If the title seems prosaic, it’s because I’m restraining myself from melodramatic phrases. I suppose the background to all of this is that I slept badly; I got to bed early, around 11.10pm, but woke up about 4.40am and I don’t think I went back to sleep, although I lay in bed for over an hour and a half. So I was probably a bit sleep-deprived when all this hit. I was certainly bored out of my skull, as you shall see.
I’m trying not to write about work, but I have to record that I got told off today for a situation where I was trying hard to do the right thing according to the inadequate information I had been given and without knowing that the information I had was inadequate (to be fair, it didn’t help that I had forgotten something I did know, but I was told it once, at my job interview about six months ago when I was nervous and not focused on taking in information). I could have argued back, but I had no desire to escalate the situation, so I took it as a kapparah (atonement). (I should learn to do this with my parents.) Ironically, if I had given in to my social anxiety in the first place, none of this would have happened, which is probably not a good lesson to learn.
Enrollment was tedious and the job I was given was largely superfluous. Fortunately, this has been realized by the management and I have been told that I only need to do half a day on enrollment tomorrow and can go off to the library office and catalogue on the other half. More serious is that the enrollment seemed to trigger some strong social anxiety problems in terms of panicking about situations when they didn’t go the way I had been prepared for them to go and not knowing what to do to resolve situations. I mostly did resolve things eventually, I hope correctly. It makes me worry that my social anxiety is worsening in the way that my OCD got worse at a time of stress (moving house). I am worried that this may impact my ability to do my job. Not the enrollment, which is only a couple of days in the year, but being on the library issue desk. My job is mostly in the office, but I have to spend some time on the issue desk every day and it can be hard sometimes, particularly when I’m being asked about things that I am still not familiar with. I feel guilty for asking my boss or my colleagues (and it’s going to be harder to do either after today), but I sometimes have to do so. I’m worried that I should know more by now. However, the fear that my social anxiety will impact on my ability to do my job may simply be another example of my anxiety! It may also be the case that I am becoming more aware of the problem (I mean social anxiety in general) as I try to focus on it and resolve it.
When someone asks me a question that I don’t know the answer to, my mind shuts down and rather than thinking of solutions (ask someone, look it up, ask a question to understand what they are asking etc.) I sit there like a rabbit caught in the oncoming car headlights. It doesn’t help that sometimes it is hard to understand the library users, as they sometimes speak quietly and often have thick accents (bear in mind that to some of them English is a second language and one they are not very fluent in). I suppose I must usually understand and think of an answer, or ask someone, or one of my colleagues comes to help me out. I am beginning to learn how to deal with problems and develop ‘scripts’ for frequently occurring situations, but I feel like I’m doing it very slowly. I’m assuming that as my boss has not complained, she is not worried about my progress; I don’t like to ask her opinion as that would seem needy.
Perhaps fortunately I had my CBT for social anxiety book with me and read some of it on the way home, but I am not sure how to implement what I read. It encouraged me to take risks and see what happens. I feel like I am unlikely to take risks at work for fear I will get fired, especially after today, while taking risks at shul (synagogue) and ‘being myself’ (let alone talking to women) seems a surefire way to become a social pariah.
It’s worrying how quickly I drift from “a bad thing happened” to “I’m a bad person” to “I wish I was dead.” Given the way I impulsively finished my post yesterday my negative emotions seem to be overwhelming me again. I wonder if I should try to get an appointment with a psychiatrist again, although I am not sure what exactly he could do. It is tempting, though, as I need to respond to an email from the last psychiatrist I was seeing and it is hard enough to see psychiatrists on the NHS that I am tempted to ask for an appointment. I also wonder if I should tell my boss that my mental health has worsened recently. I feel that the more urgent a conversation about mental health is, the harder it is to have it.
So, dinner beckons, probably vegetarian cholent as Jewish comfort food, from a tin, sadly, and a cup of tea, because I’m still upset and while I usually avoid caffeine in the evenings, I’m English too.