Sunday 31 May 2020

It's Sunday and I'm Not Doing Very Well

It’s Sunday and I’m not doing very well.

When I’m struggling it’s usually because of difficulties in one of my key relationships, but that’s not the case right now. I don’t feel estranged from or at odds with anyone. Everything is solid. Or was. My low mood may become an issue if I don’t clear it soon. It’s been with me a few days now. It would probably be easier if it was due to a problem with one of my friends; something they’d done, or I’d done. It might not be simple to work through but I’d have a focus.

The trigger for this was a work call I was on a few days ago. Colleagues were discussing how we might have to work from home for the remainder of the year; indeed, that we might never return to the office the way we were before lockdown. That’s not a new thought, and at this stage it’s little more than a possibility, but my mood plummeted after that meeting. I’ve adapted to working from home better than I thought I would, but that doesn’t mean I want to be stuck at home forever. Not in my current role anyway. It feeds into the broader issues I’ve been having for six months or more, about my role and future at work. What I’m doing. What I want to do. I’ve not made much progress. Despite the best endeavours of my manager and my workplace mentor, I’m no further forward.

More fundamentally still, it brings up deep-seated feelings of not being enough. Not doing enough. Not having much of anything to contribute. Right now, it feels like I’ve been living a lie for a long time; that it’s all been a sham and I’m about to be found out. In the workplace, with my mental health work, as a friend. Everything. Objectively, I know that’s untrue but when the feelings get as big as this, as diffuse as this, it’s hard to stay logical. Or rather, logic doesn’t seem to make much of a difference.

The wider, deeper, uncertainty over covid is playing its part. I weathered lockdown better than I’d imagined, partly because the rules were straightforward and most seemed to be following them. As the country starts to open up again, I’m fearful of what will happen locally, nationally, internationally. I’m hardly alone in that fear, I know. And many people have things far harder than I do. Guilt is part of it, too. What reason or right do I have to feel this way? I have things pretty easy.

The only thing to do is let the feelings be here until they pass.

In the meantime, though, I’m not doing great. I’m not writing. My journal, yes, but nothing else. I owe letters, emails and calls to friends. I have an important guest article in hand but I’ve ground to a halt on it. I’m waiting for input from someone but that needn’t stop me working on the rest of the piece. If I’m honest, I’m using the delay as an excuse not to write because I don’t feel up to it right now.

Talking usually helps me process whatever is going on for me, but not always. If I’m not ready or able to open up — and right now it’s too big and uncertain for me to explain or explore — talking can be unhelpful, especially if I end up feeling guilty for not sharing with people who care about me. What does help is knowing I have people who will listen when I’m ready and who can simply be there in the meantime. Like I said to one friend yesterday, “Thank you for caring. And thank you for accepting me saying ‘no thanks’.”

The best thing for me right now is to distract myself until the mood shifts enough to pick up the threads of what’s going on beneath the surface. Walking helps a little. Netflix and movies help a little. Practical creativity helps a little. For the past week or so I’ve been revamping the lapboard I use when I’m writing at home. I showed a friend how I was getting on with it last night. I hadn’t thought about it as therapy until she asked if it was helping and I realised it was.

And maybe writing this is helping a little. I’m going to post it before I decide there’s no point. Maybe it will help someone realise they’re not alone if they’re feeling low.



  1. I'm not working right now but I can relate to what you're saying. A lot of people feel down right now because of covid's restrictions. I hope things get better for you my friend. You're making a difference for people like me and it's not going unnoticed.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read my article and to post a comment. I appreciate that very much.

      As many of us did, I found it hard at first to adjust to the changes we have all been living with since the pandemic first hit. We were all doing our best to weather the storm of change - and I feel I did pretty well at that, to be honest. I thought it would be dreadful having to work from home, for example, but it was and is still manageable.

      I never expected us to be going fully "back to how things were" - and I recognise things need to remain very different for now. I am concerned that we are starting to emerge from lockdown too soon, for example.

      But the idea that I might need to work from home in the very long term, or indeed that I may never get to return to working away from home in the office - that is very hard for me to get my head around.

      Mixed in with it all is some measure of guilt because I know I have it relatively easy compared to many. But we each have to deal with how things are for us personally, and it caught me off guard last week.

      So - yes. It is hard right now. I remind myself that we are all living through momentous times and look for support and encouragement from those who care. Thank you.