Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Tonight I feel crushed

I have really been feeling as if I were getting somewhere over the last few weeks. Only on Friday my ‘rock’said that he had noticed a huge improvement in me over the last 2 months. My shrink seems extremely positive about my progress and most of all so did I. Tonight I feel crushed.

It all started to go downhill last night. I had had a healthy, alcohol free night (highly unusual these days!) and been for a run. I can’t have put my trainers away properly and in the middle of the night they fell out of my cupboard. Hardly a huge crisis you might think, but it was. For the first time this year I awoke screaming blue bloody murder. I thought the noise was someone in my room coming to attack me. I hollered at the top of my voice, I’m surprised none of the neighbours called the police. I lay trembling in my bed for hours and finally managed to drift off into fitful sleep. It’s hardly surprising, then, that I started the day feeling groggy and a little sorry for myself.

On my journey to work I remembered that I had one of my monthly ‘how’s Holly getting on after the bomb’ meetings this morning. I work for a small company of 6 people owned by the (excuse this non-‘pc’ness of me but I use the term with the greatest affection) ‘the dykes’. I have been there for 4 years and have done well, it’s a job that I love (or should I say ‘loved’?) and they seemed to love me back. Last May they promoted me to Director. I had only been in my new role for a matter of weeks before 7th July. Since then I have had 2 months off with PTSD, worked 2 months part time, then in January this year I decided it was time to bite the bullet and start the year as I meant to go on, I went back full time.

It has been hard, whilst also being enormously helpful. I felt relieved to be back in the real world again, back on my feet doing what I used to. The only trouble was I wasn’t. My memory, concentration and motivation are nominal. This is all normal says my shrink. The vast majority of my brain is still tied up processing what happened to me 8 months ago. Extraordinary but true. We have discussed it at work, hence these monthly meetings. At the last one they sad that they had seen ‘a flash of the old Holly’ one Friday afternoon. Was that it? One afternoon! I recounted this to my shrink, he turned it on its head and told me it was fantastic progress and I should be really encouraged. So I was. This last month I have felt as if I was getting back into the swing of things. I even came home one Friday night after a particularly good week thinking ‘gosh I love my job’. I haven’t felt that since before July. So it was progress. I knew I wasn’t ‘there’ yet (wherever ‘there’ is) but I was certainly getting there and that filled me with hope and inspiration.

This morning that glimmer of hope was well and truly crushed.

They told me that I hadn’t been doing my new role as Director since July, that they were paying me more than anyone else in the company and quite frankly they weren’t getting their ‘money’s worth’. I can see their point, I know I’m not at my best, but I am fighting really hard and I felt I was making it up that mountain, now I am tumbling down again out of control. They are a business, not a charity, I can understand that. I am sure they feel angry that their business has suffered from this, but then so has my life. With my business woman’s hat on I can see their point, who knows if I, in their position, would have felt the same. It just wasn’t what I needed to hear right now, not when I had just started to find that old spring in my step.

They told me they didn’t know what to do. They wanted to do the best for the business and for me, they consider me a ‘friend’ as well as a colleague they said. They suggested that maybe it might help me if I was ‘demoted’ (they didn’t use that word but it was implied loud and clear) and my salary reduced. They know I have a competitive streak, they told me, and apparently I’m ‘a winner’. They thought it might motivate me to be given the challenge of working my way back up the ladder again. That’s how they justified it, I’m not sure if I believe them. It’s up to me of course to ‘get back to them’. What do they expect? Me to bounce back into the office tomorrow and say ‘hey, great idea, cut my salary, take everything away that I’ve worked so hard for, strip me of my pride, I’m sure I’ll be better in no time’?

Then they started saying that they knew I was good enough at my job to be able to ‘cruise by’. I was ‘good’ but I wasn’t ‘brilliant’ any more. ‘You were really good at your job’ slipped out at one stage, quickly corrected to ‘you are’. But it was too late. I WAS really good at my job, now they think I’m average and want to demote me.

Suddenly I was drawn back to the title of this blog. ‘Am I still me?”. Apparently not. I think that’s what nearly reduced me to tears. I feel as if I have been taken away from me, robbed of the life I had. I have never in all my professional life (which hasn’t been an easy ride I can promise you) cried in front of one of my colleagues. Even my mum has always said ‘Holly doesn’t cry much for a girl’! I fought it off today, but only just, only by not speaking. I wasn’t sure what would have come out if I’d opened my mouth, so I kept quiet. They could see that so they told me to get back to them in a couple of days. Then, another first, I was sent out for a fag break.

Now I feel hollow and lost (although better for writing it down).