Behind The Professional Facade

What do you not tell your boss?

Maria is much in demand professionally.

She was recently head hunted by another company – a prestigious one.

Tempted to go, her employers acted quickly, giving her both promotion and a pay rise to encourage her to stay.

And she did stay.

The new role was demanding, especially for a single mum with three children.

But Maria was coping, and on the surface – as far as her employers were concerned – everything was fine.

But at home, everything wasn’t fine.

Maria has developed envelope-phobia, for instance.

She can’t open any envelopes, fearing the demands they bring. Insurance, water rates, gas, phone, banks, TV, local council – they all need sorting, but she doesn’t have the energy.

The pile of unopened envelopes by the front door is growing – and has become an object of fear.

Maria also finds herself unable to revise for her driving test theory exam.

This is odd because she loves driving and wants to get out there on the road.

But the exam is four days away, it feels frightening – and she can’t do it.

Instead of revising, on getting home, she lies on her bed for a couple of hours and then distracts herself by going online.

Having lost her husband last year, the responsibility of life is overwhelming her. She can manage at work – but beyond that?

‘What do I do?’ asked Maria in our Mind Clinic session.

We focused on the most immediate need: preparation time for her forthcoming theory exam.

We used a simple breathing exercise to bring her into the present, which had an immediate impact on her clearly anxious state.

And I offered a couple of ideas for letting go of fearful, anxious thoughts.

The truth that ‘we are not our thoughts’ was both new to her and liberating. Her fearful thoughts had been ruling her life for years – and never more so than now.

We then rehearsed what she’d do when she got home that night, involving some supper, the lighting of a candle and some deep breathing. She’d breath out fear and breath in strength…and then she’d settle down for some highway code revision.

Before she left, Maria – a highly-regarded professional, remember, who is managing a department, said:

‘You won’t tell my boss, will you? He’d think I was mad!’