Tuesday, 26 July 2005

I am back at work and feeling so much better. Work still seems like too much for one little person but I feel better about that. The feelings of anxiety, like butterflies playing rugby in my tummy, have almost disappeared.

One of the amazing things I have found over the last wee while and in the past is that prayer has this unexplainable effect on my anxiety levels. After praying, for no rational reason the physical feelings of anxiety seem to fade. This doesn't always happen but recently it has been more frequent. Often I am praying as a last resort because my own will power and thinking skills seems unable to calm my sense of panic. I do believe that the anxiety I have been experiencing has a subconscious explanation which I am not fully able to understand.

I have never thought of myself as very prayerful and I have always thought that the supposed power of prayer was a nice idea but hadn't personally felt any physical effects. But these last few weeks the impact has been very tangible and real and seems to have nothing to do with how I pray such as the words I use or even my sense of "being spiritual" at the time. I do think it is an example of a miracle for me and more importantly, a sign of God's grace on earth.

So despite not having a superhuman transformation over the holidays so that my job is more managable, it doesn't matter as much now because the sense of anxiety is diminished and I have my sanity back, however incomplete and fragile...

Thursday, 21 July 2005

I've just come back from a wonderful 10 days in Melbourne. Being a tourist is a wonderful thing, flying in over a city and having no idea what you are looking at but being so excited about exploring it. We stayed with my sister in law and their 3 kids. Every morning we were woken up by a 2 year old and a 4 year old. There is nothing like it. One of the wonderful things in life. Kids get up each day and they are so excited about the day and all the possibility it holds. They are such an excellent example for hardened adults.

The whole time we were in Melbourne I felt totally disorientated. It took me a while to work out why but then realised. In Auckland we navigate by volcanic cones and the sky tower. So wherever you are you always know what direction you are facing. In Melbourne there are no obvious land marks, especially in the CBD. I have always thought I had an excellent sense of direction but no sooner had my eyes left the map then I would be completely lost again. We even caught a tram in the completely wrong direction!

We loved the city though; the Victoria Markets with the amazing deli and passion fruit in July no less! We loved the trams and trains. It is so obvious that Auckland needs to sort out its public transport after a visit to a large city like Melbourne. The shopping was pretty cool too.

So overall I loved Melbourne and we even talked about what it would be like to live there. We agreed that it would be fantastic for a time if you lived in the city but that the burbs are the burbs wherever you are in the world. We also realised that having family there makes all the difference and that we would only be prepared to move overseas if there were at least a couple of people who already knew us. So that when it all seemed too big and strange there was someone who could understand who you were without translation.

But I think we have the travel bug and we plan to make the most of all the opportunities in our own fair city before heading overseas again to sample someone elses.

Thursday, 7 July 2005

I am off to Melbourne for a holiday tomorrow. I am so excited. I think it is just what the doctor ordered. I haven't travelled overseas since I was 15. The fact that we are going has reinvigorated my faith in the fact that life is full of posibilities. I want to see the museum and art galleries, go to the markets and just remind myself that there are so many opportunities in life and i want to make the most of it. And hopefully when I return I will be ready to make some changes so that my life can reflect those possibilities.

Wednesday, 6 July 2005

Thanks to the wonderful HR woman at work I have been given the rest of the week off. It is wierd but the moment the pressure is off I keep thinking to myself "Why was I feeling so stressed?" but then something little happens and I realise that I am not feeling better, I just don't have to perform like I do at work. It is amazing how much the little things help though. I cleaned the house today and it felt like it was the most amazing accomplishment. I just felt a bit more in control and a little less useless.

I heard from a friend that anxiety can be a symptom of frustration or anger. I can relate to that. I am not easily satisfied with life and I can lose objectivity with my own situation. I am determined to get to the bottom of this. I am realising that I need to work with who I am and not feel bad about it. I never thought I would have to deal with something like this but when I think over my life so far and some of my behaviours it isn't all that suprising.

My Mum said something very interesting to me yesterday. She said I have always taken responsibility for things which are not my problem, such as how my parents feel or problems at work. It makes me deeply empathetic but also means there is a very fine line between myself and other people and I often don't know how I actually feel or what I think about things. So these little insights are helping me to understand myself better.

I don't want this bol to turn into a diary of my own angst but it has been a bit like that already so I guess this is just a twist in this blog's identity!

Sunday, 3 July 2005

Welcome to July! You may have noticed the generally negative posts I have been making over the last little while. Well, after a week or so of being in tears and not really keeping it together and months of feeling down, I went to the doctor. He was fantastic and listened to all my symptoms and diagnosed me with mild depression and an anxiety disorder. He was really encouraging about dealing with it and we are going to hold off on medication at this stage. The first step is easing my workload and then some lifestyle changes such as more excercise and eating healthier. I also want to invistigate seeing a psychotherapist. The doctor said that quitting my job would lead to more depression and I am sure he is right. I know that my personality and thinking patterns are responsible for a lot of how I am feeling and leaving my job would not actually deal with it at all. That is a pretty scary thing because it would be much easier to blame external factors rather than admit that I am my own worst enemy.

I have had a lot of friends deal with mental illness in the last few years and I have always known that I am prone to depression. However it is wierd being on the other side of the fence. I tend to be the friend who gives advice and listens to problems but it is impossible to do that for yourself when you aren't well. I am having to face the hard truth that it is very difficult to fix yourself and stay in control. I need to accept that I need help and support. Part of me feels like a failure but another part is excited about the freedom in recognising something is wrong and that I can't cope if nothing changes.

So tomorrow I am seeing the HR person at work to try and reduce my stress at work. I am hoping that I can keep it together and also explain clearly what the problem is. It is awful feeling that you have to prove how you feel and I know that all teachers are stressed. But I have to do what is right for me. So prayers would be welcomed that my hope for the future would be renewed and that I won't feel like a failure. It is a poerful thing to take control of your situation and that is how I want to feel.