Tuesday, 19 November 2013
It is raining in Canberra as I write this. Having grown up in the tropics, rain to me is warm and welcoming. It washes away the day and pushes back the heat. This feels like the right time to sit down and take in the last few months.
As one of the most stressful episodes of my life comes to an end, I am learning to accept that I can survive pretty much anything that life throws at me. I can survive it and not fall apart.
The thing is that surviving doesn't mean that I prospered during that time. It doesn't mean I felt happy every second. It doesn't mean I smiled and was thankful for what got me there.
There is a powerful myth in our society that dictates that happiness is something we must feel 100% of the time and if we aren't then something is wrong. That is wrong and causes a lot of self-doubt when people have a bad time. They tend to think that any emotion that isn't under-pinned by happiness is a fractured and bruised existence.
Feeling other emotions is not a failing. It is life. It is normal.
As long as there is a general happiness and more good moments than bad then I am satisfied that my life is going well.
In July, I experienced something that no woman should ever have to face. I found myself in a position that I never expected and realised that those who were obliged to protect me were unwilling to do so. That shook my view of work and life and people, in general.
The following weeks saw me slow my life down and finally stand still, in some hope that everything would stop spinning. The weeks lead to months and I didn't start working again until one week ago.
It isn't easy for anyone to not work for that long but if I hadn't had that time to rest and recover, I wouldn't be so energised and ecstatic about what I find myself doing now. Burn-out from over work and the horror of July meant that I spent weeks at my parent's house sleeping and trying to get my brain going again.
It wasn't like when I had severe clinical depression. It was nothing like that actually. There were shitty moments but it never felt so hopeless like falling in to a bottomless pit. It was tough though and there were nights for months where I slept with the lights on in my bedroom or didn't sleep until the Sun came up. For some reason, day time seemed safer. That or I was becoming a vampire. I do sparkle.
Anyone who has been through really bad patches will tell you that being in a rut isn't the most horrible part. The being in it part is something you can accept as what you are going through. It is falling in and climbing out that are the most challenging moments. No, not moments. Moments are short and fleeting. These are periods of time and everything slows down like when you stack a push bike and see the ground coming at you.
Right now, I am climbing out. Back at work and thriving as part of a real team where I feel I belong. I'm not allowed to work more than 40 hours a week which leaves me 20 more hours for life that the last job didn't. Yeah, no more 240 hour months.
Restabilising takes time. My new routine is being established. My old friends and new colleagues and awesome family and wonderful social circle are helping me bound back to a semblance of a normal life. Soon it will actually be a normal life. Accepting that I am no longer tripping on every tree root as I run blindly from the wolves is not as easy as I'd hoped. I keep checking for the wolves when a granny with a chin walks by. Sometimes, I even lose it and say I'll just give up and not participate anymore but I wake up the next day and I do.
So, I'm getting there. There are so many people I have to take aside and thank for holding my head above water. There are others who don't deserve to be mentioned or even to have a thought wasted on them. They don't matter. Only the good ones do.
And I'm a good one too. Just one who is trying to get the rhythm back in my life.