OK, so where do I start?
I managed to return to work last week, starting a phased return of 3 hours a day, and catching up with everything, e-mails, people, procedures, changes. But after 5 days I am signed off sick once again. Last Thursday, I had big “click” in my left shoulder, and for the first time in 5 weeks, it felt normal, no pain or stiffness. A false dawn however, as 30 minutes later my right shoulder began to suffer the same symptoms I had in my left.
Over the weekend, it was ok, even managing a light hit at tennis for 20 minutes in the heat, Monday and Tuesday were ok, but today, I started suffering pain down my right arm and in my neck and upper spine. I literally broke down at work to my manager, saw my GP and was signed off again. “Neck pain and depression” says the note; I see a counsellor in 12 days time.
"I’ve got no fight left" was the key line to my manager, as hard as I have tried to get to back to work and to get back to playing tennis, and to get back to normal me, because in truth I feel I have little else beyond those two things. This isn’t my first bout of depression, I struggled with severe anxiety and/or depression during my A-Levels and my degree studies, the main reasons being -
- I feel an outsider. On the fringe of many groups, but feeling like I have little in common with them all. I don’t go out very often with friends, nor do I feel socially confident amongst people in a free environment to do so.
- I have little identity beyond work and tennis, the only two things that have been continuous in my life. Without either, I don’t feel I have a place.
- Confusion. At school I was bullied and this has affected my perceptions. I got stick for success. I got stick for failure. I got stick for my appearance. I got stick for my interests. There was no middle ground, therefore the long term is a maelstrom I struggle with to this day. In short, I don’t know what is good in my eyes or others.
Right now, I feel I have lost 90% of my being. I don’t have the fight, not the fire my supposed Leo character should have. The physical pain is at its worse at the beginning of the day. By the end, the mental and emotional pain catches up. How much they are all linked remains to be seen, but they do say “healthy body, healthy mind”…trouble is, I have neither right now.