Tag Archives: work

The Me I Could Be/The Me I Could Never Be

Wow, I can’t believe I haven’t updated in so long. I really had no idea how much time had passed. Time keeps drifting through my fingers. I’m sorry that I’ve been a crappy blogging friend and haven’t been around.

I’m okay. I’ve remained cocooned in a bubble of self-isolation. My emotions seem to be a yo-yo, though.

The week before last, I visited my family. A week ago, I went back to work. For some reason, my anxiety was working overtime, and I kept thinking I was on the verge of a panic attack. I thought I could feel everyone hating me. Then I had this conversation that seemed to insinuate people there liked me. And for the rest of the week, I noticed other small signs that appeared to indicate that idea.

I went to therapy, and we talked about how I wasn’t content with the status quo in my part-time job situation. We were discussing this job I’m thinking of applying for. I doubt I would get it, but I was thinking of applying as practice. My therapist thought that would be good because I would put less pressure on myself with that goal.

Anyway, after the session, something clicked. I had this vision of the me I could be. Of what I used to be like before the big break, my competitive, success-driven self. My self that strives for competence and always achieves it. (Well, except for the pesky social anxiety, which was ten times worse in the past. I think even though I don’t take medication that strictly addresses social anxiety, it helps. Of course, I think all my problems are tied together and influence each other, but that’s a subject for another post.)

I felt this understanding that my perception of what people think of me is sharply different from reality. That if I feigned competence, people would believe it. (Because really, half the time I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing.) That I could hold a higher position and do well at it.

But then something in me flipped. I knew that this vision of the me I could be was actually the me I could never be. Every time I imagined myself succeeding, I imagined myself failing spectacularly afterward. Making stupid and costly mistakes. Anytime a person wants to talk to me at work, my first thought is always I’m in trouble or didn’t do a good job. I feel like that result is inevitable. I also had urges to sabotage any success I may have. Like I can’t let myself succeed ever. Because I don’t deserve it. Because I’m always panicking, and I’m gonna choke.  I might as well prevent the future disappointment by sabotaging myself first.

Then I started thinking that if anyone who likes me really knew what I’m like inside, the terrible person I am, the messed-up person I am, they’d be revolted.

It’s just really no one’s ever liked me. For much of my life, I had no friends. I have only one now. The idea of people liking me doesn’t compute. I’m overly sensitive to it. My therapist and I once talked about my biggest trigger, rejection. Perceived rejection. I can see little things as rejection. In general, I’m just much too sensitive, like easily shattered glass.

After I realized that the me I could be was the me I could never be, all I wanted to do was cower in a corner. I can’t go through the big break again. I don’t think I could make it through another one. For the past three years, my life has revolved around laying low, my priority being to prevent any repeat of the big break. Three freakin’ years. I’m pathetic.

Even after all that time, my will is a crushed feather. I’m all uncertainty and indecision.

I’m too broken. Thus, the me I could never be.

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Marooned in Myself

It’s hard to explain where my head space has been for the past few months. I don’t know what I should be saying right now. For the past few days, I keep coming on here to post then freezing and having nothing to say.

Well, at work, a few months ago we applied to have my job become a full-time one. The fiscal year begins in July, and since I haven’t heard anything about the matter, I assume it’s a no-go.

This is going to sound really childish, but I’ve always had a belief that things work themselves out for the best. In my life, that used to seem to happen, anyway. It’s also kept me going. But for the past year, things haven’t gone that way, and I’m just afraid I’m destined to fall. That belief is stupid, anyway. Loads of people don’t have things work out for them, so why should they for me? I’m not so damn special. Plus, the world often isn’t fair.

Ideally, I’d like to stay at my current job and have it be full-time. I’m decent at it. I like it there. I’m finally starting to feel like I belong. After two and a half years, which is kind of pathetic, but still. That’s the way I am. It’ll probably take me that long to feel comfortable someplace else.

I feel like this ideal is what’s best for me and my mental health. The pressure of starting over terrifies me. The idea of interviewing and looking for a new job terrifies me. That’s why I’m not assiduous at job-hunting.

For the past few months, I’ve been isolating. I continue to isolate. It’s like I live in this dream world in my mind and ignore large concerns in favor of small ones, only living from day to day. I drift. I let my mind be consumed by stories, both my own and those of others, whether that be in the form of books, movies, or TV shows.

And I like it.

But it can’t last. Bigger concerns will no doubt crash into it all one day. Plus, I feel hollow and alone. I can’t stay like that perpetually.

But I want to stay like this. Keep my anxiety at bay. Be consumed by fantasy because it’s all I have, because I don’t belong in this world.

The more I isolate, the more anxious I do become when I have to be around people. The more I just shut everything out.

The more I don’t read others’ blogs. I feel so guilty about it. I do care about the bloggers I follow. But I fear that maybe I’m lying to myself about that, because wouldn’t I stay more caught up if I did?

Yet I don’t. I continue to remain in my bubble. And the worst part is, I’m not even doing that badly. Just isolating. But perhaps that’s why I’m not doing too badly in the first place–I’ve inured myself into a self-contained isolationist world.

I don’t know. I don’t know what on earth I’m rambling about. But there you have it: the unlikeableness of me.

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Awk-ward

I teach a class at eight a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. Despite the atrocious time, I am excited about it because I finally get to teach a freshman composition class for the first time since grad school. (I’ve been teaching mostly developmental writing, as my tutoring position chiefly involves helping students in developmental writing. I do like teaching developmental writing, but I’ve been wanting to broaden what I teach.)

My class ran a few minutes past its ending time, and I had to discuss a couple of matters with students who were absent last week. Meanwhile, the students from the next class filtered in. I tried to hurry so I could vacate before the next class would start.

I gathered my stuff and rushed to the door. At the same time, the instructor for the next class walked in. He looked at me and said, “Where’re you going?” Puzzled, I replied, “I’m leaving.” He seemed a bit taken aback by this, so I explained that I taught the class before his.

He said he thought I was one of his students because I looked familiar. (Well, I was at the adjunct instructor composition meeting.) Apparently he thought I looked young like a student, too. I repeated that I was the instructor for the previous class, a “composition” class. He apologized, and, flustered, I responded that it was okay and disappeared as quickly as I could.

Only after I was gone did I realize that I could’ve pointed out that I’d met him at the adjunct meeting. See how unmemorable I am? I clearly remembered him, but he didn’t much recall me.

It probably didn’t help that I was wearing a backpack. (I used to use a messenger bag, but it tore up. That left me with the backpack as my only bag for carrying class materials.)

I was so embarrassed by it all.

It’s been so humid (and warm) today that I’ve been feeling sick. There’s a reason humidity is the weather condition I dislike the most. It’s odd that I, who grew up in a humid place, am so affected by the humidity.

I’ve decided that my return to blogging will be gradual. As I mentioned yesterday, the idea of returning overwhelms me. Plus, I need to have a little time for my creative writing.

But I think I figured out what is making me most antsy: it’s my social anxiety. Just as I get cripplingly nervous when I see people I haven’t talked to for a long time (a long time can even be a week), I’m feeling petrified about the idea of returning to the blogging world. As with the former situation, it might even take a little dissociation before I can feel comfortable again.

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Hunkering Down

I’m so tired. But I’m still behind on NaNoWriMo. I’m on par for my goal, and I set that goal so that I wouldn’t get freaked out about not achieving whatever the ultimate goal was. I don’t like failing. But now I want to get to the NaNo goal, too, not just mine. Because that equals more success.

Why am I so far behind? It’s not like I have a full-time job. People with full-time jobs manage to keep up with NaNo. I must be deficient. Then again, when I read posts in my region’s NaNo Facebook group, people sometimes refer to writing while at work. I don’t do that. When I’m at work, I’m working. If I have downtime, then I’m grading or planning for class.

I feel the darkness consuming me again, or at least nipping at me, because it’s ever-present. I’m trying to hold on to it and use it for my novel.

I’m stuck right now in the novel. One of my main characters, the one with the mental health issues, is supposed to be brooding. I can’t think of anything for her to brood about. I think, well, maybe I should just pretend like I’m writing a blog entry. But she’s already too much like me–the mental issues, the lack of friends, etc. I don’t want her to be a carbon copy of me. But if I’m mining my mental health experiences for her, how can she not be? Methinks I must not have much creativity.

Well, she can brood about the past, I thought, like I occasionally do. Except I realized I know nothing about her past. I know nothing about my characters in general. They’re just placeholders in the plot. That’s how I always write. How can I produce character-driven work if I focus more on the novel’s plot than on the characters themselves?

Most writers know their characters intimately. I don’t. Well, I know their vibes, but I don’t know specifics, like what they majored in when at college. I must be a hack.

I think I’m exhausted or confused or both. For the past hour, my hands have been shaking much more than usual.

I just grab characters and throw them into the story. Or throw a story at them and let them loose. This doesn’t sound like the approach of a successful novelist.

Now that I’ve said my piece, I’m going to try to hunker down for a night of writing. Sorry, I know I’m getting so behind on blogs right now. Hopefully I can get out of the writing rut and have the story flowing again.

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In Which I Return to My Previous Gloom

This is going to be another Negative Nelly post, so feel free to skip over it.

I find myself feeling more and more empty. The nothingness is consuming me. And the more it consumes me, the more money I spend. I don’t know why. It’s not even on anything in particular. Oh, why don’t I buy these expensive snacks for no reason whatsoever? Then not eat them for weeks? That’s the sort of thing I’m doing. It’s been over a month since this happened, and the items I bought at Kohl’s then are still in the trunk of my car. Again, I don’t know why. For some reason I feel afraid to bring them inside and add them to my possessions. I remember some of the things I bought, but not all of them. I don’t even want to open the trunk and see what’s in there.

The nothingness . . . it feels like there’s a hole in my heart, like my heart has been torn asunder and is throbbing with the knowledge of how unlovable I am. I’ve felt like this my whole life, or at least since I can remember. Some times more strongly than other times, of course. But it’s always been there. And any time I perceive criticism or rejection, real or imagined, the wound is reopened.

I don’t know why I’m feeling like this again. Yesterday and earlier today, I was feeling much better. Pretty content, in fact. So why did this come back?

I don’t know. I think it’s because it’s always there, even when I do feel decently. It never goes away. It’s at my core.

I feel like there’s a distance between me and the world that can never be breached. I need to read more about attachment issues and see if that could have something to it, if my therapist may be right about that. Even when I was a kid, I kept to myself. I felt like I was alone in the world. Or more like I could only ever rely on myself, that I must do everything for myself because there’s shame in asking for help. That letting my vulnerability show in any fashion is a sign of weakness, or more to the point, an invitation to be taken advantage of.

Over the weekend, I periodically dug my nails into my wrist. I didn’t draw blood or anything like that; it’s not really huge enough to be self-harm, but it did leave a red spot on my wrist. That spot has mostly disappeared now, and I find myself rather upset by it. I want it to stay there. But I just cut my nails (not because of that, but because one broke and I wanted them to be the same length), so that would be harder to do now. But still not that hard.

Maybe I’m making too big a deal of this attachment thing or am letting my imagination get carried away. But I think of this scenario, a scenario in which a baby may’ve been getting to know and love its parents, only to be ripped away from them when hospitalized. They would still be there, of course, but not in the same fashion. Would that make the baby feel unlovable? Could that have made me feel unlovable?

Perhaps I shouldn’t think about that at all, but it keeps popping into my mind. I know what many people would tell me, though. They’d say that these thoughts are making me dwell on the unlovability factor.

But I don’t think so. No matter what, I always feel unlovable, and extremely unlikable. It seems to me that if I could understand the source of that feeling, I could figure out how to tackle it.

Gah. I just want to curl up in a ball, hug my stuffed animals, and cry. All night and all day tomorrow.

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8272

I don’t like to post more than once a day. But I feel like I need to say a couple of other things.

My mood has been so erratic over the past few weeks, perhaps even the past month. Certainly since the beginning of August. I don’t know what it is, what this rapid cycling means.

I felt odd all day. I would describe my mood as rumpled. Yes, that sounds strange, but it’s the perfect word for it.

This afternoon, I began to feel this weird dissociation. Oftentimes, my first impulse when I write down the date is to put that it’s 2008, many times April of 2008. I don’t know why. Maybe that was the last time I felt sure about things.

I began to feel like I didn’t know how I got here in my life. I mean, I do know, but I feel like I’m in someone else’s life. Not my own.

To illustrate what I mean, here are some excerpts from something I wrote while I was at work:

“This is not you.

None of it.

You’ve morphed into someone else.

But if I’m not me, who am I?

Is my soul in another soul’s body?”

I know it doesn’t make much sense, but it’s how I’ve been feeling since circa 3:00. And that doesn’t even fully describe how I feel. Sort of disoriented, like I just realized where my life is now.

Other excerpts that show things that have been going through my mind:

“I feel like I want to carve my arm into a work of art.

Too bad I can’t do that without people seeing it and panicking.

If only I could do it in a way that was visible only to me.”

“It’s not that I’m afraid of people seeing my bloodily decorated arm, not exactly,

I’m afraid of the judgment and pity

Yet I welcome it, the pity, that is,

But I can’t accept it without feeling degraded, shamed, like I failed because the façade crumbled.”

I don’t know why I’d assume I’d get pity, anyway. Probably more like indignation and contempt. That’s how people seem to generally respond, anyway.

 

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Strong Person Award

The Quiet Borderline has created something wonderful, the Strong Person Award! And she’s passed it on to me! Mm172001, Pride in Madness, and Gypsy116 of Through My Eyes: Adventures in Borderline Land have also nominated me for this award. I’d like to thank them for thinking of me!

Here’s what the award is about:

You heard me right! You are not weak, you are strong. You are not a failure, you are a fighter! This goes out to all mentalists. And it’s a gift from me (The Quiet Borderline) to you all – Please spread the love. Mental health is not something to be sneered at and it deserves much more respect. Stop the stigmatising. (I know that some of you that I have linked to at the bottom are not ‘mentalists’. You have just great blogs, so I wanted to award you as a strong person!)

Here are the rules:

1. Make sure to add in the above text and image to spread the love and add how little or how much you want!


2. Name your diagnoses – Stand loud and proud! You can tell us a little about them also if you’d like. How you’re affected by these diagnoses and how you are fighting your way out of them.

I think I have been diagnosed with the following . . . sometimes it’s a bit murky.

Generalized anxiety disorder: I’ve never tried any heavy-duty anti-anxiety medications . . . I’m a little daunted by them. I can usually handle this by making myself take things one step at a time. It makes me constantly worry that I’m not doing a good enough job at anything. But honestly, it’s not as paralyzing for me as the next diagnosis . . .

Social anxiety disorder: I think in some ways this is the root of a lot of other problems, such as my insecurity. I’ve always been socially anxious, and I’ve always been frustrated when people describe it as “not a big deal” and “just shyness.” “Just shyness” doesn’t take into account how paralyzed I get when I’m around people. I’m awkward at gatherings, standing on the sidelines. Sometimes I can”t look people in the eye because I’m so nervous.

Somehow I manage to teach, though, even with the social anxiety. Being an adjunct instructor is one of my sources of income. A lot of people that work at the community college are also adjuncts, so I think it’s a little expected of me even if it’s not my “main job.” If you’d asked me even five years ago whether I could teach regularly without fainting with fright or just overall sucking, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. Somehow, though, I’m decent at it, even though I did indeed not do too well at it during graduate school.

Over the past couple of days, I’ve had to hold some orientations, and there was one large orientation with people sitting in the back of a sizable auditorium. There was a microphone, but it was obnoxiously loud. So I began without it and asked everyone could hear me, and the people in the back nodded. I was impressed with myself. That might not sound like a big deal, but when I taught my first class in graduate school, I was in a small classroom and the people sitting in the back couldn’t hear me all semester.

I don’t know what I want to do in my future, but I think the general environment I’m in now would suit me. No longer is the Ph.D academic research route the right thing for me, I feel.

I’m not saying I’m assertive in my job; I still struggle with social anxiety everyday. I still often fear having to go to work and interact with others. But I’ve somehow gotten better at it.

Bipolar disorder: I’m not sure which type I’ve been diagnosed with or what aspects of my issues stem from bipolar disorder, but I think I periodically experience mixed episodes. They’re some of my worst moments because my thoughts race while I’m feeling so much despair and self-rage. They’re when I am more likely to do something drastic.

Post-traumatic stress disorder: This makes me feel validated for believing my upbringing did at least partially cause some of my issues.

Though these diagnoses are descriptive, I don’t think they really give a sense of some of my biggest issues like self-hatred, lack of self-confidence, and being an all-around shrinking violet.

3. Add a photo of yourself, or some abstract picture that represents you, anything you like!

I thought about putting my profile picture that’s on my Facebook profile here. (I think I could still be semi-anonymous with it because it’s not obvious it’s me . . . mainly because I always wear glasses in real life, but I’m not wearing them in that picture.) But I decided to make an abstract picture in Microsoft Paint. The colors and arrangements are symbolic, even if it looks like just a bunch of triangles.


4. Send this on to as many, yes, as many, people that you like. It can be five, ten, fifty.

I think most mental health bloggers I know have already been nominated for this award (and deservedly so). I’m not sure whether these individuals have been nominated or not, but I think they might not be:

I Was Just Thinking . . .

How Do You Eat an Elephant?

Melanch0lically Manic Mouse

Summer Solstice Musings

My Bipolar Bubble

Seasons Change, and So Have I

Indefinitely Still Me

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