What do you do when you’ve thought about hurting yourself?

I’m not going to apologise for writing about this on my blog. It might be controversial and if you don’t want to read it then skip past. When I thought about writing this post I wasn’t sure what to say, but I knew I wanted to talk about it. Not what you’d expect to see on a history blog but important, nonetheless.

When you feel like you’d rather hurt yourself than go to work that’s when you know you need to make some changes. I was on sick leave earlier in the year and this is the closest I’ve felt to that again. Right now, I feel as bad, if not worse, than I did then.

I’ve been thinking about going back to my GP but that feels like giving up. Is it giving up? Admitting you need help and time to look after yourself isn’t giving up. It’s being strong and admitting that you can’t cope rather than struggling on alone.

I’m lucky in the fact that I have some fantastic friends. I’ve grown closer to them during this lockdown and I’m looking forward to being able to spend a lot more time with them now. They have helped me get through a lot of hard times and I don’t think I’ve really appreciated just how much they’ve helped me. You know who you are, so thank you so much from the bottom of my heart.

It’s the small things that can make you feel better. I went to the supermarket with my mum over the weekend. I haven’t been for a while as my mum has been ill and I’ve been ordering online as I can’t drive. I bought a new jumper and a new shopping bag. Small things but they made me feel better. Well, that and the roast dinner mum cooked that evening!

Going back to work – my job isn’t what I want to do. I have degrees in History and Library Management and I’m doing an admin job. I want to do a job where I can inspire people and make a real difference to lives, whether that’s working in a library or a university, or some other educational or publishing environment. My job drains me. I feel exhausted afterwards because I don’t feel like I’m using my brain and I don’t feel like I’m making a difference or being valued for what I can bring.

So, I’ve decided to make a change. Consciously. I’ve been looking out for jobs that I’d like but now I’m making a concerted effort. Maybe not the best time with a book deadline looming, but taking small steps is better than taking no steps at all. Maybe it’s my looming 31st birthday next week but I don’t want to still feel like this in 5 years time. I need to feel like I want to get up in the morning, not wishing that I hadn’t woken up at all.

What has kept me going is working on my book and a determination to see my name in print. And my friends. Without these two things I might have given up altogether. I still could but I’ll try not to.

It might take some time, but I’ll get there.

As someone wise keeps saying – kindly, keep going.

I hope this also goes some way to explaining why I haven’t been blogging much recently, for those who are missing my posts. I apologise, I’ve been writing and taking some me time!