Some much needed self-care

This week I took the time for some much needed self-care. A long session of massage therapy helped get rid of some of this built up tension. And for the first time in over six months, I got a haircut! With all my stress and psoriasis and losing clumps of hair, it was so nice to have a head massage and bring some order back to my hair. It’s nice not to feel so straggly and the shorter hair will hopefully make it easier to treat my scalp.

I also went to a follow-up appointment with my psychiatrist. Re-upping my medication to the levels I had in the spring seems to be helping. I have tremors but otherwise my mood is much improved with the higher dose. I feel a bit more able to handle the work conflict. We talked a lot about my work conflict at the session. I explained how I work with someone that veers from ordering me about and yelling at me to being as nice as can be. She said that this treatment is harassment, and it was a relief to be validated. I’ve felt so uncertain about myself. With a history of mental illness, I wondered, is it me? Am I being too sensitive? Am I the problem? But she reassured me that yelling at people in the workplace is never appropriate. She was annoyed that my boss wants to send my to a course on working with difficult people and difficult situations. She thinks it’s my colleague needs to learn how to communicate with people. But I’m of the mind that a) this may be a good way to learn some new strategies because I do get very stressed by interpersonal conflict and b) if they want to send me on a course then I guess they don’t want to fire me.

Anyway, that’s where things stand. Some improvement and a lot of self-care to get me through this stress.

Any tips on working well with difficult colleagues?

Inspired to read on mindfulness

I’ve been really struggling with my latest episode of depression. I’ve been feeling isolated, hopeless, frustrated and apathetic.

But after sleeping way too much for the past four days and calling in sick today, I suddenly felt the need to read one of my many self-help books. So I stopped a movie about twenty minutes in and started to reread The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness.

I say reread, because I bought this book about three or four years ago on the advice of my last psychiatrist. I have a bad habit of buying self-help books and only reading bits and pieces. I tried to read through this book when I bought it, but I think I was too deep in the depths of depression at the time to absorb it. I did practice some of the meditations in the CD that comes with the book, but that was it. A couple of years later I did a mindfulness-based stress reduction course that is based on many of the same teachings and experts. I took much more readily to the practice when learned this way. My later trainings in yoga helped to solidify these teachings.

But here I am, once again falling into depression and not using any of these helpful practices.

But tonight I was inspired to pick up the book again. I flipped through to see where I had left off and then decided to just start again at the beginning. I’m glad that I did.

Upon reading the introduction, it seems to me that perhaps the place I’m in right now is conducive to taking more from the book.

Already there are a lot of statements that really struck me:

…it is actually okay to stop trying to solve the problem of feeling bad. In fact it is wise because our habitual ways of solving problems almost invariably wind up making things worse. (3)

Depression, once treated, often returns–and becomes more and more likely to recur the more often it is experienced. (4)

…every time a person gets depressed, the connections in the brain between mood, thoughts, the body and behavior get stronger, making it easier for depression to be triggered again. (4)

…break the cycle of depression, in which we tend to go over and over what went wrong or how things are not the way we want them to be. (5)

We get lost in comparisons of where we are versus where we want to be, soon living almost entirely in our heads. (5)

…endless cycles of mental strategizing that increase your risk of getting depressed. (6)

… The mind, body, and emotions work together to compound and sustain depression. (6)

…we are all prey to habit-driven patterns–of thinking, feeling, and doing–that curtail the joy inherent in living and our sense of possibilities. (6-7)

…there is an unsuspected power in inhabiting the moment you’re living in right now with full awareness. (7)

We invite you to let go of the tendency we all have to try to force things to be a certain way and instead work with allowing them to be as they actually already are in each moment. (8)

I think this is a great time to reread this book, because already I’m showing so many of these tendencies and I definitely want to break the habits. It’s time to rediscover the mindfulness approach.

Holding on

I’ve been in a holding pattern the past few weeks. Trying to stay the course, to not quit before I have a new job lined up.
I’ve managed to keep going, and had some good days, but I’m just doing that. Holding on. I barely leave the house, I hardly see friends and spend my time either sleeping or on television series-watching marathons.
I am sleeping way too much. And I’m coming to realize I’ve been using it as an avoidance strategy.
I’m becoming disgusted at my laziness and weight problems. I know I need to become more active, to find a new hobby or inspiration to get out of the house. Physical activity has often helped me feel better.
But no action yet. Well, perhaps blogging is a first step.

A clean slate

Today has been a good day. I slept well, woke up when I was ready and immediately showered and went out. I bought food for me and my kitty, and then went back home for a big day of cleaning.

There is something about cleaning that is invigorating. It’s kind of like exercise, with the wonderful reward of a relaxing environment free of the chaos of my messes.

Now that I’ve cleaned almost every room, I can sit back and enjoy the coziness. I think I’ll even light the (electric) fire. And then a friend is coming over for a dinner and a movie.

All in all a really nice day. So nice to have a bit of relief from the stress.

I need new lenses

I do need new contact lenses, but that’s not what I mean. I think that I’m getting so tense and tired and stressed and upset that my views are becoming distorted.

Every time I wake up, I’m thinking about my work conflict. Any time my mind is not fully occupied with a task, it’s going back to the work conflict. I’m annoyed that I’m letting this take up so much of my energy!

I’m remember how zen I was at many points last spring. I want to find that again. Things I will work on this weekend:
– be in the present
– notice when work stress is creeping back to my thoughts and say “No!” – this is my time, not work time
– find time to meditate
– move around, get out of the house

I received a reminder yesterday that I have an appointment with my psychiatrist. Finally! My last appointment was in August because I was doing so well, feeling high spirited and ready to reduce some of my medication. No need to see the doctor for three months. What a laugh. Things have fallen so far since then!

I also haven’t been seeing my therapist since last spring as I was so busy then and my yoga training was a form of therapy. But right now I have nothing and I think I’m feeling the strain of not having their support and insights.

I also stopped blogging so much, losing out on my self-analysis and your helpful insights! Already, having started blogging again this week has been a great release.

Until next time!

Be well.

Postponing Action

I went into work today ready to quit unless other work arrangements can be sorted out. Instead of discussing things first thing, however, I got caught up in impromptu training so I waited for an opening.

When I did discuss things with my boss, it was clear that he would talk to my colleague about his treatment of me, but that was it – no other arrangements. I decided to hold out a little longer, but said I would be out of there the next time.

I was very stressed and tense all afternoon since no solutions were in the offing, but I am staying for now as at least I don’t have to work with the tyrant for a few more days. I’m trying to look at it this way:
-If I stay one more day, then I make $– more dollars.
-Apply for as many jobs as possible while I can.
-Give one more chance before quitting.
-Mental health is number one priority. Quit if you have to.

As I walked home today, I could feel all the tension in my body. It’s like I need to have a good cry to just release it, but I’m not able to. Instead I started chanting a mantra to myself as I walked:
It’s – not – worth – it.

Life is too short to be miserable (especially after five years of depression!). If things don’t improve next week, I owe it to myself to get out of a toxic work environment.

Do I stay or do I go?

Two things are causing me enormous stress at the moment: my job and finances. I need one to pay for the other, but what if it’s also making me sick?

I’ve almost quit my job so many times. I’ve never worked with such conflict before, and interpersonal conflict is not my strong suit. I’m constantly stressed and my psoriasis has flared up again, always a physical warning.

And I’ve been feeling so hopeless.

I’ve tried working things out with my colleague, but things improve for a few days and then turn more sour. I just don’t believe things can change anymore. Since starting this job I have:
– needed to increase my medications
– suffered from poor sleep and felt constantly tired
– increasingly withdrawn from everything around me as the job leaves me so exhausted I don’t have energy to do anything else
– had my whole head break out in psoriasis
– had so much tension I needed two sessions of massage therapy and yet the pain remains
– felt that I was going to have a nervous breakdown
– thought things would never improve and that it may not be worth living.

Only the love of my cat and not wanting her to be homeless is keeping me going. I’ve fallen so far from the optimism I had this spring.

The job isn’t the kind of work I want to do and it’s well below my abilities. I only took the job for access to internal opportunities and stability. But I’m feeling anything but stable, so more and more I’m coming to this conclusion: I have to quit.

It was a long weekend and after venting to everyone I thought maybe I could stick it out a few more weeks. But I’m home sick today because I can’t bear to go into work. This is also a really bad sign and not something that has otherwise troubled me in the past year.

So more and more, I think the answer is that I need to go. This will be a huge financial strain but I can move, take a lower paying job for now… But my health? It’s so much more important.