The Anxiety of Absence

Time off makes me anxious. Luke and I have booked a week off for some much needed R&R so from tomorrow I’ll be a lady of leisure for a whole seven days. But the list of worries passing through my mind is stressing me out.

First of all, there’s the concern that I’ve been cocking up my work for the last 6 months. You might think the reassurance of the half-year of few complaints would be enough, but it really isn’t. When I’m here I rarely doubt my ability to do the job and succeed at it. I think I’m just that much of a control-needer. ‘What if something comes to light and I’m not here to explain the mistake?’ and so on.

The issue that underlies all this anxiety is the events of three years ago when I first took time off ill because of a psychotic episode. I had continued to work right up to the point that my psychiatrist threatened to have me sectioned if I didn’t take two weeks off. I know some of you will have experience of what it’s like to try to continue living normally when your mind is rebelling against you. Little wonder then, that I made some mistakes. Amazingly they were not big bucks mistakes; simple things like forgetting to send an order confirmation or return a phone call. Shouldn’t really have been much of an issue, except my manager at the time didn’t see it like that. Whilst I was away on sick leave she got access to my computer from IT and went through to find anything that I had made a mistake on. When I returned to work, these were presented to me as a significant failing. It was horrible, I felt terrible; despite my illness I had worked hard – so hard – at that job despite being over-worked and under-staffed.

So that’s why I get nervous about time off. I know for a fact that I have been doing a good job here. The figures and feedback reflect that; I’m on target and have built fabulous relationships with my accounts. I just can’t shake the feeling that there’s going to be something I don’t even have the first inkling of rearing its ugly head to ruin my life.

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The Anxiety of Absence

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