I’m back (I think).
After several failed attempts at writing this post, I think I am just about ready to enter the blogosphere again. [Is that a real word?]
The observant among you will know it’s been about 7 months since I last wrote…but for a few months before that, my posts were really sporadic. I intentionally took an extended break because life became a little too challenging for me to continue to invest in my blog. There was so much I couldn’t say here, for a number of reasons, and while writing is (and always has been) an outlet, what was going on in life was just too overwhelming to put into print.
Cryptic? Yes. Concerning? Perhaps. It was definitely a tough time, but I am seeing the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel now.
So let’s catch-up, shall we? How have you been?? It’s a bit late coming, but happy 2015. I spent New Year with some great friends, eating a 7 course dinner and drinking sparkling wine when the clock struck 12.
2015 is a New Year in more ways than one, for me. 2015 signalled the start of something new – a new job, a fresh start, and a “rebirth” of sorts [sorry, that’s such a hippy word]
I started January 2015 in a new social work role within a different fostering organisation. I don’t think many decisions I have made in my life could have been better for me, than the decision to quit my previous job. I am truly enjoying my work for the first time in more than a year – I can remember why I wanted to be a social worker in the first place and my new company is brilliant at valuing its employees and I really enjoy being a part of their team.
Having said that, it has taken (is taking) some time to adjust to a new workplace. Not in terms of the practical aspects; that I had nailed within a few days thanks to a very efficient set of systems, brilliant colleagues and above all a wonderful line manager. No, what I am still getting used to is working in an environment that encourages rather than puts down, supports rather than degrades, and values rather than scorns. It was made just barely manageble by some genuinely lovely colleagues – but the leadership and the overall environment that had become so intensely difficult and stressful, and so emotionally gruelling and (let’s just say it) hellish, that actually, in March 2015 I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder because the level of stress and anguish I was experiencing daily, hour upon hour, and the horrendous situation that happened when I left (which I might write about at some point, but not now) caused a significant emotional trauma.
I was in that environment, feeling that way, for over a year – and what I have realised is that my traditional way of coping and managing my feelings (i.e. pretending it was fine, except to the people closest to me) was enough to sustain me whilst I was in the midst of it but it wasn’t until I got out of it, and began working in a safe space that I started to slightly unravel. All of the anxiety that I hadn’t let myself feel in that year started to come out, in mostly irrational ways (for example, near panic attacks at big roundabouts, triple-checking emails to see if they could be misinterpreted, intense and terrifying nightmares, and just generally feeling like life and work couldn’t possibly be this good – I began to think that everything my old employer made me feel about myself was true…and it was only a matter of time before my new employers realised this.
Of course…since getting the PTSD “label” and starting to talk a bit more openly about my experience I have realised that a lot of that was the trauma, and not real. I think I knew it at the time but it was hard to accept. There is also the *possibility* that the anti-anxiety medication I am taking is having a therapeutic effect as well, but I think it is a mixture of all things combined and I know there is a significant amount of healing to be done in the next weeks/months.
It was a bit scary to type all that, I won’t lie. Admitting vulnerabilities and struggles is not something I am altogether comfortable with…but I had to give it a go. I have found that a big part of working through this is being honest about how my old workplace made me feel, and what it has “done to me” and owning that “label” may not seem like a tremendous thing…but it is.
So … PTSD. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a PTSD or a “recovery” blog (nothing against those, they’re just not me). This blog is still just about little old me and my randomness…but right now little old me has this thing called PTSD, so it’s probably going to feature for a while. I hope that’s ok.
Equally, little old me is starting to rediscover past passions – like colouring (yes it’s therapeutic, but it’s also just good fun) and dress-making, and I am really enjoying having the physical time and the emotional ‘head-space’ to enjoy these things again. So those endeavours might make an appearance here too. I’m excited about that!
Anyway…that’s all from me for now. Hopefully I will be back again soon 🙂