After a weekend of enforced R&R (rest & recuperation) I returned to work today to face another week of impending deadlines. I actually thrive on deadlines but physically, I now find that any kind of stress is difficult to deal with either consciously or sub-consciously. This can lead to a relapse (or “crash”) as it did at the weekend.
I had lunch with my Senior Manager and explained what had happened. His first reaction was how could he/the team help during our busiest time of the year knowing that I am unable to do overtime or work at weekends as I have done in the past. In fact, one year I ended up leading a project and worked 98 hour weeks (not good in the long term as I was very ill).
I had a few ideas and we talked it through. This sounds easy enough but it represents a real watershed in my accepting this illness and accepting that I can ask for help when I need it. I am not used to this. I am used to being the strong one, finishing my work ahead of schedule and helping others finish theirs so conceding that someone else can help me with my responsibilities is alien territory.
I don’t like asking for help but when I thought about it, I feel more a part of a team by doing so. I would help others, and not accepting help myself seems rather churlish and stand-offish. We are a team. We help each other and I will be eternally grateful for this support. It feels strange but in many ways it feels right. I trust my team to help and I hope they respect the reasons why it is necessary this year.
Of course I hope that this time next year I will be able to fully support myself and my workload, but until such time I will accept help graciously and keep buying tins of chocolates to keep us all going!
I love football. I love all sport and always have done, and although I did well playing tennis and really enjoy the challenges that golf brings, it is the team sports like football hockey and lacrosse that I prefer.
I went to watch my team Aston Villa at the weekend and I was struck by the cameraderie and banter amongst the players. Rumours of dressing room unrest and a string of poor results had led me to believe that all is not well in the camp. I was pleasantly surprised with what I saw and none more so that when I captured the squad whilst warming up before the match watching the big screen in the corner. The screen was showing a replay of their fellow players in the Reserve team thrashing Arsenal 10-1 and how they were enjoying that. They couldn’t take their eyes off the match and were clearly revelling in their collective success. This was great to see and it translated into a great result when Aston Villa beat Blackburn 3-1 with every player working for each other. Teamwork.
I thrive in being part of a team. In all areas of my life teamwork is essential to feeling good and doing well. That doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy the autonomy I get with my job and the responsibility of making things happen, I do. But it is knowing that I have a great bunch of colleagues in my team who I can call upon for support and knowledge that gives me confidence and security. Teamwork.
Dealing with my highs and lows is also a team effort. My family, friends and colleagues, my wonderful GP and employer are all involved in keeping me on the straight and narrow and I am grateful for their efforts. Depression and anxiety can be an isolating and lonely experience and you can’t fight it on your own. You need a network of people who can help you recover and who will be with you for the long haul. You need to find your tribe and envelope yourself in their understanding. Teamwork.