After explaining to my line manager that I wouldn’t be returning to work for a while yet we agreed that I should still attend my training commitments in Perth. I had a two day training course booked on Thursday and Friday which I had been looking forward to for a while (mainly so I could get another Maptek thermos). Unfortunately things didn’t pan out the way I had planned.
On Thursday morning I arrived at the Maptek offices on time at 8:00. However the office was shut when I arrived and there were no signs of life anywhere. Since I haven’t been at work for the past month or so I didn’t receive the official confirmation of the course, so I assumed that the more advanced course must start a little later. No worries. I went off and grabbed a coffee and kicked back on a nearby park bench trying to wake myself up.
I returned back to the training centre at 8:30 but there were still no signs of life in the office. So I waited until 9:00, and during that time several people showed up but none of them were there for the course. Sometime during that half hour I lost it. Depression got the better of me and I left the offices without asking anybody for help. I have no idea how I managed to get through university like this.
I was angry with myself for stuffing up the course and as I drove back home I remembered that my father had planned to come over to the house and do some painting that day. I still haven’t really spoken to him since he returned from Europe and we have been scheduling our lives so that they don’t intersect. He planned to do the painting that day because he thought I would be at the training course.
As I pulled into the driveway I could see his car parked around the back of the house. I didn’t even complete the turn into the driveway before I reversed back out and took off again. I drove to a nearby park, put the seat back and spent a bit of time reflecting on the events of the morning.
At 11:20 my mobile phone rang and I recognised the extension number as being from Maptek (I spent waaay too much time at work). I let the phone ring out and they didn’t bother to leave a message. It was then I realised I probably should have called the day before to confirm the start time. I remembered hearing that the more advanced courses didn’t start until about 11am.
That sent me into another episode. At this point I really didn’t see myself ever returning to work. Technically I can do the job. Give me a task to do and I’ll either do it or I’ll tell you why that was a crap task to give me. My care factor was always an issue but my technical skills were strong enough to compensate. However now I was just unreliable, and that’s not acceptable. You can’t afford to work like that when you are responsible for people’s safety. I really screwed up.
At 12:30 the car started to get a little hot. At some stage my father was going to have to go home for lunch so I decided to do a drive-by to see if his car was still there. As I drove past the house I slowed down and pulled over to the side of the road to allow other traffic through. As I looked up the driveway I steered too close to the curb and hit it with a loud bang. His car wasn’t there so I moved back into the traffic and prepared to do a lap of the block and head home. As I drove away my hubcap rolled off my pos 1 tyre and I saw it spin away in my rear view mirror. I’m an idiot.
I was at home for about an hour when my father returned. He saw my car there and knocked at the back door – I ignored him. He worked for about an hour then knocked again before he left. Once at the back door, once at the front door. By the time he had left it was 3pm and Housemate A would be coming home in a couple of hours. I didn’t want to have to explain why I didn’t go to the course so I went for a walk in the park at 3:30pm.
I sat in the park for two hours mulling over the same things I had been thinking of before. No groundbreaking revelations this time. I was just sulking in the park. Eventually the wind became too cold and I headed for home.
I didn’t really want to go home I just wanted to find somewhere warm. I ended up lying in the back seat of my car with a picnic blanket over the top of me. Housemate A was home, but she went out within an hour of me arriving at the car. For the next couple of hours I started to receive phone calls and text messages from people wondering where I was. I informed them that I was safe and wanted to be left alone.
Of course I didn’t want to be left alone, but it was too hard to try and explain to anybody what had happened. Eventually Housemate B arrived home and within 10 minutes of getting home I received from her asking how I was. I rolled around in the back seat for a while and after 10 minutes or so I decided I should probably reply. There was no point beating myself up about it. I had to tell somebody eventually.
“No i didn’t end up going to the course. I screwed up. I’m ok, i’m just sulking”
Housemate B was very supportive and we ended up exchanging about eight text messages between us. Finally my battery started to go dangerously flat and I wasn’t comfortable texting with such a low battery – you can’t really end the first ‘conversation’ about depression you have with somebody halfway through. Housemate A arrived home at around 10:00pm and she also messaged me as soon as she got home. She was concerned about me but I assured her that I was ok.
I watched the lights turn off one by one and then waited a quarter of an hour before entering the house. The back seat of the car was pretty uncomfortable and I really wanted to go home. In total I spent about 13 hours on Thursday hiding from people in some way or another. That’s a big step backward compared to the hope I had felt the previous day.
That night I woke up at 2:30am and I sent an email to Housemate B and I told her where this blog lives – the same as I did with Housemate A. The initial blog after telling Housemate A was hard, but now I’m over it. I can’t do this alone any more and there’s no other way to reach out to people.
Today (Friday) I didn’t even bother thinking about the training course. It’s not important. I spent the day around the house, dividing my time between my washing, my rats and my PS3. It was dull but I have no other choice.
The highlight of my day came at around lunchtime when my boss called me. He wanted to know how I was going. He had already spoken to my line manager and knew that I wasn’t returning to work any time soon, and I informed him that it was at least another month minimum. He was fine with that, as you would expect a manager to be, however the concerning part came when he asked if it how I felt about talking to the IMO about what medication I was on.
As part of my entry onto site I had previously declared to our medics what I was taking, but this is before I’m coming back to work. This declared has nothing to do with site entry requirements; this is about my ability to perform my job. The only reason they would need to know what I was taking would be to formulate a ‘management plan’ for me. This is basically due diligence before they make me redundant. Of course that’s just my own opinion, my conversation with the boss was not that insightful and I wasn’t willing to kick up a fuss about it – I had stuffed them around enough as it was.
The question I’m asking myself now is, I am really hoping that my guess is wrong? Being made redundant is obviously the worst case scenario, but I am sure that I don’t want that? I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to return to work. I don’t think I really care. Suppose I put my health first and quit my job… then I’ll be bored stiff – which may potentially generate a suicidal reaction. And if I stand my ground and get a redundancy package then that’s still not going to help my recovery – that will just be a kick in the guts. However if I go back to work then the lifestyle will drive me to suicide anyway.
Eugh. I don’t think I’m in the right frame of mind to be thinking about work right now. Trouble is the rest of my life is completely broken and I don’t want to think about that either.