I went back to work today. My anxiety was back, and bad. I struggled from the early morning with feelings of low-level dissociation alongside very physical anxiety; the same anxiety which I had had a reprieve from whilst on holiday.
I am babysitting the girls I look after right now, who are both asleep. It’s been a long and busy (what will be 10am-11:30pm) day. I suppose it has been helpful to be busy and on my feet doing activities to some extent, and I do enjoy my time spent with them. At the same time, however, I can’t get this nagging feeling of anxiety and unsettled spaciness to budge. I’ve felt inately low and discontented all day. I just can’t connect.
Reflecting on my thoughts and fears from yesterday regarding the “transition” back home after a week away in Mallorca, I think I’m just a bit out of whack with my London-based reality, and that it may take a few days for me to get back into the swing of things.
As someone who often relies heavily on my external world – people, job, environment, etc – to dictate my sense of self, when my external world changes (even for just a week), it can easily throw me off kilter. My system needs some time to reset and sync with my “old” life, until it becomes my norm once again.
I can’t help but feel this loss of a sense of self upon returning to work today. It’s as though I can only feel connected to myself and know who I am when I’m strongly attached to a momentary experience or relationship. When I’m not, it becomes hard to recognise myself as anything other than the role I have taken on within a moment, and even this feels like a false label of sorts plastered onto me. I suppose it is difficult to see myself as a human in my entirety with my many roles and experiences and memories; instead I define myself based on my immediate surroundings, and so when these change, it is suddenly disorientating. I feel like I’ve forgotten that this is my life at home and how to be a functional adult within it. And, when I can’t quite grasp the reality of the world around me and my part in it, I forget who I really am, too. It’s like I can’t remember who I am and which *me* is real or not. I lose myself.
It also feels like time is stretched and shrunk and quick and slow and doesn’t flow in the same way as usual.
I think it is pretty common for me to get this post-holiday anticlimactic disorientation. It can be hard coming back to reality where things are not so simple and I have to get back to facing some challenging interpersonal relationships, responsibilities and realities which have the potential to throw me off kilter.
Hyper-vigilance returns with the onset of a working week. Anxiety is back on my back like it has been waiting for my return to London all along. I feel things more deeply and with more pain. My behaviours are less balanced. I question myself and my capacity to “cope” more. I dislike myself more. I feel empty and sad.
On holiday I was immune from London life and barely in touch with society or triggers (considering things with family are going well at the moment); all I did was read and swim and colour and eat well and basically self-soothe for a week. Now I have to face the music and my usual relational (and other) anxieties which I had been able to avoid for a week.
I think this may have something to do with balance. I go from full-on, hectic, working, responsible “adult” to do-nothing-all-day, free-from-responsibilities, slightly-regressed “child”, and back, with no in between or slow evolution. On one hand I am also neither of these two people, but then again, I am both. Maybe if the sides of the coin weren’t so extreme, it wouldn’t be so hard to readjust each time the coin flips.
I’d really like to have a stable and consistent sense of self. I keep thinking that I do, and then circumstances change, and I forget who I am all over again. I feel like a floating head; aimless, purposeless. Life hurts, and I struggle to find meaning and motivation within it.
I doubt the above ramblings make very much sense. My head is a bit jumbled. I feel strangely dissociated but in an overly-thinky way. I just wanted to vent some thoughts. Now I’m going to indulge in some crappy TV and try forget, whilst I somehow continue to “be responsible” for the girls, despite feeling barely able to do so for myself.