the best bit), I wore this exact outfit to the care home the other day and when I walked past Anise she said “you look good!” Score.
…I hate that Chris goes away all the time, it sucks balls and not in a good way (you know what I mean). When he’s not here I get all morose and mopey, washing my hair seems like a waste of good water and eating becomes more of an optional day time activity than a necessary bodily function (I know you might be wondering why this post is called Let’s Focus on the Positives – stick with me). Chris got back from Indonesia on Thursday and I was in a pretty bad way. It’s taken me the weekend but I have managed to get my mood a little more regulated, things look better today than they have done for a good couple of weeks. But the thing is, this is Christopher’s job (and quite frankly while I’m ramping up the old freelance career it’s COMPLETELY necessary), he’s been doing it for a year and a half now and it’s about bloody time I got sodding used to it. I’m not saying that I want to be happy about Chris going away – that would be weird and quite frankly a warning sign on the whole spending the rest of our lives together thing, but in order to level out my despair at his absence I think I need to come up with a list of positives to focus on the next time he goes away.
So let’s start; Five Good Things About Being Without Your Significant Other:
Underwear Times: I’m not talking about using Chris’ absence as a reason for wearing all the comfy but shit underwear I own (you know, the ones with the weird pattern that hold the memories of when you first felt all independent and free buying yourself pants as a teenager, but which have since gone a sinister grey colour and are weirdly faded in the gusset) – we’re getting married, I stopped buying lace underwear a good two years ago, if you keep that sort of crap up they’re just going to expect it forever. I’m talking about wandering around the house in it. You might think, don’t I do that anyway (?) but really unless it’s pre or post coital I tend to be fully (or mostly) clothed at all times, especially during the winter. Wondering around in a t-shirt and my pants would feel weird if Chris was around and fully clothed too, actually if he was also wearing a t-shirt and his pants it would be even more weird. But wandering around the house in that state of semi-dress when there is no-one in it but you is perfectly acceptable and more than a little bit fun.
No Food Consultations: There’s not the whole “what do you feel like for dinner tonight?” “I feel like curry.” “Curry? Urgh, what about cheesy pasta?” “We always have cheesy pasta.” “That’s because it’s very very tasty.” “I still feel like curry though.” There’s just “CHEESY PASTA YEEEEAAAAHHH.”
Work Absorption: Generally I work all day and then when Chris get’s home I spend the evening with him but when that doesn’t happen I have my evenings open to write and email and all sorts, which can lead to more productivity…but sometimes just a lot of time spent watching cat videos.
Cat Favouritism: Not that I necessarily want to be the cats’ favourite owner but I LOVE that I am (love’s not a competition…but I’m winning). Little Gusgus just follows me around like a feisty little imaginary friend, and these days I can just walk up to my little scaredy cat Nunney and give her a stroke, which has taken MONTHS to achieve. Cat’s are fickle and I know that if Chris was the one feeding them and cuddling them at night they’d like him more, but he’s not, so there.
Keeping the Magic Alive: Don’t get me wrong, I would prefer it if Chris were here all the time, getting under my feet, telling bad jokes, generally annoying and irritating me, but in the spirit of looking on the bright side I do have to admit that there is excitement to be found in his frequent absence; I get all funny in my tummy when I’m on my way to pick him up from the train station or when I get the text to say he’s landed and he’s on his way home. In fact I get butterflies every time I receive a text from him. I plan lovely things we’re going to do when he’s back, sometimes I do buy a pair of pants with a bit of lace on (as long as they’re in the M&S 3 for 2 section). I have plenty of opportunities to miss him and this means a constant reminder of just how important he is to me, how much we love each other and how lucky we are that this is the case. Abracafrikindabra.
If there’s one thing I know about my brain it’s that it is inclined towards the melancholy, so hopefully this will be part of the training to get my mood at a more consistent level of contentment. I’m not asking to bounce out of bed every morning rejoicing in the rising of the sun (although that would be nice), I just really want my first thought to be “Oh! Another day!” not “Oh. Another day.” – if you know what I mean. Onwards and upwards people, onwards and upwards!
Oh my God I forgot one! What I fool.
6. Sometimes I get to go too! Now THAT’S a pretty good deal.
See, once you look for one positive, you’ll find many more!