I’ve been triggered by two prospective job situations, which spurred two opposite presentations of myself to the prospective employers.
For the one, at a disability resource centre run for and by people with disabilities, I sent my prospective boss my story on Canada AM Speak Out on Suicide. I acknowledged that it was a lot more personal than would ordinarily be considered appropriate, but that I need a work situation where I don’t have to hide. This person went from wanting to get me in as soon as humanly possible to not responding for what has now been 4 days. And so, maybe she is afraid of me now, or doesn’t want to hire me. The way I see it, that is good information. Great! Very clear. I do not want to have anything to do with her.
Okay, so the second prospective job I did not actually send in my application to. I only got to updating my resume and writing a new bio, and froze there.
There were all my awards, all of the perfect experience and attributes for the position, all of the indicators of exceptional talent that would get me hired in a flash. It took me into a place of hiding again. Pretending. Denying. Dissociating. Shame. If I did get hired, I would have to deny the underbelly of me again.
Tantrum. Images of head bashing. Self-hatred, hopelessness, panic, isolation, abandonment.
It’s good to observe that I just can’t go there right now. I just can’t go there. I feel sad.
Confession on Dissociation — November 23rd
Everyone else could see how damaged I was — how hard I tried, how hard life was, how shy and insecure I felt at times. But me — I couldn’t see it. I couldn’t admit it. Instead, I bent over backwards to deny / hide it, and present myself as a leader, an honours student, a talented person, instead.
Now, I want to redeem myself with everyone, the world.
It’s as if I’ve been inviting people over to my (metaphorical) house, with decapitated heads on the coffee table that I can’t even see.
Some leave right away, without an explanation, and I am baffled. Some pretend with me in the moment that the heads aren’t there, but never visit again unless it is convenient or they need something.
What am I not seeing now?
Living with mental illness is like telling people about the heads and inviting them in anyway.
Mundane moment i’ve been grieving: Award ceremony for receiving the national leadership award. Fall 2010. I don’t want to go because i don’t want to be seen alone, because i feel alienated and alone in my community. My non-profit and my marriage have failed and I have not been open about either; people have seen me working as a cashier, and drawn their own conclusions, avoiding my till ’cause they don’t know what to say. I have been sleeping on massage tables, couches & floors in basements & trailer parks for much of the previous year. I tell my school counselor that I just might not go to the ceremony. I call my Dad, courageously tell him I don’t have anyone to go with me to the ceremony and that I’m thinking of not going at all, and ask him if he is able to come. He doesn’t understand. He says no. And so, I didn’t go.
In 12 step work, we often try to notice how a pattern in our lives began, and how it is affecting us now. This helps us forgive ourselves and release the pattern. Sometimes. 🙂 I’m writing about this because it’s been triggered, so obviously, I have not been able to release it. But then I start to feel a little bit out of place with 12-step work. Because mental illness is not simply a pattern that can be released. It’s not like a pattern of lying, or over-eating, or drinking.
History of writings by underground on this topic: