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Frayed at the Edges

7 min read

This is a story about being run down...

Pile of rusty bikes

I'm tempted to have a moan about the various ailments that have been hanging around for a couple of weeks, and the fact I'm really exhausted. I'm tempted to compare myself to my work jumper that was attacked by moths and is full of holes. There's something tired and tatty about me. My laptop has taken a battering, just like my poor body. There are plenty of clues that I've had a rough few years, but I'm feeling like I've gone on about it far too much. I've written so much about my distress that I'm reluctant to write any more - I'm aware that I've been a broken record for far too long.

I feel like I've overstated the case. I feel like I've protested too much. I feel like I have been unfair; unkind. I feel like my response has not been proportionate; reasonable. What about the starving Africans? What about the other people who have it so much harder than me?

I pretty much only have one strategy for getting out of a bad situation, and that's to work. Most of the time I'm not able to work at work - I'm underemployed - so I write. I write a lot. The amount of writing that I do is inversely proportional to the amount of actual paid work that there is to do. The more I'm writing, the more indicative it is that I'm distressed and trying to keep myself occupied. It might not look like a useful endeavour, but it's a kind of productivity that I can derive some satisfaction from, even it it's a bit counter-productive at times.

I wonder how run-down I've got. I sleep a lot, but I also have lengthy periods where I'm in a state of anxiety that's very exhausting. To be on high-alert all the time demands a lot of energy - it's draining. I can't explain it. I don't have much to do at work, but somehow that's worse than being really busy. I don't know why I've arrived at a point where I feel so run-down, but there's plenty of evidence - my immune system's really low, I'm prone to random bouts of crying, I'm tired all the time, I'm not coping.

I'm tired of being miserable. I'm tired of writing about depression and anxiety. I'm tired of worrying my friends. I'm tired of writing the same old things. I'm tired of the repeated themes; the monotony.

Some things are better. I have a lot more people to talk to at work. I'm managing to get through 7 or 8 hours and it's bearable for quite a lot of the day.

Some things are worse. I have to get up early. I have to prove myself in the new job.

Some things will get worse before they get better. I'll rent a place of my own soon(ish) but it will be stressful. I'll take a holiday, but I need to get through the first few weeks at work before I can have some time off.

I know that the days are getting longer and spring is on its way. I know that I have a huge head start this year, versus all the terrible winters I've had in previous years. I know that I'm very lucky that multiple important things in my life are going alright at the moment. In theory, things are looking up.

In practice, I'm battling to get into my new routine and get my body clock used to early morning starts. I've started from a run-down position, due to a rough couple of months working in London. I shouldn't complain, but it's a bit of a struggle.

Versus Monday morning, things have improved. Monday morning was dreadful. Every morning is dreadful, but hopefully things are going to improve day by day, provided I keep going. It feels tough but I'm sorry for whinging. Hopefully the really bad moments - like Monday morning - are becoming more infrequent.

I worry about tomorrow morning, as I do so often. I worry that I'm going to hit the wall and be unable to face the day. I worry that if I'm unable to face the day, I won't be able to face making my excuses either... I'll just abandon everything and turn my phone off. If I abandon everything then I won't be able to face the world again - it's been too hard to get to this point. I worry that I'll abandon hope, and life. I don't feel hopeless presently, but I worry that I will feel hopeless and that my hopes are dashed. Hopelessness is what leads me to feel like I should end my life.

I'm not sure how I feel about tomorrow - if I can get the horrid morning bit out of the way - but I think it's a little bit hopeful. I'm not exactly looking forward to going to work, but I'm not dreading it in the same way as I was with the previous job. I've got some stuff to do, which is better than having nothing to do. I speak to people at work now, so that makes the day more bearable. I don't feel useful, or that anybody's depending on me, which are reasons to get up and face the day. Perhaps things will improve though. The fact that I think that things might improve shows that I have hope, which is progress - maybe it'll make things a little easier tomorrow.

With lots of tiny marginal improvements, like not stressing so much about arrangements for showering and work clothes tomorrow, and my commute becoming more routine, the anxiety and dread is diminishing. It's mundane but it makes a big difference. I had been routinely bored out of my mind, isolated and lonely at work, which was causing me a great deal of distress, but things are changing. I need to get out of the habit of feeling anxious about the working day, because it's not going to be as awful as it has been in the past couple of months.

It's a shame I'm run down and in danger of hitting the wall, but if I can just muddle through the next few weeks then I should establish a healthy working pattern - things will become sustainable; tolerable.

There have been moments during the last three days that have reminded me of what I've been so desperate to get away from. I've thought that I'm broken and I can never work again. I've thought about getting up and walking out. I've thought about quitting and never going back to work. I think it's just going to take time to re-adjust from a job where there was nothing for me to do, and no way of filling the time that I could cope with, to a new paradigm where I at least have people to talk to. The last job was unbearably toxic to my mental health. This job is gonna be alright probably, but it'll be a little while before I'm busy and into the routine - there are going to be moments where I feel a little bored and isolated, but things will get better because I'm part of a team of people I can chat to.

I'm so reluctant to speak optimistically because I'm scared that I'm going to hit the wall. I feel like I have so little in reserve. I feel like I'm running on an empty fuel tank. On the other hand, I'm getting on with it - I'm managing to take things one day at a time.

Time is the healer. That's what I keep telling myself - if I can just keep creeping along one day at a time, then time will do its work. I just need to keep getting through one day at a time and then easier times will arrive, provided I don't hit the wall and give up.