A mini breakdown and recovery

Today I had an important test I knew I could ace, and yet I mismanaged my time and wasn’t able to finish. I was so frustrated and angry with myself, and I had a mini breakdown.

I cracked. I cancelled everything planned later in the day and buried myself in bed. I wanted to cry, I wanted to hide, I wanted the relief of sleep. I slept for hours. Constructive, I know.

But then I woke up. And I felt a bit more compassionate towards myself. Yes, I didn’t do as well as I could have, but I had been exhausted from lack of sleep. Also, it is still good practice for other tests and maybe I will do better than I thought. Nothing I can do about it now. Just learn for next time.

And I had a surge of energy and started to tackle a lot of things I’d left half done. I got rid of clothes that didn’t fit, purged clutter in my room and completely organized my closet. It felt so nice as these were things I’d been wanting to do for quite a while and the clutter always weighed on me.

So at the end of the day, I’m feeling more neutral — not upset over the test as that is finished and there is nothing to do but wait for the results, and satisfied with my decluttering progress. I was triggered for the potential of crashing, but managed a bit of compassion to reenergize and inspire myself in other ways.

Do I stay or do I go?

Two things are causing me enormous stress at the moment: my job and finances. I need one to pay for the other, but what if it’s also making me sick?

I’ve almost quit my job so many times. I’ve never worked with such conflict before, and interpersonal conflict is not my strong suit. I’m constantly stressed and my psoriasis has flared up again, always a physical warning.

And I’ve been feeling so hopeless.

I’ve tried working things out with my colleague, but things improve for a few days and then turn more sour. I just don’t believe things can change anymore. Since starting this job I have:
– needed to increase my medications
– suffered from poor sleep and felt constantly tired
– increasingly withdrawn from everything around me as the job leaves me so exhausted I don’t have energy to do anything else
– had my whole head break out in psoriasis
– had so much tension I needed two sessions of massage therapy and yet the pain remains
– felt that I was going to have a nervous breakdown
– thought things would never improve and that it may not be worth living.

Only the love of my cat and not wanting her to be homeless is keeping me going. I’ve fallen so far from the optimism I had this spring.

The job isn’t the kind of work I want to do and it’s well below my abilities. I only took the job for access to internal opportunities and stability. But I’m feeling anything but stable, so more and more I’m coming to this conclusion: I have to quit.

It was a long weekend and after venting to everyone I thought maybe I could stick it out a few more weeks. But I’m home sick today because I can’t bear to go into work. This is also a really bad sign and not something that has otherwise troubled me in the past year.

So more and more, I think the answer is that I need to go. This will be a huge financial strain but I can move, take a lower paying job for now… But my health? It’s so much more important.

Stumbling

Things have really gone downhill over the past few weeks. I haven’t felt so stressed in a long time. Especially so much physical tension.

I’m feeling so tired and a bit hopeless, like I keep getting almost better only to plunge again. I’m financially stressed still, and yet my new job is about to give me a breakdown. I’m withdrawing from everything again, burrowing in my apartment even when it is gorgeous out. I keep telling myself one more week, but it always seems that getting back to an even keel is sometime out of reach.

I could really use some good news this week.

The quirks of depression: a memory

I remembered something the other day and it has really stayed with me. It was about one of the last things to push me over the edge to a complete breakdown. And it was so silly!

In less than a year I suffered a crippling knee injury and the threat of surgery loomed. I wrote my long avoided thesis in three months because there were no more possible extensions. I worked full time and my work environment became more and more toxic. I couldn’t breathe and had non-stop sinus infections and needed to give my cat to my parents who lived far away. I suffered more and more insomnia and even a vacation couldn’t help. I had heavy fundraising commitments to make, and really tight finances. I had no sick days left and a deficit building. I ended up needing a surgery, but not for my knee – it was because I couldn’t breathe…. And that of course required more time off.

The pressures mounted and mounted. But you know what started to set me off? I had a new manager and she was making me redo some report because I had two spaces after each period instead of one. She was adamant it had to be changed and I was adamant that it was proper grammar to have two spaces between sentences. She wouldn’t back down and it seemed like the end of the world! I didn’t know how I would be able to go on and work with this new manager! I was so fragile and writing was the task I did best. How dare she criticize! Within a couple of weeks I went for surgery and after that I just crumbled into a long depression. I couldn’t stop crying over the simplest thing, couldn’t fill out the simplest forms, couldn’t function at all really.

Despite all that hardship, one of the final triggers for my breakdown was about how many spaces I placed after a period!!!

Do you have memories like that? Things you look back on now and laugh at, but at the time they seemed so devastating? The strangest thing that was the straw that broke the camel’s back? I’d love to hear about it.

P.S. You may have noticed that I now only place one space between sentences. But we won’t tell my old manager that! 😉

Crashing

Today I crashed. I went to yoga in the morning, so tired I hadn’t even gotten up in time for a shower. I did my practice, had a quick shower during the break, then stayed through to early afternoon for a lengthy lesson. I had to leave at lunch. Escape for a breather.

I had cereal for lunch and then a nap. And I had an upset stomach again. Maybe I’m becoming intolerant to wheat products? Anyway, between that and my exhaustion, I just couldn’t go back for four more hours.

I felt on the verge of a breakdown.

I slept through the afternoon and tried to regroup. I feel guilty for not going back. But I also feel relieved. I haven’t had a break in two weeks and won’t have another for a week and my body demanded self-care.

I hope it won’t cause problems. I will go back tomorrow. But I have to keep things in perspective. A year ago I was on the verge of another major depression meltdown and could barely work two or three days a week. Then I was laid off. And only worked about four or five months since then. I am now back at work full time, performing well and loving it. I go every day.

I signed up for yoga teacher training for personal growth. It’s a lot like therapy with lots of exercise too. And it has been helping, but also wearing me down. This weekend it’s particularly bad because I never had a recovery weekend in between.

Anyway, I don’t want to make excuses. But I want to be realistic. Where I am right how, compared to last year, is amazing. To maintain this, I need to listen to my body and be reasonable. Today, my body insisted. Hopefully I’ll be able to reenergize this week and rediscover the ease I normally find in yoga.