Thursday, 13 October 2011

Self esteem: where are you?

I'm feeling sad.

My self esteem seems to have taken a knock recently. I'm not sure exactly why; it may have be a number of things but I have been feeling very insecure and down about myself. I've been asking Adam a lot if he hates me or is angry with me. At work I've been worrying that I'm doing an awful job and am going to get the sack and my body confidence is very low too. I miss T. Although my appointments are weekly, it was last Monday I saw her and my next is tomorrow so that's really two weeks more than one and I've missed her a lot this time round. I always know things are unsettled when I find myself missing T. When I think of her outside of the sessions, it can help me to feel safe (unless it's a different part at the fore who worries that she hates me). Sometimes I don't think of her if I'm detached. Sometimes I find it hard to believe she's real. Sometimes though I feel secure and reassured by thinking of her.

I had two boosts to my confidence this week which really came at the best possible time given what I just told you. One was feedback from an interview I went for (because the NHS doesn't give out permanent jobs much anymore I have to basically re-apply every year for the same job to go on a waiting list). The manager of my work area told me I had done a really good interview and had given better answers than some of the people working at a higher level than me who were coming from England for their interview. This was reassuring. Last year was the first time I applied and the feedback I got was out of this world. I came second out of everyone who applied and was over the moon (hence how I ended up in this super stressful job that I am currently temporarily working in). This time round, maybe because of my self esteem problems at the moment, I had myself convinced I wasn't even going to make it onto the waiting list so the feedback was welcome. I still don't think I did as well as last year by any means but at least I didn't embarrass myself!

The second boost to my confidence was yesterday. I rang a patient from the office to check how they were getting on and they seemed in a bad way health wise. The lady was crying on the phone. I asked some questions and reassured her and arranged to go out and see her again but all the time I was feeling self conscious, partly because the lady was hard of hearing and I was having to shout in the office and partly because I was convinced my colleagues would be judging me and thinking how bad I am at the job I do and that I wasn't asking the right questions or saying the right things.

Afterwards, one of my colleagues was walking by and she stopped and said to me: "I hope I never need to see a (insert my job title here [I'd love to tell you what I do but N.Ireland is such a small country and it just wouldn't be wise]) but if I do, I hope it would be you or someone like you." This really made my day and again, was so needed!

I can't say these two things have made everything better, but they've helped a little. I think it's not just my self esteem though. I think it's a bit of depression. I always kinda laugh to myself when I say I think I'm getting depressed, because I've been depressed now for most of my life. It would be easier to tell you about the times I haven't been depressed. But for me, depression isn't always about feeling down. Depression is most commonly numbness, lack of interest in life, social withdrawal, sleep disturbances and a lot of physical symptoms. Those are the things I live with to a greater or lesser extent every day. Sometimes it switches down a notch to the typical, what you think of as depressed, kind of depression: feeling sad and alone and hopeless. This is how I've felt this week. Alone; like I'm in a bubble that the world can't penetrate. I see people, people see me, but there is a wall between us. I've felt tearful and sad. From past experience I know that if this gets much worse it's when other problems begin again: not being able to function, lots of dissociation, losing time, self harm, disordered eating and long, long nights.

I wonder if it's an autumn thing. I can't say why, but when I smell the first cold air and the first crispness that hints of winter on it's way I always feel excited (because I love winter) but it's often tinged with this sadness that stirs up. I need not get in a panic about what may or may not be happening to me though. I've had my problems long enough now to know that I can't often predict what way my form is going to go and that worrying about it is just another thing to make me feel bad, without any advantage. I guess it would be prudent perhaps to do some nice things for myself. I've already found myself struggling to do that though: just little things, like driving past the shop on the way to work arguing internally about whether I deserve to stop and get myself a sandwich for lunch or something to eat for breakfast and deciding I don't deserve food. And the thoughts have already started when I lie in bed at night. I fall asleep imagining I am cutting a long deep slice into my arm.

My first words in the post were: "I'm feeling sad." I'm sad because I know my dad has now been in the country for two weeks and is going home today and hasn't contacted me at all. I know I didn't want to see him, but I guess I wanted him to want to see me. It's the not being wanted part that makes me ambivalent about seeing him in the first place. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. The feelings are so mixed. I feel relieved that I'm not seeing him and won't have to pretend to be happy in his company, guilty that I didn't contact him myself, worried that he might think it should have been me to contact him and that he might feel bad, annoyed with myself for even caring, angry at him for not getting in touch and hurt that he doesn't care.


torchwoodfan said...

self esteem is really hard to find again when youve lost it so im glad some good things have happened for you ive done a couple of interviews but ive messed them up and now no one would give me a job anyway.i missed my self esteem group yesterday because my eldest son was taken to hospital and i spent 5 hours up there but hes ok sure you will keep your job and if you feel possitive you could go for a promotion take care

Ruth said...

I think the last part tells a lot of your story. Wanting to feel wanted by a parent is big. Feeling rejected is even bigger. I do know that for myself I love the winter holidays but I have a load of not so pleasant memories and feelings connected. One thing I started last year was changing my expectations for myself. I am changing my behavior and it is changing how I feel around this time of year. I now except that I get the "winter blues." It is not about cloudy weather but about what I expect of myself during the holidays. Good for you to recognize the early warnings that your thoughts and body are sending out about depression getting deeper. I am glad you recognize the compliments coming your way. Great choices.

Candycan said...

Our expectations of ourselves can be our biggest hurdles! I think my expectations of everything: me, my family, relationships, my life... they are all causing me problems! Lol. I'm sorry to hear that the winter holidays remind you of unpleasant memories. I think I'm very lucky in that many of my christmasses were the happiest times of my life. My parents made an extra effort at that time of year (usually) and it's probably why I love Christmas so much.

Torchwood, thanks for commenting, glad to hear you're still plodding along. All the best :)