My life lately has been all about work, surviving work, recovering from work. It’s a pressured situation and it’s really hard on me. Ron was on vacation last week, so there’s no therapy update.

I’m not sure what to say. My problem is how to calm down this PTSD body so I can have a life. In one of our sessions, Ron was saying I need to try and do whatever I can to have a life. Make decisions that support me having a life that I want.

I don’t know how to do that because I’m just. too. tired.

Another person was let go from my project at work. So I’m one of four survivors out of seven hired a month ago. Now they’ve actually ramped up the project and hired ten more writers, two of whom were also let go after four days.

I’m not quite making my targets, but hanging on nonetheless. My work is of decent quality, so I guess they’ve decided to keep me for now. But I’m constantly dreading being let go, and it tires me out. It would be OK if I was. It’s just a contract, and I wouldn’t be alone in being fired.

I am always looking for some way to come back into my body after work, so I can feel things besides fear, and so I can sleep. This kind of situation is not that that good for me. Though there are good parts – I do like a challenge. There are no severe people problems at work. The work is challenging enough that I am fairly engaged. I don’t have the problem of too much downtime and low expectations.

It’s just very cut-throat. It’s how I’d heard business was, but never experienced personally.

I went to my 12 step group, and after a few weeks of feeling more connected, once again felt alone and misunderstood. I don’t connect well to people in this anxious state. I shared about it, but maybe came across badly.  Some people I knew pretended they didn’t see me after the meeting and it hurt my feelings.

Anyway. I’m glad to be working and don’t feel I can quit at the moment. If I could just calm the f down.

One thing that really is hitting home for me from this week’s evening session is the realization that I’m being triggered.

Work continues to be an enormous struggle for me. This has been a theme for me pretty much since I started in the workforce, basically seventeen years ago. The difficulties change, but it remains the case that I am struggling pretty hard nevertheless. Usually the trouble is not the work per se, but troubles with bosses, with co-workers, or sometimes with such low level work it bores me to tears.

This particular contract seems to be triggering massive anxiety for me. A second person was fired from our small team at the end of last week. They don’t even get their two weeks’ notice – they’re just gone. We’re told the person was being difficult with the client. Who knows what their side of it is.

And the fact is, I’m not meeting my metrics unfortunately. Last time I did, kind of by a fluke. But this week, I have to fix up last week’s documents, as it turned out I was writing in a different way than what is required. Would have been nice to get that feedback sooner, but oh well. The thing is, fixing up these ‘old’ docs is taking precious days away from the seven new docs I am to produce over the next two weeks.

Anyhoo. I had a real low Monday. I came home completely overwhelmed and convinced I too was about to be fired. I had the overwhelming urge to quit this job, both to avoid the stress of it and to forestall the humiliation of being let go. But – I knew I had just quit another job recently. What’s with all the quitting? In addition, ye olde bank account was crying for funds.

I decided to phone people to ask for advice. My friend J was home, and after I’d semi hysterically explained my situation to him, I started to feel better. He actually came over and brought me food, he was so concerned, which was kind. It was amazing how much more tolerable the situation became once I could discuss it. It was difficult to explain why I was so sure I too was about to be let go, and I realized the situation wasn’t that clear. Though I think the relief I felt had more to do with telling someone else what was going on than with re-jigging my thinking. Maybe it was both.

I went to therapy and explained about the job, about my fears, about my extreme need to quit and how I dealt with it the day before. Ron asked if I was anxious, and I told him I thought I was having massive anxiety, and did I seem anxious. He said he thought there was a layer of anxiety over top of a lot of other feelings. And that I am likely triggered by the work situation into past feelings.

There is a part, V, that has been loud and prominent. This is a young teen part of me. That part experienced so much pain, loneliness and rejection. I spoke a bit about that time of my life, how I more or less stopped speaking to anyone. How I was depressed all the time, and sure this was my fault and my failing, but not able to work out what I could do about it. I remember the heaviness and hopelessness of that time.

So lying there on Ron’s couch, I started to feel some of those feelings. They hurt to feel, but feeling them reduces the anxiety.

At work, my co-workers have been commenting, asking if I’m OK or doing better. I guess I’ve been giving out distress vibes. I’m trying not to do that – I want to be seen as capable as anyone else.

If my feelings at work are kinds of emotional flashbacks to my past, at least my extreme feelings make some sense. Those feelings of alienation and helplessness are feelings I had as a teenager.

Today we had a meeting at work with the big boss. I felt completely alienated, and he actually asked me if anything was wrong. I stood there, as the meeting progressed, and started to acknowledge to myself that a lot of these feelings were coming from that part, and from the past. And it helped a lot. I tried to focus on the here and now, where bad things are not currently happening to me. I was then able to engage a bit with the meeting, asking some questions not in a hostile way, but just in a normal conversational way, and the response was good. So then I again felt more a part of the meeting, and more a part of the team, and less under threat, and less angry.

Ron said that the task is to separate the present from those past feelings. And I knew that before, really. But for some reason this thought is really meaningful to me right now. There is nothing so terrible happening right now. I have a job with some challenges, but also some good points. The boss/PM continues pleasant and seems actually good at his job. He seems to see his job as helping the team get things done rather than harass us or whip us into shape. My co-workers also are fairly decent and we all rub along. And I’m earning good money.

Anyway, it doesn’t make sense that I keep falling into despair or fear because of this contract. It makes a lot more sense if I see it as flashbacks to my past.

A post on work and on my therapy session. I’m on a bit of a high from work, kind of overlaying all the exhaustion. Because, ladies and gents, yours truly finished five procedures for the end of our two week ‘sprint’ (today). I didn’t think it was going to happen, but due to circumstances I was able to pull this off. An advantage of having a big challenge is that it does feel good when things come together and I meet the goal.

Work is still exhausting me very much. I suspect it’s the massive anxiety that I am dealing with throughout the day. I’m constantly worried I’m not going to measure up, that I’m falling behind (which I was), that people perhaps don’t like me and are avoiding me, etc. etc. This would wear anyone out.

Another bad thing happened, which is that the only other woman writer on the project was let go yesterday. So I wasn’t wrong that this organization is sizing us up and pretty much ruthless in getting rid of someone who they don’t feel is measuring up. She was dismissed after six days on the job. This included her working many unpaid hours at home trying to catch up and learn the project.

I was the only one on the team to express any dismay about this at all. I felt bad for her, I felt she was judged too fast, and I also feared for my own position on the project. At that point I was behind in documents delivered and had so many fears of not measuring up. Mixed in with anger at organizations who treat people unfairly and expect the impossible.

So that happened. I found it hard to believe the five men on the team had no response to this whatsoever. I know it’s politic to CYA….and I guess they might have been disturbed by this but wanted to show positivity to the bosses. My impression though was no one cared one bit. They didn’t identify with this woman, felt they in no way resembled her, and that what happened to her had nothing to do with them. An attitude I found disturbing.

I am lucky in the PM on this job. He’s a young guy and seems to have a cheerful optimistic temper. He has never been short with me, or even pushed me much, let alone yelled at me. He is all about ‘metrics’, which I find off putting but I realize that’s what PMs do. His job is to care about the quantity of work produced, not the quality.

Now my session. It’s been moved to Tuesday evenings, a day I’ve never yet been to sessions on previously.

Therapy was helpful. I’ll have to discuss later because I’m too tired to type further!

Well, one week down for a ten week contract. I am extremely tired. I feel like I’ve burned out – just have that heavy exhausted feeling all the time. I’m not depressed. It’s as if my cells are not getting the oxygen they need from my breath.

The contract is a mixed bags in terms of positives/negatives. The people are nice. I’m with fellow writers who are pretty independent, like me, but also fairly friendly. The Project Manager is acting as boss, and he is younger and fairly soft spoken – I can’t imagine him yelling. The quality assurance person is an older woman, very chatty and seems bright and competent.

The down side to this one is the sheer volume and speed of work required. The company I’m with has committed to completing and enormous amount of procedures in very little time. I’ve already fallen behind, delivering only two procedures when they wanted five. I don’t think anyone actually was able to complete five either, but I suspect I delivered the fewest.

I guess they need volume as opposed to quality. Somehow, I have to be able to produce enough for the right number of check marks on the PM’s spreadsheet, regardless if there is any quality there or not. Not how I like to work.

I feel it is harsh to ask so much from the first week at work. We didn’t get connectivity until end of day Wednesday, or email. First two days then we did more training exercises, though it wasn’t clear that’s what they were at the time.

I am intending to make some kind of plan for myself so I can conform to what’s being asked. It’s just taking me a few days to acclimatize and even figure out what they want and how to give it to them. It’s only ten weeks. I do need to keep this contract if I possibly can, to replenish the storehouses.

I feared I would be let go Friday, after not getting in enough documents, and the PM and QA who had been friendly, suddenly becoming frosty and in the case of the QA, who is nice, worried looking.

Anyway. After becoming enormously afraid and tearful Friday afternoon, going for a walk and coffee to try and compose myself, I made it back to work and at least handed in my two measly documents. I almost quit actually, because the task seemed so impossible. However, I didn’t, and I’ll go back and try to make it work somehow.

I wonder what really causes this exhaustion. This is a challenging contract, but I have this reaction for any new job I take on. I think it’s maybe the stress of clamping down so much on my reactions and triggered feelings. I end up being unable to sleep, I’m so tense. Then I drug myself to sleep, though I also try and do meditation/self-expression/prayer/reading. I am likely not getting proper sleep.

It is so easy for bosses to start seeing me as a problem child. I think it must be something I give off, some vulnerability, some essence of not being competent. I don’t know. It’s hard. Writing about it is bringing all these feelings up. Just being seen as not good enough. That echoes my place in my family – simply not as good as my siblings. Defective. A squashed and hopeless feeling.

 

I’ve been considering cancelling my therapy session. I go back and forth on it. This week, I really feel therapy is not doing me any good. Do I want to go through the suffering the session seems to catapult me into, when I don’t see how it’s helping me?

I felt all this mistrust of Ron last session and voiced it close to the end of session. I was trying to follow what he was saying about anxiety, and I realized with another part of my mind, I was feeling like I was being tortured. Ron was kind of taken aback when I said that, though he did ask me to speak from that part of me. It was almost end of session at that point.

I quickly still told him about my moth dream, getting into a younger part at that point and becoming upset. So as it was end of session, I told Ron I needed to ground so I could leave. He tried to do a quick visualization of grounding through my legs. Which was fine. Just the sound of his voice really irritated me, so I asked him to stop.

So I left.

I was running into huge amounts of anxiety in the days after the session. I decided to trust Ron and sent him two emails about what I was going through. One of them, I asked him a question about something he’d said in session. He didn’t reply to either email, which really distressed me further. Maybe he does think we are not doing well, I am experiencing him as an enemy, and so why should he respond to me.

On the other hand, I don’t want to run when the going gets tough. Is the toughness to some purpose, or is it a sign I need to leave?

In the kitchen

Black dots are in the air

I breathe, I choke

I ask the contractor to do something

He gives me a small plastic bottle, that yellow see-through kind with a white lid, with pills

I want to eat something but the black bits are choking me

Millions of moths

Moth corpses start piling up on the floor

I go to tell my mother – she’s in her room at the back of the house with a young child

I ask her to follow me – look, I say

You can see the insects in the air here too. Shimmering, they drip down sap

We stop in the hall to look at pretty pictures

My mother says

She’ll come later

She needs to go out

I try to persuade her it’s important about the moths, though maybe I’ve forgotten what is important, what is dangerous, why she must come

She leaves

She doesn’t come to the kitchen

Notes on my session today rather than a well thought out post. I want to remember sessions better.

I have been unusually anxious all week. Just before this session, my job prospect called to say they want me on board for a contract. So kind of happy and relieved, and still very anxious. Plus it’s a little fly by night somehow – this is a small company, the HR guy was talking about my starting Monday, but I don’t yet have a contract on Friday afternoon….Monday won’t be happening. I’m hoping it all works out.

I went to session. It wasn’t great. Not anyone’s fault. I didn’t feel I got to what is causing my anxiety.

How are you. Fine.

I maybe got this job. Great.

Talk about interviews. Described my ‘date’. And the follow up emails. Thought maybe the anxiety was about job rejection stress and dating stress – too much for me.

Ron asks about moth dream (from tracking). I procrastinate telling him about it, because I know it’ll be painful.

I launch into how I shouldn’t think job interviews are that personal. My answers aren’t scoring points, it’s not based on personality. Give example of question I answered badly at one – on conflict. Ron says my answer seems reasonable to him. I go on about scoring for answers.

I ask Ron what he thinks causes anxiety – is it another feeling underneath? He’d said something like this previously. Gives explanation of anxiety which I immediately forget. I say to me, it seems like it’s feelings underneath. Ron says it can be – they’re linked. Or something.

I ask about tracking. Ron got it. I ask what he thinks happened, that I couldn’t cope after last session. He goes on for a while, basically saying it’s not clear. I say I think I got stuck in a part. He says in the tracking, it doesn’t seem like I stayed in one part. I say the tracking is misleading – if I’m in a part, I don’t necessarily track that, because it seems like me. When I write the name of a part, it’s more because I hear that part’s voice, which means I’m not switched into the part, it’s just close to the surface.

I say I guess the tracking isn’t that useful because I’m not telling you the overall context of the day. Ron says the more details I put in the better. OK – I’m never sure how much he wants to know. He says with some people, it’s more clear, that there’s a trigger, and then they react, but with me, it’s not clear what the triggers are.

Speaking about parts is painful. I feel bad – Ron asks if it’s shame. I say yeah, maybe. Having a parts problem isn’t like regular problems people have – it seems worse somehow. I tell him how I’m dancing in the mornings, and starting to feel the middle of my body, which I mostly can’t feel, but am allowing myself to feel dancing. Ron asks if it feels vulnerable and I say yes. I say it kind of feels like that now. This sounds like it’s maybe about sexual feelings, but it’s actually not – middle of my body is more my gut.

Ron speaks about something. I can’t remember, because for me, I’m holding back a Tsunami of emotion. I tell him that I know this is not about anything he’s doing, but I feel like I’m being tortured. I actually feel like I’m being held down and forced to do things. Or having things forced on me. And it feels like that what he’s doing, when he’s going on about things. Ron asks what that part needs, that feels tortured, but I don’t know. Maybe a voice, I say.

Saying this, I feel more grounded and less freaked out. This is my experience even if it’s not logical. I realize I’m also thinking here of the man who interviewed me for the job I’ve maybe got. Though he was in fact very nice to me, even saying he liked me a lot at the end. I mean, who does that? I tell Ron more about the interview, and how it’s odd I’d be thinking of this guy in relation to feelings of being tortured.

I realize there are only five minutes left, and I feel all this pressure. I haven’t told Ron about the moth dream but I want to. So I tell him, pulling out my notebook for more details. Of course, it is an upsetting dream, and I switch into a younger part explaining it. So then I’m emotional.

It’s about an infestation of moths, being in a house, choking, trying to get my mother to help, and she of course has better things to do and won’t come.

I tell Ron in an outraged way that of course my mother wouldn’t come, she wouldn’t help, she’d fail to see that there was any problem, she would look away and leave.

Then I tell him that’s why I think I have the anxiety – I’m trying to put the lid on a bunch of crap like this (I’m emotional from describing the dream.)

And it’s time to go. Ron tries to ground me, but the sound of his voice panics me, so I ask him to stop talking.

I wish him a good weekend and head out. Hard to get home with rush hour traffic not helping my anxious feelings one bit. Now I’m here and I haven’t collapsed so that’s something.