Monday, 10 February 2014

FNWF and a struggle

I only managed to do some cutting out on Friday as we went out for tea to celebrate my birthday but I did put them together on Saturday..

This is another block for my Anni Downs "A Christmas Story" wall hanging. The needle turn applique is very slowly improving.

Big thank you to Cheryl for arranging this ♥ Check out what everyone else got up to here: 

Now to my struggle. This is a long tale but one that I feel I need to share as I need the support of my "bloggy" friends as much as my physical ones.

As regular followers will know I've struggled with work stress and haven't worked since August last year. I've been seeing a psychologist regularly and practicing "mindfulness" and have been making progress. Well 28th Jan we had a case conference and it was decided I would return to work last week; reduced hours and reduced responsibility. As a registered nurse I'm not ready to deal with anything clinical so in consultation with my managers, GP and work cover consultant it was decided I would have non-clinical duties with as much or as little contact with staff as I felt I could deal with. My managers assured me what they had in mind for me that was achievable.

They also asked me to write a memo to staff explaining why I had been off and what my role would be on return. I managed to do this - it took 2 days but I was pleased with the final result and emailed it in. I received a reply from my manager outlining what they wanted me to do on Monday but to be honest my brain didn't compute what was written. 

Heat and worry kept me awake most of the week but I went in on Monday only to find the task they had for me was anything but what was discussed. The task was moving files from one store room to another but this meant having to walk right through the whole hospital seeing just about every member of staff that was there.

To say I didn't handle this too well was an understatement. I spent most of the time if not in tears almost in tears. Well meaning colleagues didn't help "it must be awful when you can't cope when you're used to being so strong", "think positive thoughts", "it'll be so much easier tomorrow".... you get the idea. My GP (is an angel) came to see me after an hour and tried to talk me into going home but I refused to go (the stubborn streak in me). She took me to her office gave me coffee and some strategies to cope with the last hour (very simple but in my stressed and emotional state I just couldn't work it out on my own). 

I did the two hours but left feeling an utter failure. It sounds silly writing it down but I couldn't get one of the store room doors to stay open a piece of card board is used under the door (cash strapped health) but I couldn't get it to hold. The files I had to move had to be placed into numerical order; they are stored vertically on the shelves but when I put them into the boxes they went horizontally and then I couldn't figure out the numbering system when I got to the new storeroom. Ordinarily none of this would phase me but at the moment it was a huge ordeal. I left feeling my managers couldn't have made me feel more vulnerable if they had purposely set out to do that.

Drug induced sleep (on GP's advice) on Monday night left me waking up at 4am in tears (husband sleeping soundly next to me); I had the most awful dreams feeling as though I was losing "me" and didn't know how to find "me". A long morning but I pulled myself together and took DD2 to school and then drove to work for day 2; 1/2 hour drive in tears the whole way there.

I arrived at work and couldn't walk through the main doors so decided to go into the medical centre and ask the staff to let my GP know I was there but in my managers office. The medical centre staff took one look at me and put me straight into a consulting room; I broke down completely on one of the admin staff who just held me while I sobbed my heart out. She then gave me coffee and let my GP know I was there and the state I was in.

A long discussion with my GP and I've reluctantly agreed to try some medication to help with the racing thoughts and stress. She also decided I wasn't ready to return to work so has signed me off for another month. My manager was asked to come and discuss this. I explained how I'd felt the previous day and how I hadn't felt empowered to say I couldn't do the task; how I perceived the staff had looked at me with pity in there eyes; how I felt a failure. My managers response "well may be we need to relocate you to another facility". To say this took the wind from my sails is an understatement. I couldn't reply but my GP did stating that we need to give the medication time to have some effect and once it is we'll try again. I feel that the trust I had with my managers has gone and will take a long time to rebuild.

So that's where I'm at; in a big hole and struggling to get out. The medication makes me feel nauseous, nil appetite, spaced out and I'm still not sleeping. I did go to the chemist and got something from over the counter but that just knocked me for six so I won't be doing that again. I'm struggling a little with doing anything as I've no concentration and my memory isn't what it normally is. My family is amazing DH is just the best; so supportive. My mam is making sure we all eat; DD1 has some understanding but we're tying to shield both girls as much as possible.

Your support and understanding is all I'm asking. I'm not sure I'm through the hardest part but I will get there.



Susan said...

Oh Melanie, I wish I had some constructive answers for you. Thank you so much for being brave enough to share your story with us, it must be hard to put it on your blog. The really silly part is that so many of us are walking around at various stages of what you're feeling......if it was a broken leg it would be seen to immediately! Keep breathing, keep stitching (lovely block by the way), keep reaching out, there is a brighter day ahead. X

Susan said...

OMGosh - Just like Susan above - I wish I could offer some help - I've never been in that sort of situation and have never known anyone who has had such a problem. But I'm sure all your bloggy friends are here for you to lean on if its any help. I'm sure the managers thought they were giving you a safe option - but didnt think about the physical logistics.
Hang in there - keep seeing the counsellors - each day will get better.

Sharyn T said...

Keep working through it Melanie. Stitching and blogging will help. Sharyn:)

Wendy said...

It's a horrible disease. I'm going through it too. You talk about the drugs making you feel sick and spaced out, that will pass. It lasts a couple of weeks but try to hold on. If you like, email me. I can tell you about my experiences if you'd like, but please know that i really do understand x

Peg - Happy In Quilting said...

I agree with what both Susans have said...I am hoping that by writing this all down has in some small way helped, maybe that is not the right word but possibly eased that inner feeling...huge hug

Anthea said...

Hello Melanie, wow what a post to read after not visiting your blog for so long! I totally agree with the previous ladies, it's a huge sadness that ailments of the heart & mind are still so hard for people to have compassion for. Do keep seeing your psych, and just try to do the best you can for yourself. Good for you that your Hubby is so good at this time.
Sharing this here cannot have been easy - thank you & I send you a giant hug & truckloads of support.

Kaisievic said...

Hi Melanie, you are so brave - to stay at work on that first day and then to tell us all about it on your blog. Just try to hang in there with the medication and with your doctors and just remember to take baby steps. We are all here to help support you.
lots of hugs and kisses, Kaye