This time last week, I made a commitment to myself, with my psychologist Dr R as a witness, to go to work every Tuesday and Thursday for the next 12 weeks. It was to be my focus. Even if it was hard I would still go! It becomes hard to go to work when my anxiety is high but I want to be able to acknowledge that anxiety, and go anyway. Sometimes, as has been happening lately, if I am concentrating on a different area of myself, my resolve to get to work encounters roadblocks and before I realise diminishes quite quickly. I often don’t notice it until too late. My eating habits and healthy food choices had been my key focus for the last few months because I had been comfortably attending work regularly and without much anxiety. However, when Dr R suggested a review of how everything was travelling, I suddenly realised that my work attendance had once again dropped off and I was in fact only getting to work on Tuesdays OR Thursdays most weeks not BOTH! It was for this reason, we decided on a both/and commitment for the next 3 months – food and work.
So here I am. One week down the track and I am NOT at work today! And I feel BAD! What was I thinking? I knew I was going to fail to keep the agreement. I always do fail. We even talked about failing or thinking that I would fail.
I found work quite tough on Tuesday as my closest workmate is away on holiday …..
How dare she???? I got through the work day because my second closest workmate kept coming and checking up on me – making sure I was okay. My workmates are good like that – they are the same ones that kidnap me on Fridays, for mystery outings. So why is today different from Tuesday? Well, the first workmate is still on holiday, although she is thinking about me occasionally. But the second workmate had a medical appointment and was not going to be at work today. My first thought on hearing that news was …. I can do hard things! (Thankyou, Momastery).
Immediately, I found it difficult to sleep last night. At 1am I was still wide awake, even though I had eaten a healthy dinner, turned off all my electronics early and had a relaxing shower. Eventually, I went to sleep but woke up at 5am drenched in sweat, trying desperately to find toilet paper! Yes, you read correctly – toilet paper! I was dreaming that I was in a park with people everywhere and I was stuck in a toilet with no toilet paper! Unfortunately, the toilet door was a half or stable door – with the top half removed! There was no privacy and NO toilet paper! I’m sure it looked something like this but with the top half of the door completely removed! There were people all around me …. talking to me!!
I WAS IN A COMPLETE PANIC!
When I eventually awoke, I was shaking and dripping with sweat. Breathing hard and totally confused. I wanted to crawl under my bed! Hide! Escape! Eventually, I realised I had been dreaming but it took ages before I was settled enough to get up and change from my damp pj’s and go make a cuppa. That is what panic and anxiety does to me.
I knew then that I wasn’t going to work. But how was I going to explain it to Dr R? And my workmates, who I knew would feel guilty for not being there for me? And myself? Mostly, myself! I thought about why it is important to go to work. My need for independence, freedom and stability. How going to work gives me the much desired social interaction and rebuilds my confidence.
It is not Dr R’s fault that I didn’t go to work. It isn’t my workmates fault either. You know what? It isn’t my FAULT either! But it is my responsibility to understand what happens to me when I don’t and when I do. It’s my responsibility to remember my goals and commitments in relation to improving my ability to not be controlled by my failure story. I choose to acknowledge that not sticking to my commitment does reinforce the negative self belief and stories my internal voice tells me. I now know this adds to my stress levels and is not helpful to dwell on. It certainly leaves me with a stuck feeling.
Today I choose to allow myself a bump in the road. I choose to alter my commitment to 11 weeks attendance at work on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I choose to be happy that I stayed at work last Tuesday when it was hard and uncomfortable. I choose to move on and look forward to next week with confidence.
Meanwhile, here are some beautiful Autumn leaves sent to me from my friend on holiday in Canberra. Did I mention that I really, truly, ruly
hate envy her for having a real Autumn?