One of the most difficult things to deal with is a budding anxiety attack whilst in the office. Today I find myself sitting at my desk doing just that. Trying to resist the need to go chain-smoke nicotine into my system; if I went for a smoke it would help, until I got back to my desk and started fretting that people would notice that I’ve been away and wonder just how many breaks I’ve taken. I’ve even started timing my breaks to make sure a) I’m not taking too much time away and b) I’ve got some kind of evidence should the point be raised regarding breaks. It’s happened before; I am not getting caught in that situation again.
The anxiety absolutely sucks. I feel like I’m running fast – too fast – and wondering constantly if I’m messing things up; surely if I get the deck cleared by 2pm I’m doing something wrong, says my worried brain. But things have always been like this at work. I’ve always been this person who gets on with things and winds up facing down a long afternoon of slow hours because all the work is up-to-date. I’m new here, so maybe I’m missing something, but I’ve tried asking a few people what happens in the afternoons and haven’t had much by way of a definitive answer. It’s not like I’m kicking back and relaxing from here on in; being who I am I’ve been obsessively refreshing the work queue and picking off the tasks as they appear. But it feels repetitive and endless – my brain is barely engaged with the task beyond not making mistakes. It’s super dissatisfying.
And the long afternoon feeds the anxiety, which in turn feeds the drawn out hours ahead of me today. Really what I want to do is head home, dive under a duvet and try to relax. If I was at home I’d be able to paint, or do some colouring, or watch silly television till the husband gets home. This is where I have a real issue with the team at CMHRS who tell me that I should be using my coping skills to get through these anxious times; that’s all well and good for when I’m not in a situation where I can’t actually use anything beyond chain-smoking (and that’s still not really an option) and writing. Having said that, it’s not like many anxiety meds seem to help me – not that I’ve tried them all. But benzos don’t work; diazepam, temazepam and lorazepam have all failed to touch the anxiety when it hits hard. And developing coping skills is hard when all their offerings of therapy involve a group I can’t make because I’m working when they meet.
I’m really actually quite annoyed with the whole therapy situation too. There’s nothing I want more than to get to grips with the behavioural aspects of these disorders I have been labelled with and beat down the negative effects they have on my life. It would be wonderful to be able to learn to cope with things, but that doesn’t seem to be happening. I am so proud of myself for continuing to work – I think more people with mental illness should be encouraged to do so – but it does sometimes feel like CMHRS assume that everyone with diagnoses is out of a job and there’s no provision to deal with people like me who would ideally need out of hours appointments. The next time I see my care coordinator is May, and I’ve wanted to see my psychiatrist for a while to discuss changing my anti-psychotic (because I can’t seem to shift the weight, and olanzapine is notorious for that issue). There have been a few occasions lately where I really have missed my old care team; where I’ve wanted to be able to pick up the phone and call someone I’m comfortable with who can hear me out and help me calm down. I simply don’t feel able to do that with the current CMHRS set-up.
I feel like I should round this off with some positives but I’m struggling to see the light today. So I’ll leave things as they are, and hopefully have a cheerier post for next time.