cripsy13

Musings, mutterings from the misguided.


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To Sea or Not to Sea…

Way back in January, I’d booked a vacation for this upcoming week.  Then came the ‘crazies’ and I was away from work for 5 weeks.

Moral question:  Was it okay for me to still take my vacation even though I’d just gotten back to work?

I fretted.  I worried.  I deserved a vacation!  No I didn’t, I just got back to work…the freaking out was endless.  I was worried that it would be inappropriate if I went away, yet I knew if I did – it would be the best thing for me and my wounded psyche.

I consulted EVERYONE.  My doctor, therapist, friends, family – my pet birds – everyone (and everybird) seemed to think it would be a fantastic idea for me to just GO.  Even my boss said it was okay, he practically threw my ass out the door.

Yet – I was still feeling ill at ease.  I was always taught that if I was sick enough to stay home from school/work, I was too sick to go out anywhere.  What if someone saw me?  I swear, the first two weeks I was off from work, I was terrified to go out in case someone saw me and thought ‘well, she doesn’t LOOK sick, she’s probably just faking it.’

Ah.  Part of the whole ‘worrying what others think’ syndrome that I’ve been saddled with since I was a kid.

I have a friend of mine who doesn’t seem to care that she would take time off from work, yet be well enough to go out for dinner.  I just couldn’t wrap my head around that.  And, it bugged the hell out of me.  I talked to my therapist about it.  After all, it just seemed very irresponsible to me.  She explained that sometimes, what we see in others that bothers us, is what we ourselves have suppressed.  I had to mull that one over and then it came to me – my friend did what she thought was good for her, at that moment.  She didn’t care what others thought.  She put herself FIRST.

Oh.  Um, okay, I guess I get that.  And then I had a Grinch moment, you know – the one where he realizes that Christmas ain’t so bad, and he gets that dumbass grin on his face – I could put me first, too!  I could take my vacation!  I could take it because I knew it would be the very best thing for me to do!  I, for once in my life, decided that although I care very much about being gainfully employed, I needed to do what was right for me.  And so, tomorrow morning, I leave for a quiet, secluded cabin on the west coast of Canada, where there are no phones, no computers, no televisions – no nothing.  Just me and the sea.  There isn’t a therapist in the world that can match the feeling I get when I’m surrounded by trees, miles of walking trails, wild birds and the sound and smell of the ocean.  It purifies my heart and soul.

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If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I was off from work for six weeks due to depression.  The last two weeks I was away, I felt AMAZING.  My physical self felt good, my emotional self felt great and I was basking in the glow of not feeling manic/crazy/suicidal/depressed.  The last week I was off, my BIG boss retired, so I was invited to attend her different functions, which was nice because I consider her a mentor of sorts and it gave me a chance to see my colleagues without worrying about ‘work’.

While I was off, I learned a lot.  About me.  About who I am, why I am the way I am and why I react to situations the way I do.  I also learned that the only person who has any say over me – is me.  I learned to listen to my inner self – what it was saying and what it was telling me (no, I wasn’t hearing voices, just to clarify)…and I’m still learning that I’m perfectly okay the way I am.  Warts and all.

Now, I’ve been back to work now for just over a week.  5 days.  5 days, 4.5 hours to be exact.  Here is what I’ve learned so far:

1.  Some people will pretend like nothing ever happened.  I’m not sure if it’s because they don’t understand or they just don’t care – but it is what it is.

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2.  Some people will immediately think you are breakable and must be treated very carefully so that you don’t come after them with a rusty butter knife, because once you’re crazy, you’ll always BE crazy (apparently).

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3.  Some people will be happy to see you because they want to compare medications and experiences (I found this particularly interesting, because it came from two people that I least expected).

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4.  Some people won’t be happy with the changes you’ve made in your life, because it makes you different than what they’re accustomed to.

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You see, I’ve learned to speak up and ask for what I want and need.  Within reason, of course.  It’s taken me YEARS to finally put what I need ahead of what other people need.  To accept that I make mistakes and can make amends and move on, instead of begging for forgiveness.  To know that I’m not perfect.  But most of all – to know that it’s hard enough to live up to my own expectations – so please don’t expect me to live up to yours.  I might have done that, once upon a time, but guess what?  I know what it’s like to feel ‘good enough’ and for once in my life – that’s all the affirmation I need.


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Paranoia – the destroyer…

Here it is.  My last day of being off from work due to depression; I head back tomorrow.  And, to be honest, I’m excitedscaredfreakedoutreadynotready – but most of all – I’m terrified that I’m going to lose the sense of peace and well-being that I’ve been experiencing for the past couple of weeks.

Inner-peace

Ah, therapy – the place where you go to find out how f****d up your parents were.  My mother wasn’t exactly the picture of mental health herself.  She had a crappy upbringing by her own parents (my grandmother died in a mental institution).  So, she raised us (my sister and I) in the only way she knew how (I’m learning to forgive her for screwing me up so badly).  I was raised with a sense of ensuring that all of her needs were met, that my feelings didn’t count for anything and so now, as a grown adult, I still suffer from pangs of perfectionism.  If I didn’t take the garbage out – even if she hadn’t asked me to – all  hell would break loose and she would ‘withdraw her love’ from  me by not speaking to me for days.  If I forgot to turn her bed down at night for her, I was a terrible child.  To this day, if someone says ‘don’t be mad at me’ – I want to punch them in the throat.  Everything I did as a child was based on how it made my mom feel – even if it didn’t feel right to me.  Which has led me to a lifetime of being a people pleaser, trying to always anticipate what others expect of me and beating myself up over and over again if I didn’t get it right.

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Which brings me to my DELIGHTFUL sense of paranoia.  Oh yes, I’m as paranoid as they come.  If someone doesn’t include me in something, I feel left out and wonder what I’ve done to be excluded.  If I don’t do something right, I get an overwhelming sense of dread that I’m going to get fired, lose a friend – you name it.  I’ve always hid my true feelings from people, because I didn’t want to say something wrong and have them angry with me – because then they could take their friendship away from me.  I’ve only ever learned to connect with people on a superficial level, but I feel things inside SO intensely, it’s painful sometimes.  Hiding those feelings, not allowing myself to have my own thoughts or opinions have taken their toll on me physically and mentally.

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“Destroyer” – the Kinks

Met a girl called Lola and I took her back to my place
Feelin’ guilty, feelin’ scared, hidden cameras everywhere
Stop! Hold on. Stay in controlGirl, I want you here with me
But I’m really not as cool as I’d like to be
‘Cause there’s a red, under my bed
And there’s a little yellow man in my head
And there’s a true blue inside of me
That keeps stoppin’ me, touchin’ ya, watchin’ ya, lovin’ yaParanoia, the destroyer.
Paranoia, the destroyer.Well I fell asleep, then I woke feelin’ kinda’ queer
Lola looked at me and said, “ooh you look so weird.”
She said, “man, there’s really something wrong with you.
One day you’re gonna’ self-destruct.
You’re up, you’re down, I can’t work you out
You get a good thing goin’ then you blow yourself out.”

Silly boy ya’ self-destroyer. Silly boy ya’ self-destroyer

Silly boy you got so much to live for
So much to aim for, so much to try for
You blowing it all with paranoia
You’re so insecure you self-destroyer

(And it goes like this, here it goes)
Paranoia, the destroyer
(Here it goes again)
Paranoia, the destroyer

Doctor, Doctor help me please, I know you’ll understand
There’s a time device inside of me, I’m a self-destructin’ man
There’s a red, under my bed
And there’s a little green man in my head
And he said, “you’re not goin’ crazy, you’re just a bit sad
‘Cause there’s a man in ya, gnawin’ ya, tearin’ ya into two.”

Silly boy ya’ self-destroyer.
Paranoia, the destroyer

Self-destroyer, wreck your health
Destroy friends, destroy yourself
The time device of self-destruction
Light the fuse and start eruption

(Yea, it goes like this, here it goes)
Paranoia, the destroyer
(Here’s to paranoia)
Paranoia, the destroyer
(Hey hey, here it goes)
Paranoia, the destroyer
(And it goes like this)

Paranoia, the destroyer
(And it goes like this.)

So, why am I telling you all of this?  Well, work is the one place where I like to ‘shine’.  Sadly, I identify my self-worth with what I do for a living.  It’s there that most of my challenges are presented to me on a daily basis.  I have a good job, it’s secure (I hope!) and for the most part, I enjoy what I do.  Upon meeting me for the first time, most people assume I’m outgoing, an extrovert and a ‘party girl’ (it took me 5 years to convince my BIG BOSS that I didn’t go out partying every weekend, rather I stayed home and watched horror movies in my penguin pajamas and went to bed at 9).  I am smart, I am competent and give me a  project to do – and I’m all over it.  I’m creative, funny, witty, annoying and sarcastic.  But sometimes, those personality traits don’t fit the scope of what I do for a living and I struggle with trying to remain true to myself and remembering that I am all of those things.  I have a great boss, he’s smart and can pull things out of his butt like nobody else I’ve ever known (I mean that in a complimentary way :-)), but he has a lot of the same traits that my mother had and when those come out, that’s when I feel myself resorting back to my old ways.  And that, right there friends, is what I DON’T want to  have happen.

I’ve worked hard these past five weeks to get myself feeling better.  I’m grateful to my wonderful therapist, who has given me some strategic coping tools.  I’ve learned to take care of myself and that my opinions and thoughts ARE important.  I AM NOT MY MOTHER.  I WILL MAKE MISTAKES.  I CANNOT READ YOUR MIND – and even if I could, I am choosing not to – if you want me to do something, please JUST ASK.  I will speak my mind when appropriate.  I am me.  I am valuable.  I might be slightly crazy and weird – but I’m learning to be okay with that.

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