Monday, 31 October 2016

ANXIETY - 'That's not fair' ... is it?

Do you get along with the people you work with, or do they get on your nerves?

Am I the only one who suffers from the psychological stress of internalising frustration and anger whilst outwardly remaining smiley?

My anxiety makes coming to work quite a difficult chore at the best of times, but when I get here and people are such complete and utter idiots it makes my time here even more unbearable!
Lazy people, liars and those people hell bent on promotion not to mention those members of secret societies who wheel and deal their way up and around everyone else.

I have worked for the same organisation for 27 years and I cannot wait to retire as things have become so utterly political in every way.

I think the fact that I have always saddled myself with ‘the fair’ rule could be half my problem. What’s fair and what is not fair have always been bench marks by which I measure any given situation. If someone gets promoted because they’re good, make rational well considered decisions and are good to have around in an emergency situation I would think ‘that’s fair’ if someone gets promoted on who they know as opposed to what they know I would think ‘that’s not fair’.

The trouble with viewing the world through the ‘fair’ goggles is that it impacts on your mood quite substantially often turning a sunny day cloudy, and a cloudy day stormy!

Supermarket queues are a hot bed for fair or not fair adjudications! If I have queued a long time and someone else walks straight up to a till that just opened and gets served straight away I’m immediately furious because obviously ‘that’s not fair’ is it?!
Whereas if the till operator acknowledges those already queueing and beckons you across then ‘that’s fair’ surely?

This annoying and invasive habit of contemplating each situation through these fair goggles blights my life and much like Japanese knotweed it seems virtually impossible to eradicate.

Why do those people that shout the loudest, are the rudest always tend to win through and get their own way? That’s not fair… yet calm, measured, mild mannered people often get stomped all over by the afore mentioned idiots as they make their way to the front of the queue!? That’s not fair is it?

That day you chose and organised a BBQ for all your mates, put lots of time and effort in to it and then it rains? That’s not fair is it, yet that adhoc affair organised at the last minute by the golden child gets stunning weather! That’s not fair, right? You get the drift and extent of my problems!

Well as I sit at my desk listening to the utter drivel being bandied around by my co-workers I tend to experience multiples of these ‘that’s not fair’ moments.
Back to back, wall to wall, top to bottom twaddle… Invariably leading me to be in a frame of mind that could loosely be described as tense! Well very tense actually, if not bloody fuming!

That steam coming out of my ears fuming, that feeling the urge to stick pencils up my nose and run up and down the corridor in my pants sort of cross.

Yet here I sit calm on the exterior, being polite when spoken to and seemingly quite content, when really I want to run around everybody’s desks chucking their files in the air shouting wibble!

Do you think I should see the doctor to up my anxiety meds?! Is this how axe murderers start their cycle of offending?!

Seriously though I do wonder how much more of this internal fire fighting I can cope with before the blaze gets out of control. Which comes first the anger or the anxiety? Am I angry because I’m anxious, or does the anxiety ramp up because of the anger issues?

Anxiety as many guises though doesn’t it?

For instance when I’m depressed and anxious I get this brain fog! Standing or sitting staring into space, aware you’re looking vacant but unable to snap out of it or even recall what you are meant to be doing at that given time. It’s like someone hit the pause button and you can’t find the triangle on that remote to initiate playing yourself again! I go shopping but stand in the middle of the aisles looking absentmindedly around hoping to find a visual clue that might stimulate my befuddled brain.

Then there are phone calls…urghh. I hate speaking to people on the phone. I have no idea what it is about the phone that puts the fear of god into me but it does. I am more than capable of having a rationale and intelligent conversation with all most anybody yet the concept of picking up that phone or even answering it fills me with dread and I tend to go to extreme lengths to avoid it.

Social events, how can you not want to go out so strongly that it feels like a physical fear and yet psychologically feel really put out that you can’t go and feel like you are being left out! It’s such a contradiction that I barely understand it myself and yet I live in hope that my friends will understand my ‘stand offish’ behaviour. More often than not they don’t and I have a bad reaction to having missed events. They get the hump and then I feel guilty which in turn reignites my anxiety.

Headaches, oh the headaches, I have had real problems with these. My whole head feels like it is likely to explode, in fact it physically hurts to the point that I want to wrap it up and rest it somewhere soft. The nearest I could describe it to you non sufferers would be the headache you get when you’re dehydrated.

Joint aches, I feel half of the time almost as if I have flu. My joints ache and ache and then ache a bit more!

Ironically though despite all my physical symptoms anxiety is actually a mental illness often associated / connected with depression.

I suffer with depression and I would say my anxiety goes hand in hand.

I do struggle however to understand why as a high functioning anxiety sufferer I cannot sort myself out. I know what the problem is, I am reasonably intelligent, and I am medicated so why can I not pull myself up by the boots strings and get over it?
Frustrates me a lot that one but the reality is I cannot so I just have to take one day at a time, sadly along with one bottle of red wine. Self medicating with alcohol has become a nightly occurrence as I dull the anxiety into submission. I know I am drinking too much but I am struggling to curb the cravings.

At the moment survival and not having any more time off work is my priority. I need to stay upright, not fall off my perch and keep the Jenga upright.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Death, guilt and signs from beyond ...

I was busily checking my Facebook timeline on Thursday morning when I saw something that pierced my heart and made me feel very sad and tearful.

If you have read my blog in the past you will know all about my family and issues with my Mother. In a nutshell my Dad left her for another woman in 2002/2003 and my mum issued me with an ultimatum. She said I should dump my Dad or she would never speak to me again.

I didn't dump my Dad, she has had nothing to do with me ever since.

My daughter was born in 2005 and she met my Mother once at a family do around 2009, somewhat by fluke as opposed to planning, but nothing since, not even a birthday card.

I wrote to my Mum when I was pregnant offering to try and arrange some form of contact with my unborn child so that they could at least know each other even if we were at odds. She wrote back saying 'it was a fate worse than death'.

My Mum is one of four children born to parents in Cornwall in 1948. Two boys and two girls.

I haven't spoken with her since that day that she issued me with her ultimatum, never likely to now I would say.

Because of the issues with Mum the other brothers and sister have found it very, very difficult over the years to play on both sides of the fence so to speak. They donned a 'Team Mum' shirt and always sounded like they thought I was lying to them when I discussed the situation. Whenever I visited I had to book an appointment so as not to coincide with Mother. It made me feel dirty, unwanted, unloved.  After 4-5 years of this stunted relationship I stopped contacting them. They didn't contact me. We let sleeping dogs lie.

In the mean time my grandfather and their dad died of old age. It was deemed unsuitable for me to attend the funeral, apparently it would have upset the proceedings.

On Thursday 27/10/16, I discovered through a Facebook post from my Mums younger brother that my Mums sister had died of cancer on Tuesday evening. I hadn't even known she was ill. Devastation.

I sobbed all day, through grief but also guilt I think.

Not to dissimilar to me in age she had been the younger sister I had never had. She showed me the ways of the world! She taught me about men, drinking and was just so loving, so kind and gentle. So unlike her older sister. I used to ask her 'why couldn't you have been my Mum?' She'd always reply 'oh my bird she loves you really'. She called me bird you see, a colloquial term of endearment.

Shell shocked and sad I've pondered the events. I feel like I should have risen above the crap and kept in touch. I would like to have said good-bye and I love you. I feel robbed, punished and wronged. If I didn't already despise my Mother I do now. In fact I feel like the universe took the wrong sister. She was mid 50's and did not deserve to leave yet, maybe she had learnt what she needed to move on to the next phase of this universe and our tests?

I feel selfishly that I was in a bad place anyways before this shit hit the fan and I'm wobbling more and more as my proverbial 'Jenga' game (discussed in last blog) heads towards the deck more and more with each passing hour.

I have work tomorrow and all the ensuing cack that goes with dealing with complaints for a living and I'm dreading it so much.

Last night as I passed my dormant computer in the pitch black to let my dogs out for a night-time wee the screen activated. It never does that! Normally you have to click the mouse and hit the enter key. There on the screen was a bird, very colourful sat on a perch. Not one of my usual screen savers at all, never seen it before or since.  I stood shocked wondering if I was imagining it or maybe still dreaming. I turned to let the dogs out, shaking my head and at that moment it powered down again and was gone.

I'm hoping that was Tina dropping by to let me know she's okay and to acknowledge that she knows I loved her dearly. Hopefully love really does transcend our human bonds...


Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Jenga and my anxiety...

Why does it feel so lame to say the words  'I suffer with anxiety and depression' ... why do those that care about us not get 'it' even when trying their hardest to help and understand us?

They don't get 'it' though do they? Not in my world anyway.  It's like we're raising our voices in our best British accents shouting at people in another country hoping they'll understand us because we're British! Of course they don't, they try to help, they offer whatever they think you need, but ultimately they don't understand what the hell you're going on about.

That's how it feels in my world trying to get people to understand me... I shout, I scream behind closed doors, I joke about it, I ridicule myself but no one seems to get 'it'

Two years ago I fell off my perch and after several months off work sick and the right meds I headed back up there.

There were the compulsory questions, there was a risk assessment,  but there was no understanding. Not even an attempt at understanding if I'm honest. Two years later and I've never had a follow up, I work in a anger driven, hate ridden environment with lots of grief and nastiness but do I or any of my colleagues for that matter get anyone ask us if we're coping... nope. Has anyone from supervision ever sat me down and discussed my case load with me, even if its just to offer morale support ... Nope.

It's a lonely place feeling desperate and its crushing to me having been a high functioning problem solver not to be able to snap out of it, not be able to fix myself.

When you look in the mirror... what do you see? I see something that I don't like, in fact I often repeat the same mantra to myself   'gee you sure is ugly'   There's nothing in my reflection I want to see, looking is a necessity for social compliance. I need to fit societies mould. One day though I suspect I'll stop looking altogether.

I have my ups and downs. Good times and bad. I've learnt to see when things are sliding down hill... that's where you find me today.

A little tearful, banging headache, aching joints. Wanting to get drunk but not even sure I can be arsed to do that.

I feel like I'm in that moment just as you trip up when you're still upright but know full well you're headed for the deck. That secret second when you know your future before anyone else.
That moment when you've sent a text message, a 'shitogram' expecting it to go to your best mate who you've been remonstrating with about whoever has pissed you off... then you realise you've just sent it straight to that very person. That moment when the world stops and your stomach feels like its dropping out of your arse! You flush with embarrassment heart beating swiftly as you think of the cover story you're going to tell!

I feel that secret moment now, I fear that fall, I'm considering my cover stories...

Yet being the reflective type I do ponder how people are meant to get 'it'. Lets face it, life is full of unique experiences and we all tread our own paths so can't possibly know everything or be expected to have the empathy to match every given situation can we?

I know that when I get to this wobbly stage its because of a combination of problems. Much like the start of a game of Jenga I can be strong tower, a force to reckon with, but start to chip away at me and I'll start to wobble. That said even a wobbling Jenga game with a few cornerstones missing can remain standing, ...right?

I am currently still standing, fighting my demons, trying to steady myself.


Thursday, 20 October 2016

MONEY FOR OLD ROPE ... Murdering police officers? #amwriting

Well I was only thinking the other day, why don't I write a blog and then it struck me!

 I already did !!

Two years have flown by and I'm still working 'there' but with retirement fast approaching I'm lurching along hoping I reach that mile stone before I crash and burn!

I sated my need to write over the last two years by writing a novel. A crime murder/mystery.

The main character a Detective Sergeant has anxiety and depression... mmm... who could that be based on?! Set in a PSD department of a small force it takes the readers on a fast paced, excitement packed journey of discovery uncovering corruption and evil as it goes.

 MONEY FOR OLD ROPE is what the trade describe a police procedural.
My book opens with the murder of a member of the public who has filed a complaint against a senior police officer alleging they were in an inappropriate relationship together.
The victim, Melanie Adams is then found hanged in her opulent flat just before she was due to provide crucial evidence in this misconduct investigation to Detective Sergeant Sarah James of the local Wessex Police.
Sarah James a seasoned detective, single mother and depression sufferer is the investigating police officer from the Professional Standards Department. A high functioning anxiety sufferer she risks life and limb to seek out the police corruption she senses and detect Melanie’s murder despite some fierce opposition from within the force. 
The murderer’s identity is withheld from the reader until the conclusion.
Is there a murdering police officer loose? 
Will DS James survive to find out?
Why was the unemployed murder victim living in such a privileged circumstances?
Ha - I am hoping that one day I might get it published. But best of all is that I have immortalised some of my struggles with anxiety and depression during my career within the police service albeit behind the protective guise of fiction. That way one day my daughter can perhaps better understand 'me'  and why things are they way they are.
Why I find social events difficult, why I sit trying to relax yet often find myself fighting an overwhelming panic for no apparent reason. Just why I am the way I am....
More soon.... publishers contact me ... pretty please!!
#amwriting #policemurder #anxiety #depression