The first thing with Sir is that he can catch me, and the second is that I know that he will catch me. This is reassuring to say the least; I trust him implicitly and he has never knowingly let me down. However, sometimes it is hard to catch someone when you don’t know they are falling and this is even harder if they don’t recognise it themselves. It can be difficult to be that cushion to protect them and keep them safe if you have no idea where they are going to land. This is how it can be with us sometimes.
You might think that after a couple of good years at this thing, we would be proficient in managing the many trials and tribulations that come our way. I think that I have made the mistake of expecting that myself. Wrong. Life is not predictable and neither, it seems, is the way that I react to things. Recently it has been difficult for me in managing the demanding role that I play at work. My current caseload is exhausting of my time, my energy and my emotions. We have worked on work though, and as with some of my last posts, have learnt that the way to help me manage the lack of control I feel there, is for Sir to make more demands of me at home so that I feel his control of me more keenly here.
This method has served us well, and coupled with some rituals for helping to make the transition from one environment to the other, as well as keeping the mindset, we have pretty well managed to keep on top of things. I have learnt how to leave work behind; Sir has taught me how to compartmentalise in a way that makes him proud and this seemed to really do the trick. My head quickly made the switch and I felt strong and safe and calm in the world that he had created for me. So it came as a bit of a surprise when I began to spiral out of control again. Why was this happening, I wondered. I didn’t want the pesky thoughts of the things I hadn’t done, the people I had to help and the problems I still had to solve creeping into my blissful world of submission. Here it was simple – I knew who I was and what I had to do and I knew that I didn’t need the one leaking into the other.
In the end I think that I managed so well to ignore what was going on at work during my home time, that I was letting it all build up. When we spoke about it, usually after I moaned again about it, Sir was quick to point out that an honest conversation with my line manager was in order. And I did do this but there was no fast solution. The whole ‘work smarter’ thing is difficult when your role is based around supporting other people. They come to talk, which is a sign that I am doing my job well, and my role is to listen and then help. What I have to give is time so I can’t really cut back on that. I began to feel so tired at the reality of it that it exhausted me and I felt like I had nothing more to give. Cue the open and honest text to Sir: “Please can we speak? I am not coping.”
I cannot explain the relief when he sat down and listened. It poured out in a sort of stream of consciousness and he waited calmly. His solution was not as I expected. Before when we had spoken he had become frustrated on my behalf at the fact I had so much to do and so little time. This time he asked if I thought it would help if I worked every day until 6pm. He said that he would arrive at that time every day to collect me, which would give me longer to finish the paperwork I have and complete the admin that was driving me under. I was sceptical. I have often worked until that time anyway but find that I get tired and am not always productive so I wasn’t sure it would be any help. However, part of me felt a pressure being lifted just at the thought of it. I suppose it was that problem shared thing. And more than that – he had taken control. He had taken my issue and told me what would happen and that helped hugely. He had made himself part of the solution and in doing so had shared my problem.
He asked me after the first day if it had helped and I was glad to report that it had. It is ironic as I don’t think I was there much longer than I often am, but I was much more productive. He had told me to work until 6 so that is what I did. Knowing that he would be waiting for me the minute I left was also nice. It was like we were a part of it together. Where I may have flagged and felt resentful about still being snowed under at 5.30, I looked at the clock and thought, great – another 30 minutes to get a bit more done. The guilt was gone, the resentment was gone and the feeling of falling was gone. Sir had caught me and I was going to be ok. That night as we snuggled up together in bed I felt like my old self again. I felt my desire and need of him in a physical sense much more strongly than I had done for a while. I felt closer to him and had the energy and drive to see him and focus on his needs much more than I had been doing.
Is it interesting that where some impact or pain might help one time, a greater sense of serving might help another. And sometimes someone stepping in and taking control seems to be the solution the next time. So no matter how good you get at managing and fixing things, no matter how many preventative measures you have in place and no matter how much experience you have under your belt, you will still fall and you will still need to be caught. But I think that as long as you keep talking and listening to each other then the crash mats won’t ever be far away; you may still panic as you feel yourself go, but know there will be a set of strong arms ready to catch you.