Warning: this post is very personal. I haven't exposed myself like this on slashdot before. If you don't want to hear about my mental problems, or don't care, don't read any further.
Ok, so I decided this morning (ok, yesterday morning, technically... Well, morning for Me, which on a Saturday meant 1pm.) in the shower that I was going to confront DB - the head technical man at a company I work for - about some things going on via phone. I've tried emailing him, but he doesn't seem to be reading my emails, or isn't seeing my points - so rather than do what I have been (waiting impatiently, complaing to those around me, and trying to enlist the aid of other contacts at the client to 'ping' him on the issue), I'm going to end it. Hopefully, it wont be uggly or anything - I even have a very non-confrontational opening for the conversation that should get the issue out in the open without laying blame anywhere.
This descision spiraled, and I've decided that A) I'm not going to bottle things up anymore and B) I'm going to fix my problems with confrontation. Now, that sounds odd at first, until you realize that I have big problems with confrontation - I don't know how to deal with it. Maybe it comes from my upbringing (lots of yelling), or maybe from my teenage years (long story), or (more realisticly) there is no one main reason. I avoid confrontation like the plauge - it drains me. I get angry. I get angry at the other person, and I express it. Some might call it loosing my temper, but I don't hit anyone - no, it's not physical. It might actually be better if it was physical.
I let out everything thats bottled - right or wrong, I say it. Things could start as a technical argument, the other person and I butting heads over some stupid issue, and I get mad. I get mad because the other person isn't seeing reason (did I mention I'm stuborn and tend to believe I am right until proven wrong?). If they continue to not see reason, I explode: You are stupid. You have no clue what you are doing and am incompitent. Your mother was an army whore; generals gave her medals for her years of service.
Yes, I hit low. I almost immediatly regret it - and it triggers some of the worst episodes of self-loathing I've experienced - and as a clinicaly depressed person (who is Also bipolor, doh!), that is saying something.
Why do I bottle things up? Because I'm afraid of an outburst - that I'll go too far with expressing my current problem, or that I'll overreact to the other person's response to my comment/issue.
It's cyclic, and its going to stop. It needs to. It isn't healthy for me to seeth in anger over something. And it only increases the potential of an explosion. I made great strides last year - without intending to - and participated in several very intense online debates without getting irrational - in the past I would of either exploded, or just quit posting. I'm starting to be able to talk about issues in my marriage without getting upset and/or making my wife upset.
Now, I just need to work on expressing all the small stuff - I need to not Fear confrontation. I need to quit seeing debates as being about my self worth. I need to realize it is OK to complain about something that bothers you (as long as you do it civily) to the person doing it.
I've known for a long time that I had a problem with confrontations, now I'm going to fix it. I'm going to quit accepting it, and realize that like anything else in this world, I can do it if I put my mind to it. I'm already loosing weight, now I'm going to loose my bigest fear.
G.I. Joe - the stupid cartoon - always said at the end of every episode: "now you know, and knowing is half the battle."
I rather doubt they every lived inside the head of a clinicly depressed bipolar paranoid guy with with a diminished self image and bottled anger issues - since this battle I'm about to engage in will be very hard for me. I don't want it to be hard, but it will. It'll be harder than learning Forth, or realizing that lust != love. This battle is going to require some fundemental changes in how I view myself and the world.
Step 1) Get back on my medication. Having survived for a year without it, I now realize it isn't a crutch, it's just something I need. Yes, I can get by without it, but day to day life is more difficult (for me and those around me) without it. My mood swings are still there - but they aren't as bad with it. The 6 years on it were much less painful than last year - and last year was a good year!
Step 2) Continue with my weight loss program and the other Positive changes I've made in my life - I can't backpeddle on other things to get this done. The regularity of those habits (such as biweekly tai chi) will only benefit me in the long run, and they can provide me with a routine that will comfort me as I address my demons.
Step 3) Enlist those around me for support. This will be hard on me, and I may explode inapropriatly along the way - they need to be warned, and available to talk to.
Step 4) Do it, one day at a time. Everytime I grit my teeth, I'll have to remind myself it is OK to express what just bothered me. Perhaps I will count to 5 or something. I will think of a good way (if there is one) to express what I'm feeling, and I will then I will calmly make my statement. If I can't state it then (person hung up, or its not an appropo place (movie theater), etc), I will commit to stating it as soon as possible. When I express my problem, I will accept the reaction of the other person as what it is - a reaction, and not a judgement about me. Or, at the least, I need to Act like the debate isn't about that. I may just be wired to think everyone secretly hates me and knows that I'm a bad, stupid person and wishes they never met me - but damnit, I'm going to at least Act like I'm a normal person when I can. And by so acting, I will not carry that anger with me, and my life will be that much the better.
I'm afraid of making this commitment, but I feel I have to do it.
wish me luck.
I'm not spell checking this.