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braveheart

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We were talking today in therapy about where I'm at, and the pain of that.

I'm rather in an inbetween transitional state

- I am no longer currently severely depressed, with the lack of functioning and total withdrawal that entails, and the degree of need for care when one is so ill.

- But I am not yet in the state where I am sociable, bright, bubbly. There are 'windows' of it, but then everything shuts down again. Then the 'sun comes out' for a while, and so the process repeats itself over and over... but this means I am ... not noticeable, and am easily overlooked. I can't make myself be 'Miss Sociable', it doesn't work like that.
But this leaves me feeling... discarded.

I've always been shy and a hard worker, efficient, but quiet, apart from surges of interaction. I'm hungry for interaction, really.

The bright and bubbly agency staff who's just there for a few weeks to help us deal with backlog who's praised and valued by my manager. And I... get left with the itty bitty jobs. And not praised.

It's hard being in the inbetween place, without it fuelling childhood rooted resentments at being 'invisible'. I'm working through it, but it's hard. I know there's no other way but through. But any tips for living with it would be welcome....
 

lonely cat

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Re: the painful state of the inbetween

I've always been shy and a hard worker, efficient, but quiet, apart from surges of interaction. I'm hungry for interaction, really.
Sorry I was so hard trying to save myself,I could not see that other people had problems also.I totally feel the same things as you feel.Though I have never got any professional help,I have ups and downs,and I need to socialize too,but something stops me doing that.
Maybe we are losing too much time on the internet,maybe we should go out and meet with others,only an idea.
 

braveheart

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Thank you. It means a lot that you replied.

The lack of response to my post so far feels like it re-iterates what I was expressing, about how people who are in the stage of recovery I'm in... seem to go unnoticed.
 
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moonriver

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Hello Braveheart

I noticed your post too, it's just hard because sometimes I am not sure what to say to people to be helpful, even though I might have similar challenges I don't know what the answers are. But I wish I had acknowledged your post because I noticed it.

I don't think you go unnoticed at all, I admire your attitude and the progress you made. If anything, I have the same struggles about wanting to be outgoing and I just dont know what the answer is. Someone posted to me about accepting myself for my differences from other people and I thought that was really good advice. So what if you cant be bubbly, I bet you have tons of great qualities such as being smart and bright and I think accpeting that we are all unique is a good idea.
 

Halo

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Thank you. It means a lot that you replied.

The lack of response to my post just re-iterates what I was expressing, about how people who are in the stage of recovery I'm in... get unnoticed.

I don't think that the lack of reponse to your post says anything about you going unnoticed. I personally think that there are probably many on this forum that feel the may same way as you however have no idea what to suggest to help and therefore have not responded.

I can't say much about your real life as I don't know you personally however I can say on here that you are definitely noticed. Your kind, caring, supportive posts to other members as well as your articulate, insightful posts about your own struggles always are noticed and are again very insightful and helpful.

I would never say that you go unnoticed here...or at least I hope that you don't feel that way on here.
 

David Baxter

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To add to what Halo posted, another reason that a post may not receive replies at first is that other members haven't yet found the thread (e.g., me) or have been to busy to reply or even to log in. Sometimes it takes a day or two - or a reply from either the original poster or someone else to "bump" the thread so it's visible on the first page of New Posts or Quick Links | Today's Posts.
 
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I noticed your post too and actually typed out a response, but then I critiqued my response and it just didn't seem enough. I'm really sorry I didn't respond anyway. It's an awful feeling to feel unnoticed and invisible. :(

:hug:
 

moonriver

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I have been thinking alot more about this topic, I always think to myself about wishing I was another way, wishing I was smarter or more coordinated or for something else that I feel I am lackign in. Maybe it really is about focusing on your strengths and not getting so caught up in your weaknesses or your perceived weaknesses, that might not even really be important at all.

Maybe it's also about asking for what you need sometimes, like having the nerve to ask a manager for better assignments or more feedback. I havent reached that point myself, but I hope to.

Your strengths seem to be your kindness to others, your intelligence and willingness to rise above adversity. Thats surely just as important as being bubbly and cheerful. Besides, sometimes people that appear that way really aren't.

I hope you feel better soon, obviously you are greatly appreciated on this forum.:dimples:
 

Daniel

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Regarding the "bright and bubbly" people, I would also keep in mind that most people at work are not very excited to be there. Even when they get home, they are often so tired that they don't spend much time socializing. I remember an accountant that reminded me of the misanthropist Schopenhauer. He would bring his small dog to work and once remarked (somewhat jokingly but still seriously) to a pregnant employee that the world had enough babies already. And I remember an actuary who said he spends more time with Excel than with his wife.

braveheart said:
I'm hungry for interaction, really.

There's always the fake-it-till-you-make-it approach:

Pretend self-esteem. Feign optimism. Simulate outgoingness.

The moral: Going through the motions can trigger the emotions. Surely you've noticed. You're in a testy mood, but when the phone rings you feign cheer while talking to a friend. Strangely, after hanging up, you no longer feel so grumpy. Such is the value of social occasions--they impel us to behave as if we were happy, which in fact helps free us from our unhappiness.

Granted, we can't expect ourselves to become more upbeat and socially confident overnight. But rather than limply resign ourselves to our current traits and emotions, we can stretch ourselves, step by step. Rather than waiting until we feel like making those calls or reaching out to that person, we can begin. If we are too anxious, modest, or indifferent, we can pretend, trusting that before long the pretense will diminish as our actions ignite a spark inside--the spark that will lead to happiness.

Psychology Today: The Secrets of Happiness

I think the important thing for me is just feeling that I am on track, and this is helpful to me for dealing with the contrast between my current self image and my idealized future self.

BTW, some song lyrics that this thread reminds me of:

The triumph and the tragedy
The endless bright parade...
Well I don't buy it...it's just too clean
'Cause we're in between

"In Between" by Duncan Sheik
 
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ladylore

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I can understand where your coming from Braveheart. I 'in between' myself many days. But for myself its a bit different. I really like being with people but it does tire me out. I am well liked but when I recieve too much attention I want to high tail it out of there. I also love my solitude - I need that quiet time to reenergize.

P.S. I took the day off yesterday. :)
 

braveheart

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Thanks everyone. I really do appreciate it. The past few days have been really hard. I've not... been myself. All my flatmates were away, and that, being entirely alone at home, seems to always set uncomfortable emotions stirring. I'm really tired.

I'll reply properly tomorrow, when I'm less tired. I didn't sleep much last night.

I was in a very alone place yesterday, but today, with therapy, and then interacting with some colleagues at work [it's in the office things are more difficult, I was in the library this afternoon, and able to talk with colleagues and customers] and then finding some of my flatmates back when I got in - she and the little one are back, he's back tomorrow... makes me feel more like I exist and am more valued...

The core issues are still there, and I'll come back to reflect on them and respond tomorrow.
 
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hi braveheart, i too am sorry i didn't respond right away. i didn't have any immediate thoughts that i could post and wanted to take a bit more time to reflect on it. i didn't right away recognize the feelings of being in an in between state, so i wasn't really sure how to respond. that being said, however, it's now clicked what you meant. you're in a place where you are feeling stronger and able to handle a little more visibility, but at the same time you are still very vulnerable and it's very easy for you to end up in a tailspin again when things turn out differently than you had hoped or expected. it's like getting the rug pulled from underneath you again just when you thought you were ok.

you have a history of feeling invisible and needing to be seen, yet being afraid to be seen. it sounds like you are now more ready to be seen. could it be your boss is used to you being less visible because of your past tendency to avoid being seen? (i am do not remember exactly with whom you did and didn't feel comfortable being seen) if so, you've changed on the inside for the better; however your boss isn't aware of this change.

have you considered speaking with your boss about feeling your efforts go unnoticed or is this something you'd rather not bring up?

as for tips, i think try to remind yourself each time something triggers past feelings that as time goes by this will happen less and less. i have really noticed my vulnerability has improved quite a bit. things do happen still from time to time that make me feel very vulnerable but at least i don't feel that way all the time anymore. it will get better over time as you progress through therapy and make progress.

i am glad your flatmates are slowly returning and that you have that security in having them around again. i hope that will reduce the feelings of loneliness.
 

braveheart

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Yes, it's to do with conflicts about being visible/invisible.

And, just now I am wondering whether part of my confusion about being adult is because I was so invisible as a child, that to start being visible - and an adult... is a .. big transition. I guess it brings up all my insecurities and scripted patterns of behaviour.
ITL, you raise an interesting thing about my manager. That could be possible.
Yet still the pain remains that I'm not... enthusiastic about my work. Not when I'm sticking labels on books all day 9-5. Thankfully not every day, but it's more than enough!

I do have an appraisal soon, followed shortly by my review re reasonable accommodations. So hopefully something can change then. The thing is I seem to bring this issue up every time. *sighs*

Daniel, I find the concept of 'faking it' hard to accommodate, because of being fake much of my childhood and so forth, having to hide my real feelings. However I do find there are moments when I am... very real and open and natural and able to respond and help. [I am able to support people online freely and openly because they don't 'see how ugly I am'] These moments do exist - like when I answer the phone at work, and they take me by surprise as I emerge out of my depressive and sometimes dissociated 'shell'. I think it's to allow more spontaneity. Something I value highly, but which so didn't exist in my family, because everything and everyone were so tightly controlled.
 
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I admire your insight and I admire how you can recognize that you don't want to repeat the things that happened in your childhood. You want things to be different and you're working so very hard to make things different and better. I wish there were easy answers, but there isn't really. It's a lot of hard work on your part and probably a lot of painful feelings. :( :hug: I'm just starting to realize this myself about therapy and getting well. How very hard it is and how we must fight with all our strength to get through things. I wish it wasn't so hard. For all of us.
 
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And, just now I am wondering whether part of my confusion about being adult is because I was so invisible as a child, that to start being visible - and an adult... is a .. big transition. I guess it brings up all my insecurities and scripted patterns of behaviour.
you're making the transition from child to adult many years past when it was supposed to happen. having been a 'child' for all these years makes you very 'comfortable' in that role. becoming an adult is scary, because it's different and new. so of course insecurities are going to come up. i think it's all to be expected and it's ok.

ITL, you raise an interesting thing about my manager. That could be possible.
Yet still the pain remains that I'm not... enthusiastic about my work. Not when I'm sticking labels on books all day 9-5. Thankfully not every day, but it's more than enough!
i think most people settle down into a routine with their jobs and then enthusiasm may not be at the forefront. being enthusiastic takes a lot of energy. we can't all be bouncing around about our jobs all of the time :)

i think your enthusiasm may come with time, as you become more confident in yourself as a person and yourself as an adult, and start to change and your co-workers and boss respond positively to that change.

i think you're doing amazing, braveheart, the work you've done and how much you are changing and moving forward. it is really wonderful to see. :yahoo:
 

ladylore

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How very hard it is and how we must fight with all our strength to get through things. I wish it wasn't so hard. For all of us.

Well put Janet.

Not when I'm sticking labels on books all day 9-5. Thankfully not every day, but it's more than enough!
From what I have come to know about you Braveheart regarding your skill set, your current job may be way to easy for you and definitely not using your strengths to their fullest.

I did a telefundraising job for a couple of years. Hardest job I had ever done because of the stress and the monotany of it. I took it on out of necessity but I swear I will never do that kind of job again. What it did to my mental health just isn't worth it.
 

braveheart

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And I've now got a cold/cough and can't really think straight.

Work - well, the office work [aka mainly sticking labels on books] is the 'reasonable accommodation' for my mental illness issues under the DDA. And, whilst it does enable me to focus my energy on recovery, and keep me out of public eye and potentially stressful encounters, it doesn't really boost my self esteem any. I probably shouldn't rely on work to boost my self esteem. But I do work with the public, in the library, several days a week - the office:library proportion is now about half and half. And am coping better. But the thing is even there there's too many staff. One's just got back froma year's sabbatical, and we had enough staff before then.
I feel constantly like the 'extra', even though I am included.
I just feel like I'm not really needed.
Most people go to work and their contribution is needed. Me, I'm really doubting that.
We've identified in therapy that I feel guilty for the slower times, when I'm not working 100%, when I'm not busy. And that I needn't do.
You see, I spent more than a decade in teaching, working myself into the ground, and still not being good enough - because I just naturally am not a primary school teacher, and never had the self esteem and self respect to command children's attention and respect.
I am thankful that I do some voluntary work online, because otherwise I would feel like a totally useless member of society.
 
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it sounds like you're starting to be in a place where you are emotionally stronger and ready for a job with more demands. the job you're in right now has allowed you to at least be employed and be able to pay the bills, which i am sure must have initially helped with your self esteem. however it sounds like now you're starting to find it a make-work project. doing a job that doesn't feel like we're making a difference can have a negative effect on our self-esteem. i am wondering if it may be time for you to consider a different job? are there any opportunities of advancement within the library? is there anything that you could take on in your less busy times that would show you would be a good candidate to move up? this would give you a greater sense of self-esteem, no longer the feeling of being an extra, and as well the praise that you are looking for from your boss, a little more visibility.
 

braveheart

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I'd be too scared. And it's probably not wise, given what happened when I was made Special Needs Coordinator in my first teaching job. I don't want to risk a breakdown. Or rejection. Or both.
I'm not into the whole promotion thing. At least not in that field.
And if/when I do enter psychotherapy training again, one really needs a very undemanding 'day job'.
Maybe dealing with these feelings at work now is the price I need to pay, as it were, to follow my hopes and dreams when I am ready.

Thanks though. :)
 

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