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Re: Thank you all for the advice fallsfall

Posted by TamaraJ on June 7, 2005, at 16:07:18

In reply to Re: Thank you all for the advice TamaraJ, posted by fallsfall on June 7, 2005, at 10:10:04

First, I want to say thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I have to say that I almost burst into tears when I read your post because you have put into words what I have been too afraid or just plain unwilling to admit. I want to be my old active self again, but I am afraid that I will not be as much fun, as capable, as creative, as quick . . . as I am accustomed to being. I know it is fear that is holding me back, and it is really annoying for me because I have always done things in spite of any fears I may have had. After the third setback in January, I seem to have given up, and can't help but think "what's the point", which is very unlike me.

You wrote "it has given me an excuse to avoid things that I am afraid of. So, our work in therapy is to understand what it is that I'm afraid of (getting better and losing therapy, potential failure, having people expect things of me that I may or may not be able to do, needing to do things I don't want to do)."

-- What you said really hit home for me. I know that I am afraid of potential failure and not being able to live up to the expectations others have of me, and that I have of myself for that matter. Like you, I have been a workaholic for many, many years. It is the only way I know how to work, really. Although I am not the type that enjoys the limelight or needs praise or recognition, I have been recognized in my organization as a high-performer. I won't be a high-performer anymore, at least not right away. And, how do I live with myself when I might get only a "satisfactory" performance assessment instead of "outstanding" like I have been used to? How can I go in each day knowing that I am probably performing at a sub-standard level? That is the hard pill to swallow for me. I don't want to let others down, and I fear that I will be nothing but a big, stinking disappointment to everyone. Anyway, that is my hang-up to deal with. I am not in therapy right now, but I may have to give it a shot to see if I can turn this stinking thinking around.

> So I would advise you to try to figure out what the benefits and drawbacks are of your current situation. This will help you to understand what makes things seem difficult, and then you can work on the actual difficulties instead of being overwhelmed by a problematic situation.

-- In my mind, I think I know what makes things difficult - fear of failure and appearing to be a useless, incompetent loser. Now I just have to figure out how to deal with that. I know I want to get back on track and start really living again instead of just existing to some degree. So, now I just need to take action and get on with things, like I was doing before the last two setbacks. Ugh, it is hard.
>
> I have also tried to make some changes - for instance, I am a recovering workaholic - and this seems to be a good time to try to keep things from getting out of control in that area.
>
-- The workaholic issue is one of my biggest issues. My bosses and colleagues have had certain expectations of me for many years, one being "don't worry, Tamara will take care of it". I want a life, a real one. I don't want to be working 12 hour days at the office with another 2 or so at home getting caught up on reading and other paperwork. So, I need to learn to say no and set boundaries. "Big" change for me. "No" and "boundaries" are not words that have had a predominant place in my vocabulary for as far back as I can remember.

> Allow yourself to take babysteps. Push a little, but not a lot. Pushing too fast just makes it worse for me. And when you really want to do something, but you aren't sure if you can - try it. Motivation makes an enormous difference. I find that if I follow what I *want* to do that those situations often come out really well, and that gives me more confidence to do other things.

-- Yes, I have been told by others who have been in a similar situation - baby steps, take things slow. I have been an all or nothing type for so long that it is taking a while for that advice to sink in. I want to do stuff, and make plans to go to yoga class, get together with friends, go to a friend's farm for a weekend, but something always causes me to back out. Guilt perhaps? If I can do yoga, hang out with friends, go away, then I am well enough to go back to work. I need to ditch the guilt complex, stop worrying and do enjoyable things to get my strength and zest for life back.
>
> Good luck!

-- Thank you so much. Sorry I *talked* your ear off (or your eyes, I suppose :-)). I feel a little awkward sharing all of this, but it feels good getting it out. So, I appreciate the time you took to respond and the thoughtful advice you provided.

Take care, fallsfall.

Tamara


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