It is difficult to know where to start when so much happens in a day like today. Towards the end of my holiday I was getting a bit experienced out in that not much was happening and so not much was popping into my head to write about. I knew that by the next day that would change because we were returning back to Scotland but even that went extremely smoothly. Yesterday I went for a bicycle ride and apart from the stunning autumn scenery, even that seemed uneventful. Last night was book group and I felt, as I lay in my sleeping bag this morning that there was plenty of material to explore there. Being in my sleeping bag was rather unusual having resulted from not remembering to unpack my luggage which was sitting on my side of the bed when I rediscovered it at 2am on trying to go to sleep. I must remember not to use my down sleeping bag next time, far too hot.
So many ideas were popping into my head this morning after the desert of the last few days that I felt I should make a note of them on my mobile. I listed the following:
- Life is about being creative not earning money;
- Review of withdrawal of anti-depressants;
- Identity – why uniqueness is important;
- Anonymity and public writing;
- Questioning authenticity.
I was actually musing on the identity issue mixed in with anti-depressants withdrawal and my seemingly more accepting nature of more usual life activities after coming back from the holiday when my wife burst in. Maybe she didn’t burst into the room, though it did feel rather sudden, but perhaps it was more of a burst into my thoughts.
Before going to bed last night I had said I would do some tidying up after the book group had left. The reality was that I spent time with my late-night mates (i.e. the video gaming ones) and tidying up (as well as unpacking) only impinged on my consciousness again after I tried retiring in the small wee hours. Even though there wasn’t much tidying to do, I thought tomorrow morning would do. It turns out I was mistaken. Eventually I came to the conclusion that my wife was stressed out due to work pressures and I lying there finding my muse topics was not conducive to the support she needed.
It turned out a staff member had been injured in a home accident and needed to go to hospital this morning to get a bandage changed. The staff member was teaching on the first day of a six day training course today too, so my wife had to step and cover the course. We also had an office manager on holiday and the other main one was on the afore mentioned course; my wife had to do at least three people’s jobs. Today was a work day for me so she wanted me to get in early to help get the day started well and sorting out late arriving course participants. My need to was to write and explore my mellow outlook after the holiday; that was all shattered within a few minutes, my anxiety levels returned and I was beginning to feel overwhelmed. The transition from holiday to normal life happened too quickly and I feel to earth with a bump. I was beginning to wonder why I was getting an autistic assessment, it couldn’t come quick enough today.
I continued my musings a little longer after my wife left, but now I needed to record the experience that had just happened. After more tapping on the mobile, I took comfort in the affection my dog was showing me and I felt the need to return it. There was a time pressure on me now and I knew the dog was not get the attention he would like, his walk would be shorter and he would have less time with me. I remember back to the holiday, the difficulty I had in placing him because of the guilt I felt at leaving him behind. He went to my daughter’s but all his barking had been too much for her and he came back rather subdued; I felt back for putting both my daughter and him through that. He is such a comfort to me, the way I perceive he loves me but the more I recognise those feelings, the more I feel like I am abandoning him when I leave. We went for a short walk and I fed him before I went to work.
It was a beautiful morning, the sun was shining, the sky was mainly blue, and the low position of the sun really highlighted the autumnal colours of the trees and bushes. Despite my rush, I had the need to capture these colours and my enjoyment of them. I stopped in a few places to take pictures on my phone to use on this blog before sprinting off on my bike. Unfortunately there was a price to be paid for sprinting off like that; five minutes away from work, the chain on my bike broke. At roughly the same time I got a text from my wife saying she couldn’t get the slide projector to work and could I pop in and sort it out. I replied back saying I was going to be a bit delayed due to mechanical problems but would be there as soon as I could; no more fleeting destressing moments enjoying the scene, work was demanding my attention.
I find covering the office really difficult. We have quite a complex assignment procedure for assigning clients. It is one of those procedures that I find I have to do regularly otherwise the number of steps and the difficult possibility at each step is hard to remember. I end up referring to a crib sheet which doesn’t quite flow logically and has some critical information missing. Constant use of the procedure means I would know where to get this information from, but unfortunately that isn’t the case and the pressure to get things done means it is hard to update the procedure whilst using it. There are a number of clients to be dealt with, all seemingly at different stages of the process.
Managing the office also means dealing with the everyday demands, sorting phone calls, opening the door, sorting the post, fielding any issues with the training course; it pays to be a multi-tasker. Then I have my own immediate tasks to do. I read through the general inbox and mark things that need to be dealt with and then do the same with my personal inbox. I prioritise financial transactions and anything that would be good to sort out sooner rather than later, phone calls I leave to my wife.
Through all this I am aware of how much noise is around me: somewhere outside the building on a nearby road, tarmac is being dug up by a disk saw and a pneumatic drill; a dustbin lorry is outside the window; there is a break in training and my wife returns to make phone calls whilst the students piling out outside the office having hot drinks and chatting away. I cannot concentrate with these noises going on around me, my anxiety levels which are already taut stretch out towards being overwhelmed.
I want to be somewhere else and become obsessed with taking my bike to be repaired. It’s a sensible thing to do anyway because I am set up for cycling not walking (I wear cleated MTB shoes) and knowing I can cycle home would at least relieve a little bit of anxiety. Unfortunately my wife is on the phone, and I know I need to inform her where I am going to avoid increasing her anxiety levels. I sit down and sip my cold vanilla chai tea. The noise levels dissipate by the time she comes off the phone (I think somebody was trying to con her out of money anyway) so that all seems quiet now. The students have returned to their course, the dustbin lorry has moved on and the roadworks must be taking a break. I explain how difficult I was finding it and how I need to get my bike sorted.
When I get home later (by bike) I am exhausted. I appreciate the fact that my daughter is cooking tonight. I want to write but I am just too tired. The work day went well in that I managed to work through most of the tasks that need to be done from the office management point of view, but I had to leave some of my personal tasks to another day; I think I am going to have to do in on Thursday. I settle down to sleep with the dog on the sofa and find that I have closed my eyes for at least two hours possibly nearer to three. I feel refreshed though rather than dopey from too much sleep. I start to write but it is tea time and my writing gets left for tomorrow which is now today.
I find that despite working and the closeness to a breakdown I felt, I have managed to retain my mellow outlook for at least another day. That’s really rather amazing.