The need to save face turns good people into simple minded fucks. You can’t please and be friends with everyone. People need to own that instead of setting up people who care about them.
We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.
Why should the world be overwise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.
We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!
At 8:30 this morning I was going through some case notes, going through some paper work, going through some online documents, looking for something…
Me: Case Manager, did you ever do that risk assessment with Client?
Case Manager: Oh yeah. In May.
Me: Ok. You never billed for it and you never updated it into the website.
Case Manager: Oh how silly of me!
Me: Right. Well, I’ll just go do a visit to go over it with him again so we have it documented. Where’s the risk assessment I did?
Case Manager: Oh it’s right… hang on… Hmmm… is it in his chart maybe?
Me: No. I looked there.
Case Manager: Well I’m pretty sure I have it.
Me: I know you have it. I gave it to you May 9th, and then I documented giving it to you.
Case Manager: Haha. I have some papers in my car; hopefully it’s one of those.
Oh my God. Really? Really? Do you know or care how long I spent putting that assessment together? Do you care that if the case gets audited we’re going to look like idiots? Do you care that you never even documented going to see him? All my anger at you totally dropping the ball and then losing the proof that we even did the work aside, how do you meet your productivity requirements when you forget to bill for home visits?
I had to leave the office. It was an angry morning. I left and made some home visits and came back and, still angry, I actually went to the supervisor. I let a lot of things slide with the Case Manager but this was too much.
Then at 12:45pm we got an email. Please save your work in the system and sign out; we’re going down for routine maintenance until 1:30pm. Um. What? Whatever. It’s lunchtime anyway. I sat back, put in my headphones, drank some tea, listened to Pandora, calmed my residual rage down.
At 1:24pm we got another email. Ok, we’re shutting the system down for maintenance now.
Wait, really? I have shit to do. 45 minutes is fine, but really? You haven’t even started yet? Why couldn’t routine maintenance wait until 4pm? Is it really going to be back up in an hour? I doubt it.
I left again. I went home.
I’m sitting on my couch right now. Hey, Taxpayers!!
My plan was to go home, clean for a bit, and then just work from home until our system was back online.
You’re not going to believe this. We just got another email. It’s going to be down until Sunday morning.
Someone get me a goddamn beer.
Her: Sarah, does this dress look ok?
Me: Yeah, it’s really cute! I like your boobs!
Her: Thanks, I just got them done!
My baby sister just had a breast reduction, taking her from enormous down to a C cup. She’s pretty excited about it. I can tell by the way she didn’t even miss a beat with that last response that she’s already way less self-conscious than she was. It’s nice to see the real her starting to shine through layers of insecurity.
Last week I was biking to the basketball court and I hear,
“Yeah. Ride that bike!”
Ok. I will? I look toward the voice and see a group of 3 or 4 teenage boys.
Apparently yelling out the obvious is hilarious when you’re 15.
Today, playing basketball with a friend (we’re using a really loose definition of “playing” here) I hear, probably the same boys, yell out, “Yeah. Walk that dog!”
You’re not going to believe this, but a girl was walking her dog on the sidewalk.
So I’m a little confused here. I mean, was I supposed to feel… I don’t know. It wasn’t really insulting. I’m not sure it qualified as a pick up line. I guess I don’t understand what the ultimate goal is here. What are these boys hoping to accomplish?
Is it supposed to be insulting? Am I supposed to swoon? Is it some kind of macho power display? Or are they just really excited to hear the sound of their own voice now that they don’t sing soprano anymore? I guess I just never got that sudden rush of testosterone that comes with being a strapping, young teenage lad.
Teenagers. I don’t have any. Obviously I never was one.
So I started seeing a therapist a couple months ago. I’m unfocused at work. I’m angry at everything and everyone. I’m overbooking my social life because all I really want to do is lay in bed and watch Netflix and, well, no. That’s not going to fly. I do that and I start thinking about things, and then thinking about them even more, and I start crying and it’s not fun. It makes me feel worse. It’s not good for me. I don’t like it. I might be a big introvert, but it doesn’t mean I like isolating myself. I’d make a horrible hermit.
What brought this on? Well. I’m never focused at work. This is not new. I stare into space. I forget this almost immediately. I start things and don’t finish them, or I won’t start things because I don’t want to not finish them. I procrastinate. I’m overly critical of myself. I work 9-10 hour days to make 88% productivity on an 8-hour work day. This is not a new occurrence and every 10 minutes I’m coming up with new and exciting ways to deal with it. I sometimes probably spend more time at work figuring out how to work more efficiently than I actually spend working. You’re welcome, taxpayers.
The other stuff going on… I know what’s bothering me. I don’t want to talk about it. I’ve talked already with friends. At length. More than once. They’re probably tired of hearing about it. Whatever. It’s not important. The situation does not matter. What matters is, I don’t deal with things. I get stuck on them. I hold grudges. I hold on too much for too long and let things bring me down too hard. I don’t want to talk about my problems in therapy, I want help learning to deal with them. I’m tired of being angry and jealous and passive aggressive all the time. It’s exhausting. I’m tired. It hurts. I don’t like it.
So I made an appointment to see a therapist. I tell him my goals for therapy. I want to be able to deal with stress. Big stress, little stress, a combination because all the stress just builds up on itself. My stress could have its own LEGO set. And since it’s not going away any time soon, I’d like to at least be able to manage my life around it. Use my strengths to manage my weaknesses. And, while I’m at it, I’d like to improve my focus and concentration at work. Because managing that is stressful too and I’m just tired of all of it.
I talk with this therapist for a bit. I give him a nutshell version of my most recent, big stress (oh and by “recent” I mean “I was hurt months ago and I’m not over it”). A big piece of my life is gone. With no warning. It hurts. And, again, I can’t let things go. What am I always saying? The pain of losing someone doesn’t go away; it just becomes less of a priority in your life. It’s probably not actually bullshit; it just feels that way right now because I can’t let it go no matter how much I want to. I get pretty sad sometimes. I cry. I’m even more unfocused. Like to the point where I’ve run a couple red lights because my brain didn’t connect red to stop. I don’t sleep.
So he gives me some handouts on stress management. We talk about the importance of sleeping. About my diet. How I exercise. I get some reading on ADD and he tells me I’ve got a mild form of bipolar disorder. I’m still not quite sure I buy that one. We talk a little more and I go home and read all my handouts. I started with the ADD one. It pretty much explains my entire life. There are 50 tips to deal with Adult ADD. I’m already trying or have tried 36 of them. Including the one where you always carry a pen to take notes while reading. I realize, as I scribble almost as many words on the handout as there are words on the handout.
Move on to reading about stress management and, as it turns out, sleep is important. It is a big deal. Every night for 3 days I made myself put the computer away at 8pm, read for a half hour, and go to sleep. I cannot begin to say how immediately better I felt. The fourth day, I didn’t sleep so well. I noticed. And the anxiety came back. And it kept me awake. It’s a vicious cycle. One I continue to struggle with. Sleeping is hard. Therapist wants me to ask someone with prescription powers about that.
Another thing I’m supposed to try out is giving myself 20 minutes a day to just let myself think about stuff that bothers me. Dedicate time to making myself sad. That’s just crazy enough to work. It does. It doesn’t keep me from thinking about stuff the other 23 hours and 40 minutes of the day, but it does help not to let it become a priority, because it’s already had its time in the spotlight. I can manage my way around it the rest of the day.
Moving on to my second appointment. We talk about what things worked for me, and what didn’t, and what I can still try. I’m making an appointment with a nurse practitioner who can give me things to help me sleep and help me concentrate.
I met the therapist again for a third time and had nothing to say. Or I couldn’t think of anything to say. That day, things were going well. I have stress and things upset me but, that day, I didn’t care about them so much. Maybe these things he gave me that first session are working. So I couldn’t think of anything to talk about. Which upset me. I’m supposed to talk to the therapist, right? But nothing was on my mind to say. I’m pretty sure I’m not “better” whatever that means. Or maybe I just needed someone to tell me what to do. I felt like I failed that most recent session.
So what do I do? I go home and Google “I don’t know what to talk to my therapist about.” Apparently I’m not alone. A few people seem to think writing a journal at the time something is bothering them, and having their therapist read it later when it’s off their minds seems to work out pretty well. So I thought I might give that a try.
And that is the story of how I wrote a 3 page Tumblr post with too much information.
Took the bike to Holt Park to play basketball with some besties.
By “play basketball” I mean we took turns throwing the ball and missing. I used to be kind of good at sports, back when I was 13 and awkward.
I was very thirsty and St. Francis Hospital was across the street. I went over to find the gift shop, but I went to the wrong entrance and was blocked by signs warning of asbestos. So I went through the parking structure to a different door, walked down a couple hallways, and found the gift shop. They didn’t sell water bottles; I had to go to the cafeteria. I found the cafeteria, and they were cash only. In 2011. I know. So I went back to the gift shop to use the ATM because I’ve already come this far. And then I didn’t want to break a $20 on a bottle of water, so I bought some chocolate milk too.
Chugged chocolate milk. Drank my water. Missed some baskets. And finally, I braved 27th Street on my bicycle to go to Leon’s Frozen Custard. My first time there. It was magical.
No it wasn’t. But they had some good custard.
Now I’m home. Listening to the thunderstorm. I should be shutting my computer down, but instead I’m typing out a boring blog post on Tumblr. I think my power’s about to go out.
And then velociraptors ate everyone. The end.
Sometimes my mood drops, quite suddenly, and I can almost physically feel it lowering. Which makes it a little easier to visualize myself catching it before it plummets and holding it until I figure out how to put it back up.
I don’t think that was in the handout I got from the therapist, but it seems to work pretty well.
Today I biked south on the Oak Leaf trail and stopped at Danger Cliff. How many miles is that? How long did I ride? I don’t know. I rode how far I wanted to go. I stopped when I felt like stopping. I sat in the grass and wrote this post while feeling the breeze on my sweaty back. I thought about deleting my dailymile account.
I used to bike for myself. I used to bike because it was fun. It was enjoyable. It got the stress out. I started biking for the miles. For the calories. For the comments and the validation. You know what? It stopped being fun. It became an obligation. How many miles can I bike this week? Why don’t I set a goal and feel like crap because it was too cold and windy to meet it. When it was nice out I started making excuses not to go because “it’s not fun anymore” never occurred to me. I just thought I was lazy. That’s not true.
Today I decided to love my bike again. It was easy. I left my Garmin at home and didn’t pay attention to the time. I stopped and took pictures. I thought about my day. I thought about the past week, month, 2 months. I pedaled out some stresses and some frustrations and, so far, I’ve had a pretty good ride.
I think I’m ready to go home now.
I think I will drink some chocolate milk.
Maybe I’ll start going back to the gym too.