Have a break, have a crème brûlée latté

Today I had a breakdown.

When I rang home only an hour and a half after having started work saying exactly these words, my parents naturally assumed the worst. Dad asked if I’d hit a customer in the face with a frying pan; at least he was joking. Mum genuinely thought I’d verbally/physically abused someone because ‘when people say breakdown that’s normally what they mean.’ Er.. is it? I know she has an active imagination (and sometimes I can be a bit fiery) but come on? I am never anything but super sweet and helpful to customers. I reserve the nastiness for the family…

In actual fact what happened was I walked over to my department, gave my colleague a hug and then suffered a prolonged water leakage from my eyes. Normally if you’re a bit worked up/emotional before work, you find that once you get in there you’re fine. The times that you’re sure you’re going to be miserable and sad all day are the times you go in and realise you were being a bit melodramatic. It’s when you choose to try to ignore the way you feel and keep convincing yourself that you’re OK; that really you’re quite fine, that you’re actually incredibly stressed and don’t realise it.

Those are the times you only have to hug someone and it all goes to pot.

Normally the last thing I think about before I go to bed is what I need to do tomorrow, what I haven’t done that day and clothes. Yes, clothes. Outfits/outfit ideas/clothes I want. But last night I spent ages tossing and turning trying to get to sleep fretting about my driving test and the amount of hours I’m doing at work.

  • Don’t forget not to miss the slip roads on certain roundabouts – they don’t count as exits.
  • Don’t forget to indicate right and stay in the right hand lane if you’re going straight ahead at a large roundabout.
  • Check your right-hand mirror when you’re changing lanes in a roundabout.
  • Don’t slow down too quickly on a dual carriageway when taking the next exit.
  • Indicate if you’re pulling in/out and there’s a car behind you.
  • Remind instructor to go through questions they might ask you, to open up the bonnet, to go through headlight settings.
  • Check your mirrors. Check your mirrors. Check your mirrors.
  • Lesson Tuesday – 8:30-10:30, work 4-10 changed to 2-8
  • Lesson the next morning 10-12, work 12-8, changed to 12-6
  • Work tomorrow, Saturday, Sunday off, work Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday test…

I couldn’t sleep with all of that going on in my brain. I’ve been completely panicking about every thing (though this is standard for me), and although it seems silly – it’s just a driving test right? – passing means a lot more to me than that. Being able to drive won’t just mean being able to go into town to pick up that coffee machine I want, or popping down to Tesco because I fancy some Nobby’s Nuts. It’ll mean being able to get out of Asda, being able to apply for other jobs, trying to get some freelance work with radio stations. It’ll mean partial independence.

I live with somebody who is constantly nagging at me to get in touch with people, to email this place, to call this other place, to work for five places at a time (she goes by the name of ‘mother’). I’m constantly in the mindset of ‘I need to do this’ then ‘this’, then ‘something else’, and after that I’ll start on the next list. There’s so much pressure. I keep having to repeat the same words, that I can’t really do much until I can drive and have a car. It’s been my main goal/priority since I finished uni.

And so, unwittingly, I feel as though I have a lot riding on this test. My sanity perhaps?

On top of this, it’s Christmas. Work is usually stressful, hectic and busy. My job is physically and emotionally draining and I always work unsociable hours. This results in me rarely ever seeing anyone outside of my family, which means having a lot of time to myself, which means lots of time to think, therefore fret/worry about anything and everything. I’m lacking in stress relief.

Then there’s other personal things happening in my life at the moment, which I’ve been coping with, but is shit all the same. Even more shit when you realise it’s turning out to be one of those situations where, when you’re as busy and distracted as I am, you don’t realise it’s bothering you because you don’t have the time to think about it. Instead everything builds up, you have a melt down and then have to face up to things. I’m terrible for blocking things out and not dealing with them as it is – being busy only makes it easier.

It can only take a few drinks for it to all come crashing down.

So… I’m a bit stressed out. But I’m feeling OK. I cried, spoke to my section leader at work, chatted about things and relaxed a little, he sent me home and I endured my mum’s declaration that she assumed I’d been sent home for swearing at someone. Then I made a crème brûlée latté and wrote it all down.

Sometimes life just throws these challenges at you and you have to take a minute and relax. Or, if you’re clever like me, cry in public and work a 3 hour shift instead of 8 hour one.



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