First, a quick warning - I'm typing this on my phone for the first time, so it might get a little messy in places! I'm sure the inability to format things properly will drive me up the wall, but I thought I'd give it a go as I'm currently glued to my phone most of the time, rather than using my laptop. This also means returning to my more natural, stream of consciousness technique, rather than the more reviewed & edited way I've been trying to go, largely for the sake of coherence.
Over the last couple of days I've felt like my progress has stalled somewhat. To bring you up to speed quickly, I did indeed get my call back from my local employment rights people shortly after publishing my last post. As I'd expected, however, being a free, voluntary service they are swamped at the minute, so my initial appointment to actually speak to someone is not for a couple of weeks yet. Last week I was fine with that, mainly aided by the unexpected glorious sunshine. I tidied the lounge & cleaned the bathroom - both tasks I tend to view very much as chores, but with the windows open and some tunes to wail along to, I actually found myself enjoying it, and was delighted with how much better my house looked for it. I went out and enjoyed the sun, despite my hayfever kicking in with a bit of a vengeance. I had a cracking afternoon out with my friend Jamie, who I'd offered to drive over to our favourite drum shop, Drumwright, in Woodley, as he needed a few bits and bobs. I'll admit I was a little nervous beforehand, for various reasons; mainly that I was going to have to drive very close to my old office, and I was terrified of bumping into any of my former colleagues and of the squirmy conversation that would no doubt ensue. There's also the fact that I'm something of a lapsed percussionist myself, having not really played properly since college, which is something I feel quite guilty about, letting the previous years of practice, including a stint in my local youth orchestra, effectively go to waste. Then there was the more social side - I haven't really had any prolonged interaction with anyone other than my husband & my family in months, at least not without my husband/family being there to act as a "buffer" of sorts. They automatically pick up the slack in any conversation if it becomes clear I'm starting to struggle a bit. I suspect my husband even preps our friends before we see them as to what sort of mood I'm in and how best to handle me at that given time. I also know that Jamie is quite a keen reader of this blog, having had similar problems to mine over the years. He's probably one of the first people I felt comfortable discussing my mental health with, having spotted he was on the same meds as me in the early days. I was a little concerned we might end up bogged down in some depressing conversation, but we fortunately both seemed to be in upbeat mode. The iPod shuffle gods looked down on us favourably, pulling up a nice selection of cheery songs on the journey. It was great to be able to spend some time together and reminisce a bit, have a shared dribble over some of the stock in the drum shop, and a good laugh. I was knackered by the time I got home, but happy, as I felt we both got the bit of recharge time we needed.
This week, however, as the weather has turned somewhat gloomy again, I feel like I'm drifting aimlessly, trapped in limbo until I can close the door on the whole situation with my previous employer. I'd like to start trying to venture into the job market again, as it really is the only way I can see myself making a proper recovery. As I've explained before, I find work really is integral to my sense of self esteem. However, I don't think I will feel psychologically ready to take the plunge until that chapter of my life is over and done with. Put it this way; I don't want to put myself out there when I'm still feeling quite fragile, just to get hurt again. It's a tricky juggling act, deciding just how far I can push myself so as to regain some sense of normality, but trying not to push myself too far so that I stress myself out, and the whole exercise becomes counterproductive. I have a tendency to err toward the side of trying to do too much, and beating myself up about it when I don't live up to my own ridiculously high standards, so I've been trying to take things more slowly with my recovery this time, in the hope it will last a bit longer - to be honest, much as I know it's unlikely and that I will always have to deal with this to a certain degree, I do still live in hope of being "cured". A girl can dream, eh?
I have a bit of a blogging rule that I should never end on a downer. Even if the entire post ends up being a relentless tide of misery, I have to remind myself and anyone else out there that every cloud has a silver lining. So, with that in mind, I'd like to tell you about a little victory I had yesterday - for the first time in... ooh, about a year(?), I accompanied my husband to one of the local open mic/jam sessions he goes to. They tend to go on quite late, so while I was working I didn't like to go, as it would leave me tired for days. Since I've been at a loose end, so to speak, I've been trying to work up to going to one, as I do love the music and the company. The aspects that put me off we're the usual suspects; they're always in pubs, usually quite overcrowded, cramped ones. I feel incredibly vulnerable when my husband plays a set, as I get left alone without my protective buffer. Plus there's the lapsed musician's guilt I mentioned earlier. I kind of felt I had to prove I actually existed to some of the crowd, as they must have thought I was a figment of my husband's imagination, having never actually met me. My feminist side hates this, but I love to feel like an asset to my husband - to make a good impression on his behalf. I don't want people to think less of him because of me. I want people to think "wow! He must really be something, because look at that fantastic bird he's snaffled". Don't get me wrong, it's not just a looks thing, it's important to me that I express my intellectual side. He's always joked that I'm his "posh totty", but really, I always think I'm the one who married out of their league. Anyway, I'm going soppy & drifting from my point. I went with him to a jam night last night, and ended up staying later than we'd intended without even realising as we were both having fun. So I'm counting that as a win.