A lot has changed over the past few months. Anyone who’s been following my posts on mental health issues knows that I am currently dealing with depression and anxiety. My first major period of this was around 1999-2004. I’ve since been back on medication, and seeing the doctor about it, for about two years now. Although, truthfully, it had been brewing back up slowly for a few years prior to that.
This bring me up to the recent changes, as the ride only got rougher this year. Back in January, I ended up signed off work for a couple of weeks as I just wasn’t coping. Winter is always rough for me and this time around the Christmas break wasn’t enough to recharge my batteries. At the time it was discussed that a change in medication would temporarily make things worse, which isn’t what I needed right then, but I was also referred for a therapy course – which I found useful.
Move forward two months, and I was due a followup appointment with the doctor anyway. Things were still rough so I asked about the possibility of changing my medication. It isn’t that it wasn’t doing anything, more that it wasn’t always able to do enough. When I went through a rougher patch, I was already on the highest dose so the doctors had no leeway.
March to May was, therefore, a very rough time. I was stepped down from the high dose to the regular dose of the first med which, inevitably, brought along side effects. Mild withdrawal combined with an increased level of overall anxiety, mixed in with a basic reduction in the effects of the medication.
Coping with work had been tough for a while anyway and it had to get worse before it got better. The end goal was the ability to cope better but the short-term effect was a weakening of all my defenses.
More Change on the Horizon
This is where my timeline gets hazy, as so much was going on (good and bad, work-based and personal) that I can’t recall the exact order of some aspects. And when you mix in things like medication changes, work stress, (multiple) family birthdays and the week-long Easter break at work, my emotions were sort of all over the place. Good, bad, calm, anxious, all at once.
Around April, I was switched to the new medication on its standard dose. I was also put on an as-required beta-blocker to deal with the anxiety spikes that I was dealing with.
It was also around that time that work announced that it was gearing up for a pretty large-scale restructure. In particular, the department I worked for was going to be effectively merged with one of the others. This does have a certain amount of logic behind it, and my particular job role wasn’t at risk from this, but it was another big change on top of everything else.
Trying to juggle mental health issues and work life had been a struggle for a while anyway and I think my brain sort of threw in the towel at that point. Even though the change itself would take “complete” in August, I could forsee our department being somewhat up in the air for a good year before it settled nicely into how things would be.
As with any large-scale restructure, they opened up requests for voluntary redundancy. I’d been there for just short of ten years, and had been looking at a bit of a change of focus for a while anyway, so I figured I’d apply.
It is also around early May that I was put on the next dose up on the new medication and things were starting to settle back down.
The. Big. Change.
My application was accepted. Good settlement. Fast turnaround – end of May. And, to be honest, no complaints from me. I wasn’t expecting to be finished already but I think I needed it to be that way. There was a sense of relief as it means that i didn’t have to go through a large-scale change of something familiar. If I’m going to have some changes, I’d rather go through changes.
Cue a couple of weeks of tying off tasks and writing up notes.
Yes, I am now officially out of work. I’ve got enough of a financial buffer to be able to jobseek without too much pressure for a while. I also intend to use the free time to finish building myself back up.
I need to continue to get my head straight. Getting some regular exercise and working on my physical health will be useful, too. I’ve not been in a good way for a while now, so I am taking this opportunity to work on getting myself “right”. I’ve been off work quite a lot over the past half a year or so, a mix of depression, exhaustion and regular illness. Any one of those would be easy-ish to deal with on their own but they tend to build on each other and pile up on top of me.
I need to get my head straight, improve my overall health (physical and mental health are linked, after all) and work out what direction I want to move my career in.
I intend to stick with IT, although I am planning to move into something less front-line and more project-based. I think that would suit both my temperament and my skills better. But, for now, I’m going to dip my toes into the job market and just keep a general eye on what’s out there.