Sunday, June 27, 2010

Save Your Freaks

This is a skill that I learned when I was rushed to the hospital at 32 weeks pregnant, unsure of whether or not my baby would be born prematurely, scared to death that he would be in the hospital forever and have complications. I knew that things could go from bad to worse in a matter of hours…or minutes…and I also knew that once the tears started, it was not likely that I’d get them to stop.

So here was my theory…if I freaked out right from the beginning, something really bad might happen, and I wouldn’t have any ‘freak tokens’ left. I would already be over the edge, and have nowhere to escalate to. I told myself that if I stayed calm, then I would have plenty of ‘reserve’ freaking that I could do later if necessary.

What happened is that I was calm, cool, and collected. Okay, reasonably so. I felt the Spirit with me each day, and I was able to handle things fairly well. I liked knowing that I had reserved the right to freak … later.

I tried to teach this to my nieces, CJ and Allie last summer. Having a house full of boys, the drama is somewhat limited. Not so with two tweenish girls!  Everything is a big deal, and I know that for Bro and Sis, it’s bound to get worse. I was a teenage girl once. I know how it works.

One of them was upset about something, and started to stomp off and pout. I laughed and called her back, explaining the ‘save your freaks’ option of life. They thought that I was a funny, but I hope that in some way, I caught their attention.

Teens would do well to follow my advice, since everything is a tragedy. Problem is, after your parents (or friends, or boyfriends, or teachers…) have dealt with so many freaks, they lose interest. It’s like the boy who cried wolf. They no longer see your crisis as a crisis. It’s just another dramatic episode. Saving those really big freaks for a later date gives you that leverage to get their attention.

For me, it means keeping my emotions in check. I’m not bottling anything. I deal with the emotions in a much less stressful way. I force myself to think things out and decide if it’s really worth a nervous breakdown, or if I can save that for another day.

So far, no straight jacket, so I’m thinking that it must be working!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

That I’m not a quivering mass of jelly is a real testament to my therapist….

Things change.
Stuff happens.
And it used to really throw me for a loop.
I worried.
I wondered.
I obsessed.
I panicked.
“What will happen to me? I like things the way that they are! Things could get so much worse! I don’t know what I’m doing! I’m not in control!”

Ah, there’s the rub. I’m not in control.

She taught me that sometimes, we hold on to something so tightly that our arms are not open to receive the next good thing. She taught me that SAME is not equal to PERFECT. She taught me that I’m better than the things that life throws at me.

Work is crazy right now. Things are changing. More responsibility is falling on me. That means, potentially, more criticism. More mistakes.

BUT! It could also be more praise. More success.

I’m taking things in stride. Things may change, but I don’t have to worry about it. It will either get worse or get better, with no intervention on my part. I’ll figure it out when I get there. We are just getting through today, and then we’ll worry about tomorrow.

I’m good at what I do. I have confidence in that, now. I have skills and talents that have been given to me by my Heavenly Father to do good in this life. Some of those skills also earn me a good living. They contribute to the success of a great number of people, who also earn a good living.

When I began this job, there were doubts. It’s a high-turnover property in a fast paced industry. I knew that my days may be numbered. I was warned that it might be too much stress; that my boss was known for cycling through employees faster than you could get your desk organized. He was demanding and difficult sometimes. Even my therapist talked about the inherent lack of longevity.

I walked in with both eyes open. I decided that if it didn’t work out, at least I tried. I’d been unemployed before, and I could do it again. I decided that I would just do the best that I could, and leave the car running, so to speak.

I also made the decision that I would not live to please men. (speaking figuratively, as in MANKIND, not the male gender!) At the end of the day, if I had pleased my God, then I had succeeded. It didn’t matter if I had failed to please my boss, or the big bosses, or even the board. As long as I had done a good, honest day’s work in all fairness to my employer, and I had been good to people along the way, then it was a good day.

I loved it right from the start. It’s stressful, it’s hectic, it is sometimes downright frustrating. There have been moments when I wondered if I wanted to go back. But I always do, and I look forward to it! It’s challenging and fulfilling in a way that I have not experienced in a long, long time.

Yes, my boss was difficult and demanding sometimes. There were days when I just let him rant, while I sat quietly. He expressed gratitude for those days that I let him “be himself” and vent a little. I didn’t take it personally, and I didn’t let it get to me. I know that he is not my final judge; my salvation does not depend on whether or not he is pleased with my work. I could let him blow up, because it didn’t concern me.

By the time he left to work in another state, we had a system. We worked well together, and others commented that I had lasted a lot longer than they expected. He and I had an understanding, and I came to love and respect him. I think that he kinda liked me, too.

Now, we are waiting for another Director to be hired. He/she might be easier to work with. They might not. It’s all the same to me.

I’m dealing with things as they come, and juggling all of the balls that I can in the interim. I no longer feel the need to control everything to make sure that it happens the way that I want, because I know that my Heavenly Father knows better than I do what I need – or even want – and I can trust Him.

So, back to the title… my brief time in therapy not only brought me back to myself, but taught me some valuable tools to use every day. These tools allow me to step back, for a moment, and allow myself to see things as they are, and not as the depression would paint them.

I make mistakes without wallowing in them. I can leave work nearly in tears, but that by the time I reach my car, I have talked myself down. I’ve reasoned with myself and realized that in the grand scheme of things…it is not such a big deal. I can listen to songs with emotional intensity and be entertained and moved by them…and not feel them to the point of falling into the abyss. And thankfully, I can remember that not so long ago, I couldn’t do those things by myself.

My therapist probably has no idea that she saved my life. I had no idea, prior to my time with her, that depression was something that could be conquered. Until then, I thought that it was manageable. She needs to know that she succeeded on so many levels with me.

I think of her often, as I go about my day. As I confidently approach tasks that are new to me. As I direct others in their tasks. As I deal with confrontation. But especially, as I walk with my head held high and without looking back.

Next chapter: Tux is planning to move out. Hyperventilation ahead!!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Indeterminate Bereftivity

You know what I mean…when you feel like you’ve lost something, but can’t remember what it is? Like it was wiped from your memory, but you still miss it.

That feeling that something is not right, but you are not sure what it is that is wrong? Or maybe it’s not wrong, but it’s definitely not right? Either way, it’s unsettling, but you have no idea where to go to fix it or fill the hole that it left behind, because you can’t even find the hole.

That’s today.

One of those days that you have to just fill the space with something good, something that edges out that empty feeling.

First step: giving it a name. Check.

Now, on to the good stuff!