Yesterday I had one of my bad days. I don’t know how to describe them – slumps, ‘episodes’ or just bad days. Something, often something quite small, triggers me and I feel like the whole world is closing in on me. And it hates me. And everyone in it hates me.
Everything piles on top of me and I feel like there is no escape. Apart from hiding under the bed covers (which I never actually do) or handing in my notice and leaving my job. These incidents can last hours, days or even weeks. I hadn’t had one for a while and was feeling quite pleased with myself.
Then I had an email. Damn thing came while I was sat at school listening to children read. Bloody smartphones. It was followed up by two texts from colleagues, so I knew it was something serious.
My ex-boss, who is one of my absolute favourite people, is leaving us. It was on the cards, she had been struggling with childcare and it will only get worse when her eldest starts school in September. And she has the skills and contacts to go it alone.
But that wasn’t all. To replace her boss, who left a couple of months ago, there will be ‘arrangements’ to cover. For ‘arrangements’ I am reading ‘consultants’. We’ve had consultants before. They come in wanting to make their mark to further their own selfish careers with no thought whatsoever for the people they are managing – because they will only have to work with them for a few months. So they wander into an already demoralised workforce and make it even more demoralised.
Apparently this email was sent with no warning whatsoever and everyone in the office was stunned and shocked. It wasn’t sent to me. Because I wasn’t at work. If it wasn’t for my very good friend, I wouldn’t have had it for over a week. That’s thoughtful, big boss lady.
I’d just started to feel more settled at work, happy even. And I had the carrot of doing the job I really love for the next couple of months. Then this.
So the world closed in on me. I felt trapped and I couldn’t get out. I would have to leave. We would be poor. I didn’t care. I couldn’t take any more change.
I went through the motions of caring for the two children at home. Picked them up from school, took my daughter to dancing and picked her up again. But I couldn’t communicate with them. I felt cut off, lost in my own miserable world.
I explained to them that Mummy wasn’t happy and had had some bad news from work. I told them it wasn’t their fault and I was sorry I wasn’t being much fun or very helpful. They had McDonald’s for tea and that almost gave me a nervous breakdown in itself. I went to the stupid automatic talky thing and it didn’t talk to me. The screen wasn’t on, so I assumed it wasn’t working and drove to the window. But the talky thing was working and I’d messed up. I was close to tears. Over that. Yep, that’s how bad I was. I ordered at the window and drove home.
But my son’s cheeseburger wasn’t plain and he had a complete meltdown and I couldn’t cope. Normally I would have just driven back, but I couldn’t cope with that either. His over-reaction, I knew, was down to the fact that I was so low and taking the whole family down with me. Thank goodness for my daughter who rescued us all by swapping her food.
There had been talk about my husband and I going to the cinema. This is a rare treat, but I wasn’t sure whether it was worth going on a Thursday. But I realised I had to go. It was just what I needed.
I love the cinema. It is one of the very few places where I can just shut off, de-stress and unwind.
Normally I go to kids’ films because we rarely get baby-sitters to go to grown up films and I miss all sorts of films I would love to see. DVDs and the television aren’t the same. I can’t focus – there is always washing or a dishwasher or something that needs attention.
I have a permanently bad stomach. This is almost certainly partly stress related. In the cinema I am so relaxed that I can eat ‘banned’ foods like milk and white chocolate and popcorn and feel no ill effects.
I love a good drama, a film that makes me think and cry. But that wasn’t what I needed. We went to see The Dictator. Like all Sacha Baron Cohen’s films it was equally shocking and hilarious. It has you cringing, gasping and saying ‘How do they get away with that?’.
But it did the job. I walked out of the cinema and my mood had lifted. I was back to normal.
Today I can think about that email and its implications with a clear head. It’s not good news, but nor is it the end of the world.
My notice is on hold for a little bit longer.