I took a leave of absence from work recently due to my mental health taking a sharp decline. My depression and anxiety combined with acute life stress made day-to-day functioning extremely challenging.
Mental illness is one of those things that unless you personally have experience with it, either through loved ones or yourself can be misunderstood. There can be ignorance, snide comments, and unnecessary comparisons.
My time off work was not a holiday or a vacation even though I did spend some time decompressing and doing what I enjoy. I spent a lot of time journaling, sleeping, and sitting in silence. I went to the gym every other day, had two massages, and went on two solo hikes.
I participated in two Backcountry Women events that had been on my calendar for a while. I coordinated a Guided Nature Therapy Walk in honour of International Women’s Day with Explore Life Coaching. $200 in proceeds from registration was donated to Shameless Circle. In nature therapy, all five senses; hearing, sight, sound, taste, and touch are engaged throughout a slow and mindful walk. It is a form of meditation. My heart pulls me towards helping women in an outdoors setting and in return, I feel that I help myself.
Backcountry Women organized snowboarding lessons and a day on the slopes at Falcon Ridge Ski Slopes. I spent most of the time either falling on my ass or sitting at the top of the bunny hill. I don’t think my neck was supposed to snap, crackle, and pop the way it did when I fell. I traded the snowboard in for skis shortly after lunch and felt I was more successful. I was pretty tuckered out though from all of the falling (ouch!) and frustration in the morning so I only went for a couple of runs down the bunny hill.
Nature is my solace.
I met with my doctor and adjusted my medication. I talked with a counsellor and have another appointment scheduled. The appointment has been moved to a telephone appointment though due to COVID-19. He will email me Cognitive Behaviour Therapy worksheets that I can review before our appointment. I also worked on a parenting program to learn more about raising a child with ADHD.
I came to realize that managing my daughters ADHD has caused the vast majority of stress that I couldn’t keep up with. My husband also works a lot. He’s been career-driven since we met and has always worked long hours. It has bothered me a few times over the years but now I feel like I really need him.
Mornings are challenging and day after day, I was going into work feeling drained and ready for the day to be over. All I wanted to do was cry and I sometimes did. I was making a lot of errors on tasks I am very familiar with . I caught myself doing wonky things like wearing my jacket while working because the heaviness of a winter parka felt safe. My anxiety went into over drive and day-after-day, I anticipated an email from the teacher and was in constant worry of a bad day turning into a rough evening at home.
I’ve been a mess for a while and was barely functioning. I was on auto-pilot and had a melt down.
I knew going into my time off that I needed to plot a course of action for when my regular scheduled program commenced again. I knew there was risk with ending up in the exact same spot again. We have already seen some improvements with what we have learned and implemented through the parenting program. However…
COVD-19 has flipped the table where our plans were laid out and we need to adjust the plans that were put in place during my time off work. If there is one thing I know about myself, it is that I am resilient and can roll with the punches. Mountains and valley’s are nothing new to me and I shall press on.
Be kind to everyone. You have no idea what battle they are facing.