Journey of Life

the place formerly known as control your destiny

Tag Archives: anxiety

Diary of a Madman

Screaming at the window
Watch me die another day
Hopeless situation endless price I have to pay

Sanity now it’s beyond me there’s no choice

Diary of a madman
Walk the line again today
Entries of confusion
Dear diary I’m here to stay

Manic depression befriends me
Hear his voice
Sanity now it’s beyond me
There’s no choice

A sickened mind and spirit
The mirror tells me lies
Could I mistake myself for someone
Who lives behind my eyes
Will he escape my soul
Or will he live in me
Is he tryin’ to get out or tryin’ to enter me

Voices in the darkness
Scream away my mental health
Can I ask a question
To help me save me from myself

Enemies fill up the pages
Are they me
Monday till Sunday in stages

Set me free

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The Highly Sensitive Person

In my continuous search for answers to why I go through spells of low moods and anxiety I have found some clues and answers, the most obvious of which would be some level of depression. There is a chance that is part of it but I am not convinced this is the only answer. I also think that the term depression has been rather misused especially in recent years.

I have not been diagnosed with depression but that is likely to be because I have somehow neglected to visit a doctor in the past 6 years! Yes, I know!

I have now registered with a doctor close to where I live (my previous doctor de-registered me, I guess, through lack of contact on my part, the poor lonely soul!!) and I am hoping to get an appointment with my new doctor next week as I feel perhaps it is time to suppress my stubbornness to do everything on my own and seek some professional help. This was largely helped along the way by a meeting with my boss in which I embarrassingly broke down in front of her. Thankfully she was very caring and supportive and made me realise that it is time to take a different approach. She also changed the format of the meeting from being a performance review to trying to find ways of making life a little easier for me at work. She came up with some good ideas that will take some of the pressure off and also reassured me that they would not invest that level of money into recruiting and training someone only for it to collapse. I managed to get myself into a downward spiral of worrying about being out of a job, which from a rational point of view is a little odd because I have fully come to the conclusion that working in a high pressure industry is not suited to my personality.

I have no idea what to expect from the appointment with the doctor and for once this doesn’t fill me with anxiety, at least not at the moment. I do, however, feel a little reluctant about going because I don’t want a label stuck on me. I want to understand if what I am going through is down to a physiological condition such as an overactive thyroid rather than a psychological condition.

The search for answers has continued throughout this week and has taken me down a path of research/learning about the condition referred to as HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) as well as Dabrowski’s concept of over-excitability in his theory of Positive Integration.

Attributes and Characteristics of Being Highly Sensitive

Emotionally, Highly Sensitive People (HSP) are mainly seen as shy, introverted and socially inhibited (or can be socially extroverted). They are often acutely aware of other’s emotions. Sensitive people learn early in life to mask their wonderful attributes of sensitivity, intuition and creativity.

Physically, HSPs may have low tolerance to noise, glaring lights, strong odors, clutter and/or chaos. They tend to have more body awareness of themselves and know instinctually when the environment they are in is not working for them.

Socially, introverted HSP may feel like misfits. They actually enjoy their own company and are totally comfortable being alone. Both introverted and socially extroverted HSP often find they need time alone to recover after social interactions.

Psychologically, HSPs compensate for their sensitivity by either protecting themselves by being alone too much, or, by trying to be ‘normal’ or sociable which then over-stimulates them into stress.

Work and career is particularly challenging for HSPs. They are often overlooked for promotions even though they are usually the most conscientious employees. They are excellent project oriented employees because they are responsible and thorough in their work.

Relationships can be difficult. In relationships they may be confronted with their unresolved personal issues. They can however, offer their partner the gifts of their intuitive insights.

Culturally, HSPs do not fit the tough, stoic and outgoing ideals of modern society and what is portrayed in the entertainment media.

Childhood wounds have a more devastating effect on HSPs. It is important for them to heal their past hurts because they cannot just forget them and go on in denial.

Spiritually, sensitive people have a greater capacity for inner searching. This is one of their greatest blessings.

Nutritionally, HSPs may need more simplicity in their diet. They may be vitally aware of the effects of food on the health of their body and their emotional stability.

Used with kind permission by www.sensitiveperson.com

I can relate very strongly to every single point. In fact it pretty much sums up how I feel most of the time.  I am not a big fan of being labelled or categorised, but this has provided more clarity than anything I have studied before this and with this clarity I have felt acceptance and relief to an extent I haven’t felt before.

It explains perfectly why I so often crave solitude, especially after being at work where I get so involved with other people’s lives. It has helped me explain why I shy away from conflict and big crowds and why I am finding it so difficult to conform to modern society, which incidentally, I see as a good thing.

The not so positive side is the anxiety and spells of low moods, but right now I am beginning to see these in a slightly different light and perhaps I can learn to see these as a part of me instead of seeing them as feelings to fight and to be avoided.

Work-Life Balance

Pretty much every organisation in the UK seems to promote a healthy work-life balance for their employees. At least on the surface! My experience of the past 4 years doesn’t exactly reflect this though. I have worked for two large organisations within the financial/banking sector both of which claim to support and encourage work/life balance with the HR policies to back up these claims. I am not trying to suggest that this is not the case. Both did have policies and procedures in place (at least on paper) to support this. However, once you get down to the level at which a large proportion of people are employed, the reality is somewhat different. At this level the balance is very much tipped in favour of work at the expense of life!

Trying to tip the balance in the other direction will be frowned upon by middle management and will earn you a reputation of not being a team player, being inflexible, not willing to go the extra mile! How many miles do I have to fucking go before someone is satisfied!!!

I am entitled to an hours lunch break which I rarely take. I get in early every morning and don’t always leave on time and yet on the few occasions I decide to take some time back by leaving early or starting late I am met with a look of disapproval! However, it doesn’t stop there. I still have clients who seem to think that I should be available 24/7 to deal with their every problem. If I don’t switch my work mobile/cell phone off I can guarantee that it will ring even late at night.

I have come to the conclusion that working in this kind of environment is no longer for me. I have sacrificed enough of my time and life. It has had a very negative impact on my home life to the extent that I now find it extremely difficult to switch off. I am constantly thinking about what kind of problems I am going to have to deal with tomorrow, whether or not I have forgotten to complete any of the pointless tasks imposed on me by line managers to ensure they can justify their own existence.

It is getting to the point where I am beginning to doubt my abilities to even do my job. When I do take a step back and list down all the things that are expected of me by line managers, colleagues, clients and the company as a whole, I start to realise that, unless I acquire some kind of super power that will enable me to work 24 hours a day, I will never fulfil their expectations nor would I want to! Secondly, I am beginning to feel that the reward (salary) I get for doing this job does not reflect what I am expected to do and once I include the responsibility and risk that’s placed on my shoulders it looks even less appealing.

I know that I accepted the job knowing what the reward would be, but the responsibilities and tasks seems to have now grown out of all proportion.

I know that the obvious thing to do would be to find another job, which I am actively doing. But years of pressure, consequence/micro management and what I can best describe as corporate bullying has resulted in a fairly large dose of self doubt when it comes to job hunting. I have looked through countless job ads only to find that I start telling myself that I would be no good at it or that I wouldn’t be qualified to do it, even when I know I am. This is then followed by a degree of desperation, which I suspect is because I start to fear that I will be trapped in this kind of corporate prison for the rest of my life, which can lead to nothing other than severe depression and despair.

From there I move on to thinking that perhaps I am the problem or the one causing the problem(s)!  That perhaps I am too weak and that I don’t possess the strength it takes to do this kind of job. Whether or not this is the case is really irrelevant because either way I don’t want to be part of this kind of environment anymore. There has to be a better way. There has to be a an environment in which I am allowed to work without the never ending demands that I am currently bombarded with from all angles. I have also come to the conclusion that I will never again want to work in an advisory capacity when it comes to people and their money. It doesn’t matter how much you have done for them or how hard you have worked for them, the slightest setback gets thrown back in your face as bad advice and countless other threats. I have experienced people behaving as if they had lost everything over loss of interest to the value of a few pounds/dollars despite the fact that they have more money than most people could even hope to earn in a lifetime!

Most of the time it is not directed personally at me but there’s a limit to how much of this I am prepared to take and I have reached it.

I have never sold anyone anything for the sake of personal gain and have always focused my attention on what my clients wanted. This, of course, also means that I have always been seen as a mediocre sales person in the eyes of middle management whose job it is to squeeze as much out of me as possible by constantly pushing me to do better and more. Even more frustrating is the fact that I actually like my direct boss who when on a one to one basis is caring and encouraging, but she in turn is pushed by her boss to put more pressure on us. When will they wake up and understand that a happy work force is a productive work force?

As I see it, I have two options; stay and continue to fight a system that clearly does not work or run away again in the hope that a place exists where I am allowed and trusted to do the job while being treated with respect and dignity. A place where I can start tipping the scales further towards real work/life balance.

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