Helplessness: that dull sick feeling of not being the one at the reins. When did you last feel like that – and what did you do about it?

About five weeks ago I had a moment when I broke down, after twenty-six years of being the one people could rely on and being the one to pick up all the pieces, I gave up for five minutes and I felt utterly helpless.

I can’t really describe how this felt as I’ve never really had these feelings before. I couldn’t stop crying though I had no idea why the tears were coming as there were no emotions attached to the tears. I would freeze and forget what I was doing and this would cause the tears to start again. I couldn’t sleep but was constantly tired and through it all I was in an emotional cloud of cotton wool, all blank and fuzzy.

It’s taken about four weeks to come round to feeling even slightly capable to work again, but I now worry about that feeling of helplessness as I had never had that before and now it’s there it could return at any moment, and that makes me feel truly helpless.

Though after my return and decision to be honest with my team and co-workers I’ve felt lot of support and warmth. I’ve gone around setting up systems to help me cope and people are being really helpful and letting me dictate my own pace of return.


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