When You Have A Review At Work, And You Make Your Boss Cry…….

You read that title correctly……I definitely had my review/evaluation at work yesterday, and at the end, my boss started crying……and I have to admit, I was crying too.

Now, some of you may be thinking, Oh my gosh, it must have been a really BAD review. While actually, it was quite the opposite.

I started at this job just about 2.5 months ago, and this is the yearly review……..everyone has to have one and it’s always at this time of year, no matter when you started the position. So, I had to do a self evaluation first, fill in all the things I thought I was doing well, and the things I felt I needed improvement on or things I still need to learn, and the things that would be helpful to have as I continue in my position.  I gave this to my boss, and then she had to fill one out evaluating me. We then met yesterday and compared the two and went through them and went over everything.

Before I go into this too deeply, I want to tell you a little bit about my boss. She is not a “soft” person. Meaning, she doesn’t really show emotion much, or compliment people either. She is more of a hard shell type person who sets expectations and lets you know when you haven’t met them. She has had a really hard life, has a lot of stress outside of work, and because I have known her for so long (I knew her before getting the job I have now), I know she has the capacity to care about people, she just doesn’t show or express it very well. If you want a complement from her, it’s something you have to seek out, it’s not something she will easily give.

Anyways, I was sitting in her office listening to her give me praises for how I have been doing so far in my position, and hearing her tell me she wanted me in this position months ago, but knew I wasn’t quite ready or at a point in my recovery where I could handle the details and stress of the position, so she ended up hiring someone else back then, but knew when he left I would be the one filling the position.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I knew she appreciated me, and my position, but she had never expressed it to me in a way where she was complementing me, my work, and my courage to take the job. I realized at this time I was truly meeting a goal I had set for myself years ago when I was diagnosed with mental illness. I had set the goal to get off of disability and support myself. I had tried jobs before but they became overwhelming so quickly I quit and beat myself up for not being able to handle it. I realized I have reached a point in my recovery journey that I never really believed would be possible. I started to tear up and I told my boss these things. I told her how much I appreciated her having the trust and belief in me and my abilities to even hire me for this job. I let her know how much it truly means to me that she saw in me, the ability to meet the job expectations and everything that comes along with it. As I was telling her these things, crying myself, she started to cry too.

At that moment I truly realized how much she is behind me, backing me up, and how much she truly cares. It’s not just a job in a lot of ways, but it’s a journey she wanted to be on with me. She wanted my coworkers to be on with me, and she believed I could handle, even before I believed it myself.

So yes, I made my boss cry at my review this week, but if you knew how much those tears taught me, then, you would fully understand the impact just one person could have.

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I’m not sure anyone is reading this…… 

For real, I only know of one person who actually reads this. I don’t get much feedback from anyone on here so it’s hard to tell how many people really are reading my posts. I suppose it doesn’t matter all that much, I just wonder sometimes is all I guess.

The past week and a half has been something else. Let’s just say,  I am really glad for all the supports I had during this time. Friday, May 12th, I finally took the step and went to the YWCA to meet with a counselor there to sign up for their survivors of sexual abuse group. I was terrified. I had been told about this group all the way back in October, but was just now able to make an appointment and go in. My last post was all about this meeting, so I won’t spend a lot of time going over it again. On the way to the meeting though, my boss decided to call me and tell me about a scheduling error I had made for that day. I felt dumb, useless. All I could tell her was I was sorry, I didn’t know how it had happened, and I would fix the schedule for the upcoming Friday’s when I got back to the office of Monday. She responded with a “Well I guess I’ll have to call and find people to come in today,” and all I could think was, “yeah, I guess so, because I’m not there and I can’t fix it from my car.” I feel like she called just to point out I had messed up, and that it caused her to have to take time time to fix it. I felt terrible, and honestly I thought about it all weekend. When Monday came along, I was so worked up, so anxious, I got to work and it wasn’t even 2 hours into my shift when I had to call my dad and tell him I was about to just start crying because I was so worried about what my boss was going to say to me about my mistake when we met in a little while. I just wanted to cry, run away from it all, even the thoughts of quitting my job came to mind. I know, I know, ridiculous, right? Everyone makes mistakes, and we all have to learn to deal with consequences and learn from them. Well, my anxiety and depression told me otherwise.

I didn’t run, I didn’t quit. I did go to the bathroom and cry, and I did stress out most of the day. The stressing out was noticed by a few of my co-workers, to which I just responded that I wasn’t feeling well and it was no big deal. Tuesday came and we had a speaker coming in to do a presentation that evening. I came in late for the day as I would be staying later in the evening. Again, I was stressing out. This time though, I really wasn’t feeling all that well. My cold/allergies were being wacko and I just couldn’t get my anxiety to go away. My boss noticed I wasn’t looking good, my face was red and hot, and I just wasn’t myself. She even told me I wasn’t looking so good.

After the speaker’s series, which no one showed up for, and we had to send the speaker’s away, I went home and just crashed into my bed. I woke up Thursday feeling ok physically, but so emotionally drained and beat that I called in sick. I told my boss I was physically sick. I was having physical symptoms, but I believe a lot of it was because of the level of depression and anxiety I was having. The same thing happened on Thursday too. So I only worked Monday and Tuesday last week, and took Wed/Thurs off (I have Friday off every week anyways).

I went to my psychiatrist on Wednesday, told her I felt terrible for calling in to work when I was only having emotional issues and not physical. She pretty much told me that “mental health” days are and should be treated just the same as “physical health” days. She told me she would write me a letter of necessity to give to my boss if I really thought I’d need it. She’s right. I shouldn’t feel bad for taking 2 days to just care for me, to give myself time to just BE.

Wednesday and Thursday came and went, and here I am at Sunday wanting, and not wanting to go to work tomorrow all at the same time. I know I should, I know I need to, but my brain and my depression is telling me to just stay home, stay in bed, and not do anything.

My psychiatrist raised one of my meds and we will be weening off of another over the next few months or so. So I know things will be changing and hopefully getting better. I just struggle, with my thoughts, with anxieties, and with depression. I just want it all to go away. I get tired of not knowing, not being able to describe, not having a definite answer to the question “What’s wrong?” or “What’s going on?” I know only one person who truly understands when I say the words for how I’m feeling haven’t even been invented yet. She knows who she is.

If anyone else reads this……how do you all get through the dark times? The anxieties? The depression? How do you all gain confidence in yourself? How do you know and believe you are worth it?

 

 

“A Journey Of A Thousand Miles Begins With A Single Step” – Lao Tzu

From the parking lot to the building was only a few short steps, but the one step it took to get in through the door was the biggest step I’ve had to take.

Yesterday I took one of the biggest steps I’ve had to take on my journey to recovery and healing. I finally took to heart what my co-worker told me about way back in October about the YWCA and all they have to offer for women survivors of sexual abuse. I have, for the last 6 months, kept his words and encouragement, and advice, in the back of my mind, terrified to call the YWCA and set up an appointment to do an intake and join their therapy/ Support group. I kept telling myself, “I don’t need that. I can do this with just my therapist, and I don’t need to put my full story out there to a bunch of strangers.” or “All it’s going to do is trigger me and make things worse.” Well, a couple of weeks ago I finally got to the point where I said to myself, “Maybe being around others who have experienced the same things and hearing their stories will help me. Maybe it will help me to feel not so alone, so ashamed, guilty, and dirty.” I picked up the phone and set up an intake appointment. Then I put it all out of my mind. Subconsciously hoping it might just all go away.

Yesterday was the day of my appointment. The week leading up to this appointment was full of anxiety, headaches, spacing out, and fear. I’m pretty good at putting on that mask of everything’s alright, and no one ever really truly knows what my mind is telling me, putting me through. There are even times I don’t even know. It’s like the words haven’t even been invented yet to describe the thoughts, the pain, the emotion in my head.

Yesterday came way too slow……but yet so fast. This past week was long, but not long enough either. I dreaded the appointment, scared of being judged, scared of being told my story wasn’t bad enough that I didn’t really need this group and I should just leave. I was scared I wouldn’t be believed, that the person wouldn’t really get it. Scared of, well, scared of how real it was all going to feel as I told the intake person my story, and my fears. I texted my best friend before the meeting, just to make sure she would be available when I was done, so if I needed to talk I would know she was there…….it brought a sense of peace and solace knowing she knew I was going into this meeting scared shit less and that she would be thinking about me and praying for me. I had this sense of not being alone and I can’t thank her more for that.

I told my dad about this meeting weeks ago, but I’ve been terrified to tell my mom, as I was scared it would upset her. I did finally tell her though right before I went to the meeting, she took it well, and I’m glad I told her about it.

I drove to the YWCA office. I got there early (go figure right? I’m early for everything) I sat in the parking lot with the music on in my car. I knew the music was playing but I didn’t hear it all at the same time. I couldn’t. I was so caught up in thoughts and fears and just didn’t know what I was doing. Should I stay? Should  I just go? I looked at the clock and it seemed as if the time wasn’t changing. I felt frozen in this moment, stuck in the fear, and yet feeling this overwhelming need to get out of the car and just do it. Just walk up to the building and go in those double glass doors. I sat there and I said a prayer. I said, “God, I don’t know why you put Mike in my life to tell me about this place way back in October, I don’t know why you finally put it on my heart to do this, and I definitely do not know why you have brought me to such an unknown and scary place. I do know though, that You are Great and will be with me the whole time. I know You won’t bring me to anything You can’t help me through, and I also know this sucks really bad. I am terrified God, just give me strength.” After I was done praying I got out of the car, stood next to it for what seemed like minutes when really it was probably just a few seconds, and I took those steps to the doors at the front of the building. The sun was shining down on my face and I could feel it’s warmth as I stood there, trying to lift my arm that felt like a thousand pounds, to open the door. I did it. I opened the door and I walked in. I stared at the receptionist and knew she was saying something to me, but I couldn’t hear her. I responded with a shaky “what?” and she asked me to sign in and have a seat, that she would let the counselor know I was there.

I took a seat on the fake leather chair and just looked around and took in my surroundings. I noticed my leg was shaking and my palms were getting a bit sweaty. I sat for what seemed like forever, though it was really only 5 minutes, and then Erin, the counselor came out to get me. She welcomed me, shook my hand, and told me it was nice to meet me. All I could think was “don’t say that too fast, you don’t even know me yet, you may not think it’s so nice after we get done talking.” I have a lot of doubts about myself. I have a hard time finding myself worthy of being liked by anyone.

We went to a small conference like room with two chairs and a small table and we started talking about the YWCA and generally what it is for, who it is for, and what the group I was looking to join was all about. Erin talked to me like she had known me for years, she listened to me as if what I had to say truly mattered to her. It’s not something I’m all that used to. I mean, my family and friends and my therapist they listen, and they care, what I mean is this person was completely new to me, and yet she still had such an interest in me, my story, and my experiences. I told her a lot about things that had happened, but not everything. I even said at one point, “I don’t want to answer that question yet, I don’t really know you well enough to go that deep.” and she accepted that answer as valid and said ok, that she completely understood that.

She understood that. Wow, she understood that I wasn’t quite ready, that I had limits. This was a realm of unfamiliarity for me. I felt this meeting to be completely  non-judgmental and safe. We talked for close to 2.5 hours about everything and going over intake questions and paperwork and all that. I left feeling exhausted, worn out, and just drained. The first group is on May 30th. I’m terrified, nervous, but looking forward to it at the same time.

Taking this step really wasn’t all that big, but the impact of it already has been huge and it can and might leave a huge impact on my process of healing from the impact of the sexual abuse of my uncle. I imagine this is a lot like sky diving. You jump out of a plane, free falling, you see the possibility of the bottom, and you have confidence your parachute will open and the landing will be standard/ easy, but there’s that standing fear of what if my parachute doesn’t open? What if when I land I get hurt? But you still take the jump, because you know it’s going to take you on a path you’ve never been on before, and it could teach you so much about life and yourself.

 

“Dear younger me It’s not your fault You were never meant to carry this beyond the cross” -MercyMe

So it’s been a few weeks since I was able to sit down and actually write out everything that was going on, and give you all an update. So here we are, I have some time, and I want to fill you all in on my life. (I like how I write this as if so many people are actually reading this blog…..when in reality there really aren’t that many that I know of haha) This post may be a bit less organized than normal…..I just have a few different things to tell you about and they don’t all really flow together.

Anyways, the last month or so has been a bit rough. My therapist was out of the office for close to 8 weeks because she had some surgery and things weren’t healing as they should …… blah blah blah……yes, I was worried about her, but I really don’t need to know the details …..I just wanted her back to have that constant in my life where I knew I could go, let it all out, cry if I needed and feel ok when I left. Selfish? Possibly, but that IS why I go to see her. Do I consider her a friend in many ways? definitely, but first and foremost she is my therapist, and it just is. It was hard having her gone. We have over the last few months started diving into the whole topic of the sexual abuse by my uncle when I was little, and we had just hit some big points when she told me she was going to be gone for 4 weeks due to surgery…….which like I said, ended up being 8 weeks because of complications. I felt completely lost, I felt like I was left hanging on the ledge waiting to fall off and trying desperately to hang on by myself. I have a great friend who I know I can talk to about anything, and I trust her with my life, but this topic, well, it’s taken me almost 5 years with this therapist to even START to bring it up and work on it. It’s nothing against my friend, it’s just I’m not ready to just talk to anyone about what happened and how it makes me feel. I hope that makes sense. Anyhow, while my therapist was gone I went and saw my psychiatrist. I told her about my therapist being gone and all that, and she gave me a PRN prescription for Ativan, an anti-anxiety medication I have only taken one time in the past. I have tried it a few times, and let me tell you, I am so glad I have it and do not have to just keep trudging through high anxiety on my own. I don’t over use it. In fact, when my therapist did come back and I told her I had gotten it, she told me she was more worried about me NOT using it when I really should than me abusing it.

My therapist came back 2 weeks ago. It was a good session, but then I was going out of town the following week so I would miss our appointment. So I saw her again yesterday, we started back into the sexual abuse stuff. Then, at the end she tells me she won’t be in next week and we will not have an appointment until the following week. It’s just so screwed up right now, and I hate it. I don’t know why I put up with this……….actually I do. I put up with it because I have finally found a therapist that when we talk she doesn’t make me feel like I’m crazy, but she listens to me and says things like “It’s ok you feel that way, it’s not wrong to feel the way you do” or she’ll say things like “I’d feel the same way if that happened to me” or “you can’t do this by yourself, and you shouldn’t have to. That’s why I am here, it’s my job” and she lets me know I can do this, she encourages me, she treats me like a normal person. She understands, and she doesn’t just see me 1x a week and then forget about me throughout the week until our next appointment.

I was in Nashville with my dad last week, that’s why I had to miss our appointment. Nashville was really fun. Going to the Johnny Cash Museum, the Grand Ole Opry, The Riverboat Cruise, seeing some old friends, and just being with dad. Dad is a huge support for me, he is not only my dad, he’s my friend. He just gets me. We joke with each other and have fun, but know when the other needs us to be serious too and we support each other. This time with dad was one I will treasure forever. He’s a special guy, and he is the best dad one could ever ask for.

Last night was the Spring benefit for the organization I work for. It was alright. I mean, I’m not, and have never really been the dress up and go to fancy events type person. I was there most of the day setting up and all that and then got back early to help welcome guests and register people for the auction and everything. It was a really beautiful event, and the people who worked their asses off to get this all organized and set up deserve a long vacation and a raise for sure. There were close to 300 people there and over 100 items between the live and silent auctions. It was a good fundraiser for sure. I was really happy my best friend was there and we sat next to each other making our little comments and faces at each other and just had a good time. Overall it was good, long, but good.

So something else I wanted to bring up was the fact that the last 2 weeks when I was out of town I missed church. No big deal right? Well, I didn’t think it would be noticed I wasn’t there, so I didn’t let anyone in my adult Sunday School class I’d be gone. Well, last week while in Nashville, and the week before while in Wisconsin, I received text messages from people in my class saying things like “We miss you in class today” or “We hope all is well and you’re missing class for a fun reason!” It just felt so good to be noticed, to be thought of.