Mental health, Mental Health & Wellbeing

Back to School

(Getty Images/Chris Polk/Film Magic)

I’m afraid I’ve been very remiss in my writing this week. Well, no, actually I’ve written loads. I just haven’t posted any of it because I was unhappy with it all. I’ve been too distracted to write well, so I’ve mostly been watching Gilmore Girls through for the umpteenth time and worrying about having to go back to work.

If I don’t start working again on Wednesday they’re going to stop paying me, and then I won’t be able to afford to live. I haven’t been in in four months, and I hardly showed up for the three months before that.

I probably shouldn’t be so worried. I’m about a million times better than I was at the start of April, and I’m getting on with the rest of my life mostly alright. But still I’m scared of the pressure of having to act completely normal, around a bunch of completely normal people, on a full-time basis. I don’t know whether I can do it.

At the moment I feel like I’m in a kind of suspended animation. My life’s been pretty much on hold, and it feels as though the whole world has been paused with me. The moment I’m back in the office I’ll be confronted with the fact that it hasn’t. That the whole world has, in fact, been moving on without me, and getting along just fine to boot.


It’s going to be hard.

It’s not nice to realise how little you’re actually needed.

The same fear is keeping me from trying to pick back up with the friendships I’ve neglected for the last eight months. Partly I’m worried about having to explain where I’ve been, and whether people might choose to reject me because of it. But mostly I’m worried that they just won’t have missed me. That they’ll have realised that I don’t really add anything to their lives and they don’t want to waste any more of their time on me.

I see now how people can get stuck here. You need to get back out there to build up your confidence again, but getting out there is a test of confidence all on it’s own. It has the potential to backfire spectacularly.


But the Gilmore Girls marathon has helped with that, a little. While I’ve been watching I’ve realised three things.

The first is that no matter how many times I watch that box set it isn’t going to tell me how to miraculously fix things with my mother. The second is that sending my mother her own Gilmore Girls box set wouldn’t help either. She’d find herself agreeing with Emily about everything and hating the rest of the show.

Both of these things are good to know, and nudge me a little way further to ditching that particular piece of baggage. For a long while I’d somehow convinced myself that the answer was in there somewhere if only I could find it. Don’t ask me why.

And the final thing is that I either need to go back to uni, or to change my career some how.

I used to be ambitious, like Rory, but I’ve spent the last six years doing jobs that helped other people instead because I felt that that’s what I had to do to justify my own existence. But now that I’m recovering a little from this illness I’m beginning to realise that that Max Erhmann was right – I have a right to be here.


And so I want here to be some place more inspiring. Like Yale. But probably not Yale because I don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars handy. And I’m probably not smart enough anyway.

I want to do something for me.

If the homeless and the destitute don’t actually need me, if they’ve got along without my help all year, then it might be okay for me to start doing something that I’ll enjoy, just for myself.

Thinking this way makes it easier to go back to work. I have to get back to the day job to make sure that I can afford to spend my time planning what I want to do with the rest of my life, and not plotting how I’m going to keep a roof over my head. And if I don’t like it, or people treat me weirdly, I can tell myself it’s only temporary.

I should take Britney as my inspiration. If Britney managed to get back to being a world famous pop star after her epic meltdown, then surely I can do anything I want in spite of mine.



2 thoughts on “Back to School”

  1. i can’t give you advice, i can’t tell you that it will all be rainbows and candy floss and you have nothing to worry about. but i can tell you i feel for you, and i wish i could do more. i can hope going back to work is not too painful, and i can hope you work out where you want your life to go. and i can, however hollow a gesture, send you this: ❤


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