Monday, October 30, 2017

It's OK to be Not OK

I wonder how people perceive me. When they look at me do they see a strong, confident person?  Do they see someone who is happy and content and mentally well? I feel like when I am at work, doing my job, I see capable of handling the stresses that come at me from all sides.  And, honestly, while I am at work actively doing my job, I got it. I've got control of it.  I am swatting at the stresses as they come, fighting them off with fury and amazing agility.

When I walk out those doors at night?  All bets are off.

I am not a full-time superhero. I'm not a superhero of amazing, mutant-like capabilities that are just part of my genetic makeup. I'm more like a Batman-hero, minus the money.  I wear armor. It's not visible armor. It's more like an invisible shield I pull over myself like a second skin when I am wearing my headset. Picture it, a bunch of thin criss-crossing green lines like a grid all over my body.  More specifically, around my heart.  With this invisible armor, I am able to hear horrible things over and over again and successfully do my job. This armor took years to build. But, it's just armor.

Who am I really?

Well, I am incredibly sensitive. I am incredibly insecure about myself. It may not seem that way because I am confident in my job skills, I am confident in some tiny things that I do. I am horribly insecure in every other way. I am a worrier like you wouldn't believe. I worry CONSTANTLY. Ugh. It's quite awful. And, I am terrible at taking care of myself. I am selfish, yet I am a people pleaser.  How can I be selfish AND a people pleaser?  It's probably why I am so messed up.

I don't want to upset people, I can't stand the thought of people being mad at me. I know I shouldn't care. Right?!  Isn't that what we drill into people? Don't worry about what others think, yadda yadda yadda, take care of yourself.  If you're on an airplane going down, put the oxygen on yourself before helping others.  It's everywhere.  But, I struggle. Sometimes.  It's almost like I am Bi-Polar with that. I am either worried terribly about what someone is going to say/do/react, etc about something I did OR I am like "Fuck it, it's what I want".  Although, while I am thinking about a time that I was full on selfish, I realize I was freaking out and throwing a temper tantrum about it in my head.  I don't often act it out.  Or, I talk about it ... and say things that are selfish but when it comes down to it, I give in and bow to what someone else wants. I don't know. Clearly this is something I am struggling with.

I give up ALL my days off.  Why? Two reasons, I need/want the money and I don't want people to not get their days off and somewhere along the line, I developed this idea that if I didn't work for them, they wouldn't be able to get the hours covered and they would get mad at me.  Yes. They would  be at only ME.  Not the 25 other people we work with. See where this is all twisted up in my head?

I learned at a very early age that if I did what people wanted of me, no matter how much I didn't want it ... people would be nice to me.  This lesson is now forever ingrained in my head and I can't shake it off. I find myself doing things I don't want to ... A LOT.  Like, working all my days off. Even when I don't need the money because I have enough overtime on my days off. 

I keep harking on work when it isn't just work.  That's just what I seem to only ever be doing so ... it sticks out for me.

I am not OK. I am depressed a LOT of the time these days but, that could be because I don't ever have any fun. I am anxious ALL THE TIME. But I was that way before the fire too. I worry all the time. I am full of jealousy when I see people doing fun things with their days off on Facebook. But, not at them ... nope ... no reason to be mad at SMART people who set aside their time to do fun stuff.  I get jealous because I backed myself into a corner with debt and stupid shit so I can't have a lot of days off to go do fun things.

It is MY responsibility to make sure I get time off.  After all, our schedule structure is 3 12s and then 4 12s so every other week I have a 4-day weekend that I can use to do something. Do I?  NOPE!

So, this adds to my depression. I have nightmares about dying a lot.  I did before the fire and now? I do even more. If I am not having a nightmare, there is something on fire in my dreams.  I worry about leaving my animals at the house when I leave for work and Dan isn't home.  I cry all the time for no freaking reason. I saw an adorable Donkey by my  house on the way to CrossFit the other night and I started to cry.  The Donkey was perfectly healthy and hanging out with the horses he's always with but ... I think something in my brain reminded me of the horses that didn't make it out of the fire, or the animals ... and the people.

I feel like this fire, as HUGE as it was, has dropped a 7000ton brick on my psyche, which was already struggling to hold the other bricks steady.  I am not as happy as I portray myself to be. It's not that I am UNHAPPY. But, I struggle with things mentally.

I have a good life.  I have a blessed life.  I live in a nice area, I am married, I have three wonderful fur-kids. I have an amazing job. I am lucky to have come out of the fire with my home intact as it was prior to the fire. Mentally?  Meh.  Not so much.  But ... that's beside the point.  I am not unhappy with the majority of my life. Do I need more days off and fun?  Yes, yes I do.

But ... and the real reason for this long winded entry is this ... I have a LOT of things that I have lugged around all my life.  A LOT of things that have broken my spirit in many ways.  I've patched up the holes and kept moving for 37.5 years.  I don't talk about things that happened to me. I shrug off the intense sadness that still hovers over me from my parents dying when people talk about it. I don't know why I do this.

I don't deal with things. I tell myself "I'm fine." I plaster a smile on my face no matter how much my heart hurts inside, or how much I feel like absolute shit.  People have made it clear that they need me to be the way I am. They need me to be available to work, to keep smiling, to knock talk about being sick. So even when I feel like absolute crap, I often say I am fine. I don't think my medication took too well this time around ... I am not as well as the last time around.  My heart hurts and I can't shake it off but I don't want to talk about it because I worry ... like with my illness, people don't want to hear it.

I feel like I have to be this smiling work horse and if I am not, I am letting people down.  And, we are back to the root of the problem again ... I HATE that!!!!

I am planning on calling our Employee Assistance Program and trying to find someone to talk to. But here's where I struggle. I can't open up.  I am a writer and a storyteller, and I find myself putting on that hat and telling it from a storyteller perspective. I can't break down those walls and really let them in and each time I have tried this ... I haven't told them the darkest part that started me down this path.  I have a hard time talking to people I don't know.  I AM going to try.  In the meantime, I've started trying to write again ... because I have been able to throw some of my emotions into that.

This is very long. I'm sorry.  But I just sort of rambled.

To sum up: I am not completely OK ... and that's OK. There isn't anything wrong with that. I need to embrace that and face it head on.  And ... I need to start taking care of myself. But, I've said THAT before and failed myself again.  Making that phone call will be the biggest step ... and hopefully after that, I'll find someone that clicks and I'll be able to actually take care of myself.

It's worth a try.

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