Can’t help but laugh

I’ve recently decided that I should stop using the phrase “I can’t help but laugh” because I have become very suddenly aware that it is nearly always towards a person and their problems. It honestly frustrates me that I didn’t think about that before. I work so hard to be sensitive to others, so how did I think it was an okay phrase to use when I see someone struggling?

I was in a leadership training at work earlier this week and during a break was chatting with some coworkers. Now by “coworkers” I mean they hold similar positions to me but we’ve never actually worked together or really know each other. So we started talking about topics from the training, a big one being stress management as a leader. One of these supervisors told me that she is amazed at how people can get so stressed and so emotional. “Why can’t they just deal with it and move on instead of letting it effect their day? I can’t help but laugh!” And in that moment I felt that she was literally laughing at me.

I am someone that needs to be taught stress management. I am pre-programmed to be highly emotional. I handle it well, I am high functioning, I can get through my days with success…. usually. But every few years it hits too hard. I loose my grip on stress relief techniques and have a breakdown. Sometimes I just need a quick stay-cation and med adjustment to get back to life, on rare occasions I need a short stay in a hospital. But I take care of it and get back on track. Why is that something to laugh at?

I’m sure I’m reading far too much into it, and should just shrug it all off like a normal person hearing a common saying, but it did make me think. So now if I find myself thinking “I can’t help but laugh” I will work harder to be understanding of what I don’t know about the person and their situation.

They’re used to it


I sat in the corner of a small room at the office, meditating to bring my mind back to focus and reduce the shaking in my hands. After a long night of bad dreams I needed to spend my morning break in meditation. Then an employee walks in to grab something from the room. Sees me there in half lotus, hands in prayer mode brought up to my third eye chakra, as the voice on my phone guides me to release the intention of my day into the universe. 

She quietly grabs what she needs, sneaks out, and closes the door with as little sound as possible. I walk back to my desk 10 min later and she doesn’t have questions, she’s not weirded out. In fact she was curious only about what meditation app I used. 

My team is so used to this by now. They’ve all walked in as I meditate before. During mindful meditation it is important to refocus your mind as it gets distracted by other things, so it actually helps significantly to practice that while they come in, plus it eases my tension more as I sometimes can’t help but giggle as they try so hard not to disturb me.

I guess the point to the story is (if there is one at least) coworkers are more accepting than you think, and often understand the need for stress release as they are facing work stress as well. So never be ashamed to find a quite spot in your office like an open layout supply closet, or a small conference room with limited windows, and meditate or pray or do some yoga poses. Practicing self care should be done everywhere, even at work. 

Take care of yourself during the day, and set an example for others to do the same. Unless it’s alternating nostril breathing. No Mrs. Therapist I will not practice alternating nostril breathing at work, that’s where I draw the line. 👃😜

At least it was a crazy straw

For a few weeks I’ve been basically at my breaking point, and just powering through. I found I could push through the day and then let everything just hit when I get home. Some nights that looked like staying up all night with panic attacks. Some nights was effectively surrendering to a depression that shuts everything down where I don’t sleep, eat, or talk, just sit there lost. Some nights were filled with nightmares, and some just with the stored up tears of stress. 

Today I couldn’t wait until night. Today I faced the straw that broke the camels back. One stupid little thing that I could usually handle, but today was too much. I ran to the restroom and proceeded to hide in a stall in silent tears for 20 minutes. Then busied myself with mindless work the rest of the day. I’m done. I’m so lost, and so stressed, and so exhausted. I worry about tomorrow, and if I can cope with whatever new crap I will face. But this season is just temporary, right? I hope so.

Well that helps the self esteem 

Gearing up for an annual executive meeting. One of the top bosses comes into town to chat with the team managers of our departments and get all our annual data analytics. It’s nerve wrecking enough based on what the meeting is, then add that it’s only annual so you don’t really get much practice. And then of course I’m having one of my lower self esteem fluctuations where I feel like a constant failure. And to top it off I now have some wonderful hormonal zits. 

Ok, all of this probably sounds stupid and mundane, but keep in mind I am combating a variety of mental illnesses. So when my self esteem fluctuates it is EXTREME. Like I want to curl up in a ball and bleed all of my stupidity out through my arm extreme (fortunately my current mindfulness practices are keeping me out of that trap). And my OCD needs routine and consistancy which is completely out of the question this week, therefore making my anxiety go haywire. 

The zits probably should be the least of my worries, but they really do piss me off sometimes. Primarily because I look significantly younger than I am. So when I break out I look like a 15 year old trying on her moms work clothes. Because I look so young anyway I get people treating me like some stupid little girl if they are first working with me. It drives me crazy and hits on a lot of my emotion triggers. I actually learned a couple years back that I should always introduce myself over the phone before in person, I sound older than I look. But I can’t really call into this meeting.

So off I go all week, sitting in meetings with people I barely know, looking like a zit covered 15 year old in her moms clothes, talking statistics that the monster in my brain will continuously whisper are wrong. Wish me luck!

Team love ❤️ 

It has been a very crazy week at work. Some massive departmental changes threw the whole team out of wack, and we are short staffed while I finish interviewing, and then a very critical member of the team was out sick. Yes I appreciate that you did not spend the entirety of your shift vomiting on your desk, but work just got significantly harder and it was already a mess.

Ya know what? We pulled through! The day had everything done on time and beautifully, we’re set up for success tomorrow and feeling good. Yes everything would have been faster and smoother if it wasn’t all wonky right now, but I am so proud of the work my team got done! 

It is hard sometimes for them to accept my compliments and know how much I truly do appreciate them. So I want it to be known, when a manager tells you on a stressful day how wonderful you are, that you really did keep everything going well, that you are amazing. Believe it!!! Your manager is telling you the truth!!!

I adore my employees and am so proud of what we can accomplish as a team. I hope you all have people in your life that make things a bit more smooth. Whether at work, school, home, or wherever. Surround yourself with a great team. 

Mental Illness and Management

One of the symptoms of BPD (and I assume many other mental disorders) is a fluctuating sense of self. I’m in a current cycle of feeling like a complete and utter failure. It is affecting my work though I’m trying hard to hide it. I just opened a couple new positions on my team and need to hire employees. This is a difficult decision on its own for any manager. Throw in low self esteem with complete belief that I did and will fail everything in life, and hiring just became impossible.

For example, I interviewed a gentleman with more than enough experience, looking for the pay range we’re offering, eager to work for our company long term. Sounds perfect right? My boss is on board with hiring him but ultimately it is my decision. 

I’m FREAKING OUT! I’m basically convinced there must be something wrong with this candidate because, well, he’s my choice and I’m a failure. So I was supposed to make a decision today and asked my boss if I could sleep on it. He said yes but to let him know first thing in the morning if I will be offering the job. 

Sometimes I wish I could just turn off all emotion for a while. Well, technically I can, it’s called dissociation. But that usually leaves me in bed for a couple days. I need emotionless and energy. And confidence. And assurance that this is a good decision while I’m wishing things. 

Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith no matter how your brain is being stupid. I can’t stop work from going on, so I will push through as though my brain and emotions are fine. Hopefully I’ll wake up with enough time to meditate in the morning. Should calm my brain a bit.

Hiring anxiety

I have a handful of open positions on my team that I need to fill, so have been doing some interviewing this week. There’s always a touch of nerves for managers as they’re interviewing, and eventually hiring, for open positions. Is this person just good at interviews? Will they really fit in with my team? Did I give them a fair chance to speak? Did I ask the right questions? 

Essentially you’re making a large decision that will impact in some way the life of the person you hired, their family, the people you didn’t hire and their family’s, and all the people that have to work with the new hire. And you’re making this decision based only on a 1-2 page summary the person provided for themself and an hour long conversation. It sucks. (By the way, if your resume is more than 2 pages, it won’t be read. In fact your lucky if the manager does more than a scan of key points on the first page. So please stop giving me 3-4 page resumes. Just saying)

So as I’m scanning through the resumes for my afternoon interviews during lunch, I start making notes on each persons latest job. My 2pm apparently is leaving a job at the psych hospital I was admitted to last December. I nearly choked on my lunch when I read that! Started doing a mental scan of her job description to see if it’s someone I may have seen. How awful would that have been to interview someone for a job reporting to me if they had helped locked my suicidal ass in a mental hospital for their previous work. 😣

Luckily I never had to find out. She didn’t show up for the interview (by the way, hiring managers talk to each other. So not showing up for one interview is basically blacklisting yourself from every potential opportunity in that entire office. Again, just saying). I have never been so relieved to not interview someone in my life!

Today my armor feels heavy

Every morning I put on my armor. Not the armor you might expect, but the one that suits me well. I apply dark mascara and nude lipstick that forces you to look me in the eye so all will know I control the meeting or presentation, the high heels that make my walk more confident and powerful, the no-nonsense slacks with the cute blouse that adds the touch of friendly to the strong.

I wear this armor to protect myself as I stand for my team. I make myself available to be yelled at by customers, complained at by stressed employees, and to still walk in a room and demand respect. As I take on everyone’s frustration I push off all praise. Praise belongs to my team, give your compliments to them, I will too. I wear this armor as I coach employees, or inform customers of decisions we needed to make. I use the armor to protect me, to be that small level of seperation so I am not overwhelmed by the work I must do.

Every morning I put on my armor believing it will protect me. The strength it is faking for me will guard my heart and mind so I can take whatever comes my way. Every evening I come home and remove the armor to find that it held everything in instead of keeping it out. I remove the makeup and find a young lost women with exhausted eyes trying not to cry. The heels fall to the floor exposing my calloused unpedicured feet that feel the pain of walking through the stress of the day. The slacks and blouse are traded for yoga pants and a tank top so I can curl up in a ball on the couch and feel my heart break for the tough conversations I’ve had to have, or the difficult decisions yet to make. I take off my armor to see it didn’t protect me at all. And yet every morning I wake up and once again put on my armor. Because what other choice do I have?

Mama bird

I received a letter from a previous employee today. An adorable handwritten note thanking me for believing in her and helping her in her career. She worked so hard to receive her promotion, and I am so glad to have been even a small part of that. She will probably never know just how much her letter meant to me, or how proud I will always be of her. This is the best part of management, watching my little birds fly away to experience the amazing things that they will find on their own path.