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Really struggling

4th Jun 2013
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I'm really struggling and have been for a week now.  It's starting to get annoying...

It all started last Monday when I was a little down anyway.  My wife went off to see her sister and so I had a night to myself (first night alone in... 3 months).  I tried to keep myself amused and cheerful, but I just couldn't.  From then onwards everything that happened was just blown out of all proportion by my mind.  I'd have a minor issue with my bike and it would then be the end of the world (with me snapping at my wife, which is the worst part).  I've been the only person in my team, and there has been a mad (internally created) rush to get forms out before we change over systems, which has been a double edged sword as it meant I was busy (and busy means my mind is occupied and can't dwell on nonsense that is making me down), as well as on my own (which was fantastic, except for some mild cabin fever), though very stressful (being the only person who can do anything for 4 days was less than ideal).  Every evening I would sit and ignore all the things that went well that day (and lots did, I basically ran a department on my own through a very busy time for 4 days) and focussed on everything that went wrong.

I muddled through (with some help from a forum called 'No More Panic' which is aimed at people with 'mental disorders', as I was focusing on things that were unhealthy), and managed to get to the weekend. 

I was then almost Zen in my calmness, everything happened when it happened and I didn't stress over anything, until one of my animals was ill and I had to drive him to the vets at 1am as I'd convinced myself he wouldn't last the night.  Even then I was a lot better than expected, I was stressed about him, but I feel some stress was inevitable in these circumstances.

Yesterday I had to sit in and wait for a builder, then literally all I could do was sit on the sofa all day while they wandered back and forth asking me questions and hammering.  Not being able to go anywhere, or have the TV or a film on (because of the noise and constant interuptions) coupled with the stress it caused my animals, and not least because of the fact I had to spend a day with people I don't know.  Plus it was a waste of a day, and I can't stand having to waste time on such a scale, especially as I had to use a days holiday.

Then they didn't leave till 7pm, at which time I had to clean up the house, rehouse the animals back to their usual spot (which involved rebuilding cages and runs), eating and trying to find 5 minutes to do what I wanted.

So this morning I woke up and didn't want to leave the house.  I have basically had to trick myself into coming to work on false promises and blatant lies otherwise I would have just sat and watched films all day or sat with the animals.  Instead, here I sit with a person who drives me insane with his constant narrating everything he does, drumming the desk, stomping his feet, having the radio on next to me (why he won't put it on his desk facing away from me is a mystery) and incessantly whining about how his children are terrible, how they act up and he wishes he never had them (which is attention seeking nonsense intended to make me engage in conversation so I can 'convince' him he loves them really, I know this from experience).

I really can't handle him right now, but have nowhere to go.  This is all a bit much.  As always it is my work that will suffer, making me more stressed.

/rant (or if you prefer /catharticoutburst)

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Replies (7)

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By Sarah Offord
04th Jun 2013 14:10

Moodgym

You are not alone my friend.

Have you ever visited a website called moodgym (https://moodgym.anu.edu.au/welcome)? It is a completely free course in cognitive behavioural therapy, which helps you look closely at your own behaviour and how you react to the things going on in your life.

I've been battling with severe depression and anxiety for all of my adult life and my doctor suggested this (along with a prescription of strong anti-depressants) some time ago. It was extremely helpful and started me on the path to recovery. It wasn't an instant cure and it takes a long time to correct the kind of negative thinking that sets us on a downward spiral. But it is a very good start.

I also recommend that you read S.U.M.O. (Shut up and Move on) by Paul McGee which helped me stop dwelling on the things I had done badly and focus on moving forward. And also Shoot the Damn Dog by Sally Brampton, which helped me to realise that depression is a disease. It is not part of who I am and doesn't have to be a part of my life forever.

I hope that helps somehow. Feel free to PM if you ever want to talk.

SD

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By Flash Gordon
04th Jun 2013 15:27

Keep reading the positives

On the whole you've been doing really well - running the dept on your own, staying calm, etc. - so keep trying to remind yourself of those. It is difficult when you're in the other mindset and having ill animals most definitively does not help!! If I'd had an emergency vet visit and a builder in I'd be in pieces right now as I can only manage one crisis (and to me having someone else around like that falls into the same mental mind***k as a crisis) at a time. But you've got into work. 

Can you ask your irritant to put headphones on with his radio? Or failing that you put headphones on and have something else on? Either way it might reduce his incessant chitchat - after all even if you weren't listening to anything with your earphones he wouldn't know and you could happily ignore him :)

That No More Panic forum was an eye-opener - I'd never worked out that the time I sat in an exam for 2.25 hours without writing a word or the time when I walked out of my final A-level exam (again after sitting there having a conversation in my head for ages, despite knowing the damn answers) were actually panic attacks. Somehow I'd never put two and two together! So thank you for that :)

And now I'm go to go look up SUMO.... 

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By thomas.peterson
04th Jun 2013 16:07

Thanks

Sir Digby, I shall certainly give those books a look!  I have done CBT before, both on a one-on-one basis and as part of a seminar style thing.  Both were a huge help and have got me through some rough times.

My current battle is with not becoming snappy when stressed (as that would do my career any good) and being able to tolerate irritating people.

Flash I would love to have headphones in, even if it is just to make the point of 'I don't want to hear you any more', but there is no way our office policy would allow it (we aren't allowed music on either though, but it is one rule for one...).  Plus if said irritant has a question I am duty bound to answer it, so I need to be able to listen for buzzwords suggesting he isn't moaning about his children anymore and has actually raised a query.  Oh, and the partner shouts to me from his office...

I've been this close to making a complaint today, but I am positive nothing will happen long term other than me getting grief for raising issues (I speak from experience).

 

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By wilcoskip
05th Jun 2013 10:08

Job?

Forgive me if this has been dealt with in previous blog posts/comments (haven't time to check at present), but have you tried moving job?  Or are you currently trying?

I'm by nature a fairly calm, optimistic person not particularly susceptible to anxiety or depression (not a value judgement on you - that's just the way I am).  About 10 years ago now I worked in an office that sounded similar to yours - boss shouting and unreasonable etc.  After about a year, although it was never diagnosed and it didn't occur to me at the time, with hindsight I think I was suffering with mild depression, caused by the work environment.

This spiralled out to affect other areas of my life - marriage, friends etc.

The only good thing about it was that it inspired me to never work for anyone again, and propelled me towards the wonderful world of self-employment.  Not that I'm suggesting it as a remedy for you, but it worked for me.

That workplace took me the best part of three years to get over, I think, after leaving it.

If a workplace can do that to someone like me, then the importance of getting out of that sort of environment for someone like you is massive.

WS.

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By thomas.peterson
05th Jun 2013 11:19

WS

That would be the most logical way forward, and I could match my current salary with a modest portfolio, but not only would I be too scared (at least at the moment) of making a hash of things generally, I can't afford any real risk in my life at the moment what with first time buyer mortgage costs and saving for babies (you still buy babies at Asda right?).

I'm far from hard up, even with said expenses above, and my wife outearns me by a good margin, but if I tried to go it alone and failed it would likely spell the end of our current lives and I can't risk that.

A new job would be great, however I appear to not be in demand (or lack one key skill each time).  I will keep looking though.

 

 

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By Peter Bonetti
05th Jun 2013 14:43

Please don't think this is facetious

If you are financially comfortable, is there any worth in just quitting, doing nothing at all for a while (to recharge batteries) and then looking to do something?

If (and I have no idea if this is the case) you could keep your heads above water with you not working, is the job you don't actually need to do worth the suffering it is causing you?

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By thomas.peterson
06th Jun 2013 10:03

Peter

I've taken that in the manner it was intended :)

It would be doable, we could scrape by on my wife's wage, but I think the guilt of forcing the entire support of the household onto her would likely outweigh any benefit gained. 

As I've said before, I am positive I could be signed off work (I'm pretty sure I could be signed off work even if I was in perfect mental health given how it seems to be a case of telling the doctor you are stressed and he signs you off...), but if I start with that when does it end?

Stephen Fry's attempted suicide has made me get a little perspective anyway, though I'm not bi-polar.  At least I know these feelings happen to even bright and sucessful people.

I'm back in control of things a little anyway, I'm trying to treat coping with work as a challenge to overcome like getting a quicker time in my races, it will take practice and time.

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