It's now over a month since I walked out of work one Friday without knowing that I wouldn't be able to face going back the following Monday. I went back to the doctors yesterday and was signed off for another two weeks. I am still not 'right'.
So here's a full answer to the question above. I get asked it a lot and my usual reply along the lines of 'Not great but I'll get there' sums it up. Lots of the time everything appears as if it's going swimmingly. It might look to others like I'm taking a fraudulent sickie. Often I don't believe I'm poorly myself. I've done lots around the house, write, exercise and meditate and have good times with friends. I smile and laugh, even at my predicament. My head is mostly free from the ruminative and anxious thoughts that were persistent when I've suffered from depression in the past.
But it's the little things that cause me to crumble. I go into panic mode and feel overwhelmed when I don't feel in total charge of a situation. It's as if my inner control freak has gone berserk. Of course I know that it's impossible to regulate everything around me. Adults, kids and nature have their own ideas of what's going to happen and that impacts on my plans.
Knowing that I'm being entirely unrealistic doesn't stop me feeling overwhelmed when the tiniest thing doesn't work out MY way. I'm exhausted just getting Louis out of bed and off to school with all the kit he needs for the day ahead. It's a situation that cannot be precisely engineered. There's so much that can go wrong! This hypersensitivity to things that I cannot control is the consequence of sustained stress over a long period of time. It's still affecting my sleep. I often wake in a state of panic recalling events that have happened where I was overcome by helplessness in spite of putting up a huge fight. The people that I work with more serious mental health problems than my own are unpredictable. It's the nature of their illness and precisely why I can't work with them at the moment.
Up to now my Fit Note allowed me to do a limited amount of work that didn't include clinical stuff. I thought that keeping going might kick start wellness. But it hasn't so I'm taking a different tack. I've been signed off completely to prioritise rest and reflection. The other stuff must fit around these. After all, at the times that I've been physically poorly it would have been mad to keep running around like I've done over the past few weeks. No medication yet. I need a clear head to examine what went wrong. Surprisingly it seems like a very positive thing has come to pass. Even though I'm metaphorically bruised and battered I feel that this situation has come about so that I can learn and grow. It's taking much more time to get back to perky than I ever imagined but I'm hopeful that I'll get through this with a little bit more wisdom and resilience tucked under the belt.