Wednesday 11th May 2016 (11.30am)
4/10 – Not quite sure that I can describe the way I feel today. I had a GP appointment at 8.30 and I have been signed off work for at least another two weeks, this does not surprise me. I feel like I am very up and down and my head feels fuzzy and tired. Not even the gym has improved my mood. I managed to run for the first time since the bolts were taken out of my leg (14th March) so that is good progress.
The weather has been wet the last couple of days which means that I feel couped up and I do not want to go out walking. I read a lot and I am currently reading a book called “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi. Paul was a successful neurosurgeon who developed cancer and sadly passed away before finishing the book. I am half way through and I do look at my life and realise how fortunate I am. I usually read from a Kindle but at the moment I like the physical feel of a book in may hand. Many of the books I read are science / medicine based as that is what interests me. If I had my time again then I would look to become a Doctor. If it wasn’t for the financial implications then I would give it a go. I did apply to study Physiotherapy two years ago and ended up getting two conditional offers at University but turned them down in favour of my police career and the circumstances at that time. I have itchy feet and I have no idea where I am going or what I am doing. I am studying Human Biology at the Open University so I guess I will get through that first.
There is also the matter of my frozen embryo. Myself and my partner at the time (who I will refer to as ‘A’) started IVF early in 2015; however we were not successful. Thankfully I have a spare egg of excellent quality currently being stored in the freezer at the private clinic. Our plan was to use the egg towards to the end of 2015; however, our relationship broke down and we split up a week before Christmas. We had our civil partnership in 2012. Fortunately we still get on well.
Legally, the embryo is now all mine and when I am ready I will go through the process on my own. Ironically, all of the legal stuff was going on at the same time as the Inspector ‘boards’. In addition to this, I had knee surgery a week before which makes me think no wonder I failed. No excuses though. I certainly put the work in to pass in difficult circumstances and I should really have smashed the ‘boards’ but this time it was not meant to be for whatever reason…..
I have got the opportunity to go to Brighton this weekend to visit my brother, his partner and my nephew. My parents are going down but I have declined the offer. Though it would be lovely to spend time with everyone, I feel that I kind of need my own space and time. This is me isolating myself again and hiding from the world. I know it would probably be good for me but I just need to go on how I feel at the moment and on what I want to do. I will have a think and maybe I will see things differently tomorrow.
My GP advised me this morning not to isolate myself from people too much. I am aware of what I am doing, yet I want to be on my own; besides I quite enjoy my own company! Looking back on when I first saw my GP on 31st March 2016 I can now see what what an emotional wreck and mess I was. Friends (only a few knew) in work had been telling me to take time off for a while, but then I could not see why as I did not think anything was wrong. I would often shut my office door and cry. I was becoming irritable, snappy and increasingly tired. I was trying to deal with my marriage break up, the unknown of the frozen embryo, a knee operation and the Inspector ‘boards’. This was on top of the daily demands and pressures of my day job. I did not let onto management as I did not want to appear weak or not up to the job. I had a lot to prove and a wanted to succeed, I wanted that next rank.
My training focus remained as I saw this as ‘me time’ and it helped me to keep my mind off reality and off my drain of a life. There were times when I was on the bike in the gym in tears. Thankfully, the tears were hidden in the drips of perspiration.
It took alot for me to go the the Dr and talk about what was going on. My usual GP was not available so I saw whoever I could. I went in with physical symptoms of being worn out and tired. Fortunately, the Dr understood me from the start, she got my personality, my ambitious nature and my drive to succeed to be the very best. The Dr ordered blood tests (which were fine) and told me to take some time off work. I did not want to take time off and went into work the following day. I lasted half a shift before telling a diluted version of events to management and walking out. I knew I was making the right decision even though it was hard to accept. I think I got to the point where I did not care anymore about anything.
The GP prescribed anti depressants which felt like my worst nightmare. I was given Sertraline and my reluctance to take them was evident. I searched the internet regarding their benefits, side effects and reasoned whether they would actually work or not. I questioned whether I needed them as I thought that I could ‘do this on my own’. I eventually started taking them after arguing the positives and negatives in my head and decided that I had nothing to lose.
The GP advised that I carry on with my exercise, but recognised that I may be using it as a form of self harm. Yep, right again Doc and that I have ‘an all or nothing attitude’ …. right again! If I have a timetable, a programme or a goal then I have to stick to it. If I dont then I regard this as not being good enough and the end result will be failure. Whilst this may not necessarily be the case, it is something that I have to reframe my brain around. I acknowledge that I need to slow down and switch off but I find that very hard to do. I find it difficult to sit down and watch TV and do nothing. I always find that I have my phone, iPad, or laptop on, at times I feel a slave to social media as it eats away at my time. I am glad that I now have time to read again, I need to make the most of it.
Before going off work on the sick, my brain felt like it was constantly going around at a million miles an hour. It has calmed down, but still races around at times. Since being off I have gone on holiday. I took myself off to Tenerife on my own. I spent time reading, relaxing by the pool and going to the gym. I had times of reflection down at the marina and often in the late afternoon I would spend time sitting on a rock at the beach. I did find it difficult at times as me and ‘A’ had lovely holidays, and reality kicked in that from now on it was just me. Friends at home contacted me, but I just felt that I needed to be left alone. I did not want to speak or socialise with anybody, but I did find that people approached me and made conversation. They probably felt sorry for me as I was on my own.
Last week I had a telephone call from the Primary Mental Health Team. I was encouraged to continue doing the things I enjoy such as exercise and I agreed to to attend two courses locally on stress and action for living.
On 6th April 2016 I completed the online ‘Be mindful’ quiz and my stress score was 31/40. I will repeat later in the year. I have been given relaxation exercises and offered a mindfulness course but I do not feel ready for this at the moment. My negative head and my wired body will not embrace it.