By profession, I am a project manager. I manage complex projects and those projects often have several pages of issues which range anywhere from minor to critical. When my performance is reviewed when a project is completed, I am graded not for how many issues that a project had but how they were handled and ideally resolved. I am also graded on my foresight and my ability to identify risks and mitigate them before they become an issue.
Professionally, I have been a project manager for over 15 years and I’m pretty good at it too. I’m a master at planning and conflict resolution. Professionally.
Personally, I’ve always considered myself a very well adjusted person. Sure I have hit bumps in the road, everyone has. But there has been nothing that I have not been able to overcome with time and determination.
Rewind to last fall.
I was just not feeling right. I was sad. I had a horrible case of the blues. I noticed the skies darkness at 4 pm EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. Thanks to WebMD I self diagnosed myself and brushed off my sad mood as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). A couple weeks went by and I wasn’t getting any better. Nothing I did (light therapy, Vitamin D, exercise, time with friends and loved ones, etc…) helped me get out of my funk. And, as time went by I felt worse. It was like my emotions drank a 12 pack of Red Bull. I’d wake up and I’d feel like I wanted to crawl out of my skin. I knew I had to do something when I was crying my eyes out because I couldn’t make a damn decision on the type of Turkey I needed to buy for Thanksgiving. I literally had to cry it out in the bathroom of Whole Foods, one of the happiest places on earth for me.
That night I knew there was something wrong and that I need to help myself. I hated the way I was feeling and I couldn’t live my life feeling this way any longer.
I sucked it up and made a spectacular Thanksgiving dinner. And, a few days later I met with a therapist. Therapy began to work (though it did get worse before it got better). While I was feeling better I still felt like I had a serious chemical imbalance. For example, I cried one night because I cut open an avocado and it was rotten and moldy. I either REALLY REALLY WANTED that avocado or my hormones were all mucked up. I cried for 25 minutes about that damn rotten avocado and I don’t like avocados THAT much. I could see 5 minutes of tears, but 25 was excessive in my book. So I met with my doctor and I went on medication.
Within 3 weeks of being on medication and still working with a therapist I began to feel better. I can honestly say this past winter was one of the most traumatic times in my life. I was really scared. I was scared that I would never feel like myself ever again. I was horrified that “Sadness on Red Bull” would be my new state of emotions. It was like someone kidnapped Delane and I really really missed her and wanted to find her and get her back.
The good news it that that I’m back. It has been 3 months now, since I took action to help myself. I’m back to 99.5% of my normal self. Still working on the last .5% (then again, aren’t we all).
Looking back I think I handled my issues about as good as anyone else could have. I asked for help when I needed it. Did I feel embarrassed? Yes. Was embarrassment better than the sad that took over my body….One million times better.
Looking back I should have seen it coming. But, I didn’t, it just hit me. Looking back my tank was on empty. I had been burning my proverbial candle at both ends for years. Life finally caught up with me, life got hard and my brain finally flipped me the bird and said enough is enough, F-U, I’m done.
Feeding your life is more than just food, exercise and fun. You need to feed your soul, you need to check in with your brain. Life is messy, but that doesn’t mean it has to turn into an episode of Hoarders. And if it does, you can get help and dig yourself out of the heap of emotional garbage.