Mentally taxing situations are like jungles. Horrible tangled bits of evil shrubbery with no trails or paths in sight. I've been trying to machete my way out of the bitch - some days I make a bit of headway, other days I just sit, sweat, tremble and cry.
But let's just concentrate on the Stuff That Helps.
1) Drugs. If you need to, then you need to. My work environment is currently unsafe for me to be in. Therefore, I have not been at work, which means I have been tearing through my leave allotment at a galloping pace. I received news today that I will not be recompensed for this unless I make a claim through WorkSafe. This is devastating. Ergo, it's a two Valium kinda day. Result? Drowsiness and a bit of sobbing, which is better than smashing my head into the coffee table, as the case would be if I were in an un-medicated state. Drugs are good when you really, really need them.
2) Research. Look for the useful stuff. For example, Gretchen Rubin's 'The Happiness Project' has a number of life-hacker style tips which I've found useful. I'm trying a variation of her suggestion of 'Choose One Word To Set The Tone Of The Year'. It doesn't strictly have to be one word - I've chosen the words 'Better Decisions' to try and guide me. As in, "It may be a better decision to go for a walk as opposed to hiding under the bed today."
Rubin's blog led me to borrowing Switch out from my local libary. Written by Chip and Dan Heath, it's byline is 'How to Change When Change is Hard' and explains (this is my terrible paraphrasing, btw) that your emotional self is like an elephant, whilst your logical self is like a small rider controlling the elephant. The rider is a guide, but when the elephant really wants to do something - it's going to do it regardless of what the rider wants.
In my case, the rational self says, "Stick around, you're kinda cool and you like life, remember?" The emotional self says, "Just go play in heavy traffic already, because eternal rest means eternal peace and fucking quiet and not having to deal with everybody else's gorram fuckups and wouldn't that be nice for a fucking change?"
Alarming, yes, but please don't worry. The elephant's rider has given custody of all the strong drugs to a responsible adult who keeps them off the premises. Also, I'm not a slice n' dice kind of gal and have never owned a firearm in my life. And no, there's no rope in the house either.
3) Get a hobby. When anxious my hands turn into the fists, the knuckles white. Then I chew on my knuckles, sometimes in a decidedly undignified and slobbering fashion. The more upset or hysterical I become, the more I chew on my poor damn hand. Sometimes I have to sit on them to prevent doing damage.
But - my name is not Rover and my hands aren't Greenies, so I've found it's best to do something with my digits before they hysterics set in.
Recently I've taken up shooting pool. I'm no good at it, but the mental focus needed to perform a singular task - get the ball in a hole using another ball and a stick with both hands - is a huge relief.
These three things are keeping me going for now. They're what I do when not coordinating appointments with various medical professionals and dealing with the human resources people.
You know, I've not been at my workplace for some time now - but it doesn't mean that each day isn't damn hard work the second my eyelids flap open in the godforsaken morning.
I'd like it very much if I could one day greet the day with a sense of moving towards better things.
A light at the end of the proverbial damn tunnel would be much appreciated, but I'm not counting on it.