Don’t let them in,
don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel,
don’t let them know
Well now they know
Do you recognize the above? No reason why you should. It’s from an incredibly popular film. For children. A film for children in which, as a child, the main character’s parents encourage her to hide away (and hide away) the power her emotion unleashes on the world around her. If she conceals – or better doesn’t feel – the emotion, there will be less harm. The quote precedes her realization, as an adult, that she is freer when the world knows the power of her emotion.
I hope to God that she is right. For months at work, I have carefully hidden my mental health from colleagues. I’ve concealed wounds, worked long hours to complete tasks on time, taken no time off, and hidden the way that I’ve truly been feeling from everyone, including my line manager. Maintained the impression that the crisis is over; I am “well” again.
But I can’t do that anymore. The back-door appointment of someone else, to a job that I desperately wanted, has broken me. And the (objective) unfairness of it tripped a switch that has led to uncontrollable tears and anger and rage. Anger I couldn’t hide from my line manager – anger that others will pick up on, in backwards-fashion, now that I have moved offices, away from the Head of Department’s pet favourite. Anger that has me sat rigid in staff meetings, scared to move; anger that has stymied my attempts at productivity. Anger that knows no bounds.
And I am back to feeling out of control. To feeling like this. Like there is no still-point in me anymore, even as the potter said there was. That the still place I used to be able to walk to, quietly, inside of myself, to find calm no longer exists. I feel like I have been thrown too far, and out of reach, and that I am irrecoverable.
My mother told me to put my head down, carry on, after the interview. To hide how I feel, maintain a professional image. I really wanted to. The other candidates, equally unfairly treated, did that. But I couldn’t. All I could do, all I can do, is hide away. Interacting with anyone at work is too much. And now, because I hide, everyone at work knows I am out of control. Can’t cope.
Because everyone at work knows I am (still) mad, everything is ruined. And still, the storm rages on, without end. Please, God, tell me that you are at work at the still point of this storm. That you haven’t let go, even though I have.