Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tripping myself up again -- a work and anxiety setback

I've been away from this blog for a little while because of broadband issues (all fixed) and work busyness (ongoing, although workwise I'm in a state of suspended animation at the moment.) But while I haven't been writing the blog I've been dreaming up possible blog posts. And every time I think I have one ready to write, something in my life changes and I have to rethink what I was going to say.

The most recent change was a little 'setback' I had in a work context recently. And this has made me take a fresh look at how I approach my life in general. Even as I'm writing this I'm not sure how to change. I just know I have to.

When I have a setback such as the one that occurred (perhaps later I'll be able to describe it in more detail, but it's too close at the moment), a familiar process follows. I go through a a day and night of utter self-loathing and despair. I become a dual personality -- the 'naughty', shamed child who sabotaged a combined parent-and-adult figure, and the angry parent-adult who sees the child's 'misdemeanour' from the point of view of a shocked, judgmental world. The 'parent' feels the shame but has to somehow bear it, and try to mediate the consequences of the sabotage.

As I write this, I understand that the anger of the 'parent' is part of the problem. I also know that the 'child' badly wants attention. But how do I square my psychodrama with the need to appear adult to the outside world? I know I'm supposed to love my inner child, but what does that actually mean when it has an embarrassing 'tanty' that appears to threaten my already limited professional life (and certainly my image)?

What baffles me is that, despite all the self-growth I've undertaken over 25 years, this dynamic -- a neurotic need for attention that becomes a sabotage -- hasn't changed all that much. (I think this blog entry itself is becoming a bit of a tanty!)

The fact is, I'm extremely high maintenance, and I do try to lead a balanced life, but I probably need to manage things better. This is what I think I'm struggling with. I've been avoiding starting to meditate for months now, and even do a very relaxing mindfulness exercise instead, but there's no substitute. With my many problems, meditation helps me on so many levels. Not doing it is part of a more subtle self-sabotage.

Blood sugar is also an issue. It affects me not just by increasing anxiety, but lowering my self-esteem when I'm vague and forgetful because of it. My diet is limited but I put little if any effort into trying to make it strict but interesting, rarely cook anything remotely appetising, and I've been getting a bit slack lately with the kinds of foods I eat. So it's time to take stock, literally, and start looking after myself in that department. What I've been avoiding, I think, is the realisation that I probably need to eat more meat. As an animal lover I don't like the fact that I have to eat meat at all, but I have more energy and focus when I do.

The other things to do -- and these are the hardest -- are: refuse to beat myself up; talk to myself kindly; and be nice to myself.

I'm sorry that this entry is so self-obsessed. I have planned and half-written entries on other issues. But sometimes I'm shocked into the realisation of my vulnerability, and at such times I need to remind myself of the need to ramp up my self-care -- again!


  1. Hello Catherine,

    I can relate very well to vulnerability. I suffer from depression and sometimes am unexpectedly struck down by what others might seem as insignificant or even completely non existent happenings. It often takes me ages to figure out just what wrong in the first place, and then longer to recover. I must recover in my own way, and in my own time. Encouraging words from those who know me well are usually helpful.

    12 months ago I made a complete fool of myself at a wedding for a reason that (although valid) nobody else knew about. Recognition of my downfalls was crutial, and once I came to terms with the episode and recovered, I tried to put it out of my mind.

    We are all human, and we can let ourselves down just when we really need to keep it together. You are not alone. I hope you can come to terms with your work-related incident and move on.

    Kind regards,

  2. Hi Gaye,

    Thanks for responding -- it's good to know someone else understands! It's very difficult to articulate these things sometimes, and I wish I could describe what happened in more detail but it's just too embarrassing right now.

    I'm sorry that you experienced an embarrassing incident. These things do take time to recover from. At the time I think I never will, and then I do, so when it happens again I try to remind myself of my recovery from past embarrassments!

    But you're right, recovery is not instant. And I have to let myself feel all the unpleasantness for a while, while not being judgemental. One good thing about this time was how quickly I recovered from the self-loathing aspect. I could see what had gone wrong and why. I've reluctantly accepted it now and the short-term embarrassment I will probably feel in the work context.

    As you say, we're human, and even the most unpleasant incidents can teach us things about ourselves.