Friday, March 11, 2005

Glad to be here

I am in Des Moines, Iowa right now in my favorite, the Hampton Inn. They are usually very nice and they give us breakfast. So I am glad to be here.

I am also REALLY glad to be back at work (huh?) It surprised me, but as I arrived and saw the moving walkways I hadn't seen for nearly two weeks I started smiling! I love the atmosphere at the Airport, it is energetic, but not chaotic, as I see the same things regularly. I am glad to be here, back at work.

I have an AWESOME crew! They are so considerate in the way they treat the passengers. We had a mechanical delay yesterday and you could hear in the captain's voice how sincerely sorry he was about it. The FO is also awesome. A passenger wanted to know the speed and altitude for her elderly father who hadn't flown in 30 years. The FO didn't want to wake up any passengers so he wrote them down for me to bring to them, it was very sweet. They are really kind men and they are doing it genuinely, not to be chivalrous to make themselves look good. So I am glad to be here with my crew.

This past week I have done a lot of reflecting. On my life, on my relationships, on my childhood, on my choices. My examination of healthy and unhealthy boundaries has led me to realize that I may have found a big, I mean BIG, thing that has been holding me back in my life. I am excited, and anxious, because recognizing how much can change in my life if I address this (boundaries) also shows me that I have A LOT to address.

But the reflecting has shown me something else. I have come far, I mean A HELL OF A LONG WAY! I remember being 21, and as I said in my first post, It was like I was floating. I have a lot of ups and downs still, but even in the downs I have a solid ground to lay on as I sob uncontrollably. I am approaching thirty and I am glad to be here.

I love metaphor and analogy. They can be so helpful in making something as abstract as feelings manageable and understandable. Years ago I tried to come up with some sort of analogy to explain how it felt to be me.

It seemed like other people had this unfair advantage in school, relationships, in life in general. I felt like they were moving forward on solid ground, but I was in a bog. I had to work harder just to stay upright, and if I stopped moving for a second, I would fall under. Using this analogy I had decided to "throw little pebbles in the bog." To do tiny little things to make my life better, things of manageable size, because so much of my energy was being used just to keep going. A little thing could be donating 2 boxes of stuff to charity, so it wouldn't be in the way and make cleaning harder. A little thing could be distancing myself from the mean classmate who gossips and picks on people. Small things that make my life just a little better, or, a little less bad.

As is appropriate to the analogy the little "pebbles" didn't make a noticable difference for years. If you throw a pebble in the water you wont be able to see it, but it is still there. Add more, one at a time and they begin to add up. Now and then you can add a rock (ie get a better job) but the little pebbles are enough to begin to add up.

I think now I am at a point where I am standing up, I no longer have to tread water. The water is still up to my neck, so I have alot of work to do. However, at least I can stop for a minute to collect my thoughts, I have built enough solid ground, from those little pebbles, that I won't drown if I stop moving.

I am excited to learn of the extent my unhealthy boundaries are having in my life. I am happy to learn of this because now I know what to fix! I think this is an exiting thing to realize, because it is so fixable. Big problems for me are Depression and Social Phobia, but what can I do to fix these...cheer up? stop thinking people are staring and evaluating you? Obviously if it were that easy I would have neither of these. But boundaries are manageable. It IS as easy as "tell someone to back up when they stand in your personal space" Sure its hard to build the courage to stand up to people, but its a hell of a lot easier than "cheer up."

These are only a few examples, but every time I tell a panhandler "no" is a pebble. Every time I let someone go on the phone, because I no longer wish to talk, is a pebble. (stuff like this affects my mood for hours) Every time I tell a boy no, I don't kiss on the first date, period, is a ROCK! This is how big this is for me I think! I imagine that once I stop letting people suck my blood, I will stop seeing people as blood-suckers. (That will cause a phobia if anything does! LOL) And if I stop seeing people as blood suckers, I will isolate myself less, and be less isolated, and be less depressed. Yes, I think this is that big.

Well now, I am going to take my heavyer-than-I-would-like body to my hotel room, where I will toss and turn because my more-anxious-than-I-would-like brain is racing. I will wake up earlier-than-I-would-like to get ready for my job that pays-less-than-I-would-like.
And I am glad to be here.

mood: accomplished, content, tired

8 comments:

SpiderSolitaire said...

You amaze me! I identify with you so much, in everything you say! But you are so far ahead of me. You are where I hope to be. It amazes me to know we have the same thoughts, yet you can be so confident. I guess you shine a light on something I didn't believe was there. You give me hope there is an end to depression & being so critical & paranoid.

B.L.O.G. said...

Welcome back to the grind!! hehe

I have always wondered what the life of an airline hostess (am I giving your title the proper credit?) actually is like. Must be weird ass hours and tons of patience to deal with people.

Hope to read more about it.

Diana Crabtree said...

Spidey Sunshine-

Damn right I am so far ahead of you...almost 7 years of stress and hard work...I had better be! LOL
I identify with you so much as well...who do you think inspired this "glad to be here" post? I see what you are going through, many of the same things I was at 21, and it reminds me that yes, the "pebbles" of therapy and good choices HAS indeed made a difference!

We are on the same page in the statement about "shining a light on something [you] don't believe is there" When I was 21, and younger, I thought I was such a loser because of the struggles I had. I wish I could have taken a step back and looked at the big picture. Yes, I have depression and anxiety in my genetics, but depression and anxiety are a completely normal reaction to certain circumstances in life. I wish I could have recognized how well I was doing considering the unhealthy choices I was taught!

Here's an analogy, a soldier during a war is in grave danger, he/she must be very alert, if they relax too much they might miss something going on and be shot! When they come home it makes PERFECT SENSE that they will still be jumpy. Some people naturally begin to relax more, (they never forget what they have been through) but they acclimate back to their new, safer environment. Some have have more severe reactions, they have nightmares and don't naturally start to relax when they arrive in a safe place. These people have the choice of self-medicating with alcohol or drugs, or they can go to therapy, and sometimes be medicated. Either person is having a COMPLETELY expected reaction to being in war, and should NOT feel ashamed for their situation.

Ooh! To add another level however...the PTSD sufferer who self medicates is making a choice that does not make things better. They are choosing to be a victim of the horror they have seen, not a survivor of it. By self medicating with an addictive depressant they are quieting the bad dreams for a few months, but over time they build a tolerance, need more and more to just feel regular shitty, not hellish shitty, and now they have given themself a NEW medical condition. Self medicating with alcohol & other serious drugs also takes away the support system. These drugs change a person's personality over time, and alienate (and screw up...DAD!) the people who love them.

So point is...I hope you see that fire you have in your belly. You want a better life! I wish I saw that in myself when I was your age, so I could be proud of myself for being a survivor of what I had been through, and not a victim!

Oh, and one kind of crazy coincidence. Did you know I was on cheerleading & danceline too? Wierd. My guess of why is this...I think I chose these activities because they were symbolic of the "all american teenager" the thing I had wanted to be so badly. I also chose cheerleading because it was a group activity that someone not good at sports could do :) Why did you choose those activites?

Still, we got a lot in common- its sort of crazy :)

XOXOOXOXOXOXO

Diana Crabtree said...

BLOG-

Thanks for the welcome back.

I would be HAPPY AS HELL to include more about my job on my page. This job has rescued me from the rat-race and given me a whole new perspective on people and life-choices. Of course It will be in the same navel-gazing, therapy context as the rest of my posts LOL!

P.S. the "politically corrrect" term is flight attendant...tsk tsk ;)

B.L.O.G. said...

Thanks for the clarification on your title Diana I will try not to make that mistake again...hehe.

I think what I am most interested in your line of work is with all the security checks and safety stuff you have to do. I am sure they have tons of material buried in your head in regards to all that.

SpiderSolitaire said...

Isn't it odd us, the ones battling depression were the symbolism of happiness in our schools. I joined cheerleading because of a friend. I still enjoy dance. I suppose that is due to my love of music. I am a very outgoing person, but I think that I hide too much of what I am. I feel like I can be 2 people sometimes. I'm confusing lol

John said...

We live in Des Moines. Howdy!

Diana Crabtree said...

John-

In my job I have noticed that Iowans are usually really nice!

Thanks for commenting, that was really "nice" ;)