Saturday, 8 March 2014

No FNWF for me...... never mind baby steps learning to sit

Warning long post - but I need to get it off my chest..........

As you know life is a struggle for me at the moment. My return to work was a disaster so rather reluctantly I agreed to try some medication; unfortunately this really didn't work at all. People tell me I look better but inside I'm anything but. 
I had an independent assessment with a psychiatrist for Workcover. His conclusion was my health is all due to work and I've got a major depression and major anxiety. I'd sort of come to terms with calling my symptoms anxiety as opposed to stress but he was the first person to come out and say I have depression. I've probably been in denial about the depression for a long time but I still found it quite confronting. He did make some recommendations for medication changes and something different to help me sleep. I'm sure if I could only get some decent sleep that would help.

Yesterday I had a case conference with my GP, Rehab Consultant, 2 managers and my husband came for moral support. Before we began my GP showed my Rehab Consultant what I was doing on my return to work and the areas of the hospital I had to walk through. Her understanding at the last case conference (like me and my GP) was that I would be able to have as much or as little interaction with staff as I felt comfortable with but she could clearly see that that wasn't possible with what was asked of me. 
Well to say it was a disaster was an understatement. I'd written my version of War and Peace to explain to my managers how my return to work had made me feel. I was very clear before I read it out that I knew there was no intention to make me feel how I did/do but that this is where my mind is at the moment. I explained about the independent assessment and the recommendations (unfortunately the report still isn't available) and also that my GP has changed my medication but it's too early to tell what effect if any it is having. 
My senior manager commented first; he felt that what was asked of me was reasonable; he didn't recall that I would be able to have as much or as little interaction with staff as I felt comfortable with and that this is not possible at all. He felt that they are supporting me 100% and he doesn't see what else they can do. While he was commenting my direct manager just sat looking at the floor "clicking" the clip on her phone. 
I lost the plot a bit at this point (my thoughts were racing ++++++++; really felt as though there was no support) and I left the room rather than break down and cry in front of them. My GP came after me and I sobbed my heart out on her. Her suggestion was I go tell them to "F..." off (it's a standing joke between us because she knows I don't swear and won't swear but she feels if I did it might make me feel better but that's not who I am) which did make me smile. We discussed what I needed to get across to them and she kindly wrote it down for me as I wouldn't remembered when we walked back into the room.
When we went back in my direct manager spoke; she too felt that they were doing everything they could to support me (despite in my "War and Peace" I'd explained what I felt I would have been able to deal with). She thinks the suggestion of relocation may be best and she's at a loss of how to support me now. One of her comments was "You were one of us"; not are but were (I know I'm probably reading too much into that).
I read what I'd discussed with my GP when I had my melt down;the case conferences are causing me a lot of added pressure and  that I'm not prepared to attempt to return to work until the medication I'm on is working.
The psychiatrist I saw felt I was not ready to return to work. I will continue to see my psychologist and work on the strategies we discuss. My senior manager left with the comment "see you next year or whenever but the longer you take the harder it will be", my immediate manager didn't say anything just left...

The outcome is my GP feel's I won't be well enough to do anything for a few months and then it will be very small steps. When my head's in a better place we'll discuss whether we continue this path of return to my current position or if we look at other options that; for my mental health it would be best. Such as not returning to nursing but retraining for something else that would reduce the amount of work pressure. (My managers did tell me they're advertising my position as a temporary contract. To be honest I don't care, I feel that I should but I don't!).

I still can't slow my thoughts down (so no FNWF for me) and I can't sleep.... The new medication is supposed to help but I think last night I was just so stressed out a sledgehammer wouldn't have helped. The plan for tonight is medication and a sleeping tablet too (keep your fingers crossed for me)

But for all I'm really, really struggling I have tremendous support from family and friends; especially 2 bloggy friends (you know who you are). I have no interest in doing anything but they have given me some perspective, and some sensible suggestions - "one stitch on a stitchery is an achievement", "write a list of things you like to do" are just a couple of the ideas that I have embraced. I can come up with lots of things I would like to do but no incentive/energy to do them. Even choosing fabric for projects is too difficult but I am still reading blogs (I may not be commenting on many but I am still checking you all out). I have made one longer term goal to attend 
 "Let's Get Stitched 2015" (if it is on) this give me 12 months to get to a place where I'm comfortable with social interaction (I'm tending to be a bit selective about where I go and when) and to get the passion back for my crafting.

If you've managed to read this thank you; I'm hoping by sharing my struggle it may help someone else who is going through the same thing.



Susan said...

Hi Mel, thanks again for being so open. It is a struggle isn't it. I hope talking to your bloggy friends helps a little. Be kind to yourself, and hang in there. X

Outback Craftaholic said...

Hi Melanie. I think you're very brave to be sharing your journey with us as I know depression and mental health issues in general are still a topic that is almost considered to be taboo (although that is slowly changing). Good luck with your journey and I hope you are able to re-connect with your love of crafting. Cheers, Tracy.

Heather said...

I hope you begin to feel better soon and do pick up the sewing as it has helped me to no end.

Cheryll said...

I know my words here are the same as others...but just get thru one day at a time...and if a stitch or a feel of fabric helps...then just enjoy that moment. Even visiting blogs may help as there are such enthusiastic and creative ladies out there and you just never know where inspiration for you will come from.
I wish you the very best and if I can be of help...just email. :)

Farm Gate Creations said...

Hi Mel, I'm so sorry that you were not able to join us FnwF....but I'm also glad that you have managed to express how you are feeling through writing, believe it or not even that will help you with your depression. For it is still a form of release...have you ever considered meditation, I have found that in the past this has helped me ease my racing mind and also help me look at things in a different perspective. Slowly but slowly even the baby steps add up to something.

Barb said...

Hi Melanie, I know it may sound weird to other but Nursing is often a thankless and under paid job. It is an expectation from managers that you will always put everyone else's priorities and needs before your own, when in fact it should be the other way around. You can't be compassionate for others unless you take care of yourself first. Good luck with your counselling. I hope it works out for you.
Barb :)

Michelle Ridgway said...

Hi Melanie, thank you for sharing your story which is a great step in caring for yourself. I wish you all good wishes on moving towards your goals. A friend once said to me
" just keep showing up and doing the work and eventually something will move" and it did. Hang in there xx

Sharon Jones said...

My heart goes out to you, Melanie. I fully understand and empathise with what you are going through.
Thank you for sharing. I shall keep you in my thoughts.
Sending loving hugs

Anthea said...

Oh Mel, thank you for sharing this... I know it's not easy... depression has been my demon too... it might take a little time to hit on the right balance of meds so just be patient with yourself & accept all the care, love & professional help you can get.
Sending you an big huge hug of support x

Chookyblue...... said...

if things are so difficult maybe find another area to work in - retrain........I know easier said then done but do you really want to go back to something that is so bad for you at the moment stress wise......there are so many areas of nursing/health you can go to.....would another one be better........or a different job all together........I know the thought of retraining could be a nightmare but it may also be a rejuvenation...........
so pleased you have a very supportive Dr who you can relate to well........

Quilting Chemist (Danette) said...

Thank you for sharing, my daughter is going through a lot of the same problems you are dealing with when others think their demands on you are reasonable. So often I wish she could just get a good nights sleep but she tells me her mind races or she has nightmares. It's hard to understand what she's going through and as her mom I'd like to help....but there's not much I can help with except for being there. Little by little some things get easier but don't be discouraged by setbacks. Just hang in there.

retdairyqueen said...

I have been there too
Good on you for sharing
Blogging and the support of Bloggers family and friends got me through
Swaps are a wonderful help too
You did great with my mini

loulee said...


Jo said...

Sometimes to talk is the best way to start healing. I lost my son 16 months ago and it has taken a lot for me to keep going. I lost a lot of my focus & concentration. I have slowly started sewing blocks on online swaps. Not too much commitment but to do 1 block was a great achievement. I still haven't gone back to work as I feel like it is too much of a struggle and I don't want to let any one down. I have since learnt to do my blog so sometimes I feel like I'm in my own world. Thanks to everyone's comments on my small block finishes I get a smile on my face and feel good about myself.
It is hard but there a future.
Sorry this is so long