Of late I’m starting to think, feel, worry that my mental health might be suffering. I feel like I’m so nervous and terrified that people will laugh at me, or think I’m just making a fuss, or over exaggerating, or lying, or just being stupid really, but if I don’t write down how I feel, just once, then I’m confident these feelings will never go away.
Back in April I applied to a promotion and accepted when I was offered a new job. It meant I’d now have to travel from Birmingham to Leicester 5 times a week taking me an hour (or in really bad traffic two hours) each way. If I’m totally honest this has probably been one of the hardest journeys I’ve ever had to make, not just the commuting but also the trials and mountains I’ve faced along the way. I’ve now been in my position for eight months. Lots of things have changed since I started, other managers have left, many team members have left and a few months ago we got a new general manager after the previous one left due to extreme stress and pressure he felt was weighing him down. Oh, and the lack of support he felt. When my old general manager left I was honestly annoyed, not because he was leaving but because he didn’t even work his notice and he kind of left us in the lurch. Which is funny, because I now am pretty sure that I’m feeling the exact same way that he was feeling then. I could walk out tomorrow and never look back, in fact, right now, I’d happily just not turn up tomorrow and the only reason that I won’t is because a) I need the money, b) I’m worried I’ll never get a job outside of the company I currently work for, c) well I keep telling myself I’m just not that person.
Since starting in April a couple of things have happened more frequently than I’d like:
1. Every 2-3 months I’ve wanted desperately to leave but stayed – telling myself things will get better if I just hold out
2. Every 2 weeks I’ve struggled to sleep before a shift so badly that I’ve ended up doing a 2hour commute and 8hour shift on 3hours sleep
3. I’ve had a teary conversation with Si about wanting to leave
4. I’ve felt unfairly treated
5. I’ve fallen asleep, or woken up feeling sick to my stomach with worry about having to work my next shift, or week, or pattern
6. I’ve caused an argument with someone I love because I feel so low and am struggling to detach and switch off from the things I worry about at work meaning when I have a bad day I take all the negative feelings home with me
7. I’ve had to rearrange or miss things I had planned because even though I requested it off it just ‘wasn’t possible’
8. I’ve worked more than 5 days in a row and had less than 12hours between my shifts
9. I’ve been too tired to want to do anything on my days off
10. I’ve wondered if I’m suffering from stress
I understand how important mental health is, from the age of 15 to the age of 21 I was probably suffering with depression and was a repeated self harmer. I was completely trapped in this horrible repetitive cycle that I felt I couldn’t escape, struggling to feel I was in control of anything and using dangerous ways to try and escape the prison I felt I was in mentally. I have friends who suffer with anxiety, I’ve known people who are severely depressed. Yet I’d be lying if I said that never did it cross my mind that someone who had a doctors note for stress was not being totally truthful. It’s something I feel guilty for, but I also know that almost everyone has thought it at least once and whilst my friends and family would always support and believe and love me if I found out I was actually suffering with stress and had to take time off work that it’s always the top game players who don’t know you as well who can cast shadows over your honesty. The bosses, colleagues and acquaintances who will potentially whisper that it’s because you’re not capable, competent, resilient enough & that’s what I truly worry about. I worry that I may not actually be suffering from stress, that maybe I’m just overreacting; and then it occurs to me that tonight I was so happy, I was with my two best friends and we were giggling and laughing and celebrating Christmas together but then all it took was one text about work, one text that made me feel sick to my stomach, instantly withdraw, suddenly become tired and begin yawning, fill me with dread and make me start to feel unsteady, uneasy and totally crap.
Reading this back I’m thinking maybe I need to visit my doctor, but I also know that’s one of the scariest parts, because even though I’m thinking it, even though I’m wondering it, being told it professionally is entirely different and terrifying.
I hope all of you have had the most amazing Christmas, and I’m really sorry to post like this on Boxing day.. but I needed to write it, needed to hear it. If any of you have suffered from stress or anything mentioned in this post and want to reach out please do. You may not be a doctor, neither am I, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help each other ❤️