I couldn’t decide whether to give up on life or sit at my desk and start work!

Samantha Mitcham
5 min readNov 11, 2020

This morning, after the school run, I sat outside my house for 30 minutes. I sat and stared at everything and everyone passing by yet I didn’t actually see anything or anybody. I’m not sure how that happens? Maybe it’s a mist over the mind that somehow wipes one’s memory as I cannot remember barely anything from that 30 minutes of life.

My best friend, a nurse, rang me — I remember that — I heard the call, saw the call and ignored the call. I love said best friend, I would usually tell her my every thought, happy, dark, positive or sad but……….not today!

‘Are you ok?’ — she text me due to the unusually unanswered call. We often speak at 9am as she has just finished her night shift I am walking back from school.

‘I can’t decide whether to give up on life or sit at my desk and start work’ — I replied.

My fingers shook as I sent that message, it was one of those moments whereby I felt completely numb.

I am not suicidal, just to clarify — I luckily never have been, nor would I ever joke about such so please do not take the above as a suggestion that I would. That is a subject matter incredibly close to my heart and not one I would ever speak of lightly. When I said ‘give up on life’ I was communicating that I literally had no idea where or how to start the day or more to the point, whether I was physically or mentally capable of doing so.

I just felt numb.

The morning before the part described above was fine, normal, nice, I was in Mum mode and nothing seemed untoward until I was alone and back home.

‘I’m ok hun, how was your shift? Love you x’

I sent another message, I didn’t want my friend over-worrying but she’d already spotted my pain and asked me about several elements she knew I am struggling with.

The main of which, I am not going to write about on here, as authentic and real as I intend these posts to be — one of my major stressors in life isn’t something I would discuss publicly, or with many people at all really.

But the other elements — I will share wherever I feel it relevant to give an insight into where I was at, and why, during these moments of despair.

Back to that twenty minutes of feeling numb, it is almost like an out of body experience, a very difficult thing to put into words but if you have been there you will know.

It’s not a panic attack, nor is it an anxiety attack (I will cover my experience of those another time) it’s more like an emptiness. There is just nothing. I think it is a detachment from emotion, it never lasts long, I think it must be a way of the body coping when it has nothing left to give.

I was upset, tired, stressed, angry, pressured and worried — all at the same time and I believe my body……..Just. Said. No.

I am self-employed. Prior to lockdown I worked 2 days contracted and the rest self-employed but I was made redundant (see earlier blog) so now I am fully self-employed, working from home.

I am busy, my business is relatively new or rather ‘up and coming’ and being busy is good. Being busy is great. It is everything I’ve ever hoped for and now, more than ever, something I am eternally grateful for.

But just because something is positive doesn’t mean it’s easy.

I thrive on stress. I work well under pressure. I always have and even when I’ve had spare time I always embark on some kind of project to absorb the time. I very rarely just sit or watch TV etc.

So, I thought that this morning happened because I couldn’t face the work pressures but that couldn’t have been it, or rather not that alone, because as I said, I thrive on stress in a work environment.

So — why did it happen? Why has that 20 minutes of numbness left me with a sense of emptiness all day?

I had to dig deeper, which I did, once I was at my desk working away — throwing my attention into the tasks of the day……..each time I thought of a worry I wrote it on a post-it note, on the reverse side of the note I wrote one word to describe how that worry made me feel — I then screwed them up and put them into my worry jar (just an old jam jar — any container with a lid will do).

At the end of the day I closed the lid on the jar.

I didn’t find any solutions today, not one, not a single solution to any of those worries.

But what I did do was acknowledge the worry and more importantly I acknowledged the feeling each worry gave me.

When we acknowledge a feeling, absorb a feeling, it doesn’t make it go away but it does defer resistance. Resistance against feelings is never a good thing. Cry when you need to. Scream when you need to (in an appropriate place of course, personally I venture up a huge hill and stand in the middle of a field, gosh I hope nobody has ever witnessed that madness), punch a punch bag if you need to, squeeze a stress ball if you need to, let it out. I’m doing that right now — writing is one of the ways I ‘release’ feelings.

So what is it I suffered with today? Stress? Depression? Anxiety?

Who knows?

We all have our own journeys, our own battles, our own struggles. I am sharing the consequences of mine rather than details of the actual causes, because I want to play my part in shouting out that YOU ARE NEVER ALONE!

Whatever it is you are feeling, someone has felt the same before and someone will feel the same again. For different reasons maybe but with the feelings — you are not alone.

At the moment, more so than usual, especially during the pandemic, we must remember that:

‘’WE ARE NOT ALL IN THE SAME BOAT BUT WE ARE ALL IN THE SAME STORM!’’

Take care and until the next time………………….. don’t just feel the feelings — acknowledge them!

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Samantha Mitcham

Mother 👧 Accountant 👩‍💻 Writing to release 🖊