It’s Sunday afternoon. I’m writing this post snuggled up on the sofa under my yellow Teddy Bear blanket. Ignacio is at work and ‘Someone I Used To Know’ is playing on the TV. I’ve had an usually early start today. I woke at eight to get to a nine o’clock yoga class at my gym.
This was my fourth class this week, finally one that I really enjoyed and did not find myself watching the clock the whole time. I could not tell you, for love or money, what yoga moves we did, but I can tell you that I was able to do most of them without antagonising my left shoulder. We did a lot floor work, moving legs and hips, we did some partner work (something I have never done in a yoga class) and at the end I felt more energised and relaxed that I have felt all week. It was good.
I went to my local supermarket and stocked up on a few basics and ingredients for my next baking adventure. I sorted my car’s screen wash issues. Am I the only one who appears to be consuming unprecedented amounts of screen wash? What is a normal amount?
I got home, wiped down the kitchen counters, did some washing up, loaded and started the dishwasher and thought about what I wanted to eat for brunch. There was an avocado in the fridge – waiting for me. So I thought I might just mush up the avocado with salt, pepper, olive oil and arbo chilli flakes.
I fried up two eggs and toasted a few slices of Kalamata olive bloomer and voilà…
I’m not sure that I have the words for how nice this tasted or how nice I felt. If I could bottle the feeling, I’d spray it on everyday. I think a combination of the refreshing early morning start, these sense of minor domestic achievement and the sunshine. The beautiful February sunshine coming through the kitchen window. The peace, harmony and quietness of being home alone.
And then, out of nowhere, somewhere, the crushing and gnawing anxiety about work, landed. It’s bizarre and I don’t like it. And I could not seem to make it go away. The same thing yesterday. I did my Saturday morning yoga class – I felt great. I came home and started fretting out the reports that I needed to do. I had completed two child protection medical on Friday afternoon. It was a physically exhausting day, I had a three hour commute to work that morning and walked into a non-stop schedule of clinical activities. By the time I had finished at five-thirty I was just numb. My brain was done. I had enough mental reserve to upload the pictures that I had had to take and speed away home to my mother’s house. I didn’t have time to write up the notes and process everything that I had feedback to the two families and social workers that I’d had to work with that afternoon. I wondered how I was going to keep the information in my head, fresh until Monday morning, when I would normally have my admin time to complete the paperwork. I just didn’t think it would be possible, even though, I’ve been on call every Friday for the past six years and normally I can do this, do some extent.
But yesterday, after my yoga class I found myself, climbing up the stairs to my study, and dictating the two child protection reports and the review assessment clinic report from the three children I had seen the previous day. I corrected another review assessment report. I was ‘online’ for three hours. I felt calmer after I completed all of this. The rising anxiety subsided. The same thing happened today. I logged on again after my wonderful brunch, corrected one letter and when that was done, the feeling of panic and worry, just went away. I’m sure it will be back later this evening, as Monday looms and I think about all the reports that I need to correct, clinics to prepare next work for and tasks to respond to.
I’m not sure what is happening to me. Before Christmas, I was pretty chill about work, taking it in my stride. Being, I thought, quite reasonable about things. I had appendicitis and an appendectomy in October last year. It took me, I felt, a long time to recover, and I spend a lot of time thinking about work life balance. I felt I was able to put things in perspective and understand what my personal priorities to myself were, balanced with my roles and responsibilities to the NHS. I thought I’d finally ‘got there’. I guess I had not reckoned on the changes going on in our department, in the context of the general chaos that is the NHS. I guess there must also be something within me that is needed to feel something related to completing this work. There are certainly no prizes for me doing it – on all or any levels (neither was expecting or seeking any) and in fact, this week, which has been awful, has taught me that it is in fact the complete opposite. I can work really hard and it is not noticed, appreciated or valued. That is sad.
I don’t have a plan for next week. It feels like I can’t make the work anxiety go away. I’m still in the same job, the same problems are still present. But I am making plans and space for other things. I have booked into yoga classes for Monday and Tuesday evenings after work (I’m working from home those days so easier to get to the gym). I’ve ‘signed’ up for #NHS1000miles, starting today and for ‘Walk All Cancer in March’. So I will need to do more walking 10,000 steps a day from Wednesday onwards. I’m going to make the time and commitment to walk more before and after my work shifts. I’ll start walking to the gym when I can instead of driving there. Maybe doing that, exercising, changing my environment, will help me have a healthier attitude to work. Maybe moving more will help put out the fires of my anxiety that are raging right now. I don’t like who I am right now with work. It’s upsetting and not sustainable. I need it change. Only I can make it change.
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