• Robert Gammon

Old Blog 25/9/17: One Step Back

My recent decision to rush straight into a new job has seemed to be a bad decision. I jumped into the deep end when I should have given myself some time to tread water. Hopefully this post will explain my recent absence and can be a spring-board for me to blog daily again.

At this point in my life I am a Masters student studying philosophy by research, it would appear odd that during my studies I would up sticks and start a new job in the city. It would appear odd because it was odd. Not only was it odd, it was a bad decision but not necessarily because of my studies.

In all honesty, my studies are all but over. With my penultimate draft finished, I am only waiting for comments on my work before my final submission. It has been a humbling piece of work that I am very proud of. It has been harder than anything else than I have ever written and has set me up nicely for the next stage of my life (wherever that may be now) by challenging me both intellectually and mentally.

The only problem I have been having is the mental stress of this Master’s was confounded by ongoing issues at home. With several members being in and out of hospital. These personal have meant that I have been left feeling alone when I needed support of my own, especially with a research degree that means that most days you are working on your own. This loneliness was only added to by my partner studying mainly abroad and having her own share of problems.

The upshot of all this was my social system that I relied on for support was gone or at least I perceived it to be gone. With every phone call that I made, hoping to share my problems, being turned around to hear about other problems. That isn’t to say my partner and my families weren’t there for me, just in my state I felt guilty burdening them with more baggage and so would end up listening to them and not sorting my own shit out. However you cannot solve other people’s problems when you are not in the right place yourself.

Noticing this led me to get help earlier in the year and thanks to be excellent supervisor and to a counselling session I was able to temporality unburden myself guilt-free. This made me a lot better. However, I didn’t fully sort myself out and as bottling things up without realising it. I would often talk to people about minor issues day to day and only now do I realise I was neglecting the wider problems.

I have been putting myself under pressure to hit the ground running as I conclude this degree. With everything else going on and this inward pressure to not burden my family with more shit meant that I was getting more anxious and more stressed day after day. Every little e-mail or piece of news I was receiving had me tense up as my anxiety was making me fear any feedback that came my way. It didn’t matter if the feedback was from university, from articles I had written or just my general social behaviour. This pressure and the guilt mentioned above are all symptoms of a long running depression battle that has spiked this year due to the above problems that I was facing.

So, when I was introduced to all the pressures of a new job while concurrently hearing my dog was ill, having to move into my Grandad's while looking for a new place for myself and having my girlfriend leave the country again (albeit for a much shorter time), I ended up having an attack. Anxiety had got the better of me and a rush of the guilt I felt and stress that had built up in me tore through my chest and ended with me feeling thoroughly panicked. After calming down, I had to admit it was too much at the wrong time and so I resigned.

I am writing this, mainly to get back in to the swing of writing daily but also to put into writing the thoughts that I have far too often let float around my head. I am now getting the help I need and I am able to be with family and help them day to day (making me feel less guilty). I also know I can get behind the bar at the social club if I need a bit of dosh, so don’t worry about me. I am taking strides to get strong again. This has been thoroughly therapeutic.

It is one step back, but the opportunity to sort my head out, do some more writing and otherwise get back on track means I am prepared to take the next two steps forward.

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