Sunday, September 23, 2007

Help me, I'm melting!

I melt down often. Well, not often, but at least about once a quarter. I never know exactly what triggers it. It might be something small that breaks the camel's proverbial back. I can give you some meltdown examples from the past few years.
  1. I couldn't get an issue resolved with the cable company. Although I had transferred my service to someone else's name, I kept getting the bill and so did they. It was affecting my phone service since it was a global billing (note to self--never buy into global billing again!). I spent hours on the phone and more hours trying to get it resolved until I was literally screaming at the customer service person. The result? They transferred me to someone who could help, in the process, they cut me off. Think that was a coincidence? Once I calmed down, I called the public utilities commission who told me what number to call for the head honchos and it appears there is a solution in sight.

  2. I had been looking for a job with no results for about six months. I had a job interview that sounded like it might be a fit. When I got there, four different men spent about an hour talking to me for what turned out to be a clerical position. One was very condescending. I left there feeling so humiliated I could barely stand it. I talked to someone about it and I felt better.

  3. I completed a project for a client that I thought was what she wanted. I spent about two full days working on it. It wasn't what she wanted at all. It was my fault, after all, because I hadn't outlined the project before beginning. I assumed she still wanted what she thought she wanted originally although several weeks had passed. I waited a day or so before contacting her and worked through my feelings, mostly disappointment. But boy, in the meantime, I was a mess. I simply kept on keeping on and worked through it. I didn't listen to any voice telling me I would never be successful as a writer.

I get overwhelmed from time to time; I think we all do. Sometimes when it seems like it's all crap I have to think about how I'm framing things. For example, a gal who is in charge of our newsletter e-mailed me in a panic asking me to do an article on Tradition Three. She said that the person who was going to do the article didn't. It took me about two hours and I e-mailed it to her.

The next night I saw her at a meeting and she was complaining how sick she was of service. She said "No one" ever helps her. I pointed out to her that I had helped her. I wasn't no one. Using terms like that, my friends, is catastrophizing.

I do it too. When I get mad, I frequently say "You ALWAYS do that!" or "You never do this," using those black or white terms. That's usually far from the truth. If we really examine those statements, most of the time things like that irritate us happen, but we tend to get overly emotional and use terms like "never," "always," "continuously," "every time," etc.

When I call my sponsor in a snit, she always tells me firmly, "Lose the drama." She's right, of course, although it often hurts my feelings. When I'm in the middle of a drama that revolves around me, I can't think correctly; I'm swinging from the emotional vine yelling "Tarzan." (Actually, that's me, Jane, on the far right, looking bewildered.)

Melting down is part of the life of an emotionally labile person like me. It took me many years of recovery before I saw that trait because no one ever pointed it out. Or if they did, I wasn't ready to hear it. I just swung hysterically through jobs, leaving because my boss "didn't appreciate me" or pay me well enough, rather than practice patience and try to avoid seeing everything as an attack upon me as a female. (Although in some cases it was, but that's another story.)

I have grown in the past decades of recovery, but it has been a slow, painful process. I'm glad I now have a sponsor who isn't afraid of hurting my feelings to get my attention. My meltdowns are now fewer, less dramatic and shorter. That, dear readers, is growth.


Syd said...

I liked this post. I have been there and could recognize myself in what you wrote. I also point the finger of self-righteousness when I am angry (=fearful). I also use the "God words" of never, ever, etc. But you are right, those moments are less and less frequent thankfully.

msb said...

I can relate in this electonic world. So unfriendly to my humanness.

Pam said...

sitting at my computer...relating.
thanks for this post!

Meg Moran said...

catching up..what great posts! you are so awesome! If/when you do melt down, what a lovely puddle.