Thursday, 18 August 2011

Picking up the pieces

When my doctor signed me off for two weeks, his words of advice were "some people suffer differently, for some will feel better after a couple of weeks, and for some it could take years".  I remember thinking 'it's not going to take that long for me, I had things to do, I had to work!  How little I knew then, and here I am 9 years later, still depressed, still on pills, but somehow life is better.

Within the second week, I experienced another panic attack, though not as bad as the first, it was enough to frighten me.  Things that I would have been willing to do before, now scared me, and over the years I experienced many more attacks.

Over the next few months, I took a a long hard look at myself, and my life to date.  During my silent years, I began the healing process.  I was still very angry, very anxious and very fragile.  It also helped me to understand that I wasn't depressed from the date of diagnosis, but instead had been depressed for most of my life.  This was a real revelation, as it was from growing up, during my adolescence, and into my adult life, up to now.  Reminding myself of the things that had happened to me, what had been said to me.  My little demons, that I had hugged so closely, and carried around for so long, had one by one re-presented themselves to me, to face, overcome or deal with.  It took  me a while to understand, but then I realised that unless I addressed each and every one of them, they would never go away.

I had been so angry with my ex employers for the way they treated me, overloaded me, and just expected me to cope, in spite of my real tears, and cries for help.  So they had allowed me to work under extreme pressure, still producing the goods for them, being the honest spokesperson; but what they had not expected was that I would fight back.  The lies they told, and the ignorance they hid behind to protect themselves, astounded me.  Each time they called me in for a "back to work" chat, was an opportunity for them to have another go.  And so, though I felt physically weakened, my resolve grew stronger, I was not about to let them off the hook that easily. So eventually, after 12 months, I had my last meeting and walked away feeling a minor triumph.

That was the last straw that broke my back.  But in all fairness, looking back I realised that all my previous employers were equally guilty.  As all of them had in one way or another, exploited my skills and hardworking attitude, and abused my good nature.  The trouble was, I always gave 110%, and they fed me with empty promises - that I kept on eating.