Living with a mental illness is difficult. When I am at home, I have trouble coping with some situations, but all I have to do is say I am having difficulty. In contrast, many things trigger my anxiety out in the world, so many opportunities for my executive functions to freeze up.
An excellent example of this is my job. I work part-time at the public library. I do fine unless there is a change or something that throws me off, like the pandemic. There have been many changes at the library to make the library accessible to patrons. These changes are wonderful because people can have access to the many things that the library has available. When I try to remember or think about the changes, my brain does what it always does. It stops processing.
I want to think that this happens to a lot of people. Mostly because thinking that helps me feel better about the fact that I can’t remember what the librarian has just finished saying to me. Before the library closed in March, I was having a difficult time processing information. Tomorrow I go back for the first time since mid-March, and I am afraid.
I am not afraid of COVID; the staff is conscientious about the procedures for keeping us safe. I am scared of the change. I have let this fear keep me from doing so many things in my life. I am trying to keep going forward and embrace the changes. Even the changes that are the hardest. I think that that is all I can do.
The plan is to take notes and ask questions. Also, to remind the people around me that this is something that might be an issue. Doing that allows the people around me to understand that I am having difficulty and not just being forgetful. Having a plan in place dissipates some of the anxiety. With luck, the day will go well.
I love working at the library. I enjoy talking about books. As I go through my shift at the library tomorrow, I will follow my plan and remember that the reason I work there is that I love my job, and the day should go well.