My therapy homework this week is– every day– to write down something that I did right, at work or at home.
Just like when I was sitting in my therapist’s office and he said that to me, all kind intention and just brimming with empathy– this man is good in the essential sense of that word– I’m leaking and choked because I can’t hear it, can’t think it.
Medication changes and more severe than usual spring mood swing aside, I don’t get enough thanks or praise, and when I do get it, it’s often laden, conditioned. “You’re the best,” because I did something so ridiculously, outrageously pampering of a grown-ass adult, just to get the work off both of our desks, even though it means it pushes the boundary back toward me though it’s not my job. “It’s nice that you work late & weekends,” (because the other guy didn’t.) These aren’t words that mean they see me– it only means that I exist as a contrast, an outline against some other condition/behavior/thing they want to avoid and make their life easier as a response. And I feel like it’s insincere when I hear it most of the time, because people just want things from me that make their lives easier. They don’t care about me except as a delivery vehicle.
I feel pretty invisible, most of the time– partly my role, partly my introversion, who knows what else– and when I’m visibly upset, most people don’t ask if I am okay or even let the pause be awkward before leaping in to the thing that they want– either because they’re oblivious, or selfish, or because there’s some perceived power dynamic and it’s better not to acknowledge that someone “above” you is having a shitty day in case they’ll get… what? I don’t know. I don’t understand the dynamic of it. I guess it’s mostly that it’s my job to be the one to deal with people’s feelings and people can’t deal with the idea that I might have some of my own.
At work, too, there’s a power dynamic between “just” the admin and the sales teams. It’s shitty. The sales leadership aren’t as well trained as they could be, and they’re allowed to get away with inconsistent & lacking behavior as long as the sales are on point, while the administrators run around mopping up after them. It’s the same any place, but the rhetoric here is that it’s supposed to be different and the divide from reality is stark, isolating, and disenheartening in the extreme. When you feel overworked, under-appreciated, overwhelmed with entitled stupid questions & never given a pause to train anyone in order to stop the stupid questions or any subset of of them, it’s– misery, pretty much, pure & simple, especially when you’re more or less suicidally depressed and no one seems to notice except your second assistant in a year and oh, yeah, guess what, she’s going to grad school so you’re going to have to start training somebody else by mid-summer.
There are smaller things that I did right this week. I admitted that I made a mistake about something that won’t be the end of the world. I helped someone qualify for housing benefits. I helped someone with a leave of absence and explained how short term disability worked. There is more. I can’t recall any of it in the constant onslaught of shit I deal with, day in & day out. Some of it’s firing people for stupid mistakes (the worst reason to fire someone, imho, at least be blatant about it), some of it’s wading through unqualified applications, some of it’s saying no for the 40th time and handing the person the explanatory form they’re too lazy too fill out themselves.
I can’t help feel, though, that the main thing I did right this week was admit that right now, I really do hate my job and I need to take some time off before I do something stupid like mess up something for someone or quit. (Like, you know, last time.) I don’t feel better about it, for managing to pull myself up short of my 2009 mistake and having admitted weakness, reached out for help, and asked for a leave of absence, without disclosing all the particulars of my diagnosis. I still feel stupid and paranoid and crazy and like there will be a negative impact on my job when and if I return, and who knows. Maybe there will be, but I suppose this all still buys me time.
I’m still really scared and anxious and depressed the moment I start thinking about it, in terms of– what will happen if I come back? Do I want to? What do I do while I’m off? What if the med change doesn’t help? I can’t fucking look for a new job in this state of mind. (You know, the usual crazy morass of anxious over-thinking.) I actually left early for the first time since I started work, after overreacting to something my two-weeks-brand-new boss said in– what I think were objectively understandable circumstances for context he didn’t have and didn’t bother to have before he set me off– and people are probably all gossiping about me at work by this point because I was clearly upset & in tears when I left and was shutting things down in my office. I idly looked at things I might theoretically otherwise want to do as job search queries (after isolating the parts of my job I like the most) and started to panic because it’s not that I hate the company or the job, really, it’s that I can’t draw a breath without 5 people shoving into my office– so I went right back to time-wasting internet shit– but it’s one thing at a time, I guess.
Things I did right this week. I didn’t stop showing up for work, because: crazy, and I went home early for a long weekend after a somewhat weepy but otherwise reasoned discussion.
I guess we’ll see how the rest plays out from here.