I've been working in an office now for over a month. It was never really something I pictured for myself, sat behind a desk at a computer. I always imagined myself as someone who would work from home or who would be out and about all of the time. Maybe I just hoped for that.
I won't lie to you it has been hard. I've been having to work through panic attacks quite literally which is amazingly difficult. Before I started working full-time I could take the timeout I needed to recover but now I have to adapt to it. This means I've been a bit rubbish at keeping up with friends, cooking dinner and doing anything other than sleeping when I get in but it does prove that mental illness is not a barrier to a normal life. Trying to explain why you are struggling to do paperwork or making conversation at lunch time is a struggle when you don't want to let everyone know about your illness. It is the kind of thing you don't want everyone to know about you at work, you don't want them to think you will be worse at your job for it or that you will flake out if things get tough. If anything I find the work I do quite cathartic in terms of my health. I throw myself into it when I'm having a bad day and feel rewarded when I see goals being achieved. I am struggling though, especially with the language barrier. During my worst period earlier this year my level of French really dropped. Luckily I'm getting slowly back up to where I was but it isn't easy when all you want to do is just talk to someone in your own language, or you can't pause and rewind a conversation. All this is normal among language students of course, it just manifests itself in me as stress, anxiety and self-doubt that I have to work out how to deal with it.
Working in an office has a positive side to it though. I get to practice everything I have been working on in terms of social skills. Saying yes to going for drinks, spending time with people I don't know all that well and having to pluck up the courage to talk to people because it's your job to work with them are all things that have helped me incredibly. We have fun. We laugh together. We moan together. It's just what you would expect from any young office. All in all I'm loving it. The difficulties can seem enormous some days. I just have to remember how far I've come and that this isn't the end of the road. I can still improve. I'm still learning to deal with this so any blip is understandable.
The benefits of working in a French office are numerous though. I get to practice my language skills and learn lots of new words. Some of the weird things we learnt at school are finally coming in handy. We have discussion about all sorts of subjects at lunch, today's was obesity and health scares! Another benefit is that no one tries to steal my Yorkshire tea so I am safe to leave it wherever safe in knowledge that it will still be there when I come back. We do yoga at lunchtime which is great for my well-being. I hate that phrase but it really is. You need to pause in the middle of the day and reflect on things. My sleep has improved. A thing with people who suffer from anxiety is that you can quite often suffer from insomnia and have panic attacks in your sleep. I've been so tired recently that I haven't even been able of a coherent sentence let alone any complicated worries.
Being an adult really does have its ups and downs but at the moment caffeine, Beyoncé and my loved ones are helping me to cope with this new stage in my life.
PS. Ive just returned from the entire office having to go and have a photo taken on Santa's knee. Mum you were right my office is a playground!