If we were having coffee…

If we were having coffee I’d be complaining that it’s not cold enough here to be fall. I want to knit for winter, but can’t bring myself to knit because it’s not fall weather yet. 😭

If we were having coffee we’d be calmly hanging out in my living room. It’s a lazy day. Even with the caffeine I’ve got no energy, and no desire to get energy. The whole week has been go go go and I’m very happy to be lazy. Except that I’m hungry and don’t want to get off the couch to cook. So you’re totally going to bring over some food, right?

If we were having coffee I’d ask how your week was. I feel like I’ve been too trapped in mine and have ignored you. I don’t want to ignore you, you are all so special to me. So comment on your week, good or bad, I want to hear from you. 💕💕💕

Am I really though?

Something’s been bothering me for quite a while, and I can’t answer it for me. Maybe you can, and feel free to be honest. I’m on good terms with my meds at the moment so I can take it.

I shared my Misconceptions about BPD post with my therapist a while back and as we discussed she called me a mental health advocate, or something to that effect. But I’m not certain that is accurate.

I Googled “define advocate” and the definition that came up was “a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy.” My blog is public, but I am not. And that bothers me. I stay fairly anonymous, I can’t imagine what my office would think of me if they found this blog and knew it was me. But doesn’t that get in the way of my message? I speak to the stigma of mental illness in the office yet don’t speak to my office about my mental illness.

I often feel that I am part of the problem. I fall into the trap of keep it quiet so I’m not judged. I fear the repercussions of going public. I’m not ready to go public, but I hope some day I am. I want to think I’m a mental health advocate but I don’t know that I can at this time.

The big wigs are coming! The big wigs are coming!

So I step into the office Friday and a coworker at a nearby desk had just finished cleaning his whole cubicle. He mentioned that he heard “some big wigs” were coming into the office, so he made sure all was clean. Monday I saw facilities going above and beyond (and they do a great job daily, so this was like holy crap status), and the other people around me were all cleaning their desks too. Ya know, for the executives that would be briefly walking by, exhausted from a plane flight, concentrating on the upcoming conference, multitasking their work remotely. Because those executives are going to stare at your desk and critique it I guess?

The way I look at it, you don’t get to that level of management by spending more time putting away paperwork than doing paperwork. An office desk might look good, but how often does the executive work at that desk? Probably not often, which is probably why it’s clean. Everything is scattered in their home office where they’re hectically getting shit done 24/7. So yesterday, sure enough, big wigs were in the office for some conference. Ya know what? They didn’t stare at people’s desks, they didn’t judge, they didn’t really do much in the office at all. It was politely chat with people between meetings, that’s it.

Did I clean my desk? Yes. It was near spotless. But I didn’t do it for some random executive who probably has far more on his desk since he also has far more to manage. No, I did it for the piece of mind of those sitting near me. They were nervous, so I did what I could to ease that. And if that means Lysol wipes and a drawer full of my loose rubber bands and paperclips thrown in? So be it.

On the plus side? My iPad (which I’m typing this on) keeps recommending the word “coffee” when I start to type “office”. It knows me so well 😜

Diagnosed Workaholic

My first session with my current therapist was just over two years ago and after explaining how I had been “coping” for years and what was happening leading up to my pending breakdown she looked at me and paused, and then she simply said “you realize you’ve been self medicating with work for the past nine years, right?” Yes. Yes I did. The fact is I didn’t know how to cope so I worked too much in order to distract myself from myself. When I was forced to slow down, I couldn’t handle it. I was a workaholic. I’m not saying that to downplay actual addictions, but addiction runs in my family so I have always been excessively carefully with the actually addictive things, so I ended up turning to work instead.

The last couple of months at work have been nuts. I’m working crazy overtime and barely keeping shit together for my department. I had to cancel my last therapy appointment cause I can’t take time off work, and I still haven’t been able to schedule a new one. I’m too exhausted for crafts or games or anything that I used to do after work. I’m barely blogging, sleeping is hard, it took me a week to finally sew buttons onto my sons sock for sock puppet eyes. I wake up already exhausted, run on coffee and soda energy all day, and lie down with an exhausted body and overactive mind as soon as I get home.

But I realized today that in the last two weeks I’ve had almost no panic attacks. I have not had the constant urge to self harm. I have not cried myself to sleep or stared at nothing in the overwhelming emptiness of my lack of self. I have not begun screaming at someone out of uncontrollable anger held too long. My emotional extremes aren’t there. Today it occurred to me that I am doing almost no self care at all, so why am I suddenly stable? My meds didn’t change, so it can’t be that. Then my therapists words echoed in my head. “Self medicating with work.” Am I doing it again? Am I so overworked that my disorders have taken a backseat? I don’t know. But two years of practicing self care has at least taught me a couple things.

First, work does not define me. I have to keep reminding myself of that, and I do. No matter how much of my day is stuck on work right now, it does not define me. Second, it is important to not judge. I don’t need to judge my overworking nature at the moment, I simply need to be aware that it is there and that it will not last forever. That I need to keep working to build in more self care while I can. Third, I can’t make this permanent. I need to allow myself to slow back down as work slows back down. I can’t allow myself to get so used to this that I don’t stop.

I choose to be aware of my situation and my past so I can move past this. I choose to be healthy, even if it means that feeling good might not be from feeling good or from healthy practices.

Long forgotten happy place

When I was a kid my favorite uncle worked at Home Depot. My mom and I would occasionally go visit him and pick up a plant or paint sample while we were there. I fell in love with the store. I loved walking through the kitchen section and feeling the differing types of tile, looking at the carpet samples to determine what kind will be in my home when I grow up, studying every type of door fascinated by the ones with windows or fancy knobs. But my favorite aisle was the one with wood. Nothing but boards in various sizes, all with the most spectacular smell. I could loose myself in that aisle forever.

Over time I forgot this happy place of mine. My uncle went on to another career, we bought our plants elsewhere, didn’t paint as often. And the joys of this magical place got lost somewhere in the back of my mind. Not too long ago I had to get something from Home Depot. It was late, an hour before closing, and quiet. So I decided to wander a bit. I began to remember how much I loved this store, but as I went into my magical forest aisle it wasn’t quite the same. So I continued to wander until I reached the far edge of the gardening section and became lost in a sea of half grown trees and giant bags of soil. My new aisle, my new happy place.

Today I needed a break. I needed to calm my mind of the anxiety of the week. Week? Actually no, let’s try month. So I went to Home Depot and picked up a new pack of key rings and then went into the forest in the far corner. As I wandered I found myself at the clearance rack, a metal shelf unit covered in half dead plants marked down 50-75%. As I stood there I longed for these plants. But I rent an apartment, and my tiny patio and window sills have more heat than light from the sun, so plants don’t grow for me right now. I had to leave them all behind as I knew they wouldn’t flourish with me. So I spoke quietly to them. I told these plants that they were not forgotten, that I loved them, and that when I have a house and a garden I will fill that garden with clearance plants and bring them back to life. The plants can’t hear me, but that’s okay because I needed the reminder that all living things can come back to beauty and life if cared for properly. Some day I will save those plants, they will not be forgotten, left to die on a shelf.

I loved my moments in my forest today in the back corner of Home Depot. Then of course I hit the grocery store on the way home for a giant bottle of wine cause let’s face it, it’s been a shitty few weeks. So cheers. Here’s to half dead plants, half forgotten happy places, and half empty bottles of wine.

I will not

I will not rage quit my job today.

I will not allow a single email to determine my career.

I will not allow this bitch to get to me, even after nearly three years of her hacking away at my mental state at work.

I will not rage quit my job today.

I will not stay up all night.

I will not be up all night afraid of the dreams that will haunt my sleep.

I will not allow my stress from the day to determine whether or not I will sleep that night.

I will not stay up all night.

I will not spend the day in tears.

I will not hide and cry all day over the devastation in this world.

I will not dwell on my personal experiences of loved once trapped in past shootings and replay the fear in my head while others face this new terror in their own lives.

I will not spend the day in tears.

I will not give up.

I will not forget that this day is temporary.

I will not allow the insanity of my current life and stress levels to destroy the future I am always fighting towards.

I will not give up.