Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 17 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

dealing with frustration

I wish this was going to be a nice, sunny essay about how brilliantly I deal with frustration, but I'm afraid it may turn into more of a puffed-up rant! I've had a week filled with frustration. It's been challenging. I've tried to handle it all with a modicum of grace. Have I been successful? I don't know. See what you think.

My most immediate frustration is my screwed up internet connection. It's been goofed up off and on for almost one week! This situation frustrates me immensely! It may be because I know little about the inner workings of computers and internet connectivity. Lack of knowledge, I find, quickly increases my frustration quotient.

Knowing little means I had to call the dreaded tech support people in India. Does anyone else get frustrated when they can't understand what's being said to them? After what seemed like an hour, the overly polite tech supporter helped me fix the problem. Beautiful! I was extremely grateful.

Unfortunately, the fix didn't last. Every time I've awoken my sleeping computer since then I've encountered the same problem. Sometimes I could fix it, sometimes I couldn't. After wishing the problem away without success, I had to return to tech support. Today I was told, "We're updating your server." In other words, I've just got to deal with it and trust it will be taken care of soon. That's difficult for me to do, but I'm trying.

On a totally separate front, I had a softball game last night. As usual, we got creamed. Perhaps you've guessed, but I am a fairly competitive person. Therefore, getting smacked down on the softball field is quite frustrating. Don't get me wrong, I can play for fun and recreation, which is what I thought I was getting myself into when I joined this team. However, I have trouble with lack of effort, indifference, and unfamiliarity with basic rules. It is a team sport, but only half of our team understands the game or how to use a glove. That's a bit more recreational than the other teams in our league, as scores like 20-2 and 23-2 attest. I wanted to have fun. I'm instead finding frustration.

Those are just two examples of my frustrations this week. I'm not even going to get into the massive paperwork screw-up I made at work yesterday! As we say in Minnesota, "Uff-Dah!" The good news, because my therapist always tells me to look at the positive, was that I was able to handle these frustrations with a bit more grace than I would have years ago.

At work, I bit my tongue, apologized, and fixed the problem the best I could. I had to bite my tongue because my old habit of blaming someone else for my screw-up was gurgling up inside. I didn't blame anyone. I swallowed my pride. I took the blame, and I fixed it.

On the softball field it would have been easy to blame, but there was no point in that. What I really wanted to do was walk off the field in a huff--how childish is that?! Yet, I may have done just that in the past. God, that's awful to admit! But I didn't storm off. I stayed. I played my best, and I offered instruction and encouragement where I could. I wasn't happy with the result, but I wasn't an asshole either. Improvement...

Speaking of improvement...years ago I would have chewed out those tech supporters. Instead of getting help, I would have gotten high blood pressure! Yelling is a lot easier than acceptance. I have no control over these 'server updating' issues, and that's difficult to accept. But by accepting reality, rather than trying to manipulate it, my life stays simpler. I am still frustrated. I don't necessarily like the reality, but at least I can sit comfortably with myself.

I'm not sure what all of this means. It's been a challenging week. I'm not a fan of frustration. It's an uncomfortable feeling. Yet, I feel I've met it with some success this week. And eventually, things will have to get easier, right? At least, that's what my therapist tells me...


Anonymous said...

Etta -

If you could withdraw from yourself, sit back, and read your post, you would absolutely get the exact same first impression I just got from reading it -- PROGRESS.

Frustration will come and go - how you deal with it today prepares you for the challenges you will surely face tomorrow. You sound as though you handled the sources of the problem with grace and care, and that is -- PROGRESS!

Congrats Etta. Moving forward is a beautiful thing, and you surely seem to be doing just that.


(another non-running I'm slipping :))

KG said...

"modicum of grace" is an eloquent term. I may steal it from you if that's ok. Running always helps me surmount my frustrations...hope that works for you too.

Tina said...

THANK YOU for sharing this post!

I have a loved one that suffers from major depression (or perhaps bipolar - he has not sought help). Reading this post instilled hope that someday he too can say "I have made progress".

If you don't mind, I'd love to know what prompted you to seek help? My loved one just quit his fourth job in two years and is seriously contemplating allowing his family's home to be foreclosed on because he just can't see the point in anything. He is a very smart man (has a master's degree) and a loving family, but he just isn't willing to ask for help in treating his depression. Any suggestions on ways to encourage him to seek counseling or therapy?

Thanks again for sharing your struggles so that others may learn from your experiences!

etta said...

I originally received help because I was so miserable and suicidal, I sought it out.

Unfortunately, it is very difficult to convince someone to get help for mental health issues. The stigma of mental illness, I think, effects some men even more severely than women.

I suggest you get help for yourself initially. Obviously, this situation is putting stress on you. Also, if your loved one sees you taking care of yourself, perhaps he will be more inclined to give it a try. It will also give you someone locally with whom to get suggestions and ideas as to the best course of action to take.
Good luck.