Art: Anxiety, Tom Atkins
I am a freaked out corporate drone. I feel so done in. We unexpectedly got half the afternoon off, so I’m home with a bit of energy to write. I find work so hard. The social aspect of course. Plus my actual task has a social component to it also, as I need to run and set up meetings, and try to herd people towards particular deadlines.
I have been coming home and having these frantic mental conversations with people at work, entirely in my mind. So ridiculous. Like my mind is trying to solve things for me, when it really can’t. I know it’s trying hard.
Part of the trouble is I’m switching a bit at work. It only happened once where it was really noticeable though, and I felt deeply ashamed the rest of the day. The person I was talking with must have thought I was super anxious I suppose. But this week, anytime I have an unexpected social interaction, I end up answering in this kid voice. I think I’m feeling uncertain there, and unanchored, and so perhaps am switched into kid space anyway, but I don’t notice until someone talks to me.
I am scared no one will talk to me. That’s what happened in my family. Mostly that’s what happens at work, though it’s not targeted at me – it’s more the situation. But I could develop little work friendships, but don’t, because I think, I answer people in this startled little girl voice, which may put people off. I’m trying not to hate myself for it. After all, it’s not something I do on purpose. But people don’t understand about parts, of course. How could they?
There’s this whole issue of ‘good writing’ too. Arggh. My boss has said several times, in my hearing, that I’m a “great writer” with better writing skills than anyone here. I guess he’s trying to be nice. He hasn’t actually read anything I’ve written yet. The problem with this is, his, and the other manager who’se working on my project, ideas about what is ‘good writing’ are the opposite of mine. In their minds, the document they’ve produced before I got there is great writing. It’s the kind of writing where no one dares correct or change anything, because they have no clear idea what it’s trying to say. It’s convoluted, it’s trying to get across ten different concepts in every sentence, it’s using all kinds of legal terminology. To people who work in management, this seems like great writing. No one will ever read that document voluntarily, because it’s so much work to try to understand what it’s trying to say.
I hate that kind of writing, and I don’t agree that it’s good. So I feel I’m a major disappointment, with my plain short sentences and two sentence paragraphs. This particular manager has simply re-written most of what I’ve written so far. It’s OK – the document is coming along, and she does a decent job. But I’m certainly not living up to any fantasy they may have had about great writing. I want to communicate, and to explain – I don’t want to show off how intelligent I am and what long sentences I can produce.
So I feel bad, as if I misrepresented myself as a writer. I’d like to have a bit of a talk about this with my boss, who might understand my point of view actually, even if he does not agree with it. But he’s become too busy to talk to lately, and I haven’t seen him for a week or two. The manager I see more often, but we just don’t get along very well.
And if I have no skill, I feel useless. I’m socially useless anyway. If I have no skill, why are they paying me?
The manager that re-writes everything condescends if we talk. She’s a lot younger. I guess she’s being a manager – managing me, instead of talking with me. Fine. She’s not my boss thank god. However, my boss is leaving end of month, and she’s staying, so she might take over as my boss, which I would hate.
Here’s a stupid social mistake I made. I was eating my lunch in the lunch room, a little early, to beat the rush. As I was half way through, the team I’m theoretically with came in and sat at the next table. They never say anything to me, so I ignored them and tried to read my tablet. Then my boss came in and sat down with them. When he saw me, he said hello, did I want to sit with them? He’s nice like that. He said he’d pull over another table so we’d have room.
So I looked up and was startled. Then I said, oh, I’m almost finished. I actually meant – you don’t have to pull over a table, don’t worry about me, and I’d thought I’d sit for a minute there before the rest of the team got there. But he took it to mean, no, I’ll eat by myself, I’m almost finished. So I stayed and ate by myself, and continued ignoring them.
I really want to integrate a bit more with these people. So what do I do? I’m semi rude to my boss’ friendliness, and I ignore everyone. Stupid. I left as soon as I could. I’m sure it looked like I couldn’t be bothered being friendly. This group is not particularly friendly to me, but I’m not taking advantage when someone is.
I just get startled by things. I’m tense, I don’t respond in friendly ways sometimes. Other times I respond like an excited kid.
Anyway, I’m having social anxieties that are making my life a misery. There’s no built in social connection with this job. The one person I’m working more closely with I don’t click with at all.
I did go out to my ACA meeting last Saturday. It was quite good. I’ve decided I don’t want to go there a rumpled mess of angst and depression. So I wore my newish jeans and good top, I did not look depressed, and I talked just a bit, on not too downbeat a topic. This also is a social occasion, and I want people to relate to me, and they won’t if I’m a mess of depression. I have these stronger aspects of myself that I want to show also. I felt good about the meeting – just sitting there with others who are working on themselves was good. I may not work the steps, but I still am getting something from the meetings. I felt a kind of peaceful energy there at times, just going around the circle of people.