Dysthymia

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Dysthymia is a kind of depression that has ups and downs. It’s what my physician has down in my medical record as my type of depression. I always disliked the diagnosis, fearing it wouldn’t be “serious” enough to justify ongoing care. But as I’ve gone through treatment from various therapists over time, I’m coming to terms with the diagnosis and making peace with it in a way. I’ve never been denied coverage so far, which is reassuring.

It does have its ups, though. But, right now, I’m going through a pretty heavy down cycle, and it’s really giving me a rough time. Not only do I constantly struggle with self worth, but my work situation is so toxic that it begins to validate the negative self talk because of the way I’m treated.

The key to my survival is to tap a part of my “training” from childhood, this idea that I’m not supposed to be alive, and therefore, I’m not worthy of things that other people get, like validation, or the right to happiness, or acknowledgement. If I can absolve the desire for things like fairness or kindness, I can merely be present to the actions of others, and not affected by it. To detach is the goal, to leave it by the door when I leave, my hope. But with all things this emotionally sticky, it’s hard to get it all, and I often fail.

Part of buddhist teaching is to extinguish the ego, that suffering lies in desire, and to remove both gets you closer to enlightenment. Perhaps inner peace doesn’t feel like exquisite emotional agony, but the path there is like a fire burning the remnants of the self, and if you can still feel it, you’re not done yet. When it’s gone, maybe, the cold, emptiness that remains will whisper the secrets of the universe and I can finally smile.

More of the same

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Things at work are tense. I feel like I must have typed that statement a million times. It is the understatement of the century. I basically do not speak to one of the people I work with, for so many reasons, the most important of which is that she is dangerous. Not in the shoot-em-up violent kind of way, but of the so thoroughly believes her psychotic ideas that she will loop you into her insanity, which could inevitably get me fired.

The example of this I tell people, is that about two years ago, she hypothesized that our boss and one of his subordinates were having an affair. Though I did my best to dispel this idea, dismissing it both on the lack of evidence, but also the sheer danger of hurting two innocent people’s careers with such a suggestion, she persisted. The rumor came back to me through another colleague in a different department, someone who doesn’t interact with her at all.

So, because I can’t be involved with that kind of psychotic behavior, and I can’t just quit, I have to endure this. As it turns out, her rumor got both of the people involved sent to HR to answer for the trumped up charges. They could have lost their jobs, all because this one got jealous.

I realize now she was doing this because she sees herself as the next in line for the boss’ job. She must think that if she takes him out, that they’ll just bump her up to boss. How sad and sick a person must be to destroy another person’s career and life just because she wants to be in charge.

So, because of this, I don’t engage. I don’t say hello, good morning or anything. I don’t socialize with her, I don’t allow her to begin a conversation with me. I have no alternative, except to quit. And frankly, I need the money, and opportunities in my field are scarce.

 

For every action…

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So, Monday was pretty cool. I had what would be considered a pretty good day. It was nice while it lasted, but the very next day, I was kicked in the face by a not so nice day. You know how the universe needs to balance itself out again. The pendulum must swing back and the crap waiting on the other end smashes right into your face.

A couple of things happened at work. One of our team members has quit, which was quite surprising. This person was not really a good fit to our organization, and had a lot of personal issues that were getting in the way of doing the work effectively. It’s frustrating, though, because hiring anyone is a very difficult thing in our organization and finding qualified candidates is nearly impossible.

Then, after that announcement, the woman who takes great pleasure in making my life miserable has a very loud visit from a customer wanting her (my adversary) to do a task that’s exclusive to my job title and description. They have this conversation across the hall from my office, at full volume, impossible to ignore. My adversary agrees to do this task, although it’s not in her job description, and frankly a bit beyond her skillset. I begin to rage quietly in my office, hands shaking and breath impossible to catch. I take a minute to calm myself, then alert my supervisor that this is taking place.

His response isn’t terrible, stating that he was unaware of their plans, and that this person seems to try to circumvent the system. He assures me that he’ll handle it, which means nothing. However his tone seemed irritated enough, perhaps he will. Hope softens the rough edge of every promise.

woah!?

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Today, I’m feeling strong. There, I said it. I feel good. It’s not often I can say it, but there it is. Unquestionable, unwavering stability.

It’s not often I feel that way. Half of the time, my anxiety and self doubt overwhelms me, leaving me incapable of feeling confident in any of my decisions. I think that’s normal. We fear making decisions because of not only the definitiveness of it, but out of fear of choosing the wrong thing.

Maybe it’s that my morning session with my therapist went better than expected and that she validated some of the decisions I’ve made in my work life. Decisions, I’ll admit, may come off as juvenile or childish in dealing with a destructive person I cannot avoid. But she didn’t contradict me, and even said that my choices were thoughtful and wise, considering the circumstances.

It could be that I saw my primary care doctor today too, and he was happy to see that I’m feeling better and no further cardiac issues to be spoken of. He was incredibly supportive and it was just nice to have that experience.

Lastly, it could also be that I saw my friend, the one who got diagnosed with cancer, and although it was more brief than I’d hoped, it was nice to see her, even if just for a minute. At any rate, it’s not common that I feel this good on a Monday, but I’m enjoying every minute of it.

Please, Thomas, no…

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Musings on watching the same damn episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine with my son, presented as a stream of consciousness for your amusement:
Right now, I want to murder every fucking tank engine on the island of sodor, because fuck Thomas the Tank Engine right in the ear.
The plots to these shows make no sense. Like, okay, we’ll suspend disbelief that tank engines are alive, and that, apparently, they can’t die?
You’d think that once their firebox goes out, maybe they’d like go to sleep?
Nah, they just can’t move. Isn’t that more disturbing?
Also, since the tank engine was invented by man, like, did someone make an active decision to like, what, crossbreed them with humans?
And, all that came out of those experiments was that they have a creepy child like face, and apparently, no conscience and an inability to follow instructions?
So, are you just essentially like a five-year-old sentience housed in a creepy psuedo man/train?
oh, and when they make mistakes, they’re like, “I’ll fix it.” No, bitch, you’re a train, you can’t leave the tracks.
Your conductor has to get out and fix the shit you knocked over. 
Moreover, when they think, ideas appear in strange places, like, “an idea whooshed into Thomas’ funnel” Oh, okay, that’s where his brain is, that I can get down with
but then they’re like, “another idea wheeshed into Thomas’ firebox” and you’re like, WTF!
It’s just bizarre, and the fact that there’s no lesson, other than, don’t cross breed trains with humans on some rando island, drives me insane.

The unbearable cuteness

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Over the weekend, I slept funny and my neck went all wonky when I woke up. Luckily, I didn’t have anything on the calendar to do, so I was resting while my husband and toddler son were downstairs easing into the morning on their own. My son is obsessed with animated movies. Among his favorites are Cars, Monsters Inc., and Wall-E.

If you’ve seen Wall-E, perhaps you’ll remember that it opens with a song from Hello Dolly, which as we’ve seen it a hundred or so times, I’m expected to sing along to. Since I was in bed, I’m hearing my son’s full volume, flat and ADORABLE rendition of the song in my absence.

So, I lay, in agony, smiling, happy tears running down my face, at the unbearable cuteness of it. I drag myself out of bed, and go down to join them.

Movie day 

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My son is infatuated with the movie Despicable Me and although the promotions for the new minion movie are a tad extraneous, when our local theater offered to show the original, I knew I had to take him. The only show was a Wednesday morning, so I took the day off and called my husband’s family to see if they could join us. 

We arrived to find the theater locked and a handful of people out front waiting. I called the box office to let them know and a few minutes later, we were let inside. We were able to buy our tickets but once inside the theater, we were told the movie was sold out and soon three bus loads of kids in the same summer camp neon green shirts descended on the complex. 

We were moved to another theater, but the movie wouldn’t start. So, the theater staff announced without much apology that we would watch Pixar’s Inside Out instead. 

I must commend the emotionally provoking, yet still child appropriate alternative. My son handled it pretty well considering the sensory overload of a Pixar film. The story (and bonus film) were tearjerking for sure, the animation spectacular and the voice over casting superb. Not the game plan I had in mind, but a definite success. 

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