Just because you called me, I don’t have to pick up the phone.
Or why do you assume I will open the letter, just because you thought it was important enough to send? I see the letter you sent me; it is on my desk where I keep all my new correspondence. But receiving it and doing something with it are two different things. Your needs are not the same as my needs.
In a perfect world, you would call, and I would have nothing to do but answer and listen to your ideas, giving my full, uninterrupted attention to what you want and need.
I would put aside my own life and jump at whatever you said needed to be done. If you needed something, I should drop everything and provide it. If you wanted me to stop doing something, I should unquestionably defer to your plans and cease and desist.
Because you initiated the transaction, the interaction, it is my duty to respond.
Well, what about my life, or my plans, my priorities? Don’t I get a say in this? Just because it is convenient for you to call right now doesn’t mean it is convenient for me. So, I may not answer the phone.
Just because you leave me a voice mail message, doesn’t mean I am legally obligated to listen to it.
I am working on being responsible for me. Yet, many times, I feel I am being put in the position of needing to be responsible for others. Now some things are no-brainers. I pay my Mother’s bills, as she is over 90. My job is to defend her investments and make sure she has what she needs to live comfortably. This I do at any time, anywhere necessary to keep her safe and healthy.
But right now, I am having trouble letting most people into my life.
I do not know why I am so stressed out about people wanting things from me. It used to make me smile. I feel wanted when someone asks me for something. It might be my help with a project, or my opinion about a decision that they face. Whatever it is, I am usually ready to help. But lately, I am hiding in my shell.
I tell myself that I will get back to them.
My plan is to open the letter when I am ready. Or return the phone call later. If you left a message, I promise myself I will listen to it. And historically, I do. But lately, I am not as successful. Instead, I try fortune telling, using unhelpful thinking to imagine what you want. Then without ever speaking to you, I decide whether I want to respond, based on what I have decided you want.
My use of unhelpful thinking is unfair to you and to me.
It allows me to pull into my shell, and not face whatever I think is going to be asked. I don’t have to go through the trouble of listening to you, I can make it up in my head and deal with it without ever dealing with it. This is a terrible way to treat others. They are ignored and not spoken with directly. They begin to make up their own stories about what I am up to.
This unhelpful thinking style has train wreck written all over it.
Yet I continue to fall back on this way of handling interactions. This is not an all the time, always type of response, but it has been getting stronger and stronger in the past month or two. Not wanting to engage people is becoming a habit. And this habit makes me angry at myself.
Not getting back to people is wrong in my book.
It is one thing to toss a piece of junk mail in the trash. That is an unsolicited plea for my attention and resources. I can say no by tossing the unopened envelope in the burn barrel. But when the phone call Is from someone I know, someone who I trust and respect, not answering to me is very bad.
OK, I get the self-care part of this.
Putting on my oxygen mask before helping others is the drill. But the whole point of doing that is to then be able to help others. Right now, I cannot seem to do that. And withdrawing into my shell is making me feel angry at myself. Now I am back to SHOULDING on myself. I should be helping others. This should leave me open and not wanting to hide in my shell.
My goal is to feel better about myself.
I have started making notes for my June 11 Psychiatrist appointment. Hopefully, we can brainstorm some different possibilities for my care. My current inability to get going in the morning, followed by my feelings of wanting to pull my shell over my body and hide, is wearing me out.
Protecting myself from having feelings takes an awful lot of energy.
My concealed depression is written under the alias “Depression is not my boss.” I have certifications in SMART Recovery and am a Global Career Development Facilitator.
Diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder last year, I am sharing what I learn. If you know someone who might benefit from reading this, please share.
I very much appreciate your comments.