After almost three months away, I returned to work this week on Dec 1st. Since I last saw my psychiatrist on Nov 17th, I have been struggling with the growing level of anxiety about returning to work. Just the thought of facing my duties at work, my colleagues, my manager and patients felt dizzyingly terrifying. I was the one that told my psychiatrist that I should go back to work. It was my idea. I should not be feeling like this. The brain never wins when it comes to dealing with depression and anxiety. Rational thought only works well, when one is not struggling with mental illness.
I only worked three days this week, but it felt like a lifetime. I felt mostly like an extra prop in the office as there was nothing much I could do. Groups have started two weeks ago and for me to facilitate a group is not ideal. Keeping the frame is more important than letting me get back to my duties straight away. Mostly, I feel relieved that I was not involved in any groups this week. It wasn’t a task that my colleagues are expecting from me. The clinic on Wednesday felt like I was of some use. That was something that was expected of me to do.
I knew I was finding ways to isolate myself. I did not want to engage with anyone. I did not want to talk. I did not want to do anything. I avoid eye contact. My physical body is there but my mind was in constant fight of flight mode and my cognition was on auto mode. That’s why I am relieved that I was only expected to clinic duties.
At this stage, I can only manage part time. Two days would be ideal, but I negotiated for three days a week with my manager. The likelihood of a part time contract seemed unlikely from the conversation. I am ambivalent about whatever outcome when I meet my manager next week for a confirmation. However, I have just decided that if I am offered a part time contract, I will continue working until I no longer can hold the fort.