The first week back to work after 6 weeks absence was always going to be challenging (physically and mentally), despite the fact that it has become an all too familiar hurdle to overcome. The nerves the night before were inevitable, but once I had walked through the door the following morning it felt as though I hadn’t been away, and by lunchtime the initial nerves had all but been extinguished. I predict that the reason for this straightforward transition back into work is a combination of the great support from colleagues/friends at work, and also as an inevitable consequence of the mental stimulation required at work acting as a form of distraction from the thoughts and feelings I had been enduring over the previous weeks and months.
It’s not all been rosy though. The darkness still creeps back in when I’m alone, or when a conscious or unconscious trigger reignites the feelings of depression and anxiety, in turn causing the reemergence of the habitual sensation of standing upon the precipice. It’s perhaps not helped that my return back to full time work has lead to an overwhelming sense of exhaustion, and the mental and physical fatigue as always is both a cause and effect of low mood. The combination of the return to work/commuting and the effects of the medication are doubtlessly responsible for this lassitude, not to mention the fact that the anxiety and depression cause their own form of tiredness as a result of the strain put upon body and mind. This weekend I have therefore just crashed out and been unable to do very much at all, even having to cut short a gym session on Saturday as I had no strength in my body whatsoever.
But despite these issues, its unquestionably positive that I’m back at work, both in terms of as a way of focusing my mind, but also as a facilitation for being around friends and people that I care about and reaping the rewards that this provides. And the adverse feelings mentioned above notwithstanding, I’m in a relatively stable place, and my spirits are higher than they have been for a while. But I do continue to worry about how I will manage the fatigue, and more importantly at how easy it is to be attacked by the ‘black dog’ when my mind lets its guard down for even a second. At the moment his attacks are less severe, and less frequent, but I can constantly feel his presence inside me, and it’s incredibly disheartening to face the reality that another bad attack will inevitably come, whether that be in a week, a month or a year.