Tough night

Friday 27th April (8.51pm)

**picture taken from car**

Sat at my ‘go to place’ with chips. I am not ready to go home yet. I can’t, I need just to sit here in my car with headspace. I am watching the sea which tonight is relatively calm, despite there being a wind. The tide is in, there are people around, not many, enough. I will not be getting out of my car, there is no need to and neither do I want to.

What has brought me here? This evening I went to a colleague’s retirement do. A colleague who has become a very good friend. A friend who has helped me over the last few years. A friend who has been there for me, even though I have some times ignored   her and pushed her away. A friend who gets me, who understands me. A friend who this week has said goodbye to a 30 year police career. A friend for life. 

I wanted to be there tonight, I have missed many nights out over the last few years but tonight was different.

I walked into a busy pub, spotted my group and felt panic. I felt lost, I felt like I no longer knew these people. People who I worked with before going off. I felt like an alien. People made me welcome, gave me hugs, asked how I was. I politely replied. So much change over the last 2 years. 

The skittles alley had been hired so off we went to play. I offered to be the person who replaced the skittles and chuck the balls back down. This was an easy ‘out’ for me as I was at the opposite end to everyone else. Still involved in the game but on the outside of conversation. This is what I wanted. As time went by I found it harder to be there. It seemed to get louder, I felt overwhelmed. I felt anxious and knew I had to escape. I felt no longer part of that group, no longer part of something that was once my life. I struggled to be around ‘work people’.  I could not cope with it. Too many memories. My head became busy. Run George Run. This has nothing to do with any of the people there, in fact they are all lovely. I just couldn’t do it. 

I grabbed my best friend and my retirement buddy and said I had to leave. They knew. They saw it in my face. They understand. My mate walked me to my car. I am ok as I sit here. I am out of the situation. It has reaffirmed my deep overriding anxiety and panic of anything related to work. 

Now I will head home, home to my gorgeous dog who will bring me back to earth, who will tonight sleep on my head and give me unconditional love.

That was tough xx 

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