Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 19 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!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Annual Review

Within the past couple weeks, I've had annual employment reviews with my supervisors at each of my two regular jobs. I don't know anyone who quivers with excitement at annual review time, and I am no different. But I do like one thing which both current employers do as part of the review process. They both require feedback from coworkers. The yearly feedback from my colleagues then becomes a permanent part of my employee file. I like that.

There was a time I wouldn't have liked that piece of the process. I wasn't a very good coworker then, and I really didn't care what my colleagues thought. I cared only about me. That was before I got sober.

Things have changed in the last 8 years. While it is still a bit daunting to find out what others are thinking, I now appreciate the feedback. I want to know if I'm living up to the expectations of those around me. If I'm not, I want to know what I can do better. It's as simple as that.

Here's the amazing part. As I've become more open and responsive to feedback, my coworkers'  feedback has been nothing but complimentary, generous and kind. In my most recent review, just a couple days ago, words such as cheerful, smiling, willing, team, and pleasure were used. That is a miracle of sobriety.

There was a time when I never would have been described as "always cheerful" or "always smiling." Life was too serious for that. Besides, work was a necessary evil, not something to be enjoyed. Being described as "a pleasure to work with" made me smile with gratitude. What a nice thing to say. But perhaps the words of which I was most satisfied were willing and team, as in, "etta is a team player who is always willing to take on extra assignments, go wherever we need her, or help coworkers so we all get out of work together and on time." That, my friends, is a miraculous statement.

Eight years ago I was not a team player, nor was I willing to do more than required, unless of course, doing so directly and positively affected me. I am not that person anymore. I know that. Yet I am still surprised (and satisfied) to see those miraculous statements. I can't tell you how different those reviews would have been prior to my sobriety. Really, I can't say it loud enough or with enough impact to help you understand. I am a different human being today.

I am a different human being today, and I owe it all to living life on life's terms, doing the next right thing, trusting in a power greater than myself, and working the program of recovery in my everyday life. What a gift! I am grateful to be sober today, but more than that, I am grateful sobriety gave me the tools to live a life worth living, and also that I've been willing to use those tools to become a worthwhile, productive human being. Yes, I am proud of that. It is a magnificent gift.


Tina Fariss Barbour said...

Congratulations on the good reviews! That indeed says a lot about what kind of co-worker you are--and the kind of person you are. It sounds like you have worked so hard on your sobriety program and made it a true part of your life. I really admire that. I also admire your honesty in admitting that you used to act differently.

etta said...

Honesty...It's one more requirement of living my program of recovery in all my affairs. I not only used to act differently, I used to BE different. I am a blessed woman today.