When I talk with people about returning to work they ask if I am ready. If my brain has healed sufficiently. ‘Are you right in the head to go back to work?’ Although I still have about seven weeks left on my leave, I am thinking about it. About what we will do, how we will live without this money, and if my brain will heal enough to allow me back to work.
But I can write, right?
Well, I try to write anything other than my current experience and I block. Even when I try to write more in my book about the episode, I block. My brain shuts down in a major way when I try to engage with academic texts. My field is in academia and before the birth I was on track to start a doctorate and I still really want to, but my brain is refusing to work. It is even shutting down about sewing projects.
It just wants to be left alone. To do what, I do not know.
On the one hand my brain seems satisfied to be floating, and on the other hand there are moments when it flurries into a a swarm of panicked ‘I must do all the things’ thoughts. I am finally happy to be at home with Master X and a relative of mine encouraged me while I was pregnant to
consider letting your brain just go to mush for a few years while you have kids. Enjoy the fact that your brain will no longer work. Be with that.
So perhaps I just need to chill out more. I mean, it is not like we had the most welcoming start to parenthood and our lives have just been turned inside out. I am still medicated (the dose went up again recently due to the episode of stopping) and the doctor says it will be about six months before they will try to wean me off the anti-psychotics.
I am unwell. I need to let my brain heal. I need to learn to be with this new version of the old me. My new brain that now I know I will never trust again. Not in the way that I used to – flying high, wired progressions, racing thoughts, hyper activity. It will take time to get to know the bounds of this new identity. I have changed, and not just because of having a baby, but also because of having a psychotic episode. I need time to forgive myself, to enjoy my baby, to find my new self enjoyable.
And to love. Above all I need time to progress my emotions out of panic and to be stable for a time. I am not out of the woods, so work will have to wait.