Panic attacks back at work

“How are you doing?”  “oh, I’m doing well enough, thank you.”  Today was my second day back to work.  It did not go nearly as well as my first day.  I had my first (few) panic attacks in the afternoon.  My 3 avid readers will likely want to know what happened.

My first day back happened to be a snow day where the physical office was closed.  Everyone worked remotely so I was alone in the quiet and dark office.  It was the perfect way to slide into the office inconspicuously and begin getting everything unlocked and set back up.   When I first walked into the office and got to my cube, it was like I was stepping back in time.  The day before my accident I had just started to decorate for Halloween.  I had things scattered around my desk (like my notepads) from when I got out of my meeting and threw it on my desk and hurried home.  I had dead plants and dead flowers someone had gotten me.  One of my friends had printed out some affirmation statements (I am strong and courageous, things like that) and scattered and hid them all over the place.  That nearly made me cry, it was so thoughtful.  (Thank you Crispy!).

My first order of business was taking all my Halloween down and cleaning up everything.  Then I had to tackle getting in and going through emails.  Fun fact, after half a year, you can’t remember ANYTHING of passwords or where things are!   I got to use my entire morning going through 3000 emails.  That was interesting.  I then spent the later half of the day trying to get various systems unlocked.  I then moved on to looking through our information and re-familiarizing myself with everything.  I didn’t have to talk to anyone, see anyone or do anything.  Just get re-acclimated.  It was pretty great.

Today, was not as easy.  I spent the morning with one of my favorite coworkers who walked me through one of our processes again.  Not much has changed and I surprised myself with how much information and technical details I remembered.  Not too shabby Kayleigh.  You go girl.  Step 1, check.  I then moved on to doing our “entry level” process to get used to moving through and getting things done.  That wasn’t so bad either.  Because it wasn’t too much of a challenge, my brain started spinning and spinning.  I was wondering why people weren’t talking to me.  Why was I not getting messages saying hello?  I’ve been gone half a year, have I been forgotten after 5 years?  How do I step back into this?  Everything and nothing has changed.  I have no place there anymore.  I am not needed, they were able to survive without me for that long.  Who am I kidding to expect to come back and get work back and enjoy my job again?  What happens if I freak out again and do something stupid like drive off the road?  How do I make sure I take care of my own mental health, but still doing well at my job?  I’m not sure I know how to do both, my mental health always took the backseat.  I was depressed ALL.THE.TIME.  Not just a little depressed; no showers, no productivity, on and on.  I was miserable.  I can’t do that again, I won’t.

So now, I have to learn how to do both.  I have to learn how to balance my health and my career.  People who have bipolar do it every day.  I have to do it as well.  All it will take is some forgiveness and accepting of myself, as well as a lot of patience from my boss and coworkers.  Most of whom I don’t think know what really happened, I just disappeared for half a year and popped back up.  I guess I’m a magic show now.  For my next trick, I’ll stick out an entire day of work without a panic attack or tears!


2 thoughts on “Panic attacks back at work

  1. Melissa Pendleton says:

    You are stronger than you know. Never question that. You are always kind, gentle, and protective… time to direct that at yourself 🙂 love you, you got this!

    Liked by 2 people

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