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I have hit a wall, need help getting over, around or through this.
July 27, 2005
10:43 am
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jamaicanwife
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I have been working hard, and feeling really good about my work, but I have been working almost 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Now, I know that is not healthy, but it is just to get a project ready on time. The problem is that I still have so much to do, and I am crashing. I am exhausted, yes, but I spent the whole day in my office trying to get started, and just couldn't get anywhere. I mean, I dealt with emergencies and urgent matters, but the things that required my concentration and my time, I just couldn't get moving.

To make it worse, my son who was with my mother in law while I was pulling marathon sessions at work is back home, and he has to stay at my office with me when I work late. Yesterday did not go well, and I feel completely overwhelmed.

Any suggestions? I feel the early warning signs of my depression starting, and I simply can't afford it. I am overeating, I am spending the little spare time I have watching tv or surfing the net because that is the only way I can feel like I am not working. I just feel as though my life is all about what other people need right now, and not about my needs at all.

I want to run away, but I just can't afford to take my usual mental vacation, you know?

July 27, 2005
10:46 am
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I am sorry to hear that you are feeling rushed and stressed right now. Instead of watching tv or surfing the net, how about focusing that time on you...taking a nice bubble bath with candles, reading a good book or even doing some yoga or pilates to concentrate on stress reduction and breathing.

Take a little time out of your day even if its just for a few minutes. Get up from work and go take a walk. I was in your position once and worked nonstop with 3 hours sleep from Thanksgiving to Xmas eve on a film that had to be in theatres Xmas day...I ended up in the hospital New Years Eve suffering my first panic attack. Please don't let yourself get to that point. Your child is depending on you...so please take care of you!!

July 27, 2005
11:03 am
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(((((JW))))), I want to get back to you on this, I have a friend in upper management that deals alot with helping employees cope with work and home stress when they collide and working with depression. I'll write him and see if he can send me the info he may have on the matter (maybe you can work where he is, they have confrences about stuff like this, little office retreats and spa gifts all the time...hell, maybe I should get a job where he is too!).

July 27, 2005
11:38 am
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jamaicanwife
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(((((((((((SexySadie))))))))))
((((((((((ef)))))))))))

July 27, 2005
11:47 am
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angel4U
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(((((((((((((JW))))))))))))))

It sounds to me like you are in (or going in) to burnout mode. And I can see why ... we as human beings are not made to be able to handle all that you are trying to handle. Everyone needs balance (my favorite word for the last 2 years .. =) Our bodies and mind REQUIRE rest - physically, mentally and spirtually - in order to continue to function properly. And my thoughts are that the way you are feeling is caused by your body & mind trying to tell you this.

When you say: "I want to run away, but I just can't afford to take my usual mental vacation, you know?"

Ask yourself, "Can I afford NOT to?" Please do whatever you can can, JW, to find a way to give yourself this, or as you said, you most likely will end up in that state of depression again (it is very typical for burnout to cause depression ... or at the least, exhaustion). You are the only one who can make that choice to take care of you. And I bet if you think really hard, you CAN find ways to work this situation so that you can.

Maybe try to think about each area of your life and outline your responsibilities in each. Then outline how you might be able to lift some of them to make your life a little easier either by asking for help, changing the way you do some things, or simply letting some of them go (even it is only temporary) ... so that you can achieve that balance.

If work is what the major problem is, then possibly sit down with your boss and let him know what is happening to you because of the long hours you are being required to work (working ~24 hours a day is absolutely insane! ... but I have been there before too, so I know how things on the workfront can get sometimes). Sometimes companies work in the "gotta get it done now" mode, and totally (and very sadly) forget that they are working their people into the ground. Be confident that how you are feeling right now would be typical for anyone under these circumstances, although that's not really what is important. What is important is how it is effecting YOU!

Sometimes long hours at work in order to accomplish a major project is a temporary "have to", but even in these instances, you still need to find balance (e.g. finding someone to help with your home responsibilities for that period of time). But even in these instances you still need to find time for you to rest and relax. And when it becomes "all work and no play" for a long period of time, well, who wants that?

I am speaking from experience as I was in the situation of being expected to "live for work" for almost 3 years and had very similar symptoms as you are. I actually wasn't sure at first what was happening to me because working like this had become the norm, or at least what I felt like I HAD to do to keep my job (something that was unfortunately reinforced by my work-a-holic boss and the environment of the Corporate world we were in). I eventually found myself having problems concentrating, being less patient, more tired, and distancing myself from people and fun because I was too exhausted. (These are all sign of burnout!) When I was layed off (btw - I think this was a blessing in disguise), I ended up with physical (intestinal) health problems, depression & some anxiety. All of which I believe was because I was in this mode for so long, and it finally took it's toll on me. For someone that could always handle everything that came my way, I was suddenly unable to handle too much of anything.

I am finally back at a place where I have balance back in my life, and it is "wonderful". My key goal at this point is to ensure I keep it ... no matter what it takes. I hope that you find a way to do so, too, JW!

I was reading a website last night that had some good information on stress, burnout & depression. Here's what they said:

"Stress: Some people become depressed through being overwhelmed by change and stress. We live in a time of rapidly increasing change and the demands of adjustment are difficult. Too much of an adjustment in too short of a time may over burden a person. Stress begins to wear them out and there is a loss of resiliency. They can no longer bounce back from adversity. They begin to pull away from others and their energy decreases. Depression is the result."

Some tests you can take: http://www.lessons4living.com/tests.htm

Some info on how to "undo" stress:

http://www.lessons4living.com/.....topics.htm

My thoughts are with you, JW! I will be praying that you find your way back to peace & happiness!

Hugs,

angel4U

July 27, 2005
11:59 am
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DOGSBARK
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Let go, surrender. I can't, we can. Look for a person that can do the work that you are doing. We are all replaceable. Find your replacement and share the work.

July 27, 2005
12:02 pm
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jamaicanwife
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Thanks, angel. I needed to hear that.

My mind immediately started producing excuses, reasons why this situation has to be this way, but the fact is that something has to give, and it can't be me. I have to do aomething to make sure that I don't end up back in bed with the sheets over my head. Been there, done that, got fired - twice.

Just typing my feelings out here gives me a feeling of validation, which I think was missing before. I am so accustomed to getting on the hamster wheel when I have problems (a lot of mental work with no solution!). Now, as a real grown up with a real job, a real child and very real bills, I have to be able to think my way through these situations.

You know, I used to think that I was really smart, but real life makes me feel completely stupid. I never know what to do next.

July 27, 2005
12:03 pm
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jamaicanwife
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dogsbark, I can't share the load - my entire department is here until midnight!

July 27, 2005
12:31 pm
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angel4U
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((((((((JW))))))))

Hang in there, girl! Keep reaching out and the answers will come! And most of the time they are as simple as changing the way we think and do things in a way we never thought about or thought was even possible before.

There is always a good solution to even life's toughest problems if you keep looking. All it takes is a positive attitude, determination and perseverance ... and sometimes a little help from our friends ... =)

Kindof like the saying goes: When life hands you lemons, make lemonade ... =)

Many hugs comin' atcha again!

angel4U

July 27, 2005
1:13 pm
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kc30
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Dear JW
Sorry you are feeling so run down. I understand that feeling, and it's hard when you truly examine the situation and realize there isn't much that can be done to change it. Sounds like your whole office is in the thick of this project, and the hard thing is sometimes in life, we DO have more than we can handle on our plates, and it's easy to get overwhelmed.

For me, it helps if I can remember it's only temporary...it won't last forever. All projects have an end to them, right? I find just knowing that my feelings are valid and justified is very helpful...it IS a stressful time and it's NORMAL to feel that stress and the effects that come with it.

If there is any way to sneak "me" breaks into your day, then maybe that may help? Squeeze in something that makes YOU feel good...sometimes even the silliest things, like getting my brows waxed (10 minutes max) or getting my hair cut (30 minutes) makes a difference for me. Or buying myself a new book and promising that when the work is done, I will reward myself with that is also helpful for me.

Hang in there!

lots of love

kc

July 27, 2005
4:02 pm
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on my way
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jm...can you delegate some of this work to someone else, or even trust anyone else to help.

July 27, 2005
4:20 pm
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jamaicanwife
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nope. everybody I work with is overburdened right now.

July 28, 2005
3:18 pm
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jamaicanwife
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I guess I might as well journal right here. I am at work, preparing for another all nighter, but I don't feel so bad since I got some sleep last night. I am still having trouble pushing through this terrible lethargy. I have a strong desire to just say Phuck it! and run for the hills. Really. I am well aware of the deadlines, but I just want to drop everything and have some fun.

I wish I could say that this was specific to this situation, but I can't because it isn't. This happens to me everytime I am near the end of any project, work related or not. I used to put my assignments aside with one question undone, or with the final paragraph unwritten and then leave it until it was desperately late and I had to rush the last part, turn it in late and catch hell from the teacher or tutor or lecturer because it was barely proofread, if at all.

I am aware of this as a problem, but the way my mind works, I can't really confront myself and deal with it until I understand why it happens. All I have right now are theories, and I honestly can't afford therapy right now. I wish I could afford it, because I need to get past this. I can't stay in this unhealthy spot, almost getting things done and then just friggin off at the last minute, when I can least afford it.

And to add to the pressure, my performance review was not stellar - for this very reason. My manager told me that I do good work, but if I can't work faster, I will become a liability. I don't want to be a liability, and I am tired of feeling like one. I want to feel confident and unruffled, heroic and blase, bold and spirited, all at the same time. I don'twant to feel scared that the whole office is going to figure out that I am just a poser, just pretending, decide that I really don't belong her. Because if I don't belong here, then I realy don't belong anywhere. This is my dream job. I wrote it down in a journal, took personality tests, did research, and years ago, applied for this very position and made it to the second interview before they decided to get someone with experience. I like my job, even when its boring the he** out of me, and I like this place. I don't want to be fired again. I didn't enjoy it the first two times it happened.

What I am saying is that Irecognize that something is going on in my head that runs counter to my wishes. I am out of control at this point, and desperately WISHING for control is not working. Forcing myself to work through the block is getting harder by the minute, and right now, I am wading through waist-deep mud.

I need somebody to throw me a rope. My husband just called me to encourage me to keep on going, and that would have helped except I was so ashamed of my lack of progress that I lied about how well I was doing. So now I have guilt.

Shake it off.

July 28, 2005
7:28 pm
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jamaicanwife
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Me again. I just need some acknowledgement. Not validation, just acknowledgement. and helpful advice.

July 29, 2005
12:45 am
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Hi JW,

I just came home and wasn't going to jump online tonight cuz I need to get some zzzz's (it's 11:30p here and I need to get up early) but I decided to check in anyway for a minute to see how you were doing ...

... and after reading your last response decided to throw you a rope and see if I can help pull you out of that hole in the sidewalk ... =) ... I hope you catch it and hang on tight!

The first thought that came to me when I read your last post (and also knowing some of your background) was to ask you to ask yourself these questions ...

* "Why do I sabotage myself from being happy (e.g. doing things that I enjoy, being able to simply be at peace/joyful rather than depressed, etc.), or accomplishing important things that could lead to positive recognition from others?"

* "Do I feel/think I deserve to be happy and successful?"

* "Does success and/or happiness/contentment frighten me? If so, why?"

I am going to leave it at that, and let you think about it.

Time for this one to go to dream land |-) ... I most likely won't be back on til Saturday morning. Until then, try to keep fighting, girl, especially for your happiness. I think you may really be on to something that is going to help you grow tremendously ... just don't let go of that rope, K?

Sweet freams, all!

angel4U

July 29, 2005
11:30 am
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jamaicanwife
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Angel, I printed out the questions, and I am going to give them some serious thought. Thanks for a place to start.

July 29, 2005
11:44 am
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I C Gold
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JW, here's a hug (((jw)))).
I think mental stress is more draining than physical labor but we refuse to let ourselves take a break like we do when we are doing physical things...Close the office door, unplug the phone, turn off the lights and take 5 minutes to yourself. Don't use that time to think about anything but you and peaceful thoughts. NO WORK!! LOL

Remember: "That which does not kill me, makes me stronger"
This can't last forever and you'll be proud of you when it all accomplished and you survived. Stay strong!
Take care,

July 29, 2005
1:42 pm
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angel4U
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JW - This was weighing on my mind today, so I wanted to get it out there too ...

My first questions were coming in at one angel, these are coming in at another:

* "Am I balancing/organizing my time appropriately (e.g. setting priorities on work and home life, including "me" and "family" time, etc.), or do I jump in full force on things, focusing only on the issue at hand (e.g. work), and then start burning out, getting bored, etc.?"

* "Am I able to identify what "I" want/need that will make me happy, relaxed, secure, successful?"

* "When someone asks me to do something, do I stop and think about what I already have on my plate before commiting? Am I able to say "No" when I have too much on my plate already, or do I continue to say yes to added responsibilities? Am I able to negotiate a compromise when I feel it is needed/would be helpful?"

* "How do I feel when I have to forego one thing that I want/will bring me success/happiness or fun for another?"

Sorry for all the questions 😉 ... Your experiences sound very similar to some I have had though (and sometimes still have), which is why I asked them. But I believe only you have the answers that are right for you that might help you identify where the problems lie, and what you might be able to do to change the pattern/though process.

btw - I am happy to see that your still hanging on to the rope ... =))

angel4U

July 29, 2005
1:44 pm
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Ha! Looks like I had a rather interesting Freudian slip in my last post ... this should say:

"My first questions were coming in at one angle (not angel), these are coming in at another"

yes, I am only one angel, but I do have 2 wings ... =).

July 29, 2005
2:26 pm
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((((((Jamaicanwife)))))))))))))
God god, woman, you are certainly buring the candle at both ends arent you???
And I was JUST complaining about how much i hate moping my kitchen floor???
okay...I only read the foirst 3 posts or so...Ineed a few to read alll of them so I'll be rb.
Hang in there!!!

July 29, 2005
3:08 pm
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addicts wife
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Okay. Im back.
I DO certainly and totally relate to the patterns you are describing.
For me, it all seemed ot stem from Waaaaay back. I was labeled, but never diagnosed or treated for ADD. So My whole life i heard/Hear that I "have wonderful talent and potential but cant seem to follow through or complete tasks."
From elementary school, every single meeting in high school, and a heck of a lot of my employment history was like this.

Im not sure what with in me changed when i went back to school for medical Assisting. Im am guessing that a couple key prescriptions were greatly helpful in my graduating in the top 3 of my class on the deans list and with honors, BUuuuuuut, then again, i was fired from alllll of my medical Assisting jobs, which sent me on a terrible whirlwind of depressions, anxiety, and wortlessness. (((my health was /is a huge factor as well, but Ive noticed that i do GREAST for so long, get a little too comfortable with my suiccess, and start to gradually flake out, and become Not lazy, but something prevents me from keeping up.

In retrospect, now that i havent workedfor nealry a year now 🙁
I have noticed that aside from my health issues ((you know there are many)))) As soon as I had a project or assignment where I didnt have everything charted out, have an itinerary, lists upon lists and didnt get a comment of appreciatiion, or gratitude, I'd flake. put things off, let myself become overwhelmed to the pont it was crippling. Id seem to stare off and not be able to move of funtion and not know where to start or how to finish.
when I was "kickin' Butt " in school, I always tackled the project or assignment with a vison of the completed task in my mind, so That is how I arranged my lists t oget it done. ((Logically))

Well, Duh, I can say now, but at the time, IF my mind started racing sooo much about all the work I had to do , I could not see the end result, could not see a way t odo it, and theres the snowball of an anxiety ridden ADD mind. It goes and goes like a million miles an hour and I cant catch up with any of my thoughts long enough to focus to see that I can do it, have done it before and that its not the end of the world, its work.I would tell my head to shut up and do it, but still it wouldnt be with in the time frame needed, and sometimes the quality would be, but still it was hell on my body, and mind.

Not saying that you suiffer from the neurosis I havbe by any means..... but I ca nidentify wit hthe pressure you are feeling and the exhaustion.
The "burnout" ratio is quite high for the work I did, in a womens clinic that did pregncy terminations etc.... I realized that from that job, that i really didnt like it, and it had begun to really effwect all of me personally and professionally, but it still was not an excuse for my brain racing and sabotaging myself aaallllll through life either.

With a high demand, high pressure job, I think it is imperitive that you make sure you are staying hydrated, getting at least 5 hours of sleep((maybe not consecutive hours in your case 🙂 ) and try tosty organized. IF you can break down your long arse list of what needs to be done into 3 shorter lists, you ownt see how much you have ot do all at once. and whe nyou cross things off of your list you'll feel like youre accomplishing things.when you allow yourself time to take a bathroom break at work.. take a longer walk back to your desk, maybe get up and stretch a few times , or do some jumpingjacks...or go outside to scream for a minute. LOL and if anyone asks Just sday "tension breaker.had to be done."

((((hugs for you JW))))))
I'll write back in a few, I have to finish moppingthe damn kitchen floor now, and then Im attackingthe living room ((My mom told me shes coming over after 5 pm, so I'll be critiqued no matter what i do, (but Its getting on my own nerves now.)and ihave another UTI to top it all off today, so I'll be in great shape when my mom the critic comes over."FUN." not really, but I ca nsay "phuck it" She cant fire me, although Im sure shed like to sometimes.

((((Hugs)))))))
Hang in there JW,
Love Ya'
Ladybugaw

July 29, 2005
5:38 pm
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jamaicanwife
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Angel, I have printed off the second set of questions to examine later - we have a holiday weekend and I must be able to find some time for introspection - right?

ICGold, I appreciate the suggestion. I might not turn the lights off, but I will turn the music up, especially when I'm here all day Saturday!

Ladybug, thanks for responding, and believe me, my kitchen floor gets mopped once a week when the lady who cleans comes in. I just can't manage all this stress and floor mopping as well. If I have learned one thing over the last 2 years, its this:

NOT COPING AT HOME AS WELL AS AT WORK MAKES ME FEEL WORSE.

So I have radically lowered my expectations at home. Itry to wash the dishes and cook breakfast. I cookl dinner on weekends. And I bathe my son and wash his hair and cut his nails. Sure my windows need cleaning, but I just don't look at them.

My self-sabotage is very difficult to deal with, and I am hoping that as I go through Angel's questions, I will get some insight.

Oh, just to show you all how insane things are around here, I almost had 5 days taken off my deadline, because management had a strategy meeting and decided that it would make things go faster if 2 people were dealing with my output instead of just one - which would mean that I would have to produce twice as many pages. Fortunately, potential person #2 said that he would not be working this weekend. He actually used the sentence 'Sunday is my day to do my business'. Very assertive.

July 29, 2005
6:52 pm
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((((((JW)))))))))
I sure wish i had someone to come and clean, but since Im not working, it is my share to cook and clean since Im no lonegr contributing financially, which I was fine wit h, really, but stuff is still everywhere and the dust is still on the , umm, everything, but i chi[p away at all of it as i can when I can. LOL, I dont look out many of my windows though either, because then Id have to HAVE to clean them.

My mom was actually very pleasant today, No "jabs", no critcizing... IF i didnt know better I'd be suspicuos that she was abducted by aliens.
She even drove me to the Market bought me some fruits, veggies and a plant!!! then we went to pick up my prescription for my UTI/Kidney infection.

Coworker #2 sounds wonderfully assertive!!! But I know I'd feel more pressure somehow if i had heard that, but way to go #2(((LOLOL))))
for not working on Sundays!!1

Hang inthere JW, I'm thinking of ya' waaaay over here.
Love Ya'
AW

July 29, 2005
9:19 pm
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I got pneumonia doing what you're doing. Get help at home if you can't get it at the office because something has to give. I'm a single mom with a very demanding job and two teens. This was the summer I said "enough." Now the teens do the majority of the housework. Why not, they aren't in school and don't yet have jobs. I think it has been bery good for them to contribute to the housework this summer.
kj

July 30, 2005
1:46 pm
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Thanks, kjalone and ladybug.

I am at the office, its Saturday, and I am not feeling sorry for myself. Sure, I'm tired, but my mother-in-law is being wonderful about keeping my son.

This is a stressful time for my family, because my husband is working full time and doing a dmanding 8 mth course in the evenings. Thank you all for the support.

I will definitely use this thread to journal as I hopefully get some insight - because I need to do everything I can to avoid sliding into depression. Get enough rest, be assertive, get some help, introspection, positive thinking - excellent advice, I just need to take it all and not waste it.

Thanks again.

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