The Shanty

The Shanty
where I grew up

Friday, August 26, 2011

Admission is the Hardest Step

I recently talked about turning points in life. I named my 10 year high school reunion as my biggest one and while this is true I have decided to talk about another one. One that is a bit more difficult for me but one I feel I want to share. Hopefully anyone else dealing with the same thing will be able to relate and those who aren’t will maybe understand me a little better or someone else you know dealing with this.

I have been consistently going to a psychologist for geez maybe 7 years now…it’s been so long I don’t even remember. I do know it’s been a long time though. Finally about 3 years ago I agreed to see a psychiatrist to see about getting a prescription for something to help my life-long battle with anxiety and depression. Don’t get me wrong, I work VERY hard on myself and resisted for a very long time to even consider getting any kind of medicinal aid to my condition. However, I never seemed to fully have control over my emotions and so reluctantly I agreed.

I went through several psychiatrists and several different medications before I found someone I liked and a combination of pills that seemed to work. It has only been around a year or maybe 2 now. Anyway, I have continued to see my psychologist as well since I have always been convinced that my “condition” is something I can fix all on my own (I'm also a big believer in continued self improvement through-out life). There have even been a couple times I foolishly decided to take myself off my medication because “it doesn’t work anyway” and I had been feeling really well. Little did I want to admit, but there was a reason I had been feeling so good. And sure enough, a couple weeks after purposely missing doses here and there I felt awful. I was back in the depression hole. Yes, missing just one dose affects me that much.

I have cautiously agreed that my medication does in fact work and have accepted that it’s probably something I will have to take for the rest of my life to keep my emotions leveled out. Deep down I still believe this to be false though. I think it’s because I don’t feel any different when I take my medication therefore it must not be doing anything. Well, I recently accidentally forgot to take my pills on two separate days about a week apart. I felt scared that it might catch up with me as it had before but didn’t want to really believe that might happen. But just as before, it did.

I was sitting at work and suddenly for no reason at all felt very sad and tears started to fall. Nothing crazy but definitely a physical and mental sadness. This in turn made me very angry that two stupid little pills a day had that much control over me. It instantly made me feel embarrassed, foolish, weak, and flat out like a pretty sorry human being. That then snowballed in to a whole mess of things which lead to anger and disappointment in myself.

In my life I very, very rarely have highs. I’m pretty much a person that is just above a depressed level on a good day and pretty low on a bad day. My medication pushes me up a little higher and my lows generally become what my old highs were. When I don’t take my medication it completely throws me off and puts me back into the negative state I have been so used to in life. It’s a scary feeling and often leaves me feeling hopeless and lost. It also makes me suddenly feel disconnected from everyone and everything. This can be overwhelming and confusing for me let alone for someone else who is trying to make sense of it and make me feel better.

I don’t expect people to understand. But I also don’t expect people to try to figure it out and come up with their own assumptions and conclusions. I also don’t like when people try to downplay the severity of my feelings. Because guess what? They are my feelings and they are very real. I wish more than anything I didn’t need the extra help. You have no idea how disappointing it is for me. But I also believe that there is some truth to it and if it makes me feel better than hey, I’ve spent enough of my life feeling miserable that I might as well stick with what works for me so I don’t have to feel miserable anymore.

So when I have a bad day and I seem completely unreasonable and confusing you need to trust that it’s a million times worse for me. I don’t need you to understand or even have sympathy for me but perhaps a little compassion would be nice. I also wish people would understand that it’s not THEIR fault. Don’t try to read into my feelings and begin to take blame for why I’m so unhappy. It’s a moment that I’m going through and trust me, it sucks. It is not something I am proud of but hey, it’s me, and that I’m okay with.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Much Calmer Me

It’s been a while. I guess I haven’t been angry about anything lately or annoyed enough to write what I typically write about—annoyances of mine. I’m still not sure I have anything negative to bitch about. I’ve become a lot calmer and much easier going recently. I think I’ve pretty much mastered the “who cares” theory.

A good example would be the workplace. People constantly bitch about those who do not pick up after themselves (especially in the kitchen), those who do not leave common areas neat and tidy, and people who have no bathroom manners. I find it humorous how worked up some people get about these things. My thinking is that there are over 50 people at my work; there is no way that all 50+ are going to be courteous, neat, and tidy. NO WAY. I don’t care how many signs you post, how many times you send out an email, etc… not everyone is going to abide. So what is the point in getting upset? There is no point. It’s common sense that not everyone is going to behave in the “correct” way. It takes less time to clean up the mess or refill the water bottle than it does to get angry. First of all, you will never know who the culprit is unless you waste even more time spying. So why bother getting worked up about it? An alternative would be to shake your head and think, “I don’t understand some people” and then let it go. It’s so much easier that way.

That is one example of calming myself down. Of course, that’s a lot easier to do when dealing with a big group of people. One on one is a bit different because now you’re just dealing with one person’s behavior and not a mysterious few out of a large sum. What I have learned to do in these types of cases is NOT change my behavior. I’m usually pretty punctual but have a lot of friends that aren’t. Well, if it’s dinner plans we have and they’re late and I’m hungry…I go ahead and eat. I don’t get mad but I also don’t wait. If I were to wait I’d probably get upset and that’s not cool. So instead of sitting there hungry and pissy I go ahead with the plans and begin to eat. I do this with other things too. The trick here is to continue on without getting upset. So when they finally show up you shouldn’t say “Well it’s about time. I was starving so I started without out” coldly with a smirk on your face. This will come off as rude and vengeful. Instead, say “Oh hey! No worry about being late, it happens. I was really hungry though so I hope you don’t mind that I started without you.” I have never gotten a negative response to this.

Basically what I’m saying is, don’t change who you are. If a dirty microwave bothers you and you see at work it’s filthy…clean it. Don’t go into a rage about how unfair and messed up it is that someone left it like that. And don’t protest to clean it since you didn’t make the mess. Just clean it. And if a dirty microwave doesn’t bother you then put your food in and hit Start. Likewise, don’t change your plans and demeanor based on others’ actions. If you’re tired of waiting because someone else is holding up the plans, then go on without them but remember to stay pleasant about it. Don’t get upset…just do it knowing that they’ll understand. And it’s okay to apologize for it but do so in a way that let’s them know that you weren’t trying to “get back at them” but rather you were simply trying to stay on schedule so you wouldn’t get upset.

It really is simple. Don’t get upset AND be yourself. That’s really all it takes. I have to remind myself a lot but when I do remember I find myself much happier and more at peace overall.