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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)
(no subject) - xanphibian on June 22nd, 2005 07:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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.
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