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It's been a few days, and what a few days it has been! Walking, cycling, Zwifting and more.

After Tuesday things have stayed quite positive, with the occasional hiccup here and there. Biggest issues have been my back pain and crappy sleep, but more on that in a bit. Being back on the bike has been a massive help to me I think. Being able to free my mind of the dark and worrying thoughts for a while is always a positive start to a day. With a good hard real world ride yesterday, a lethargic Zwift session the day before, and plenty of walking in between, my head is a much fresher place to be.

Yesterday saw a call with my manager regarding my recent visit to the GP, and the outcome of that. The plan being to take these findings to HR, and arrange an appointment with the companies Occupational Health service, in order to better understand the impact of my situation, and to address any adaptations to the role or "workplace" to accommodate the recommendations. This is a road I have been down before with work, and one I am comfortable with. Even if the intentions of the first referral years ago were somewhat questionable, but lets not go there again!

The conversation with the manager was a very pleasant and understanding chat, which was quite welcome I have to say. While I am pretty much an open book when it comes to talking about my mental health, having a conversation with a new person about it can feel quite awkward at times. Thankfully I have known this manager a long time now, and it was just a matter of finding a common language to get the conversation started. By the end of the chat it felt like I had been understood, and we were on at least the same chapter of the book about what was needed.  A referral to OH has been made, so now I await an appointment and go from there. 

In the meantime I am due a follow up with my GP next week, but of course I need to chase this up as their appointment system at the moment doesn't show an appointment for me. No stress, just taking things one step at a time. Next week I also have a consultation with the local authority Mental Health team IAPT for an assessment for counselling and any other treatment recommendations moving forward. I remember the first time I spoke to them, and how hopeless it made me feel by the end of the conversation. So I am putting that to the back of my mind, and hoping for a better experience this time around.  What do we think they will recommend for social anxiety? A group session maybe? lol

All in all, as far as mentally anyway, things are on track. I mentioned to my manager during the chat the possibility of an assessment for ASD too, so that is all noted. Yet to see what the GP and IAPT think about this, and what the timescales would be. The next week or two is all about appointments, chats and assessments, then we take the next step, whatever that may be.

From a work perspective, it is recognised that changes may be needed depending on what OH think of it all. The biggest thing that came up again and again with my manager was the way working in the office with the "team" makes me feel, and how time away has made me realise that the office environment is probably THE biggest contributor to my struggles with anxiety on a day to day basis. Jeez just interacting on TEAMS is harder work than it should be at times! Fingers crossed the chat with OH which I believe is virtual at the moment (Covid rattles on) is good enough to put across what the actual issues are here, and not sound like a whiner.

My biggest fear at every step of the way, being seen as a work shy little whiny princess who wants it all his own way. I am sure anyone who doesn't understand anxiety (not just feeling a little anxious) will see it as a ploy to just stay working from home. To some, as it has throughout Covid, working from home is just for lazy people who don't want to work. Whereas in reality, with WFH I actually spend more time working, am more flexible with my time, and able to adapt better to changes in requirements. Only this week I was able to log on to work at 7am and get the day started much earlier than usual, which allowed me to help the team long before I was officially starting work that day. But hey, WFH is for lazy people, and isn't productive. 
Let's see eh.

Physically however the back pain has continued, which has led to poor sleep and feeling tired a lot of the day. I was not sure over the past week if that was mental or physical exhaustion, but as my mood lifted things changed a bit. However some residual lethargy remained, the product of crap sleep and dare I say poor diet too. Dealing with the back was first up, and today I visited Andrew Fung the awesome Osteopath, visiting him at clinic in Greenwich. Had a lovely little walk there with Ann from Greenwich Park, so arrived in a good frame of mind. An hour later, lots of popping and cracking from my back etc, and I am already moving a lot more freely, however will be following up with another appointment next week. It was good to get a professional take on how things were, and be assured that things are on the mend, so I look forward to my next appointment with Andrew next week. I won't pretend I am not left with discomfort at the moment, but am sure I will sleep a little better tonight, and hopefully get on the road to normal again soon.

The other side of things, the nutrition side has been bugging me for a few weeks. Just before France I stopped using the Huel I had been using for meal replacement. On the week or two running up to that time I asked the question openly if people thought the Huel could be contributing towards how I was feeling. Better sleep, more energy, resting HR dropping to an all time low for me (around 37bpm). Not convinced it was that, when I got to the end of the trial bag I had ordered, I didn't get anymore. But shortly after stopping, things took a dive. Coincidence? 
Well, we will find out soon I guess, as today two more bags of Huel arrived (with another free t-shirt). So from Monday I think I will be back on the shakes in the morning, and cleaner eating the rest of the day, and we shall see how things go from there. If things start to improve again I will be shocked and delighted, and of course a Huel customer for life!

For now, it's almost the weekend, the weather is looking great, my bikes are calling, and I can't wait to get some more miles in the sunshine in. Maybe even a ride with a friend, if I can find one! Haha


Have a fun and safe weekend all.