I’m recovering from a frantic trip to Spain earlier this week. I was there for a conference; the culmination of many months of work from a variety of my colleagues. The event wasn’t just a time investment – it was a huge financial investment for our firm. I was super stressed in the run up, and even more under pressure once there to make sure everything went well.
As it happens, there were no disasters. There were a few minor problems, but happily none of them were my fault. There were a couple of occasions on which I had to find some assertiveness (god knows where it came from). The days were long and extremely full on. It was three back-to-back 15 hour days with no breaks. Aside from catching a few brief smoke breaks in the beautiful hotel gardens (pictured above) there was barely any respite from being in crowds of people.
That was challenging. On top of the pressure to make the conference successful, I had to manage my social anxiety, my self-doubt, and my low moods. I suppose that’s how the real disaster arose; I ended up getting drunk. We were out having tapas. Everyone around me was drinking, and I kept being offered it. I felt like an outsider and I felt really anxious. So after a short while I just said yes.
It’s disappointing that I couldn’t just push through without resorting to destructive coping strategies. I felt like a failure for it and I still do now. It’s yet another restart on the whole sobriety thing. So I’m 4 days sober…
Aside from the conference, I feel like there’s been a lot going on. My therapist has been on holiday for over two weeks now. I have noticed that my response to her absence has been involving myself in my ‘busy addiction’. I’ve not taken time out. I have worked about double the hours I usually do. At home I’ve cleaned and tidied and cooked – I even hoovered the car. That never happens.
I’m pissed off because that same car broke down today (maybe I shouldn’t have cleaned it?). It’s old and I’ve known for a while that I’ll probably need to replace it soon, but I’m annoyed because there are much more fun things to spend that kind of money on.
And then there is the usual family stuff bubbling away in the background. My grandma is chronically ill, but has a nasty chest infection again and has been in and out of hospital this week. Every time something like this happens, we all half expect that it’ll be what kills her. It’s scary and it’s sad. As well as this, a family friend who I love to bits had a stroke at the weekend. He’s in his seventies and has a heart condition and I can’t imagine he’ll recover.
The happy news is that my sister just got engaged, and is 10 weeks pregnant. I have a lot of complex, mixed up feelings about it. But a part of me is pleased for her and excited about becoming an aunt to a baby I want in my life.
At the same time, the wedding is causing problems in the family. My sister told me she is not inviting my brother (my abuser) and his wife because she wants my wife and I to be there. I’ve already had a very awkward conversation with my mum in which she alluded to this and made her usual attempts to emotionally blackmail me. I hate all the guilt and anger that comes with those sort of interactions.
I am exhausted, but I’m glad I came here to write tonight. I feel a little lighter for sharing all of this.
Here’s the part of the hotel I dreamed of spending time in, while I was instead swarmed by the crowds of strangers in air conditioned rooms devoid of natural light…