Archive for the Coping Mechanisms Category

Depression 1001 : Work 0

Posted in Anxiety, Burnout, Coping Mechanisms, Depression, Family, Mental Health, Personal Thoughts, Reasoning, Self Doubt, The World, Work on April 28, 2017 by Neal

The last 2 months have been very strained for myself personally. Complications with work, family and myself have seen my attention to details and life in general slip. I didn’t think things were affecting me as much as they apparently were, guess that’s the old depression mind trick for you.

I’ve been trying to transfer stores so that I can be closer to home and also get a change of pace. The store I currently work in has its challenges but they tend to be the same things over and over each week. Plus being here for 2 years has started to make me a little shop blind to some obvious issues. But it would seem that my depression has finally started impacting my work. 

My first unsuccessful request was turned down due to a lack of self confidence in managing staff issues. I’m probably a bit too soft at times when it comes to staff problems. Being more assertive and knowledgable in company procedures would likely improve that aspect of myself. On top of making sure my self confidence was on the up I can see myself improving in that area for sure.

The big eye opener I had recently came in the form of a site visit by both area and state manager. The feedback I got was a real slap in the face. Several months ago the things they pulled me up on never existed. Yet despite all the effort I put into maintaining the store I had totally overlooked or dismissed the importance of some things. I could have come up with a wide range of excuses but that would have been passing the buck and not taking ownership of my own mistakes. I spent that evening mulling things over a lot as I came to realise my standards in the store had slipped, more that I had considered possible for myself.

Suffice to say this did not sit well when I tried another transfer request. I knew after the visit the chances of transfer were very slim. After all the past doesn’t count when looking at current standards. Top it off with a rather bad business audit a few months earlier and I totally get their concerns. 

So now I’ve laid out a new battle map on the table. Depression and anxiety may have me cornered but that isn’t going to stop me from fighting. I’m slowly taking back the Self-doubt pass and the Family plains are being reclaimed a bit each day. The daunting task of assaulting Mount Work has begun. I’ll break down the fortifications and reclaim my ability to work without distraction. 

This is one of the many fights ahead that I plan on winning. 


Musings of my Mind

Posted in Anxiety, Burnout, Coping Mechanisms, Depression, Family, Mental Health, Personal Thoughts, Reasoning, Self Doubt, The World on April 24, 2017 by Neal

Warning — will be discussing some personal things that some may find concerning. Despite what I write about I have never nor will I ever intend harm to myself or others. 

Asking someone about their depression is like asking how long is a piece of string. It’s all subjective and theoretical unless you can actually measure it. But how do you measure an intangible level based on random chemicals and emotions? Then you get people who don’t understand things and assume you can just brush off depression like dirt on your clothes. That would be nice to do but it’s not that simple. 

The tricky part, is that depression isn’t usually caused by just one thing. If it was then tackling it on a social scale would be so much easier. “Everyone with depression, look at this cute baby video and be healed for 30days.”  That would be so much easier than having these internal battle campaigns that resemble World War 2 at times. For me, my depression is always tagging along with several common factors. Family finances, family interactions,  work issues, personal feelings of self worth, sexual adequacy, life conflicts, social media idiocy of the world at large. Some of these pair up with self worth issues so I get bogged down in a cycle of self loathing and anxiety. 

Then there is trying to explain things when I’m worried about sounding pathetic to others. My mind and mouth don’t operate on the same wave length, so while I say one thing a moment later it’s been processed and I counter the comment rendering it all pointless. Now the flip side of that is if I take time to think things over it quickly devolves into a case of “my fault” with a “what’s the point” chaser. This sounds confusing doesn’t it? Well that’s just the tip of the iceberg. 

There is an aspect of my mind that some people might find concerning but it isn’t related to my depression. In fact it’s been a part of me for as long as I can remember but I never speak of it because of the response people will give. It’s a fatalistic curiosity with the real world. “How much damage would I get in the car if it hit a tree? Would people miss me is I was no longer around? Would your hand melt in a fire like in the movies? Can I dive from a building into a waiting hay cart and just roll out as in the games?” Sounds silly and you are probably wondering if I need an intervention.  I promise I have no intentions of enacting on my curious musings. The logical part knows that no good will happen while the illogical ask why not. It’s just random stuff that roams the maze of my mind. I also don’t have the money or resources to test my questions out so will leave it to the likes of the Mythbusters.

A lot of people will automatically assume a person with depression is on the high end of the self harm or suicide spectrum. Unfortunately this is true in many cases but it’s not the norm for some. The media tends to portray depression in a negative light often which does influence views. The idea that depression should be kept a secret is being slowly replaced by acceptance and understanding. People are finding strength in sharing their issues rather than withdrawing from the world. 

Remember if you have concerns for someone talk to them. If you have concerns for yourself please talk to someone. No one can know for sure what’s happening in the mind of another person.

In Australia Beyond Blue

Why So Negative?

Posted in Anxiety, Burnout, Coping Mechanisms, Depression, Family, Mental Health, Personal Thoughts, Reasoning, Self Doubt, The World on April 19, 2017 by Neal

My mind isn’t working properly these days. “Well no kidding you have depression. Of course your mind isn’t how it should be” some will say. Others will simply say “It’s only in your mind. You can get over it” or they’ll say “It’s all with the choices you make so make positive ones and think positive all the time”.  Sounds logical and easy doesn’t it? Perhaps it is, after all depression is a state of mind right? The mind is the most misunderstood organ in the human body and we know very little about it in the grand scheme of things. I can just think happy thoughts and before you know it I’ll be flying around like Peter Pan…oh wait I need fairy dust as well. Damn there goes my easy commute to work.

The real problem for me I suppose is the crossed wires I have in my coping processes. For most of my life I have tended to look at the negative side of a situation. If there’s a problem or situation I put up the negative aspects first instead of finding a solution that has a positive outcome. It’s just how I’ve always thought of things. List the possible faults and then diagnose a process that fixes things. Odd I know and trying to explain that to people can be very difficult. For the last couple of years I have worked hard on giving positive responses to situations, despite my natural trends. It’s not very easy for me but to help improve my interactions with family and friends I’ve been giving it 99%. But the stupid thing is I keep falling back into old habits and I end up at the bottom of the hill again and have to start climbing again. Not a simple thing when the depression keeps throwing boulders to stop your ascent.

Yet I know my wires are crossed. At work I put on this fake happiness in front of customers. Sure I still talk about the negative stuff to them but I laugh it off and smile the whole time. The quote I give when asked how I keep going is a stupid one because it only applies to work. “I can either laugh about it or cry in a corner, which doesn’t get a thing done” So while at work the introvert puts on all the pomp and ceremony of an extrovert just so the day goes by without complications (some I can’t control but such is life). However when I get home that facade is lost and I find myself ready to curl up in a corner and ignore the world. It’s not gone straight away. Sometimes I can keep things on the brighter side for a few days but eventually the stress of home life sheds way too much light in my imperfections. Don’t get me wrong, my life isn’t close to how bad some people have it. I have family, a house, clothes, food, a job…things we all tend take for granted. Each of my self criticisms has a tiny voice in my head, gnawing away at the foundation of normality that I put in place to function. Over time they get louder as things are added to each voice. “Not enough money to pay certain bills, that’s cause you are a shit financial planner. You spend way too much time dealing with work stuff at home. Why can’t you have nice conversations with the kids? Not a lot of food in the house because you can’t manage the money properly.” Little comments like “can we have hot chips for dinner or do you have to work on your day off” suddenly get amplified out of proportion by my mind and depression.

Self-doubt seems to be the biggest voice in my head these days. I want to talk about things but the internal dialogue with anxiety and depression really ruins things in a hurry. Though if I simply blurt out things before I have time to think it usually doesn’t make sense and then I have to think on it to explain things and we’re back at square one again. Silly right? Said my mind was a mess. It’s like doing these blog posts. If I just write on a whim and let my fingers do their own thing, I can generate stuff that is of interest yet may not make sense. When I start to reread what I write and focus on giving an articulated view with deep thought I get stuck in that self-doubt circle that catches me when I think too much. The part that troubles me the most is making things sound like a cry for attention and pity. A sort of “Oh look my life is so bad and I feel so helpless….” feeling I can’t stand when I see some of the posts on my Facebook feeds. I’m not looking for attention so much as trying to reveal how my mind works. Depression and anxiety isn’t just the same thing for everyone. We all have it affect and impact us differently and at differing levels. Sure some people will see this as attention seeking while others might see it as a constructive way to defuse the mental time bombs to limit the damage when things finally come crashing down.

One thing I know for sure is I need to get rid of the negativity while I’m at home. I need to bring the work facade home with me so that when I get out of the car and walk inside I’m not a miserable old man. I have a good life and won’t allow depression to direct how I interact with my family and friends. Going to take some time to rewire the pathways for that to happen but I will make that change. Stay tuned to see how things go 🙂

Experiments in Cosplay – Part 1

Posted in Art, Coping Mechanisms, Cosplay, Craft and DIY, Depression, Mental Health, Personal Thoughts, Reasoning, Self Doubt on March 3, 2017 by Neal

The last two days I’ve been in a depressive slump. No reason that I can think of just felt like ignoring the world and staying in the dark. While my wish to be a vampire is whimsical it was a good thing I’d taken a few days off work to use up some over time I had earned. Now for me, I rarely have these negative slumps to such a high level. Usually if I have a slump I’ll just mope while around everyone at home. I function but it’s almost on autopilot. 

So what does my slump have to do with cosplay? My mind tends to wander around into all sorts of things and comes up with some very odd connections to an idea. For example – I was curious about what I would need to finish off my vacuform machine (will document that later when I can find it in the shed), this led me to look at ideas for furnaces to smelt your own metal, which in turn took me to making castings for props, then to plastics to use and finally recycling hdpe plastics. 

Yes confusing isn’t it? When I find the time I’m going to see about recycling milk containers and lids to us with my vacuform machine so I can do test forms without spending lots of money of plastic sheets. If I can get it to work properly it would give me plenty of  material to use and also help reduce our Eco-footprint. 

Stay tuned. 

Interviews – Food for Anxiety

Posted in Anxiety, Coping Mechanisms, Mental Health, Personal Thoughts, Reasoning, Self Doubt on February 23, 2017 by Neal

I’m sitting in the foyer of my company head office waiting for an interview. I’ve applied for a transfer to a new store that will be opening in the next couple of months as the manager. The funny thing is I’m nervous as hell which is odd considering I’ve worked for the area manager doing the interview. 

The anxiety in me is having a field day picking on all the little things I’ve done wrong at work these last few months. It keeps adding fuel to its own fire by expanding more on the mistakes. I counter every comment with a rational response so it digs deeper. At this rate I’ll have destroyed half a city in its views. 

However it’s not the interview that has me on edge. I can do interviews rather well. Answering questions and giving examples is something I can do blind folded (have yet to actually try that). It’s more the fact that I’m dealing with someone of authority higher than me. I’ve had this particular type of anxiety for as long as I can remember. No rational reason but that’s the joys of anxiety, rationality need not apply.

Married To Three Partners

Posted in Coping Mechanisms, Depression, Family, Mental Health, Personal Thoughts, Reasoning, Self Doubt, The World on February 4, 2017 by Neal

No this is not about polygamy though I’m sure some people will say it feels that way as I explain  things. 

As of the beginning of 2017 I have been married to an amazing woman for 19 years but we’ve been together for 23 years in total. We met in our last year of high school and have been together since then. Now I’m going to admit it hasn’t all been smooth sailing, a very large portion of the problems came from me. We both come from a generation in which mental illness was rarely ever discussed if at all. Most of the time it was covered up by comments of ‘toughen up’or ‘just get over it’. So no surprise that I wasn’t aware of what to look out for either in myself or my wife. 

It was in 2000 that we moved away from our families and started our new life in Brisbane. Between my working long hours thanks to commuting and my wife caring for our 2 children we didn’t see much of each other. We only had a few family members on her side down here so we didn’t have much social contacts outside of family. It was during this time that partner number 2, Depressed Wife, showed up and made her self at home.

In hind sight I should have realised things weren’t right but it was almost a decade before we figured things out. Depressed Wife impacted us both at times. She would cry for no reason. We used to have arguments over the silliest of things. We’d go to bed angry. She would find reasons not to spend time around me. The list of complications got rather large. During all this I blamed my wife for things without realising it was Depressed Wife who was causing the issues. 

If I had known better, I would have done more to sort through things but then again I had another partner who was popping in without me realising, Depressed Husband. Now see he was a master of stealth. He stayed hidden for many years, manipulating me from the shadows like some distorted puppeteer. I began to loose myself in online text based roleplaying. I found I chatted with others online more than in person.  At times I found myself resenting my family and my life as a whole. Depressed Husband made sure to pick fights with Depressed Wife at every chance he got. Between the 4 of us it was a miracle that we managed to last for as long as we did. 

We saw doctors who suggested medications for depression, which never seemed to work successfully for either of us. We tried counselling but hard to work through things when each person feels they aren’t the issue. There even came a point when I moved out for 6 months after Depressed Husband indicated that it was the only way I could be happy. I sat alone late one night, in the small house I was renting, and that’s when I saw what Depressed Husband had been doing for such a long time. He had lied to me so much I had lost view of what was important in my life. It was from then that I started to work with Depressed Husband always in full view of my mind. He wasn’t going to color my view of life anymore. 

As the years have progressed our understandings of each other have grown greatly. My wife and I work together now and we both keep an eye on each other’s Depressed personality. When we see the Depressed spouse starting to voice their opinions on things we work together to address what’s needed so they can go back to virtual sleep and let us work on our family.

Convoluted you might say but we aren’t all simply one person in our minds. We all have different parts that will show over time and in this case our Depressed spouses have certainly made it difficult. While medication does help it’s only through understanding how and when depression affects us that we can change directions. Dedication to each other and a desire to grow makes a big difference in the world today.

What an Epiphany  

Posted in Anxiety, Coping Mechanisms, Depression, Personal Thoughts, Reasoning, Self Doubt on January 13, 2017 by Neal

I work as the site manager of a petrol station. Yeah I already know how funny some might see it that an introvert like myself works retail. Apparently I’m good at dealing with people on a work based relationship, terrible any other time. The trick I found is staying mentally motivated to get through the day, a little tricky when some treat you worse than muck on their shoes. What do I do you wonder. I make puns and jokes with my staff and customers. Most of these are word play or dad jokes but they tend to make customers smile and laugh which helps the day go just that little bit faster. 

Example 1. Older lady came in to the store and asked if we had ice? My response was “I’ve got some methamphetamine….oh you mean the water kind”. It took her a moment to register what I said then her face went from shock to laughter when she realised the connection.

Example 2. Customer comes in and says their pump number as “I’m 8” and I’ll respond with something like “Wow you don’t look a day over 7”. 

Yeah bad jokes I know but while I was pondering things this morning during a quiet spell I realised I have always used humour as a way to handle social situations. In high school I was always making bad puns and comments, sometimes quickly followed by an apology for not thinking before I spoke. I’m a big kid at heart. I enjoy computer games, toys, cartoons, being a fool at times and in the right situations I talk like there’s no tomorrow. I tell bad jokes and puns with the kids, much to their regret. 

The more I think it over the more I over analyse and then it dawned on me. This is one of my subconscious coping mechanisms. A kind of ‘fake it till you make it’ response to things. It also acts as a bit of a depression level reading for myself as well. When I feel down I don’t joke around and the level of mirth I muster can be obviously a lot lower than usual. 

Keep in my this is all in my head so it could be true if I just have way too many thoughts rolling around in here making a jumble of things. But for now I’ll do my shepherd impersonation and get the flock out of here. Later 🙂