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!

Monday, June 3, 2019

Living my values

News flash: In the past I could be a jerk. When I was drinking and depression ruled my life, I wasn't always nice. I was self-centered. I was a victim. I was a know-it-all. Sometimes I was an ass. Looking back it makes me cringe. But that was my reality for a few too many years.

Thankfully, I don't act that way anymore. I've done a lot of work, opened my ears and shut my mouth, and learned from people around me; people who have what I want, people I admire for their ability to live life on life's terms. I'm talking about people who are nice when being nice is hard. I'm talking about people who feel empathy for others even when they're dealing with their own shit. I'm talking about people who not only have values but those who act according to the values they profess.

That's the kind of person I strive to be these days. Of course, I'm a work in progress, but I'm definitely not an asshole anymore. Thank God for that! But here's the thing I'm thinking about today. It's easy to be nice, grateful, humorous, empathetic, and professional when things are going well. But do I live up to those values when faced with a challenge?

At this moment of reflection, I confess I fell off the beam recently. I don't feel I handled a stressful situation at work very well. In a nutshell: I had something I value taken away from me, without my consent, and feel I was treated less than honestly and less than fairly by at least one superior. The question of fairness is a tough one for me. In my past life playing the victim was something at which I was well practiced. Unfortunately, I think the it's-not-fair-trigger got the best of me over the past couple of weeks.

I'm not happy with how much angst, consternation, and bitterness this situation engendered. I'm especially not happy I allowed that bitterness and anger to come out sideways. While I didn't say anything inappropriate, I didn't necessarily act nice or professional either. I didn't stomp my feet pound my fists and yell, "it's not fair, it's not fair," but I really wanted to! And that bothered me.

It's been a couple of weeks, and I am still angry, but I'm also now at the point of practicing acceptance. After all, I said what I needed to say, politely and professionally to the appropriate person, but nothing changed. I acted pissed off and less than friendly, and nothing changed. I could keep pushing to the point of being an ass, but the only person that will hurt is me. It's not worth it. I've worked too hard to become the person I'm proud to be. I don't want to throw that away.

I like being the funny coworker, the professional, skilled coworker, the kind coworker. I'm proud of the fact my coworkers like to work with me. That wasn't always the case. Acceptance, therefore, is the only reasonable route to take.

I may not like the situation. I may not think it's fair. But if I can accept it, let go of that which I have no control, and take actions over which I have control, then I won't turn into an asshole. Being an asshole takes a ton of energy! It's simply not worth it. To quote from the book, Alcoholics Anonymous, "acceptance is the answer to all of my problems today." Acceptance and living my values are the only things which will bring me the peace and serenity I seek.

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