I am very, very cold. My fingernails are blue. I’m wearing my scarf and dressing gown and blanket. I guess the reason I’m cold is that I’ve barely done anything in the last week or so. I’ve hardly moved from the sofa.
I had a temp job a couple of weeks ago. It was awful. I had to manage the diary of someone very senior. On one hand, I am ‘over qualified’ for this job. But on the other hand, this is the sort of job that I really, really, really can’t handle and feel like I am not good enough for. If I make a mistake, it is obvious for everyone to see. If I put in a meeting on the wrong day, everyone invited (loads of senior people with important things to do) will know and get annoyed. If I mess up on timings, it would ruin someone else’s day. I could make this person get up at 6am and work all day until 7pm; that’d be within my control. I know it sounds ludicrous, but I can’t handle this role at all. I felt my anxiety spiralling.
I was only there a week but I struggled with one of my colleagues, too. She would send me loads and loads and loads to do, and give me no time to do it. And when I said there wouldn’t be time to complete all the work in a particular time frame, she made me feel really small and useless. Other times, I would have nothing to do and there were lots of big empty stretches of time when I was really bored. She was also really patronising. On my last day, she intercepted lots of emails to me, looked over my shoulder constantly and basically chucked me out the door. I appreciate I’m just a temp that she doesn’t know, but her attitude was really – for want of a better word – shitty. In fact, several people at that place seemed a bit self-important, in my opinion. But maybe that’s just my anxiety trying to make excuses for what I am lacking.
Anyway. I quit that job. The following week, I didn’t have any temp work lined up, but I did have some interviews so I thought I’d give myself some time off for my anxiety to return to normal levels and to prepare for my interviews. I also did some stuff like signed up to the doctor and other little chores I hadn’t been able to do before. Tuesday, I had the interview. I have this problem where my brain and my mouth don’t seem to connect. I used to really want to say stuff and have it all planned out in my brain, but physically not be able to say it. Now, I find myself babbling away without any thought process from my brain at all. I find myself listening to my words and going ‘what the FUCK am I talking about?’. But anyway, despite this, I somehow got offered the job. I accepted, of course, and was told that I can start just as soon as the admin stuff is sorted. So I waited the rest of Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. No paperwork came through. I had had another interview lined up, but cancelled it because I’d accepted this job.
My anxiety about the PA role had started to fade, but the empty days started filling with other worries and thoughts:
- Can I do this new role, will I do it well?
- Will my new colleagues like me, will I fit in?
- How will I manage driving through rush hour (very stressful)?
- What will I do if I start getting anxious or depressed?
- What if I can’t do this job, I’ll have to do more temp work and I’ve fucked things up with the agency now?
- What if there is an issue with this job, which is why it’s taking so long to get the paperwork?
- What if I should have gone to the interview I turned down?
- What if I can never work again?
And then this progressed to non-work stuff like:
- Are things with my boyfriend ok, does he even like me?
- Do my boyfriend and I work? I don’t think we do. Why are we together?
- My friends are meeting next weekend but I am too anxious, do I have to go? What lie can I tell to avoid it?
- My boyfriend’s friends are visiting, where shall I go to avoid them?
- I went out last weekend and got drunk, what did I do? Does everyone hate me for being stupid and idiotic and horrible?
I should be being productive, while I’m off – I should go to the dentist and get my hair cut – but I feel too low to leave the house. I spend all day thinking and thinking about the things I need to do, and never doing them. Lots of people on Twitter are giving me really useful advice but I still can’t do it. When my boyfriend comes home from work, he’s like ‘oh, another lazy day?’ because he sees the washing up not done, the house a mess, and me sitting on the sofa in the exact same place as when he left. He doesn’t understand that I have no energy to do anything. I feel like a car that looks ok but doesn’t start.
I’ve started sleeping in the spare bedroom. I don’t know why. I just feel like less of a burden. My skin gets bad when I’m stressed, so I’m scratching non-stop, and I feel guilty for disturbing his sleep at night. He hasn’t asked me why I’m sleeping in another room. The other day, I read that this person, who has contamination OCD, hates seeing people with rashes and bad skin because s/he fears getting contaminated by it. So another reason for me to never go out. I think I should become a recluse. I’d never have to inflict my presence or my disgustingness or my mentalness on anyone else.
I could go on for hours and hours about how miserable I am and how shit things are for me etc. But I know that things aren’t *really* shit for me. I know that things are actually ok, but I just don’t feel it. I feel like I want to die.