On Living in the Aftermath

Over the course of a month I was bullied at work. It started with being given a week of silence. And after that, systematically being overloaded with work I couldn’t complete. I went to work nearly every day feeling sick in my stomach at a job I’d previously enjoyed and had no issues with. It all culminated a week ago when I was yelled at for not being good enough at my job. All the problems that had led to the bullying had finally come to light, though far too late for my mental health, and in the most inappropriate way possible.

After weathering what I had, the outburst left me shaking, crying and barely able to speak. When I finally got to my car I had a full blown panic attack. I was screeching and hyperventilating simultaneously. I’d been unable to get my mother on the phone and this was compounded by the fact that in my present state I was unable to drive. Thankfully there are apps in the world to regulate breath and I was able to at least drive. Even though I cried the entire way home.

So I’m on unpaid sick leave. And I know I won’t be able to return to work. Which has left me in an incredibly precarious position. Because I need a job, not only to be able to live an effective adult life, but to have a reason to function. Because in my convalescence I have become rudderless.

I didn’t see at first, how affected I was by this. But a week later the dust is settling and I am not calming down. For a year now I have been sleeping at night, but now I lie awake into the earlier hours feeling empty and only managing to fill my empty spaces with dread. This morning I woke up and cried. And I’m still not sure why.

A few days ago I noticed that I had started describing myself as a burden again. I haven’t done that in months. Just last night I was convincing myself that my cat would be fine without me. She loves mum, she’ll be fine. She’ll be a horrible, haunting reminder and a loved piece of me simultaneously. But she’ll be fine.

I’m scaring myself, because I can see that I’m barely holding it together. I am directionless and careless. Allowing myself to be eaten up by the emotional storm within, and the cavernous emptiness it leaves behind.

I worked so damn hard to be well. I fought every day. Even when I didn’t want to. I worked so hard and to be stripped of my wellness, my progress and my strength has been brutal and savage.

But crying into my boyfriend’s side before we’ve even gotten out of bed is not ideal, nor sustainable. And I can’t watch Brooklyn 99 idly forever.

This is my aftermath. And I’m not coping.

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