One of the many tricks my depression and anxiety disorders play on me is convincing me that I am a burden to everyone and that I am unwanted. Even though I know it is a lie, it is something I still struggle with. Well this week, coming back from vacation, I got an unwelcome reminder that I am wanted some places, as my work email had a number of messages that I needed to respond to and meeting requests that I needed to be at.
As the old adage goes, be careful what you wish for. I am always wishing for signs of my value to others, and what I get is meeting requests, a vacation hangover, and appointments with anxiety.
See, the problem with work meetings, apart from the fact they are work meetings, is that they inevitably start with mindless small talk, which anxious introverts like me hate, before further stressing my anxiety by forcing me to talk about my work, my progress, and what comes next. And since I was on vacation last week, I have more meeting requests and things on my to-do list than usual.
When I have weeks like this one will be, crammed with meetings and mindless small talk, it fries my nerves because it offers so few chances to rest and reset, and I end up limping into the weekend drained of energy, over stimulated and over spent.
Going back to work after a vacation is never pleasant, I get that. But doing so while struggling with mental illness cuts so deeply, often undoing much of the benefit that had been offered by the vacation in the first place.
Fortunately, I also have plenty of signs that people do love and care about me, and I’ve learned some coping mechanisms to help with the anxious onslaught that this week will be for me. Nevertheless, like any hangover, I’ll be happy when I get a free day and I can sleep the whole thing off.