May 4th, 15:08 | apparently I'm too pacifistic to go postal
So, I've now officially had a nervous breakdown. What, you might ask, does it feel like?
It feels like horror, when you realize your voice isn't going to hold, oh jesus fuck, it's already cracking, as you're telling your teamlead about a situation that isn't nearly bad or serious enough to warrant the tears that are starting to leak through and slide down your face. It feels like shame and lightning-speed excuse-making as your teamlead takes you by the hand, walks you out to an office with a door so you can calm down, and he can try to figure out what's going on. It feels like frustration that you can't even talk over the sobs as your diaphragm freaks out because you're not doing the maidenly doe-eyed tears and sniffles crying, you're sitting there, heels up on the chair, all-out crying the way they never show in movies, except that instead of being face-down on your bed, you're trying to explain to your teamlead, across the shiny wooden desk, about how there is just so much goddamn work and there haven't been enough of you for the past year to do it, and now there's even more work, upcoming transitions -- four all at the same time -- and an intern to train, and no chance to get even the basic stuff done, let alone all the other shit that the team is supposed to be given 20% of the time (per week) to do. All of this, and you're moving, and you don't have time to figure anything out, but that's not it, really, it's mostly work-related stuff. It's the work. It is.
Having a breakdown feels like frustration and anger when your teamlead tells you that you're going to take the afternoon off ("But we're already short people!"), and possibly the next day off as well. It feels like utter mortification when the manager two levels up, whose office you borrowed, comes back and is looking bewilderedly at you, asking what's wrong, and if everything's okay, and both you and your teamlead say "yup, everything's fine" as you move into a different office to continue your discussion. It feels like worry that you will become your team's new pariah -- the "sensitive" kid that everyone kind of watches slightly askance and never asks too much of, for fear of pushing you over the edge again. It feels like self-deprecation because the entire drive back (yes, that's right: I can't drive when I have bad cramps, but emotional duress is apparently no match for my l33t driving sk1llz) you're trying to figure out what it is that could possibly be really bothering you, because what's wrong with you? Your life isn't that busy, why can you suddenly not handle it anymore?
I got home, called my dad, had a crying fit (a proper one this time, facedown into my pillows), and when I'd calmed down a little, I started making a list of all the things I "need" to get done. I made myself lunch, cried some more, and when my dad got home, started telling him about everything that was going on in my life.
I need to interject here to say that being told by your dad that you're one of the busiest people he knows probably doesn't hold much sway because, really, don't all parents tell their kids they overexert themselves? He's right that I need to learn to say no to people though. Well, him and everyone else who's beeng telling me that since highschool. Add to that the fact that people have been telling me my whole life that I am "very obviously type A", but I always kind of figured I was "in the middle, towards the type A side-ish", except I know I'm not. I'm rabidly type A, and it's getting worse, although I don't know why.
Anyway. My dad commended my list-making and tried to help me get a grip on it, by suggesting estimating how much time each of the things would take. (I suck at this and always have, which is why I almost never do it.) As I did, I also crossed off a whole mess of stuff that I really don't care about, and cleared up a lot of the small, yet important tasks that had been on my mental to-do list for months.
(Just to clarify, my dad didn't just show up and help me edit a to-do list. He also talked to me, told me stories about his life, and some stories about stressed out employees he'd had, and other cheering-up type things. When my mom got back from work, she gave me ice cream and suggested all kinds of pamper-y type things. I settled for a nap.)
Today we're all working from home, and I spent the morning catching up on about two months worth of education, which none of us have had time for. While it was nice to able to listen to the presentations and things without being interrupted, I did feel a little useless, having been banned from doing any phone- or email-related work by my teamlead (who also called me after work last night to check up on me). This afternoon, still banned, I'm using the interuption-free time to start planning the document I need to write, and it's a little weird and free-lance-y-feeling, this not having anything concrete to show for my hours put in.
It's a refreshing change, a reminder of what it was like to work somewhere that wasn't, for all intents and purposes, a call centre, but it's also a very weird feeling to keep swapping between "high-focus" and "relaxed mode" because I know if I wanted to just throw in the towel for the day, I could, and no one would have any issues with it, but of course I haven't because even if no one else has any expectations of me for today, I do. (I mean, that's what started this whole mess, neh?) I suppose it was to be expected though; the side-effect of completely losing it at work is that people, afraid you might quietly go postal and murder them in their sleep or something, give you a cushion of time to get your jag over with, before things are back to normal and they start putting demands on you again.
My big fear right now is that things won't be back to normal tomorrow, that people won't ask, won't let me haul my own weight. I feel a lot less ridiculous than I did last night, but I'm still dreading looking everyone in the face tomorrow morning.
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