Before I get into Part 3, I want to acknowledge that far worse things happen to people than what happened to me in this story. I’m telling this story – not because I want attention or sympathy but because I know that unfortunately this kind of thing happens all the time. By sharing my story it brings the subject of workplace stress and mistreatment into the open and hopefully begins a dialogue on the subject. It shows how workplace mistreatment can affect a person and their families, and it also provides an opportunity for me to share the lessons I have learned as a consequence – though I believe the lessons learned would be different to each person.
Part 2 ended with these words: Medically, I was affected both physically and mentally.
I was completely broken.
The day after the incident I went to the doctor because I was concerned about my racing heart, my inability to sleep and the strange buzzing of stress I could feel beneath my skin. I was prescribed something that would supposedly help me sleep. It didn’t.
I’m not sure how many days had passed before I was back at the doctors. My sister took me. My family had all come to my home armed with flowers, food and lots of concern. My condition had deteriorated very rapidly.
Doctors tell me that (based on the many varied tests I had) it appears that before the incident had even occurred, I was most likely suffering with chronic stress. This is stress that is endured over an extended period. I was unaware of this because living with stress had become my normal. If you refer back to Part 1 – you will recall the conditions and workload that I was enduring (and I didn’t tell the half of it!).
Following the incident, my nervous system went into overdrive (sort of a meltdown!). My heart was racing too fast. There was a strange buzzing all over my body. I could feel it under my skin and in my veins. I couldn’t concentrate. My thoughts were racing and swirling. I couldn’t sleep. I was devastated. I was exhausted (adrenal fatigue). I felt panic and fear (anxiety). Pretty soon depression set in. I could do nothing except lie in bed and cry. It was at this point that the family rallied and my sister took me to the doctor.
I ended up spending a week in hospital. This is not because the doctors told me to but because I requested it and they thought it was a good idea. I didn’t like my kids seeing me in the state I was in. I also needed to escape responsibilities. I didn’t want the reminders of dinners needing to be cooked, clothes needing to be washed, floors needing to be cleaned etc etc. I needed time out from everything. I really should have stayed longer than a week but my birthday was coming up and I felt it would be unfair on my kids for me to be in hospital on my birthday – so I came out the day before my birthday.
That time in hospital was confronting and scary but eventually a relief to have escaped the guilt associated with all the ‘stuff’ I was unable to do and to have a quiet, safe haven away from real life. They prescribed strong sleeping tablets that knocked me out and finally I could sleep … but I felt like slightly zombie-like through the day. They also prescribed Valium to calm the anxiety. I refused anti-depressants (you’ll find out why later in the story).
Once home again, there was months spent lolling around the house watching television, reading books (when I could concentrate again), occasionally meeting a friend for coffee … but not much more. For much of that time, I was unable even to do the most basic of household tasks. My husband cooked dinner for quite some time before I was able to do it again. I would put a load of washing in the machine and then forget about it. My concentration was extremely poor and my memory was badly affected. I couldn’t handle doing much at all. I couldn’t organise my days. I was very confused. I joined a new local gym – determined to at least try and keep fit and slim. I tried, but failed to keep up with this. My new companion ‘anxiety’ was causing me so much fear and angst and it had reduced my comfort zone circle significantly (eg HOME, local cafe, parents house, sisters house … THE END).
Eventually, I started to cook dinner again. Firstly just once or twice a week and eventually more nights a week. I managed to put a load of washing on and remember that I had. I still couldn’t do too much in one day but I started to manage a little more.
By September 2012, I began to feel like I needed more than just the odd bit of housework. I was used to being busy and having goals and timelines to meet. I needed an outlet. I needed a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
A friend had drawn my attention to an article published in U Magazine (a magazine inserted into Brisbane’s Sunday Mail newspaper) on a Brisbane mum called Hailey Bartholomew who had begun a 365 Grateful project. My friend thinks I am very creative and she suggested this might be something I would like to do. I did think the 365 Grateful project would be a great idea. I had never heard of such a thing before. I thought it would help me see all those little things that I have in my life to be grateful for.
During the time I had been home, I had been reading quite a few blogs regularly and secretly thought I would love to have one of my own. The idea of a 365 Grateful Project is what set my thought process into motion.
On 19 September 2012, I started my blog. I jumped in without thinking too much about it. I thought if I thought about it too much I would never do it. Fear would take over. I didn’t know what to call it because apart from the planned 365 Grateful Project, I didn’t know what I was going to blog about. I thought I would blog about a mish mash of stuff and so ended up calling the blog MinsMash.
Since starting the blog, I have been on a journey, with all of you, of rediscovering who I am, what makes me happy and what my future might possibly look like!
Read more in Unplugged – Part 4
Note about the photo for Unplugged Part 3. These photo’s are not my own and photo credits are below. I liked the unplugged picture because not only does it represent ‘unplugged’ but the green leaf growth represents ‘re-birth’, ‘a new start’, ‘a new beginning’. I liked the photograph of the lady in distress because it shows a person broken – just like I was.
Linking up today with Essentially Jess’s #IBOT
Categories: General Mish Mash