It is been a long time since I have posted on this blog. My mental health took a drop in the last couple of months and now that I am in a position to talk about it, I wanted to share my experience. I started working from home in March 2020. It was really exciting initially because I could spend time with my family for an extended period. But as time went on, the lines between personal and professional aspects of my life got blurred. There were days in which I used to work for 14 hours straight. It had a serious impact on my sleep and eating habits. I knew I was in a stressful situation but kept on going without a break.
There’s a concept called spoon theory regarding your mental health. We have 3 pieces of cutlery – spoons, forks, and knives. Spoons represent the energy you can expend today, forks represent the stressors or things that take up your energy and knives represent the energy you have saved up for tomorrow. As the days went on, the number of spoons I had kept on decreasing. When you do not have enough spoons, you start using your knives. One fine day, I was out of spoons and knives and I had my first anxiety attack. The feeling of helplessness and inability to breathe was one of the worst things I have experienced in my life. I knew I could not do it on my own anymore and I reached out for help. I started seeing a therapist.
I thought what happened was my fault, my inability to handle the stressors in my life. I still remember what my therapist told me – “You are working in the middle of a global pandemic, isolated from the rest of the world when people are dying. Do you really expect yourself to continue to work as if everything is fine? This is normal. What happened to you is completely normal”. I bawled my eyes out after hearing that.
This is my sixth month of therapy and I am still on the road to recovery, but I am in a much better place in life. I have sent in my resignation at work and am planning on doing my masters in the upcoming year. For the first time in the past couple of months, I am feeling hopeful.
If any of you are in a similar situation too I was in, please reach out. Even a heart-to-heart with a friend will help you.
If you need to reach out to a therapist. This is a free counseling helpline – https://icallhelpline.org/