The balancing act

What a lot of people don’t realize, well those that don’t suffer with mental illness, is that every day is a balancing act. A little teeter one way or the other could have disastrous effects. And if you fall, you better hope to all hell that you have a good safety net to catch you.

I’ve asked people in the past how much time they spend every day managing their mood. Most of them just looked at me like I was nuts. Apparently very little. I swear, I spend most of my day managing my mood and emotions. If not managing, then monitoring. Mental check-ins every so often, gauging how and where my emotions are running, etc.

This is sometimes made hard by the fact that at work I have to remain upbeat, personable, and friendly, even if I’m everything and anything but those things. Some days it can be exhausting. Some days I pull it off with no problem. Others… it’s not quite so easy. Those are the days that I need to come home and do some R&R. Those are the days that I look forward to my days off.

It really is a battleground sometimes in my mindscape.

So how do you do it? We all wear masks, even we don’t realize that we’re wearing one. There are times when I can’t deal with what is going on in my head right that second, so I have to put in a “For Later” file to be dealt with when I get home, while I’m working out at the gym, hell even when I’m driving home.

I hate this.

On a side note, we’re watching Evil. And this show is horrible. I’m really not sure why we’re still watching.

In other news, the new routine is going well. I’m having a hell of a time with calorie counting right now because I want to snack on all of the things. And I mean ALL OF THE THINGS.

A ray of hope and my therapist points out that I’m kind of an idiot

It’s been a big week. Had interview number 2 yesterday, and it went really well. At the end of the interview he actually said, “You know, I almost didn’t call you in for an interview. Your resume is quite odd. But I’m glad I did, because I think you could be an asset to the company. So I’m sending your resume up to the final hurdle.”

I know my background is bizarre – bachelor’s in biochem, 10 years in science, and an MBA in operations management. It makes no sense. Until you talk to me. And for the past two years that’s really been what I needed as well as my biggest hurdle – getting someone to bring me in and talk to me. This could be good. I’m trying not to get my hopes up; I’ve had them dashed too many times. But… it’s hard not to feel even a little excited that something might go my way.

But I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. I waiting for the let down. I’m waiting for the crash.

So I had an appointment with my therapist today, and as usual it was a barrel of fun.

Not really.

So we’ve been working on cognitive distortions and trying to combat my negative fucked up thinking. So here’s what we’ve been doing: enter negative thought, try to counteract with real true thought that is at the very least neutral if not positive. Sounds like a good strategy. Yeah, except for the fact that I start arguing with myself. I don’t mean point and counterpoint, I mean two distinct, almost something akin to personalities, arguing in my head. They’ve now taken on their own voices. He claims that this is totally normal. But I feel like a nutjob.

We did tough on some interesting things though, things I hadn’t really considered. To be frank, I don’t typically see a lot of value in myself. I’m often baffled that people want to be friends with me, and am generally not surprised when some friendships fizzle out naturally. But… I have friends that I talk to in some capacity every day, even if it’s just a few texts or sending memes back and forth on Instagram. I have a husband who has stuck with me for the better part of two decades. I mentor new students at my alma mater, one a year for the past five years (soon to be six). For most people, this program lasts a year. But I’ve kept in tough with all of my mentees well past the time we were required to keep in touch, and two of them past graduation and into either career or graduate school. He pointed out to me that these kids that are so much younger than me see something in our relationship and want to keep in touch. There’s some young kids at work that call me Mom – I listen to their problems, give advice when needed, I’m available for hugs when needed, and try to support them. They often invite me to hang out and drink with them (which to me sounds totally bizarre), and I guess it never occurred to me that these kids genuinely want to hang out with me. Hell, one actually came to Mike’s party and hung out for a bit.

I need to start realizing that I’m a worthwhile person and I have a lot to offer, both personally and professionally. I need to break through my upbringing, the trauma of bad friends through my teens and early 20s, and realize that I’m a good person. Maybe I just need to repeat that to myself a few times a day. That’s not a horrible idea, actually.

I’m cautiously optimistic, and I’m trying not to get too hopeful

I had an interview on Tuesday, and it went really well. Funny part of the whole thing was after I had the interview they created the job that I had to apply for. I’m tentatively supposed to meet with the higher-ups next week, I just haven’t heard when yet. In many respects it seems like this position is being created around my experience and education, but I’m trying not to get too hopeful that this is going to work out. I’ve been let down too many times.

But it’s hard to not get excited about the mere prospect of not only a job, but a job in my field, in a branch that I would love to get involved in, that not only is relevant to my MBA, but also my biochemistry degree. This seems like a match made in heaven, right?

I don’t want to get ahead of myself here.

But for the first time I have hope, which is something I haven’t had for a long time. To be honest I’m not quite sure what to do. I’m part a ball of anxiety, part general nervousness, part hope, and part preparing for disappointment. I’m hoping to hear something tomorrow about scheduling the next interview.

If/when anything happens, I’ll keep you posted.

This waiting isn’t good for me though. I immediately jump to worst case scenario. I assume I’m not going to get the job. So while part of me is feeling hopeful, part of me is preparing to be completely let down. It’s an internal battle and neither side is gaining and retaining ground. As soon as one side starts to pull ahead in the battle, the other side resurges and gets that land back. I can’t win.

The worst battlefields in the world are in people’s brain.

I need to have confidence in myself, in my talents, in my skills. I need to believe that something will come along. I need to hope that when something does come along that it’s going to be worth the wait of the last two years since I graduated.

I’ve just had so much disappointment over the last few years. I’m scared to let myself feel hopeful.