I went out for a long walk yesterday to attempt to clear my head. It has been weeks since I last went on a long walk. I only managed six miles because the sky went grey and I felt too cold. I was disappointed to head home, but six miles is better than sitting on the sofa.
I was talking to a colleague about my tumbling thoughts last month. I’m not sure what the correct (medical?) term for them is but, for me, they are similar in style to cringe attacks:
I decided to try to make a list of the way my thoughts tumble when I’m out walking. It was difficult to do but I noticed that during difficult times my thoughts generally tumble towards a memory from the past and then get stuck on repeat. However, when I am calmer I am able to steer my thoughts better. The thoughts tend to be triggered by things I encounter, and then eachother.
|Trigger||Thought / Memory||Feeling|
|Throwing out mouldy food||Realising I cannot afford to spend on food this week||Worry|
|Previous thought||Thinking about foods I’d like to eat||Happy|
|Passing the university||Thinking about money (again)||Worry|
|Exhibition in the university||Seeing the content warning and acknowledging my state||Alert|
|Walking past my GP surgery||Remembering my appointment||Tired|
|Previous thought||Thinking about returning to work||Tired|
|Previous thought||Thinking about what kind of work I’d like to do||Hopeful|
|Previous thought||Remembering the art technician from my school||Alert|
|Previous thought||Awareness that I am thinking about a triggering time||Alert|
|Boy Racer loud music||Thinking about Paris to Berlin by Infernal||Happy|
|Previous thought||Wanting a Paris t-shirt||Happy|
|Previous thought||Thinking about money and fitness so I can dress differently||Hopeful|
|Previous thought||Thinking about cute head scarves and hats||Calm|
|Previous thought||Thinking about haircuts and hair care||Calm|
|Cyclists||Thinking about Raleigh Cameo||Hopeful|
|Walkers looking fashionable||Thinking about fitness (walking faster)||Alert|
|Previous thought||Remembering my healthiness in 2006||Alert|
|Previous thought||Thinking about ex-colleagues||Alert|
|Previous thought||Thinking of a deceased ex-colleague||Sad|
|Previous thought||Awareness of negative thought loop||Alert|
|Coaches||Thinking about North France||Hopeful|
|Previous thought||Remembering Boulogne||Alert|
|Previous thought||Awareness of nearby triggering thought||Alert|
|Previous thought||Thinking of travelling||Hopeful|
|Previous thought||Hoping to have a job involving travelling||Hopeful|
|Previous thought||Making a plan to visit the museum||Happy|
|The Marina||Thinking about places to live (inc Western Concourse)||Exasperated|
|The car park||Thinking about being able to drive||Calm|
|Previous thought||Doing a weekly shop and living away from Brighton||Mixed|
|Previous thought||Thinking about people and places I’d miss||Alert|
|Previous thought||Thinking about MRes and future career plans||Confused|
|A couple walking||Thinking about Nate and Jeremiah by Design||Calm|
|Previous thought||Thinking about verandas||Calm|
|Rollerskaters||Wanting to do rollerderby||Mixed|
|Previous thought||Thinking about Whip It||Calm|
|Previous thought||Remembering the lady who said I reminded her of Juno||Happy|
|Previous thought||Thinking about the Mouldy Peaches||Calm|
|Food stall smells||Remembering my sister and family visiting||Happy|
|Pavilion Shop||Thinking about museum learning||Happy|
|Lavender pouches||Thinking about lavender field||Happy|
|Previous thought||Thinking about visiting DEBRA||Calm|
|At DEBRA||Bought three lavender pouches||Calm|
Now these are just the thoughts I remember. There were other thoughts I had which involved imagining what I would like to look like and do in the future. Also, each thought described her is just an overview, if I broke down the thoughts this post will be huge.
Yesterday was a good day. I can tell be the amount of control I felt I had over my mind.
I was also pleased to buy three Le Chatelard 1802 lavender pouches for £1.99 in DEBRA. Each pouch was labelled 99p, but the Gift Aid sticker and bar code said £1.99 so they scanned that. My pillow smelt lovely last night.
Yesterday was a bad mental health day. And I made it worse by not taking care of myself.
But in the interests of turning it into a learning opportunity, here’s what I should have done in five easy steps.
- I should have stayed on leave. I was on leave for a reason, I needed to get better.
- I should not have checked my work emails. If I hadn’t, HR would have seen that I was out of office and notified the interviewers.
- I should have asked for the interview to be postponed. It was short notice, and I was ill.
- I should not have let my desperation for a job override my need to take care of myself. It’s easy to say, but hard to action – I know.
- I should have asked to leave the interview. It would have been risky but my concentration was shot and I could feel myself getting distressed. I was clearly troubled and there was no way I could have redeemed myself in that situation… by staying there, I prolonged my discomfort and theirs.
I never know if I should disclose my health history. It would have been unprofessional but maybe people would understand and accommodate me? I just know that after half an hour I was sweating from pain, my skin was crawling and my teeth were grinding. It was taking all my willpower to stay in the moment. My brain became obsessed with escaping. I wanted to shout. It was a moment that scared me, because normally social interactions calm internal disturbances but this time I was inconsolable.
Today has been quieter. I have managed to leave my head for a while.
On Thursday I didn’t feel so well. I notified all my colleagues and went home. When I got home, I felt hopeless. I remember thinking If I don’t get invited to a job interview this month I am moving away.
So obviously, I got a job interview invite the next day. Quite why I checked my emails on leave I do not know. I was very pleased to be shortlisted.
The job is in the School of Education. And my self-care brain is telling me to relax and remain realistic. The rest of me is having an adrenaline rush.
I’ve spent the weekend with relatives. I had planned to have a whole week off but I’m returning to Brighton for my job interview.
I’ll miss duvet days.