This week has been chaotic. My second week at work has not been much better than the first. It has still been rudderless, without any sense of structure or planning. I have been fumbling through my working hours in a fog and come home exhausted and disillusioned. Once home, I’ve then had the stresses and strains of family life to contend with too. I’ve ended up numb, struggling to focus and increasingly over-sensitive. It’s felt like life is crushing me.
It would almost seem like my employer is making the process as hard as possible. I’m sure that’s not the case, but it shouldn’t be this difficult. I’m still waiting for Occupational Health to get involved despite numerous requests. In addition my pay has been messed up and there has been no concrete plan as to how I’m going to be bought up to speed properly to get me on the phones.
Exhausted and Alone
I know I’m not really alone. I have friends and family supporting me both in and out of work. But when I have been sat staring at the screen trying to get yet another of the systems I was told would be working restored, I feel isolated. Trying to pin my manager down long enough to even get basic things sorted has been nearly impossible.
By Thursday I was so sick of fumbling through I was nearing breaking point. I was so angry, but the angrier I got the less I could speak. I could feel the beginnings of panic setting in and the physical itching and agitation escalated. Something had to change. Stammering and stuttering I finally managed to grab my boss and say I needed to talk to him. The meeting was awkward and difficult, but thankfully I’d prepared. Before I’d even entered the office that day I’d made a list of everything I wanted to raise and discuss with him. Slowly working through each item, even with my speech all over the place, I got my message across.
Assume and You Make An A## Out of Me and You
What shocked me was that my boss had no idea that I felt the way I did. He thought by keeping things relaxed with no formal plans was a way of easing me back into the swing of things. I guess it’s where the importance of talking things through comes in. I’d tried to communicate as much as possible what I might need before I returned, but either I wasn’t clear enough or he’d misunderstood. For me, I need structure and organisation. Without them my anxiety goes into overdrive. because he’d tried to give me space (I’d only asked if he could encourage my colleagues not to bombard me) I’d ended up feeling isolated.
All in all it’s been tricky to get it right from both sides. I do feel there has been a huge onus put on to me as the sufferer to take control of my phased return. It shouldn’t be beyond any employer to make sure that their staff can enter the building they work in. Likewise, systems should be back up and running as soon as possible, not nearly two weeks in.
Because of my own issues I have struggled to get my voice to be heard. I needed to be able to get my manager to really listen. The only way I could do that was by taking the bull by the horns and getting him to sit down with me. I’m so glad I’d made my list before I left for work that day. It was a huge challenge, but a necessary one to get my return back on the right path.
I Won’t Keep Fumbling Through
Realistically I don’t want to be my own barrier. Yes, I have anxiety and depression and they can restrict me. But I’m not going to let it hold me back. I won’t be defined by my mental health. By doing little things like preparing lists to take to meetings of what I want to say if my speech fails, or getting colleagues on board who are prepared to help. I can do this. More support from my manager is required, but I have to ask for it. Okay, maybe I shouldn’t have to, but to get where I need to be it’s what I’ve had to do.
Fumbling through is no longer an option.
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