My Mind: My Friend, My Enemy
Perhaps it is this weather and this “OMG, make this winter end” feeling that is to blame but it seems many of my fellow bloggers and RL friends are feeling similar to me.
One oddity, and this is out of place but necessary (in my mind) to partly explain my current state – I am actually writing this post. My comforting lil 9×6 notebook and a bright red G2.
Despite how much comfort I find in a pen and paper, I realize I do not use them as much as I used to. It seems far less effort to type a post than to write it, type it, then post it. But I think the pen to paper is the most therapeutic part. No spell-check red squigglies interrupting my train of thought. (What?? I misspelled/mistyped something? Must change nao!) No backspace. (Just scribbled out words instead.) No internet Thesaurus to find a better word for what I am thinking or Google to find a link.
I know that I go through irregular “phases.” Phases where I read 3+ books per month. Phases where I write. Phases where I listen to music behind/alongside everything I do (including work and WoW). Phases where I watch TV. This last one seems to be the phase I am currently stuck in.
It was one of my guildies who unknowingly slapped me in the face with this truth. He mentioned he missed my music in the background while we were running ICC25 last night for shards for Aesadonna. I had the TV on instead. The kinda sad part is that I do not really watch it. I just use it for the noise.
Noise is comforting to me, it keeps me company, keeps me sane. When I was in school, even high school, I had to do my homework at the kitchen table – with all the noise and bustle of my family buzzing around me. When I was living with my ex, I had my computer in the living room. At work, I listen to music, and I find I focus best when people are chatting and moving around me. For several years, I was a front desk receptionist at a Data Center. My fellow Admin hated covering for me because of the constant interruption, but it helped me work better. I had to stay organized and remember my place so that I could pick up right where I left off, after giving the person standing in front of me my undivided attention.
At some point, this trait I have honed and depended on has deserted me – or at least gone fuzzy.
I am still – at about the two week mark of being unemployed – unable to focus myself. Even at this very moment, I have already consciously stopped myself from straying onto another task several times as I write this. It is taking a surprising amount of effort. (Typing note: finding the link for Matty’s blog led to a ten minute distraction while I wandered off and found an outfit relevant to her most recent post.) And it is maddening. I have always been a multi-tasker – heck, I run two computers here at home and both at any given time probably have open WoW, several internet tabs, my screenshots/pictures folders, email, Blog, Twitter, Facebook… Then, there is my phone.
I am so damn connected it is making me crazy. I am so damn connected, yet it seems to isolate me more.
Never before has this felt overwhelming, but now it does. My phone ringing or making a text-received noise induces anxiety, partly because I know this detracting item will take several more moments of adjustment to get back to what I was doing than it should. The Twitter tab mocks me, as the new Tweets grow. Facebook is much the same. Google Reader, though I love reading the interesting stories and what is going on with my blogging friends, taunts me in a similar manner.
I am not sure whether it is the anxiety causing this distress, or whether it is the medication for the anxiety.
And that is the crazy part – I have never been on any medication more serious than a week or so long regiment of antibiotics. I have had stress, and I will not say I have always handled it in the best manner I could, but I have handled it. I always come back out on the other side feeling a little wiser in my mistakes or successes.
But this time, I cannot seem to make sense of things. This also is maddening. I cannot grow or fix anything if I do not know what I did wrong. The worst part – I am not sure if it is nonsensical or if I just cannot grasp the sense.
I was hoping the week that was supposed to be my vacation, last week, the week of my birthday, would be a good mental healing time for me. But I am still fuzzy, still anxious, still easily distracted… I still just want to sleep.
I loved my job. Let me say that before anything else.
When I was at my previous job, I worked in the Data Center of a health company – a large one that managed a number of hospitals in several states. I knew and heard of and even donated money to the good and charitable things our company did. But yet, I was very removed from these things. So though I knew what I did served a greater purpose in the scheme of things, I was no Patch Adams – I did not see the end result.
Working for Girl Scouts was different. Even as an Admin, we had troop leaders and trainers and parents and even children (the girls and their siblings) in our building all the time. I met so many wonderful adults who volunteered their time for no further return than the happiness and enrichment of the lives of the girls we served. I participated in events that put me face-to-face with girls – taking joy in their joy, while getting down right beside them and taking part in what they were doing. And I led a troop (well, I still do, at least until the end of the school year and then we shall see).
I dunno… maybe I should be a teacher. Heh, I am too much of a pushover. And art teachers are just about extinct, even though that was always my favorite class.
You would think after numerous years as an Admin and working in an office setting that I would be used to office politics and all kinds of personality types. Then again, even other people I worked with told me my boss was “out to get me,” for whatever reason. It is also a very different environment working with all women, but that was nothing I could not handle. Just do not expect anything gossip-worthy not to be common knowledge by lunchtime. 😉
Some of my friends and co-workers said it was because I am too independent.
But isn’t that a good trait? How many Admin/Reception/etc. job descriptions have I seen highlighting “self-motivation”? Nearly all of them, I dare say. If something needs doing, I just do it.
Unfortunately, it seems my downfall is I cannot read minds. My boss and I never seemed to coincide on the means to an end, yet we were both aiming for the same result.
It is like those infuriating math questions… Do not just give the answer, explain how you got to that answer.
I hate math.
Seriously though, if the end goal is a paper circle colored purple, what difference does it make whether I color the circle then cut it out, or cut it out first and then color it? Both end up with the same result!
It started with my duties changing. I do not mind change, but I do require some direction in things I am unfamiliar with. Usually, there is the whole Job Shadow thing. You know, where someone who actually has done the task for X amount of time shows the newbie the Who-What-Where-When-Why-How of things. Heck, when I was laid off from my Receptionist position, I had all my tasks documented so well it only took me two days of my two last weeks to show the building Admin everything I did.
I sometimes wonder if I documented it too well… but I believe in knowledge-sharing. If I take a two week vacation, everyone will be happier after the fact if I do not receive panicked phone calls during said vacation.
But when my duties were shifted, I received nothing – no training, no procedure, no contacts who could actually answer my questions, nothing to work with. When I took over Camp Programming – data entry, confirmations, refunds – I had to build my own processes. Same with Membership – registration entry, changes, troop maintenance – no direction, just dropped into the deep end of the pool and told to learn to swim. Same with Time Keeping. I still cannot figure out how they functioned before I created a spreadsheet for it. And all I got for my ingenuity and proactive mentality was criticism for how “primitive” the process was. Before me, there was no process! And on top of that, I tried and tried to make it smoother, to put some more responsibility on the managers, but I never received any replies, any feedback, any support.
I was basically left to my own devices, then criticized for my decisions. Being proactive did not work, I always did whatever task it was wrong. Being quiet did not work, I was watched over like a rabbit by a hawk. Asking questions did not work, I was called insubordinate. By the end, I was a terrified, anxious mess – scared to ask questions, scared to not ask, scared to move.
Good riddance, but now what?
Ending Note: Hopefully, this all makes sense. Even after typing it, it still seems jumpy and disjointed.