Category Archives: Uncategorized

To whom it concerns

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It is no secret that I wrestle with depression daily. The details of my demons aren’t common knowledge and that’s how I prefer it.

Most days are a struggle, bit I get through it by staying busy and focusing on things that matter – like work. I spend a minimum of two hours a day in traffic to spend ten hours at the office. I enjoy doing research, and even when I sometimes feel like I don’t know what, or how to write, it always pushes me a little outside my comfort zone, and that’s great.
I take pride in my job as little cog in the greater clockwork. I read mails and attachments thoroughly as soon as they come in; I prepare for meetings in advance; I try to always make a useful contribution; I do what is expected of me as quickly and thoroughly as I can. And although several others don’t share my work ethic, I’ve never let that, or the threat of Section 189 influence my work or how I conduct myself, provided their (in)actions don’t affect what I do.

I wonder if you know, intended recipient, that when you’re absent there’s an air of lethargy – they feel more relaxed because you’re not there to check up on them, look over their shoulders, etc. your presence has never dictated the urgency for me to do what I do. Today I was undermined for my work. I attended a meeting where everyone else shamelessly admitted they hadn’t read anything relating to it. That didn’t bother me. When everything I said was ignored I felt disappointed, insulted even.
Unfortunately today was one of the two days this week I should not have gotten in my car – emotionally and physically I’ve been extremely ill, but staying at home wouldn’t have fixed anything, and working should’ve helped. But it didn’t. It resulted in me losing respect for people.

If someone yells at me across the office in answer to a private mail, when people expect others to be laid back because it’s just a job, and not even one they like all that much or plan to stick around in, I refuse to smile and be unfazed.

So, when I said circumstances should be very different for me to consider another job… I think it may have changed. Trust has been violated too many times, and my interaction with colleagues will now be limited to meetings only. I’m done being poisoned by negativity and people happy to get by by exerting the least amount of effort possibly.

This is something you need to keep in mind, recipient. People know of others what the others choose to share with them, and with a single exception, no one has even the faintest clue of the depth of my trouble. Consider this: do you want me to be happy-ish and focus on my work, or do you want me to be social with people who I no longer have much regard for. For my survival and self-preservation I choose the first.

And while I will do my work with the same dedication as I always have, I am no longer unfailingly dedicated to your department. This week they have done me more harm than I could ever possibly have inflicted on myself – and trust me, that takes some doing.

I appreciate everything you’ve taught me; you have been great at guiding us, and one of the conditions that would’ve had to change before this incident for me to seriously consider leaving, would be having a different manager. You lead, you inspire, you push just enough. Thank you for that. But I can’t do this anymore.

Good luck.

Day 18 – the TV show I have become addicted to

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I don’t know that I’m addicted to any television shows, but there are quite a few I enjoy: New Girl, Grey’s Anatomy, True Blood, Mad Men, CSI, Private Practice, Curious and Unusual Deaths, Snapped, Medical Detectives, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, House, etc.

Unwanted

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Eight years ago the company I worked for went through a restructuring process. My position and I were made redundant. I was bitter about it for a very long time. Despite it being a left-brain job, which required me to work shifts (subsequently affecting my weight and health), the benefits were good, the salary was great, and I picked up what was required of me quickly and with enthusiasm. I even attempted studying towards a B.Com degree. When I heard the news, part of me thought “It’s okay. This job wasn’t supposed to be a long-term gig. You were meant to do something creative”. Mostly I just couldn’t believe that I’d been sacked. Oh, I got a month’s pay for severance, and the company graciously paid for us to attend courses of our choice to gain additional skills. But being told you’re unwanted, regardless of the situation, always stings a bit.

 

Five years ago, as I opened the door to leave for work after a long weekend, my boss called to say “Go back to bed, the company is closed”. Because he was German (and although I already had information from the Sales Director, shared in a panicky conversation before the long weekend) I needed to make sure I understood him correctly. The company, it turned out, was being liquidated. “What about my salary?” I asked. He assured me that it would be paid. It never was. I went through the entire process, but it turned out that the assets didn’t sell as well as anticipated, and there was no money to pay anyone. Although I’d started to get bored in the position, and the drive from Pretoria to Midrand was not exactly what I’d call fun, it was a writing job and I was getting to meet loads of people. Overnight I found myself doing HR and finance for a friend’s company out of desperation. I’m very lucky to have fantastic friends.

 

A little over 24 hours ago we got news that our division within the company is being restructured. Since everything is still in a proposal phase I won’t go into too much detail, but the one point in their proposal that has everybody up in arms, is that they plan to cut our salaries. That means that if I’m fortunate enough to receive the amount they’ve set as the upper limit for my position, I’d have taken a salary cut of about 23%. Oh, and we’re supposed to receive our annual salary increases in July. Nice.

 

I still experience times of bitter resentment towards the old German, particularly when I find myself in Midrand, but my discontent now has a new focus.

 

I am a writer – a skill the market is oversaturated with. I have a keen interest and passion for social media, but no experience. I feel a little all at sea. My CV has been doing the rounds for a while already, and I’ve been to several interviews, unsuccessfully. I’m not entirely sure what to do more than I already have, and so I wrote this in an attempt to set my mind at ease*. I’ve made it through similar situations twice already. I may have been younger and less sceptic, and my personal situation was very different to where I find myself. But surely I’ll be okay this time too. Right?

 

*Clearly this hasn’t worked.

The colour oracle speaks

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From a brainstorm session at work this morning, I’ve discovered Colorgenics, and for the hell of it I took the test. Now I’m a little freaked out.

If you do the test, let me know how accurate you felt your results were. I’m just going to take a moment to smile and nod (something I mentioned on Twitter last week, I felt was often quite unsatisfying in comparison to punching someone in the throat).

You work hard, seeking success. You are self-sufficient and in spite of all the trials and tribulations that have beset you in the past you carry on regardless.. You are one to be admired because you pursue your objectives single-mindedly and with initiative. You know that you can ‘do it’ and what is more, you will – without necessarily being dependent upon the goodwill of others.

Being a somewhat gentle, emotional and sensitive person, you are at this time experiencing a considerable amount of tension. What you really need is someone who can be close to you and to listen to what you have to say.

We are all conditioned by our environment and as such we respond to people’s perception of ourselves, but you feel that conditions are not right at this time. You are experiencing certain reservations that are precluding you to develop a particular relationship, business or personal, that is being offered. It is ‘make your mind up time’ – the decision is all yours, but whatever decision you make, it will be the right one.

You pretend that you are a carefree individual and that nothing really bothers you – that you are so self-sufficient that whatever problems beset you they simply flow off you as water flows off a ducks back. You are experiencing considerable stress, trying to conceal yourself from the rest of the world. In actual fact – deep down, you are not at all happy. You feel lonely and you need someone with whom you can ‘Let your hair down’ and share your hopes, dreams and high standards. You are imposing unnecessary self restraint on yourself. You would like to demonstrate the unique quality of your character to all and sundry.

You are presently worried about your future and you feel that whatever you do will go wrong. At this time you are your own worst enemy. All the disappointment that you have experienced, coupled with the fear that there is no point in formulating fresh goals, have led to anxiety. You would like recognition and a position of trust but you are concerned that these hopes and dreams may not be realised. You are very argumentative and insistent that you are right – maybe you are – but you are pushing too hard. Take it easy, let go, and smile. Smiling and agreeing with people works wonders – try it and see.

 

Friends for better and worse

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My three best friends’ birthdays are coming up in the next couple of months: in April the friend I met online who became an offline ally five years; a partner in crime whose acerbic, sarcastic personality mirrors mine so perfectly, and makes any social gathering so much more interesting. She doesn’t judge me, I don’t judge her. We teach each other things, we tell each other pretty much everything. We don’t see each other as much as we should, but we chat often. For her birthday I’d like to take her to High Tea at the Saxon and give her a pink Kitchenaid mixer (hoping that she’ll stop resisting and restart a food blog again).

In May my oldest friend is celebrating her birthday. Thirteen years ago she helped me find a bit of balance, when it felt like my life was spinning out of control. It’s still spinning, but I’m better able to go with the centrifugal force than just letting it swoop me any which way. We don’t chat as often as we used to, but see each other every six weeks or so at our book club meetings. She is a domestic goddess that can put Nigella to shame, but she’s always running around, multitasking, and for her birthday I’d also like to take her to the Saxon for High Tea, but the Kenwood Cooking Chef will make multitasking so much easier.

The person whom I believe to be my soul mate, who has seen me at my best, my worst and everything in between for 11 years; who knows every single thing about me; with whom I share even the smallest detail of my every day and still chooses to be my friend, unjudging, celebrates his birthday in July. There are so many things I’d love to give him, but the thing he probably needs most of all is a washing machine. And a whole lot of groceries.

I don’t have many friends – I don’t trust people easily anymore. And all of the people I consider friends are incredibly special people who have made a difference in my life. But these three friends – they have helped me be who I am, and they help me through the struggles I still so often face. And nothing I give them will ever be thanks enough for their friendship.

Purging

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I am so unhappy as I type this. I can hardly see the screen through my tears.

I’ve been crying most of the day. I think it is partly because I’m tired, and partly because I’m scared, and partly because I’m bored.

You wouldn’t think two – three hours less sleep on one night would make such a difference, but I’ve been battling to get through the day. I’d hope for a relaxed evening at home once I got through the traffic and miserable weather, but that was not to be either. My weekly breakfast provisions were depleted, and then I made the colossal mistake of asking what happened to it. How dare I accuse my mother and nephew of eating my stuff?! Did I consider that I’d made a mistake? Actually, I did consider that, but I know that I didn’t, since there was enough for one work week. And now there’s not. But don’t worry, if I somehow manage to pull myself together, I will not ask about anything out loud to any one ever again. I was told that I should get my own fridge to put in my room and lock my stuff up. 

So that makes me feel just a little angry and resentful. Just because I don’t pay rent, doesn’t mean I can be taken for granted, and that I should just keep my fucking mouth shut, because you know what? I gave my mother at least R7 000 of my bonus last year – not counting the groceries I bought when we moved in – not as a loan. Money I could’ve paid on my cursed debt, or used to do the course I so desperately want to do. Beginning of this month I gave her money to pay for the water and mailbox – money I didn’t necessarily have to give, but felt compelled to out of a sense of duty. As a result I have only R36 in my bank account since last week Friday. 

There was a time I thought that feeling like I was the black sheep in our family was only my imagination, but lately I’m convinced that I was right all along. The way I see it, I don’t feature on the top two of any of my family members’ list. Both my nephew and my brother feature ahead of me when it comes to my mother, because someone has to take care of my nephew, and my brother needs extra help – he can’t drive himself and that’s not the worst of it. And since I’m living here rent-free her obligation towards me is taken care of right? And how dare I then speak up about anything? Ungrateful bitch, like my brother once said. 

Why am I scared? Because I don’t know what I want to do; or if I’m going to do anything. I should clarify. I feel like I’m dead weight at work. A small rational part of me knows I’m not; I can do things other people do with greater difficulty, but I’m not doing what I thought I was good at and when I attempt it the results are still rather disappointing. Did I lose my writing mojo? If you’re still reading this you will disagree, but in my work situation I feel like I am unable to string two decent sentences together. I don’t know if I’m just burning out sooner than other years (I usually take a decent break in April, since that is when my mental walls tend to give way, but this year… it’s not even the end of February yet). And I don’t know if I can or want to cope with this any more. It’s been four months since I last took antidepressants, on the advice and care of my psychiatrist. I suspect it might be time I start them up again, but I can’t deal with the guy right now; his jokes and demeanour just annoy me. On the other hand it will take me a while to rebuild my stash of pills; my back door, and that small rational part of me is still not convinced that that is what I want to do… 

Boredom. I’m not bored in the sense that I have nothing to do, really. I’m bored in the sense that I don’t feel challenged to do anything. At work. I’m bored because I’m not motivated to do anything – outside of work. There is the course I’d love to do, but I don’t have the money at the moment. I can’t even quite be bothered to read the book club’s book of the month, and it’s a book that’s been on my list of “to reads”. Yes, that’s a symptom of depression. But am I depressed because I can’t do all these things, or do I not want to do these things because I am depressed?

I think I am depressed, and therefore everything else. I’m depressed because I don’t mean enough to any one else to be at the top of their list of priorities. I may be more important to some than to other, but not the most important to anyone… not even myself the way I feel some times (today).

For the first time (not today, but since we’ve moved into our flat over Christmas) I feel that my mother doesn’t want me here. Or rather, I can stay as long as I shut up and do my chores. So I’m back to my old routine of retiring to my room as soon as I get home. Weekends spent here is really difficult. Everything I do is criticised; if she doesn’t come right out and tell me the food is terrible, she also doesn’t spontaneously say it’s nice. When I mention anything I’m automatically complaining and that girl with a bad attitude who left her parents’ house 10 years ago. No matter how many times I’ve told her that the girl that moved back to her parents’ house  three years later is not the same, I’m still judged the same.

I don’t want sympathy from my readers – I know there are at least two, although I don’t know if you’ve bothered to read all the way down. Aside from desperately wishing I had my own place – only me to complain about or compliment the cooking; only me to throw out stuff and not be made to feel crummy because I threw out the entire box and not just its contents; not having to declare where I am when I’m not at home, and when I don’t do it have people call around behind my back trying to find out where I am.

I should stop now. Climb in bed. With a bit of luck tomorrow will be better.

Seriously?

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I just had to post this (and it’s too long to fit on Twitter):

Someone found my blog using the following search term:

you feel that the disruption and sweeping change you are going through, or fear you are about to go through, will be catastrophic. you need to recognise that such upheaval can force new directions that you never dreamed possible. subconsciously you may have wanted change, but as is often the case, the solution isn’t always as we expect. there could be problems relating to your property, or if considering a new property or move, progress will be thwarted.

I kid you not.

So I thought “what the hell?” and did a Google search… my blog only surfaced on the third page, second-last entry. What an utterly silly and random way to get to my blog. Whoever you are, you’re strange!