Some days my brain just says NOPE the moment I wake up in the morning until the moment that I fall asleep at night. Nothing cooperates. I’m in a fog, bad memories hit me from all angles with or without a triggering event, and my emotions fluctuate from one end of the spectrum to the other.
When I was a STAHM these bad brain days didn’t change my daily life all that much. I just sort of shuffled the kids off to their rooms for quiet time in the afternoon; then really processed everything after they went to bed. I didn’t have to interact with adults and no one really knew that anything was bothering me. Little could tell, but I’ve always made sure to be age appropriately transparent with her about my mental illness. She knows that when I have a bad day it isn’t because of her or anything that she’s done wrong or could do differently.
When I went back to work things became a little more complicated. I wasn’t able to hide my bad brain days. For a while I used the usual excuses about why I wasn’t my bubbly self. When coworkers would ask I would just say that I was tired, or that the kids had kept me up all night or that I didn’t feel well. Then Thanksgiving rolled around and as I watched my coworkers post their messages of encouragement and thankfulness on our company message board I decided to do something a little unorthodox.
Going back to work has really helped me continue forward on my path of recovery. I sort of stalled there for a while, not regressing but also not really moving forward beyond regaining my voice. Getting back out into the world and interacting with adults on a regular basis refreshed my social skills and gave me something to look forward to instead of looking backwards at. Plus I love my job and my coworkers. It’s not like any other restaurant I’ve worked in before, and it’s been extremely healing for me to have those familiar sights and smells become associated with good memories instead of bad. So… I told them so. I posted on our company message board a brief message detailing my diagnosis and a brief background of what I had been going through behind the scenes as it were.
Because my team is amazeballs, they all rallied around me in support and have been exceptionally understanding. Now when I’m having a bad brain day instead of making up some lame excuse I can go into work and say: “PTSD day. I’ll be okay.” I don’t have to hide it or put on a mask or be ashamed of the days when my brain goes wonky. I mean I’m fairly open about my life anyway all the time, but having the freedom to express what’s really going on inside my head with out worrying about losing my job or getting my hours cut or missing out on advancement opportunities is… I don’t know. I really don’t know how to describe it.
I mean I am, supremely thankful that I work in such a supportive environment. Even though it’s food, and even though it isn’t really what I wanted to do when I returned to the workforce. I’m so glad I ended up there and I look forward to what the future with the company might bring me. Bad Brain Days be damned.