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22 June 2005 @ 11:45 am
hard stuff  

I'm having another day where I feel like walking off my job. I'm having this feeling I get--rarer now--where it's like a switch in me has shut off. On the inside I'm miserable, dull, and on the outside my face feels like a tightly stretched mask of blankness. Flat affect, is how they describe that.

I called and talked to a friend a little while ago, and then I called the confidential employee mental-health hotline. I told the guy about being sober and described to him everything that I was doing--going to AA, seeing a therapist, taking antidepressants, reaching out to friends; and I told him I'd talked to my manager about setting goals and deadlines and structuring my time. And the guy said, "Well, it sounds as if you're doing everything you're supposed to."

Yes. Yes, I am. THANKS A LOT.

So why do I feel panicky, why am I about to cry, why do I feel like I can't take this another minute?

Oh god, this is so boring, so banal. Self-stirred drama when I really desperately want to be upbeat and focused. I do want a steady, happy life. Right now I just want to keep myself from e-mailing my manager to tell him I'm quitting. I want to stop crying, and to not kill the guy in the next cubicle.

This is normal, maybe. You get sober, and your vision sharpens up and all the crap of your life looks like exactly what it is. And then you have to get through it and figure out healthier coping mechanisms.

"LiveJournal: The Healthier Coping Mechanism." If they ever need a new motto.
Herself_nyc: Traddlesherself_nyc on June 22nd, 2005 06:58 pm (UTC)
Suggestions (don't be mad at me for doing this)
Do you have a sponsor in AA? Do you have AA people's phone numbers and actually use them? Would you consider doing a 30 in 30 (30 mtgs in 30 days)?

All the people I know who are sober describe periods like you're describing. You just have to go through it; your feelings WILL change. It just sucks while it sucks.

:: hugs you ::
Anna S.eliade on June 22nd, 2005 07:06 pm (UTC)
Re: Suggestions (don't be mad at me for doing this)
You're right. I totally need a sponsor. I haven't met an appropriate candidate yet, but maybe I could at least get a temporary one or something.

viverra_libroviverra_libro on June 22nd, 2005 06:58 pm (UTC)
Why is it that doing what you're supposed to is so unfulfilling? And what's the alternative? Bleh.

Normally, I just try not to spend a lot of time thinking about these things, because they make me fretful and I never figure anything out. But then you post, and I think "yes! I *so* think that same thing!" and so then I'm back on the merry-go-round. And here I run out of analogies.

Is it possible that you'd feel better about yourself and the purpose of your life if you started doing volunteer work? It seems like a pretty silly thing to hang your self-worth on, but it works for some people. Other people like sex - makes them feel alive, like there's something worth living for. Maybe you just need a good roll in the hay?

Probably there is nothing I can say that will help, but at least you know there's someone similarly situated that feels very much as you do. Hugs!, if you want them.
julia_herejulia_here on June 22nd, 2005 06:58 pm (UTC)
This is normal, maybe. You get sober, and your vision sharpens up and all the crap of your life looks like exactly what it is.

My friend Andrea wrote an essay about what it was like to have her ADHD treated for the first time, and talked about how it was like getting a bright spotlight on the chaotic jumble of good and bad things tossed every which way in her mind- I should mouse around and see if I can find it online, as it was published in ADDendum, as were most of my own writings on that subject.

Anyway, the thing about getting better is that you get to a point were you've done a lot of work and made a lot of changes and worked really hard, and then it hits that you're still not perfect, still need to keep striving, and it's the pits, no doubt. Some of it starts getting easier almost immediately after that point, because new habits begin to form, but other stuff is always going to be difficult, and the only means I've found to avoid getting depressed about that fact are two diametrically opposed tactics: I learn to value the difficulty of the striving, and I give myself permission to hate it, truly and sincerely, when it gets to be too much.

Julia, life is a chronic condition of the relapsing remitting sort
raqsraqs on June 22nd, 2005 07:00 pm (UTC)
i don't know if livejournal helps or not. but i definitely feel that the moments of clarity - in which i'm not crying and not despairing - are actually the worst. because i can see how i'm in the middle of this crap i don't want to be in the middle of, but i don't see how to get out.

process, schmocess.

but i do feel better "doing all the things i'm supposed to do" than not. which is why i do them.

today i am contemplating quitting my job and moving to columbus and trying to get a secretarial job. but they don't have any secretarial jobs like they used to have, where you could do a solid two hours of work a day and spend the rest of your time daydreaming.
Pouncer: Flapper Profilethepouncer on June 22nd, 2005 07:03 pm (UTC)
I remember the panicky, going to cry any second phase, and I didn't have the burden of sobriety either. I have no words of wisdom, just support. I'm here to listen, whenever you need to cope.
xanphibian on June 22nd, 2005 07:10 pm (UTC)

LJ is the only coping mechanism I have that isn't bad for my health. At least, I don't think it is. Next, there will be a study claiming LJ causes premature aging and malaria.
(Deleted comment)
xanphibian on June 22nd, 2005 07:23 pm (UTC)
And erectile dysfunction. :-P
your royal pie-ness: xander by your side (dazzo)entrenous88 on June 22nd, 2005 07:20 pm (UTC)
So tough to go through periods like that. When talking about hard times or depression, someone I know always quotes someone-or-other who said "This too shall pass." And that's annoying, because sure, that seems like a self-evident thing, and knowing that doesn't do anything. Then on the flip side, it doesn't seem self-evident when someone is in a phase like the one you describe. It feels like this big huge glompy thing that just keeps going.

However. It doesn't keep on going. Times and difficulties do pass, things do change. This is hard. It will get better. Not perfect. But better.
(Deleted comment)
the_shoshannathe_shoshanna on June 22nd, 2005 07:28 pm (UTC)
You are doing everything you're supposed to, and the reason it still sucks is that, well, it sucks. I'm sorry, I know that's not comforting -- but it doesn't suck because you're screwing up, or because there's something wrong with you; there's not. It sucks because this is really really fucking hard. It will get better.

While you're looking for a sponsor, is there someone you met at a meeting that you liked and could maybe call? Does AA have any kind of emergency "talk-me-through-the-next-hour" number? (I just checked your city's AA group's website, and it advertises a 24-hour phone service; maybe they could help?) Maybe take a sick day and go home and make yourself cry and scream and pound things?

And, for whatever help they may be, hugs from me. I'm here and listening.
Barbrahirah on June 22nd, 2005 07:30 pm (UTC)
I never know what to say, but I hope it (you know, that nebulous 'it') gets more better soonest.
MELODY GLOUCESTER PEGASUS: Sea of Leavesjolielaide on June 22nd, 2005 07:31 pm (UTC)
I know we don't really know each other, but I do care about you and my heart hurts to read that you're having such a hard time. You've gone through so much and have made so many amazing, positive changes in your life-- you've proven that you have the strength to get through this hard time. Until then, I wish you peace and hope you can find a way to take care of yourself.
Malkin Greymalkingrey on June 22nd, 2005 07:32 pm (UTC)
I hope things get better for you soon.

Of course, it may in fact be the case that you actually do hate your current job to the point of despair, and that staying sober has had the unintended side-effect of making you clear-headed enough to notice the problem. Maybe your therapist or AA has some kind of assessment tools to help you figure out whether or not this is the case?
rubywisprubywisp on June 22nd, 2005 07:33 pm (UTC)
Oh, honey.


silk_knickerssilk_knickers on June 22nd, 2005 07:43 pm (UTC)
You might want to talk to your doctor about changing your antidepressants. Not every drug works for every person; it may be (in part) that the one you're taking isn't the right one for you. You might respond better to something else.

Sorry, I know you don't know me; I'm mostly here for the fic, but I hope you feel better soon.
Rebellious Jezebelmaggiesox on June 22nd, 2005 08:08 pm (UTC)
That right there? Was exactly what I was about to say, right down to the 'You don't know me very well'.

Ask your doctor to check out your antidepressants. It's entirely well within the realm of possibility that that particular prescription isn't one that works for you, and that's okay. It's a trial and error process. Just be honest with your doctor about how it makes you feel, and he or she will help you find the right combination for you.
Sanjsanj on June 22nd, 2005 07:47 pm (UTC)
I'm right there with you. *holds hand* I continue to believe that things get better from here. I do remember being happy. I think it can happen. For you, too.
(Deleted comment)
julia_herejulia_here on June 22nd, 2005 08:13 pm (UTC)
If I can figure this shit out at 50-something, there's hope for anyone.

Oh, yeah.

Julia, my five year plan is to get back to being a healthy diabetic
(Deleted comment)
cindershadow on June 22nd, 2005 07:54 pm (UTC)
I'm having this feeling I get--rarer now . . .

Is it rarer now? Because, if so, that's something positive to hold onto.

I've just erased a whole paragraph of annoying, intrusive, unsolicited advice here--instead, I'll just offer my support and encouragement. Although I'm a stranger, what I know of you I admire very much. You are talented, and you are brave. Enduring is the hardest kind of fighting to do.
cindershadow on June 22nd, 2005 09:19 pm (UTC)
Apologies! The rest of the advice here sounds excellent to me. Only mine would have been annoying, etc.--as I ably if unintentionally demonstrated.
eaceac on June 22nd, 2005 07:55 pm (UTC)
On the inside I'm miserable, dull, and on the outside my face feels like a tightly stretched mask of blankness.

I don't know whether it's normal, but I'm very, very familiar with this feeling. Exercise or a change of scenery sometimes helps a little: can you get up, leave the building and take a walk?

Regardless, I have a lot of sympathy and I hope you feel better soon. I wish doing all the right things paid off all the time, instantly.
Kristinadesoto_hia873 on June 22nd, 2005 08:27 pm (UTC)
So why do I feel panicky, why am I about to cry, why do I feel like I can't take this another minute?

Maybe it's a hormonal thing? I sometimes have terrible weeks and wonder why I'm suddenly losing my mind - and then realise that it was largely due to that whole PMS thing.

Hang in there. It'll get better.
saussy7spoons on June 22nd, 2005 08:35 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry, Anna. All I can tell you is that every single day you impress me with your strength of character, honesty, sense of humor, imagination, empathy and sensitivity. Not to mention writing talent. I wish for so many good things for you. xx
di0nne: Dude! Pussy wagon!di0nne on June 22nd, 2005 08:59 pm (UTC)
I'm having another day where I feel like walking off my job
Oh man do I know how that feels!

I can't really offer any good advice since I'm under assault from PMT of doom, so I feel pretty much the same as you. Any advice I may give right now would probably advocate the use of extreme violence on your boss and co-workers.

So instead I shall just send you some good vibes and hugs.
gianna24gianna24 on June 22nd, 2005 09:01 pm (UTC)
i'm really sorry you're having such a hard time, all I can say is that you're not alone. I've been trying to deal with ADD and depression for a like a year and it sucks. I managed to not graduate from law school this last semester and I've been doing nothing for a month which has improved my out look on life somewhat. Is there anyway you could quit your job without causing more stress in your life?
Sylvikefishsanwitt on June 22nd, 2005 09:36 pm (UTC)
I'm sending ::hugs:: 'cuz that's what I do :)

I'm struggling with depression right now and my Lord, it's a tough slog.

I take every day as it comes. I fight against sinking into apathy. I cry * a lot* and then I go on.

I'm thinking of you and sending out good thoughts.
Melycoffeeandink on June 22nd, 2005 09:48 pm (UTC)
I don't have anything helpful to say, but I meant to say this the last time you had a similar post and never got to it, so I might as well say it here: A lot of the time in these posts you express things I'm feeling but could never say so honestly or so concisely or so well. I mean, my situations are very different, but the feelings -- I'm sorry you're having a tough time, but I'm grateful for the way you talk about it. Sometimes I feel completely lost, and it helps knowing I'm not the only one who feels like that.

*hugs* and please hang in there.
Dittostretfordditto on June 22nd, 2005 11:55 pm (UTC)
Feeling like this is probably why you drank in the first place. Be strong...if you can...easy for me to say....
yonmei on June 23rd, 2005 12:07 am (UTC)

Sometimes life sucks.
(Deleted comment)
Kest: too cutekestrelsan on June 23rd, 2005 01:02 am (UTC)
Have you thought about cutting back your hours or going to part-time? I don't know what your company has to offer in terms of that. It's something I've considered doing, not just to have the extra time to do things that I enjoy, but to actually feel in control of my working life, even if it means taking the financial cut (which is what's holding me back so far, but I'm working up to realizing that it's worth it).
ruthless1ruthless1 on June 23rd, 2005 01:51 am (UTC)
Damn! I hate those kinds of days. Cuz really and truly? We should not being having days like those, with all the hard work you (and I, in my life) have put in. To me, it's kind of indicative of me joining the rest of the human condition. Before, I had years of craptastic unfunness - where everyday was a bad bad day that dissolved into bad months and years. Then they got really really good for a little while...but upon reflection - that was just a bit of mania methinks. Now I have good days AND bad days and it makes me feel a tiny bit more normal - like I am out there, enjoying being a part of the human condition which includes good AND bad days.
Another thing that helped me tremendously is breath therapy. They call it different things - holotropic breath work, rebirth breathing, circular breathing. It helps you to process the emotions that are lodged in your body as body memories in a non-threatening way and sort of indirect way. It speeds up the therapy process by about a gazillion years. It's good stuff. There is also a process called EMDR that helps process emotions too.
Hang in there Ana....I am cheering for you!
::dons unseemly and ill fitting cheerleading outfit from Sunnydale HS and gets to work - GO ANA GO!::::
abbyleeabbylee on June 23rd, 2005 06:00 am (UTC)
This is normal, maybe. You get sober, and your vision sharpens up and all the crap of your life looks like exactly what it is. And then you have to get through it and figure out healthier coping mechanisms.

It is normal. Or at least on the way to being normal. It can get better, and you're certainly taking steps to make it. Know that we're rooting for you, as much as that might help :)
Minim Calibreminim_calibre on June 23rd, 2005 07:31 am (UTC)
Maybe it's like transition, when you're in labor (that would be the stage right before you get to the actual pushing part, which is much easier). Everything hurts, you have the shakes like you've got the DTs, people keep telling you you're doing great but it doesn't help, because you Just. Want. To. Quit.

(I dimly recall sitting in the bathtub, muttering to myself that I was an idiot, a pathetic excuse for an adult, and while I knew other people could do it, I just couldn't do it, on account of being a pathetic excuse for an adult.)

Anyhow, I think my point when I started is that maybe part of the feeling comes from working so damn hard at getting the life you deserve, which is a strain in itself.

I hope that things get better for you soon, and wish I had words that didn't sound like lame platitudes.

Humairahumaira_k on June 23rd, 2005 12:06 pm (UTC)
Anaxila / Babblesanaxila on June 24th, 2005 01:43 am (UTC)
I'm so sorry that there's been angst. I caught up on your LJ all at once just now, so I could see that you're attributing this now to PMS. I totally identify with the experience, both the angst and the later-realization "Fuck, this is just because of my ovaries!?" Doesn't help much, does it? I mean, I guess it softens some of the sharp edges of the angst, but for me at least it turns the sadness into anger at being played with by hormones in such a manner, which isn't that much better an experience than the sadness.

Wish I could be there to hug and rub your shoulders and tell you it was gonna be okay.
Poshykittyposhcat on June 24th, 2005 03:43 am (UTC)
Well now, all the good advice has already been said. That'll teach me for trying to think of the perfect reply all damn day. :0P

Honestly, I live in terror that I'll say the wrong thing one of these comments, and you'll start drinking again specifically because of what I said, and you'll blame me for everything and write a bestseller with an awful character named "Poshmat" in it, and I'll keep getting phone calls from the media asking if I want to respond. So you can imagine the care in which I choose each word. Heh.

I'm glad to hear it was likely just PMS that caused you to be out of sorts. DAMN that PMS! ::kicks it until it screams for Midol mercy::

Having said that, you're not wrong. Working in a cubicle environment is just like being sentenced to hell, less a day. There's a reason Dilbert is so popular. Making changes is hard (yet desired) for everyone in their safe cubicles, so I don't blame you a bit for being stressed. I hope LJ is a bit of a release valve for you, my dearest. No matter what you do or don't do, say or don't say, we're behind you 100%.

You're loved, too. ::gets into bed with you and purrs::