Mental Health Support

The office

Well, it was another day of finding it difficult to be around people.

I got through it though there were times when I really did have to take a deep breath and it was noticeable that I was really spending most of my time whilst I was travelling looking at the ground ... though that could also have had a lot to do with the fact that I was on a bike and there was lots of wet stuff coming out of the skies.

Managed to run some reports and sort some stuff out but really found the open plan hard work ... though it was really nice to go and disappear to the loo and just have some quiet time in the dark of the cubicle ... really don't understand why people seem to need so much light to pee ... there was one point not long before I left when someone turned the lights on in the office and that was a bit of shock - just overload ... may be I ought to work by brail for a while.

Managed to leave the office before the door broke again (happened about 10 days ago) ... which means the only way out is the fire-escape ... will let you in but won't let you out - sinister really. Think it was sorted relatively quickly as there was a later email to say it was fixed so think everyone will have made it home.

Was really glad to get off the train near home - much quieter than all the streets in Oxford. Less surface water on the roads as well. Even nicer to get back to the quiet of home and lock myself in.

Haven't tried using the ipod yet to drown out everyone else's noises when I'm travelling ... which is partly because it's difficult to cope with the ear phones and I tend to get a bit sore and I'm also not entirely convinced that it wouldn't make things worse - accentuate the feeling of things coming up on me unexpectedly.

Lifts quite different sensations when people are in them and when I'm on my own ... though I guess it was rather funny that the small girl sharing the lift at Oxford in the morning hit the alarm button, much to the consternation of her parents - at least it didn't set off sirens, just an automated voice telling us not to panic because someone was coming (don't think that was true as I didn't see anyone!)

Time for bed ... and falling asleep over the crossword.

4 Replies


What a long tiring day - I can appreciate how you feel because years ago I used to feel the same. It sounds from the saga of the emergency lift button as though you are able to keep a sense of humour which is great!

It sounds as though you couldn't wait to get back into your own space, as if you take in too much of the world around you and are unable to easily keep a boundary between yourself and the world.

The bit about the door breaking sounds crazy - why don't they replace the lock or whatever is broken?!

I agree about i-pods, over ear headphones prevent the ear soreness I found. As for things coming up on you unexpectedly, I guess that will only stop happening when you feel safe enough in your space to forget the world and just let it go on around you. I found psychodynamic therapy helped me do that over the years but it did take time to allow myself to be held safely and stop holding myself. You might like to read about self-holding within analytic therapy as understanding why we have certain experiences usually helps deal with them..

Enjoy your cross word - which one do you do? My husband loves the Guardian one and completes it most days but I'm not really into doing them.

Keep writing.



Thanks Sue,

Unfortunately the door is the landlords responsibility so bit more complicated than just replacing it - sure the office manager is getting to that point though - it's an electronic lock and something goes wrong with the mechanism that releases the door inside. Sometimes its quite frightening how dependent we have become on electronic things.

I have earphones that clip over the ear and problem is that I develop 'athlete's ear' ... probably not helped by being extremely short sighted and wearing glasses ... and with age that means I'm often wearing 2 pairs so I can see the stuff that's up close when I'm working on pc or looking at the paper ... though in bed I generally abandon the glasses completely and just settle for having the crossword really close (20-30 cm) ... have an old school friend who is always amused in restaurants that I'm the one that takes my glasses off to read the menus :)

I'm afraid my crossword of choice is The Times ... was relatively easy last week so this week is being tougher - know I didn't manage to finish it last night ... and couldn't finish it on Monday either.

Funny, don't mind the tv on in the background at home ... but didn't really want to listen to the radio last night - Radio 3 but it's the review programs when I go to bed and just didn't feel like the chatting away in the background.

Found the episode when the light went on yesterday interesting. The office manager is quite understanding and has offered to arrange for one of the meeting rooms for me if things are getting too bad when I need to be in the office - though that could be a bit of a mixed blessing as they aren't quite as soundproof as they could be. Have made up my mind that I'm not going to the senior managers dinner next week ... and probably won't go to the away-day either - mainly because it's on the Wednesday and I really want my space time-wise - just feel really tired thinking about it though also a bit concerned that I miss out on an opportunity for really finding out what is and what is likely to be going on first hand ... but reality check is that I'd probably be finding it difficult to concentrate. And may be I'm just so tired of all the constant change over the last year that I don't feel I can really face any more :)

Main thing is that I really don't want to get phobic about being in certain places. Coped okay with the convenience store this morning - though did notice a sense of oppression when I came out and there were a number of large vans parked outside - making the place look too busy and untidy :)

Really lucky hear as I'm right on the edge of the town and can be in hedgerows and open country within a few minutes ... less if I run fast :) When I was growing up that always felt much more comfortable than being in town ... and was a nice respite from comuting too and from school (went to school in Oxford, university and have generally worked there).

Day off and time for a shower.



Just got home myself and can relate to your post. I too commute to work and initially found the lack of personal space really difficult. I tend to read and get lost in the world of my book or knit. Nothing too taxing, but something to keep my mind busy and off my surroundings. Yep, I do the looking down thing too and the escaping to the loo.

It's great that you have an understanding bod at your work who's helping you.

Funny also you mention the door jamming. Our lift broke today and I work in a high building. Strange I don't use it that often during the day, only to get in at the start and out at the end of the day, but as soon as I heard I couldn't use it, felt totally trapped.

Well done for getting through things at work and on the commute. Enjoy the countryside around you at home.

Sue xx


Thanks Sue,

I tend to commute at times of day that are reasonably quiet and all but had a carriage to myself on the train yesterday ... and on one level I've been doing it for 40 years - since I was at school so there is a lot of autopilot on that. Tend to do the sudokus and other puzzles in the paper whilst travelling but think that's more because it means I'm doing something that's me space anyway so late trains don't really matter.

Today was a day at home so only interaction with a place with lots of other people was the visit to the shops to pick up the paper this morning and I survived that. Has been good to have the quiet time and not feel any real pressure.

I'll be in the office again tomorrow - and could be later home so might be travelling in the rush hour ... sort of think that might be a good thing as I don't want to be getting too anxious about spaces. Working at home on Friday so will be just me and the cat.

Used to knit a lot about 15 years ago but brings out the worst of the carpel tunnel these days - bent wrists so haven't done any for ages - there's a half knitted ball of wool sitting in a cubby hole next to the sofa that will probably stay that way forever. Wonder if balls of wool get depressed :)

Lucky that most of the people at work are really understanding. Explained to both of my reports and one said that her sister has the same thing and really suffers with it.


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