January 18, 2007

Triggers

Remember that episode of I Love Lucy in which Lucy, on a vacation through Europe, made up her mind to soak up the local Italian culture so she went to a winery and stomped grapes and, eventually, got into a major bitchslap smackdown with a hefty Italian lady who eventually got her ass kicked? I kinda felt like those grapes yesterday. And maybe the fat Italian grape-stomper too.

This is mainly due to the fact that I'm pretty tired. After a weekend of great sleeping, Mia's decided she's not so into catching the z's after all. Then there's work, although up until yesterday that had been a little slower than normal. And then there's my head. That's a different story altogether.

See, everyone has ways of dealing with the world and the shit around them. We all react differently to said world...and said shit. Me? I'm perhaps a little paranoid or just not as optimistic as I should be. Yesterday, for instance, I got a meeting request from my boss. I immediately assumed the worst, namely that I was getting fired (I didn't, and the meeting was all good). This is a typical example of my thought process. Hear something that may vaguely be about me and assume the worst. You guys don't comment? The blogosphere must think I suddenly suck and I've been abandoned. I don't have a busy day packed with meetings and an inbox full of stuff to read? I'm doing a lousy job, everyone recognizes that I suck and they're just waiting to kick me off a project.

Now, logically, I realize this isn't the way the world works not am I translating this input correctly. I know this. The world isn't all about me. But how do you change that instantaneous translation from input to paranoia? A while back - two years ago, maybe - I went to see a shrink. A cognitive behavior shrink, because, frankly, all this negativity was bringing me down. He and I worked for a good chunk of time to change these triggers. And it worked, for the most part. But some days, the paranoia just sneaks in. And some days it feels like the world is all about me. Not in a good way.

I'm not sure why I mention this. It's funny because no one would really guess unless I told them. The people with whom I interact on a daily basis always comment how upbeat I am. Yesterday felt a little rough but, in retrospect, it all went pretty well. And even when days suck, I have a pretty great family to come home to.

Eh, that's what's rattling around in my head today. Sorry to lay the heavy on you two days in a row. I've got some funny in here somewhere. Fail that, there's always that episode of I Love Lucy.

What truth about you wouldn't anyone guess?

Posted by Chris at January 18, 2007 7:33 AM
Comments

I think that there are more people like you than dissimilar. I, too, am a very upbeat, enthusiastic person. I'm a cheerleader to many people, and I know that one of my best qualities is my ability to help people feel good about being themselves.

However, sometimes all that "rah-rah" sucks the life right out of me...and I get angry about it. So why can't those chuckleheads see that I'm down and why can't they pump ME up?

Soooo, everyone see's me as a peppy, but when I get home, all I feel is "poopy".

Posted by: kristen at January 18, 2007 7:46 AM

If it's all about you, then how can it be ALL ABOUT ME???

Totally getting you today. I would say its hormonal (thats the excuse I usually use) but in your case...I don't think so.

Posted by: Debbie at January 18, 2007 7:50 AM

I know what you mean. I personally feel responsible for the moods of those around me. If someone seems withdrawn, preoccupied I assume it must be that they are upset with me. If the babies keep my husband up at night I feel bad that I can't make them go to sleep so he can sleep. I hear you. And I am also paranoid.

Posted by: Bunny at January 18, 2007 7:53 AM

No one would guess that I am just like you. Really. I feel the exact same way, every day.

It's my dirty little secret. Except now I've told you...and everyone that reads you. Oops.

Posted by: Alissa at January 18, 2007 8:00 AM

that i can eat my own weight in hershey's kisses.

no wait, that's sadly obvious.

hmm

Posted by: Pamalamadingdong at January 18, 2007 8:06 AM

I tend to be the "class clown" alot. My biggest thing is to make people laugh, I guess so I don't show exactly just how shy I am or how self conscious I am about my weight. I am incredibly shy , almost to the point of sometimes I just don't want to leave the house and deal with all those "people". Do you remember the red haired monster from the the old bugs bunny cartoons? Gossamar? Yeah he was scared of the people too. That's me only I try to hide it by being funny and making fun of myself and my weight. I also tend to think like you do. My team leader wants to talk to me? Oh crap, what did I do? Am I going to get fired? What did I do wrong? I apparently have quite a few issues *grin* but hey, it makes me, me. Right? Gawd I hope so. *heh*

I think there are quite a few people out there with "issues", some are just better at hiding them then others.

I gotta go have some coffee, this is way too much thinking for me this early in the morning. =)

Posted by: Lauren at January 18, 2007 8:11 AM

Maybe it has something to do with your lack of donuts. Perhaps the sugar spikes your creativity!

As previous commenters have said, you describe a lot of us. Ride it through you'll be at the top of the next hill shortly, feeling good!

Posted by: Steff at January 18, 2007 8:21 AM

This is the benefit of blogging - you toss out the idea that your totally fucked up and the world responds with "Oh, yeah we are too." You're not alone in this line of thinking, I promise.

Posted by: Erin at January 18, 2007 8:26 AM

I understand completley. I'm really good at hiding what's really going on in my head. Most people that know me constantly tell me they dont know how I can be so happy ALL the time. I'm not really, I just dont like to let people in. Only those closest to me know what I'm really feeling.

Posted by: Lisa at January 18, 2007 8:29 AM

I've got the same paranoia as you, especially around work. Two managers in a meeting? They must be talking about how crap I am at something.

Or how i spend my lunch hour reading blogs...

Posted by: Katherine at January 18, 2007 8:34 AM

I hate that feeling. I haven't had it as much because d. is pretty vocal about the fact that she's a fan of mine so far. :)

I'm a pretty damn good shot with a rifle. Not many people in Chicago know that, what with my guns being up in northern MI and all...

Posted by: Leah at January 18, 2007 8:42 AM

I'm feeling the same issues in my own writing. It's extremely frustrating. Worry and sleep deprivation seem to be your culprits. Mine is searching for a purpose in life that I can't seem to find. I hope we both work our way out of this fog.

Posted by: wordgirl at January 18, 2007 8:48 AM

I think people who know me only casually would never guess that I have a good sense of humor, and that I can be pretty silly.

Hope you're feeling more like yourself soon!

Posted by: Fraulein N at January 18, 2007 8:51 AM

OK, so if you only had met me recently, you'd never guess that I have had major depressions/bouts with mild bipolar and have tried to kill myself a few times. But THANK GOD FOR MEDICATION and my life has been under control for six months - upbeat and sometimes stressed, but never OMG the world is collapsing.

So I pass on to you the advice my friend gave me - Just because it wasn't a great day doesn't mean it was a tragedy.

Good advice.

So when you next feel paranoid, know that your regular readers love you, you have an amazing family and little girl, and that if all else fails, there's always Lucy.

Posted by: Heather at January 18, 2007 9:07 AM

My truth? Quite similar to yours. Oh, the paranoia. I know mine stems from growing up with an incredibly demanding and angry and judgmental father. No unconditional love there, that's for sure.

The Wellbutrin helps which is good because I didn't find any relief with therapy.

Posted by: candace at January 18, 2007 9:07 AM

Actually I'm just like that myself. I prefer to think of myself as a "realist" but my husband says it is still a pessimist. I disagree because I just like to look at every angle and figure it out so there are no surprises. But I do worry WAY too much about what people think about me.

Posted by: daisy at January 18, 2007 9:12 AM

I think it's pretty typical of most people. We expect the worst so we can be surprised/uplifted when the worst doesn't happen. Defensive mechanism maybe?
A secret about me? My real name is Lindsay Lohan and I just entered rehab. ;)

Posted by: Traci at January 18, 2007 9:12 AM

FWIW, I internally (and externally to my friends and choice members of the www) refer to my current vocation as "the job of Damocles". Every day, I'm absolutely sure this will be the day they tell me to go away and not come back, leaving me in a state of financial and personal ruin. That's been going on for two years. Needless to say, the stress this causes in uninspiring. But yeah, it's pretty clear, you're not alone in this thinking... I'm just glad you don't do it often. What was your technique to beat it back?

Posted by: martin at January 18, 2007 9:16 AM

I have the same problem. Of course I inhereted from a man who was so paranoid we had camera's IN the house.

I've been struggling with it too lately. I think it's lack of sleep related, but man it's getting to me. A friend cancel's plans b/c the kids sick - they don't want to spend time with me. Someone doesn't call me back - they must be avoiding me. Someone says something snarky - they must hate me.

I want to throttle myself over this. I've learned to not react in the moment, but man... it digs around in my brain and doesn't let go sometimes. And I'd been so good for so long.

Think my brain's out to get me too? My body clearly has it in for me as it is.

Posted by: Autumn at January 18, 2007 9:28 AM

I faced that same paranoia on an escalating basis for a number of years. The breaking point was when my boss put a meeting on my calendar, and I completely broke down in a coworker's office because I was convinced that he was about to fire me. The real reason for the meeting was that he was worried about how much my workload had increased since I had returned from maternity leave and he wanted to discuss what I should delegate to other people so I wouldn't burn out. I started seeing a therapist about two years ago, and started taking anti-depressent/anti-anxiety about 10 months ago, and I am a much more stable person for it. Almost no one realized how anxious I was all the time, since I kept it bottle up and put on a good face.

What would people not suspect about me? Well, my girly-girl exterior makes people surprised that I worked as a sound and lighting technician in college, or that I know how to jump start the car and change a tire by myself.

Posted by: MamaKaren at January 18, 2007 9:28 AM

Unfortunately, I'm right there with 'ya. Sometimes I feel pretty paranoid about stuff too. I suppose it's a little bit of vulnerability that seeps into what I do.

As for a truth about me, I have a lot of dreams and things that I want to accomplish in my life. People may think that I seem pretty driven, but in reality, I'm terrified of starting these particular projects that I'm so passionate about, because I'm so scared to fail. I'd almost rather hang onto my dreams inside my head and think that someday I'll accomplish them, than try to start something and become a big fat failure at it.

Posted by: angela at January 18, 2007 9:30 AM

I thought I was the only one.

In any gathering of 4 or more, I turn silent. Everyone sounds so much more bright and clever. How could I possibly add anything.

I can usually be found in a corner. If I'm lucky, I've found someone just like me and we talk to each other.

Posted by: ann adams at January 18, 2007 9:33 AM

I think the truth about me that no one knows was revealed on my blog on tuesday...

I get the paranoia thing, and the keeping up the bright face in public thing - Even at the worst of my depression I could pretend to be happy if I really needed to...

I think, no matter how much we work with therapists, and no matter how wonderful therapy can be (and it so can...), there will always be days when we're overtired, and when things don't feel like they're going the right way, that we slip into our old thought patterns. The key is recognizing it and then moving on - not letting the thought patterns take over. Which, i think, you're doing :)

Posted by: suze at January 18, 2007 9:36 AM

The truth about me that most people outside of the blogosphere wouldn't guess is that I am an introvert trapped in the personality of an extrovert. Also, I secretly read trashy romance novels. (Not Danielle Steel, though -- I hate those. Once you get too full of yourself to bother to have a blurb about the actual STORY on the back cover of your book and you only have a picture of yourself? I stop reading, beyotch.)

Posted by: shelley at January 18, 2007 9:39 AM

Commenting to let you know that you don't suck.

Posted by: Liz at January 18, 2007 10:00 AM

funny enough, I am the same way. i always assume the worst and expect bad things. i know people see me totally different and more as an upbeat person, but inside im a big negative. i have a great family too and i dont know why im such a pessimist. just the way I am. my husband always tells me to lighten up and that the world isnt out to get me. i dont completely feel that way, but sometimes i cant help it. if im ever optimistic is very cautiously. id rather expect the worst and get the best. that way when things go good, its like a pleasant surprise. that make sense??

Posted by: mad mom at January 18, 2007 10:15 AM

There are times, when things are a bit gloomy, sickly, cold, that I am only driven by the expectations I've built around me. And I praise that I was smart enough to build those expectations, because being gloomy AND unproductive would certain spin me into a self-loathing depression.

Also, you wouldn't know the hundreds of NSFW thoughts that run through my head every day. I don't project it at all but I can't turn them off. I thought I'd grow out of it. Guess not.

Posted by: Brad at January 18, 2007 10:26 AM

my truth? i mean beside the fact that i am also ridiculously paranoid for no reason and every reason?

disney commercials make me cry.

and every time i do i end up laughing as well, because it's disney! it's a commerical! and i sob uncontrollably! what in hellfire is that all about?

Posted by: meg at January 18, 2007 10:40 AM

I'm glad you posted about this. I totally get it - and not that I really thought I was the only person like that, but (as far as I know) nobody I know in real life is like this.

Like you, I am a worrier. And, like you, when something happens, I automatically assume it is somehow related to me - in a negative way. God forbid my boss have a closed-door meeting; I'm convinced he's either interviewing my replacement or speaking to HR about firing me. And no joke, I check the internet nearly every single day to see if my job is being advertised. I usually do my best to avoid parties and stuff like that (even when they're work related) b/c I'm convinced everyone will be staring at me and then talking about me the next day - as if they don't have better things to do. And don't even get me started on issues that involve personal safety. Flying, for instance, is completely out of the question b/c I'm sure the plane will not reach its destination in one piece. Paranoid? Uh, yeah, maybe just a tad. And for me, it translates into a LOT of anxiety which interferes with my sleep patterns, social habits, ability to get stuff done - even at work, etc. About a month ago I finally got fed up enough that I mentioned something to my doctor. Just about the sleeping issues though - I was worried that admitting how much I worry about stuff might get me locked up in some hospital or diagnosed with some scary disorder or something.

So, that would be a truth about me that the people around me probably wouldn't guess - at least not to the extent I just detailed. Also, deep down, I actually don't hate all country music as much as I claim.

Posted by: erin at January 18, 2007 10:56 AM

Ditto. And what's wrong with that? I get a pleasant surprise daily!;)

And my secret...not all days give me a nice daily surprise. Those are the bad one's. But let's not talk about those. I don't like to talk about the bad one's.

Posted by: Kelly at January 18, 2007 11:14 AM

Upon meeting me, everyone thinks I'm either quiet and reserved or a stuck up bitch. I'm neither, actually. I'm pretty nice (I think) and I used to be quite the partier. My husband actually thought I was a quiet prude when we first met. He was surprised when I proved to be otherwise.

Posted by: Jessie at January 18, 2007 11:16 AM

I think that most people have a dark side like that. The trick is REALIZING that about yourself. And it seems that you do, so that's healthy in itself.

I'm really, REALLY shy around new people. They either think I'm snotty and intimidating, or an EXTREMELY serious person. SO not the case.

Posted by: fw sunshine at January 18, 2007 11:26 AM

It sounds to me like you might be having anxiety attacks. I get those. It sucks. Counseling helps. If it worked for you before, you might consider doing it again. Good luck. It can be a tricky road to navigate sometimes.

Posted by: Carrie Jo at January 18, 2007 11:42 AM

Oh, I got a million of them. The two big ones are that I may seem all Earth Mothery, but I have a very short fuse and get to yelling way sooner than is appropriate. I'm working on it.

Also, totally shy of phones. HATE talking on the phone, especially if I don't know the person. I love caller ID for just that reason and wish people would just email me.

See? We're all a little crazy.

Posted by: Elaine at January 18, 2007 12:08 PM

Oh, I got a million of them. The two big ones are that I may seem all Earth Mothery, but I have a very short fuse and get to yelling way sooner than is appropriate. I'm working on it.

Also, totally shy of phones. HATE talking on the phone, especially if I don't know the person. I love caller ID for just that reason and wish people would just email me.

See? We're all a little crazy.

Posted by: Elaine at January 18, 2007 12:18 PM

My husband sounds similar to you. When I tell him I have a meeting at work, he starts to worry. Maybe because we are a single income family and meeting with bosses just sound awful.

He has his down days, but knows that depression runs in his family so is really aware of them and tries to stay away from things that might put him in a funk.

When I am in a large group of people I feel overwhelmed and generally don't do much talking. I feel like everyone else has much more interesting things to say. When I do eventually say something, I'm afraid I leave them with the impression that I am a complete idiot.

Posted by: anna at January 18, 2007 12:20 PM

Sorry about the double post. Apparently I wanted you to be super happy with your comment numbers. And this? This is clearly me helping more.

I got your back, yo.

Posted by: Elaine at January 18, 2007 12:21 PM

I know what you're talking about. I have anxiety disorder and a little obsessive streak, and my head plays games with me. Rest assured that the blogsphere loves you though. :)

Posted by: Laura at January 18, 2007 1:20 PM

Hey! You could be me...well, except for that whole opposite gender thing. Just a word about the therapy-it might be time for a little tune-up. Refresh those skills, maybe pick up another. Just something to think about if the funk continues.
As for me, I'm one of those upbeat, intelligent, 'have it all figured out' people on the outside who's scared to death on the inside, and I take absolutely no pride in the accomplishments that people seem to be so impressed with....Never good enough!

Posted by: Jaycie at January 18, 2007 1:39 PM

It's funny how inaccurate our perspectives are sometimes. (Not funny haha...you know what I mean.) Keep in mind all the positives - I have a basket full of all the nice encouraging notes I've received over the years - and remember that Beth loves you and Mia's little world revolves around the two of you, and those are all the most important things there are. You're loved.

Posted by: Heather at January 18, 2007 1:44 PM

Funny, I've had the same kind-of couple of days... It passes. Though I'm still trying to get back to instantaneously thinking positive thoughts instead of the recent panic ones since I got sick a few years ago.
Cheers!

Posted by: smoness at January 18, 2007 2:18 PM

Interesting! I don't think you've mentioned that before, about going to see a shrink. You know, displaying an upbeat personality can hide a lot of stuff that's going on inside (that's what I've heard, at least) -- so what you said makes sense. :)

Posted by: Zandria at January 18, 2007 2:40 PM

No one would guess about me that I feel lonesome and unloved (by the world, not by my family or husband) most of the time. You wouldn't guess this because my house is usually full of guests who travel from all over the country - and some from overseas - to be with me, and I am welcome pretty much anywhere in return. It doesn't make sense, and it's mostly that I don't reach out when I need a little emotional help. But there you have it. I feel forgotten and discarded. And that's a very, very old feeling.

A little paranoia isn't a bad thing. It keeps us honest and checking in on ourselves: am I a good person? Do I treat others well? Is my heart pure? Am I putting the proper effort into the work in front of me? I believe that when self-doubt is gone, our egos might be out-of-control and our filters useless. You don't want to be that guy, Chris. And maybe you need to balance your sense of accomplishment just a little more against that doubt. And when you need confirmation, ask for it.

So, do as I say, and not as I do. HA!

Posted by: bhd at January 18, 2007 2:50 PM

I'm kind of similar to you. I tend to be the Happy, go lucky office assitant, but in all reality? Everyones out to get me. If you give me a little bit of an attitude? You must hate me, and you must think I'm the worst person ever. Someone doesn't thank me when I do something special for them? I think I don't do a good enough job.

I feel like everyone hates me, and no one wants me around ever, because I do nothing but take up room and space, and suck up air and do nothing.

Gota love a low self confidence, fueled by ex boyfriends and relatives, eh? ~.^

Posted by: Sechakecha at January 18, 2007 3:00 PM

That I love sex. People would never guess, especially my husband. The problem is I think about it and want to but then am so tired I can't innitiate it. There mere thinking part wipes out all leftover energy after studying for school. It's sad really because I think he's wondering if I'm not considering joining a nunnery. Thank god he is NOT studying and initiates allllll the time. It's not the lack of..it's my lack of initiation. Yah ok so I confessed to the Internet's now. *sigh*

Posted by: PoeticaL at January 18, 2007 3:25 PM

I think there is alot hidden underneath the 'cheerleader' attitude that many of us project. What of it? We can't change exactly what we are, but we can learn to accept it, eh?

Posted by: angela marie at January 18, 2007 3:38 PM

It's one of those days. I'm encouraging taboo discussions, you're pushing confessions. So here's mine...

I HATE talking on the phone. Loath it actually. 50% of my current job? Talking on the phone. Then I get off and Hoop wants to talk during our hour long commute. I do it because I love him. But I'm gritting my teeth the entire time.

Now your turn. Taboo subject. Religion? Politics? Vibrators? Pick your poison.

Posted by: Tink at January 18, 2007 3:48 PM

That's the downside to funny. Everyone expects you to be on all the time, so when you're off, you're way off.

I feel ya.

Posted by: whit at January 18, 2007 4:36 PM

God Chris, don't worry. I think you'd be surprised to learn how many of us feel exactly the same way. I've been all about The Heavy since summer and it's not getting any better in the next week.

But after that, I promise super-fun, new-and-improved Paige will be back.

Posted by: Cartwheels At Midnight at January 18, 2007 8:37 PM

I can relate to what you are saying. I always have to please everyone around me, so much so that I can't take constructive criticism well. I always cry at my work reviews even though I know I'm going to and really want to present myself as a professional. I take every little comment I may overhear about me and I twist it until I become completely paranoid.

The truth about me that no one would guess? I'm so afraid of getting hurt emotionally that I use my weight as a barrier between myself and men. By being overweight men don't hit on me and I tend to prefer it that way. I know that losing weight is all in my head, but deep down I know that I don't want to lose it because it's safe. I have issues.

Posted by: Beth in StL at January 18, 2007 8:39 PM

Truth about me that no one would ever guess? Hmmm..... I'm boringly normal, however, years ago, I wrote erotica as a hobby. There. Now my secret's out. And no, I don't still write. I'm over it.

Posted by: coolchick at January 18, 2007 8:57 PM

After that first paragraph I was thinking, Dam your me without boobs. :) I do it too. In fact the day I got my promotion, I was convinced I was getting fired. Not sure why, since I've never done anything wrong, but I was so sure.

Hmmm lets see....I am a 86 year old man who has a fear of Slurpees. Hee hee hee. ;)

Posted by: Issa at January 18, 2007 9:28 PM

Of course you don't suck....well, there was that one time that you put on Mia's sunglasses and looked like you jumped out of the film Adam and Steve--um, sorry wrong kind of suck ;) Your struggles only make you more endearing.

If I don't comment, it is just because I'm too lazy to think of what to say and I don't want to be a comment whore..hehe.

Truth about me....I don't think I'm ready to reveal that to myself, let alone the internet. DENIAL

Posted by: Nanette at January 19, 2007 2:53 AM

I'm coming to this late, but I thought I'd chime in with my "me, too!" I saw a therapist about a similar issue, which I deal with in a similar way -- I now recognize the triggers, and even though they creep in now and then and get me all freaked out, I see them for what they are, which makes all the difference. It's crazy how our brains can screw with us like this.

Posted by: Kelly at January 19, 2007 9:52 AM

What wouldn't people guess about me? Hmm, like you I'm a jumper-to-the-worst-conclusion, though I seem cool and analytical on the surface.

Also, in my head, I'm horribly, terribly awful and catty about strangers I see in the grocery store. Four fighting kids hanging off a cart laden with junk food and candy? Gee, wonder why? *smirk* I hate it, and try to fight it, but it's still there. I know it's just expressing my own insecurity whatever issue it is, but that doesn't seem to help short-circuit it.

Anyway, even on your "off" days, you still get more commenters than most of us see in a week, so what you complaining about, boy? ;)

Posted by: Kate the Shrew at January 19, 2007 10:33 AM

I have been dealing with the same issues for a long time myself and they have become increasingly worse over the last 12 months.

After dealing with doctor after doctor after doctor I’m finally starting to find ways to deal. Getting to this point was hard. It was hard because no one in my immediate circle understood. They just didn't get it - at all. I wanted to scream every time someone would tell me to get over it – the world isn’t ending during an attack. So, thanks for this post. I'm really sorry that you have to deal with this but I'm glad to hear I'm not alone. I hope you are able to overcome this soon!

Posted by: Colleen at January 22, 2007 10:30 PM


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