I would say lack of energy has been the symptom that has blighted my life the most these past few years.
Noticing a pattern
In 2016, I really begun to struggle in my role as Computer Officer at the University. Since 2013, I had been splitting my time across two departments. I loved the work. I loved my sites and the people. But more and more, I was struggling with depleting energy levels. And I began to take days off work because of fatigue.
Eventually, we noticed a pattern to these days. First of the month – exhaustion. Eighteenth of the month, stomach upset. Every two months.
With an early start and barely an hour for lunch, I put it down to spreading myself too thinly. There were days when the thought of walking between buildings felt a herculean effort.
A new role – but not yet the right role
Eventually, I took a new role. It was a grade lower than my current job, but it was meant to be an easier life. Whilst it may have started that way, things were to go from bad to worse.
For the first sixth months, I worked on one site. And I can remember saying I was bored. So I was asked to work across two sites. I didn’t mind. I was working at a vet school (endless puppy dogs) and one of the smaller colleges. Both of which I loved. And they were full days on one site. Three days at one. Two at the other.
But very quickly, the work at the college began to ramp up. And spread across the length of a road, the site could be a lot of ground to cover. I used a bike, which helped. But soon even that became too much.
A herculean effort
At my worst, I can remember standing at one end of a very long corridor at the vet school. At the other end was the car park and my ride home. But the walk to the end was a herculean effort.
In the end, I put my head down to look at my feet. (A trick I learned when walking up hills. It makes the path look flat, and you can’t see how far you still have to walk).
Whispering the mantra “one step in front of the other”, in time to my steps, I managed to reach the end.
On other occasions, I have had to nap in the car after driving to work in the morning. I’d barely been awake 2 hours. One hour getting ready for work. 45 minutes driving.
Occupational health and a business plan
Gradually, this lack of energy led to the brain fog and depression that was to blight me for another eighteen months. My absence from work every two months, became monthly. Eventually, occupational health became involved. I am pleased to say, the University is very supportive. And I was temporarily put on reduced hours whilst I recovered. This gave me enough energy to work work on a new business plan. It was obvious that this job was beyond my current capabilities.
I seriously considered working for myself. (Given COVID-19, I’m eternally grateful that I didn’t). But the plan did help me identify a new role that I would never have considered in the past.
As a Front Lines IT Services Manager, I have all the benefit of supporting people. But can delegate much of the work that tired me to my colleagues. Whilst continuing to work on the aspects I could still manage and enjoy.
On the road to recovery
My energy levels are much improved now. And along with a new job, I very much have my friend Sarah Derrick to thank for this.
She recommended the Vitimin D protocol. And a change in diet, similar to Keto.
In the space of eight weeks, I have seen my blood pressure drop, my energy levels increase and my brain fog all but dissipate.
I am by no means back to normal. I still get dips in the month, where I may need to take a day off work. But as I write this, this absence from work due to fatigue has happened only twice in seven months.
I am hopeful that this improvement will continue.