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Not So Dark

Posted on Wed, Apr. 3rd (2013) at 10:23pm
A couple of weeks ago, I reached a really dark place.  Part of the darkness was feeling inadequate about how dark I felt.  I was watching the people around me go through problems around parents with horrible illnessess (seriously, more than one of these), and I was feeling utterly depressed because, when you really boiled it down, I was having trouble making friends at work.  It didn't make me feel less dark.  But then a couple of things happened.  (SERIOUSLY, WHY TF CAN I NO LONGER GET ENTER TO WORK ON LJ????) (oooh!  carriage returns work in Firefox!)

  1. I talked to another person on my team

  2. I talked to my doctor.

When I talked to the other person on my team and found out that they were completely miserable too, it helped me shift my thinking.  I'd been trying and failing to connect with my team, and I'd viewed it entirely as a personal failing.  When I found out that there was broad misery on my team, I realized it was just a problem, and I can solve problems.  That was incredibly helpful, but I also talked to my doctor, and after multiple bouts of tears, she gave me the lowest possible dose of antidepressants.  Honestly, although I am not in any way glad that the rest of my team is miserable, I'm grateful to have found out what was going on, because it gave me something tangible to solve.  I realized that everyone in the team is new, and we're running into (I think) 4 things:

  1. Incredibly competent people in new roles who are  scrambling to come up to speed and falling back on insecure behaviors while they do

  2. people who are in a steady role but who have a manager in a new role who is coming up to speed and falling back on insecure behaviors

  3. people in a stable role with a stable manager who are asked to convert to all new processes for getting things done (agile).

In general, in any of these situations, you'd fall back on the sense of community you have with your team to pull you through, but 4. we're all new, so we have no sense of community, and we're having trouble building one because we're seated all over the  freaking building.  So.  I decided there was nothing I could do about the first three things, but I could help build the sense of community.  So I scheduled a morale event.  And I've started potluck happy hours.  Maybe I'll start lunchtime walks next.  But having "build a sense of community" turn into a problem to be solved instead of a personal failure to connect has been HUGE.

On the Dr front, honestly, I *do* think the prescription is helping.  There has been a day or two where I straight up forgot to take the tiny pill, and I've been climbing stairs thinking, "Wow, my muscles feel so sluggish.  Am I coming down with something?" before realizing what I forgot, but I really feel like I was on the rational end of all of this (as such things go).  I was able to go to the doctor and say, "Here are the crazy reactions I'm having to things at work.  It's not normal.  Please help."  But I really think that the one co-worker who came into my office and listened to me and then related their own misery was HUGE in terms of kicking me into a constructive frame of mind.  I'll never be grateful that that person was miserable, but I'm profoundly grateful that their misery helped change my perspective.

Thank you.


jadeejf at 2013-04-04 05:30 (UTC) (Link)
I am so glad that you figured out that it was a problem to solve and not just a personal issue - and I'm glad you talked to your friend and your doctor to get to that point!

Man... I want to be on your team - I would be the best community builder EVER!! :) Well, maybe not as good as you, but I'm jealous that your team gets to benefit from your efforts because you're fun, and you're going to kick some community butt. :)
sheilagh at 2013-04-04 12:31 (UTC) (Link)
Dark places are scary -- you could be eaten by a grue! (who knew grues were internal demons....?)

Ok, you say 4 a few times, but I think you only list 3? what's the 4th one??
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