Category Archives: Workplace Challenges

Arrrghhhhh!! Mental Torture! Intrusive Thoughts & OCD.

My brain won’t stop talking at me!

My thoughts are just going round and round and jibber-jabbering away. I feel like there’s some kind-of convention going on in my head that I have to involuntarily chair- except all the members are like kids and wont shut-up talking at once, then they start screaming at each other and having arguments!!! Before I know it the whole thing has runaway with me and I’m totally out of control! Arrrrghhhhh!!!!! It really is excruciating mental torture!

Last night I got 4 hours broken sleep. My head aches and all my muscles are so tense. Relaxing has been near-on impossible.

Getting back to sleep last night was greatly helped by Bach Flower Remedy-White Chestnut (great for repetitive thoughts- it works surprisingly quickly) and some Lavender oil on my pillow. If not I’d have been on the sofa all night watching endless episodes of Friends and The Big Bang Theory- the only TV shows my brain can cope with at the moment.

When these kind of thoughts prey on me I find it difficult to concentrate. I can’t decide what to do first: get dressed, brush my teeth, shower, have breakfast? Then if I decide to have breakfast I spend ages deciding what to have. Then it takes conscious effort to get out a saucepan or milk. Then I get distracted because there’s junk mail sitting on the kitchen counter and I start sorting that out. Arrrrghhhh!!

My usual method of coping with these predatory thoughts is to up on out of the house and get into the city where the shops and general bustle distract me. Either that or binge eating. I’m trying to quit on both right now as neither is healthy. The city idea may not sound too bad, but it really tires me out and bus fair there and back is £4.00. Not too bad for one random day, but it’s not a good long-term solution and I get dependent on these little coping mechanisms pretty quickly.

Thought Quality

At the moment the thoughts don’t seem too dark which is a blessing in itself. They’re more just mindless chatter. But they are getting louder.

Under more stress they can turn really nastily into the realms of self-harm and death, which I definitely don’t want to happen this time.

I’m in a fortunate position not to be working at the moment. If I were the extra stress would tip me over the edge, and I’ll end up sitting at my desk, staring at a spreadsheet and trying to suppress really disturbing images and impulses. By the time I’d get home I’d be a total wreck.

“How are you today Rachel?” they’ll ask.

“Fine” I’ll reply. You really, really don’t want to know what’s going on in my head!!

Intrusive Thoughts

What I believe I’ve been experiencing are intrusive thoughts, which according to Wikipedia are:

“…unwelcome involuntary thoughts, images, or unpleasant ideas that may become obsessions, are upsetting or distressing, and can be difficult to manage or eliminate. “

They appear to be associated mainly with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) which I’m only just beginning to realise I think I may have.

(I know it’s not a good idea to self-diagnose, but I think this it is one of my compulsions and a way in which I get the constant mind chatter out of my head. I don’t recommend it though. I also think that I know myself way better than any doctor who spends about 10 minutes every few months with me. If I can get to the bottom of the issue I can look for CBT help online).

For more info please see:

Intrusive Thoughts Caused by Anxiety

Intrusive Thoughts

OCD

I always thought of OCD mainly in terms of the classic compulsions you hear about in the media, like excessive hand-washing or checking behaviours. But what I didn’t know about was Pure ‘O’, which I’ve recently discovered on the internet.

Pure ‘O’ is OCD with mainly obsessions and no visible compulsions. However it does appear that sufferers usually do have hidden compulsions like mental rituals that “cancel out” any obtrusive thoughts.

For more info here are a few links:

What is Pure O?

Various Subtypes of Pure O OCD

Bipolar and OCD 

Bipolar Disorder and OCD often seem to team up together too- estimates are between 10-35% of those with Bipolar Disorder also have OCD (About.com). For more info:

OCD and Bipolar Disorder

Blog: That Bipolar OCD Geek

Getting Through Today

Anyway, to get through today- without resorting to a city-trip or binge-eating- I’m gonna try the following:

– blogging to you lovely people (check).

– more lavender oil and White Chestnut Bach Flower Remedy.

– playing the piano and a bit of singing.

– maybe a bit of healthy cooking?

– I might look for some OCD CBT techniques online too.

– dog walk.

If anyone else has any tips I’d be only too glad to hear them!
I need to get out of my head!!!!

Related Posts on My Bipolar Life: Hypomanic Obsessions and OCD; Bipolar Disorder & Obsessive Research.

Photo Credits: freedigitalphotos.net

Moody Rachel Returns

I’ve hit a mini brick wall of mood symptoms again: tearfulness, irritability, low motivation, fatigue and general “can’t be bothered-ness”. I’m so tired and keep falling asleep and am getting ratty with my Chris (boyfriend). I hate being like that, I feel really guilty. I think I might be putting too much pressure on myself with regards to this blog and trying to make it brilliant. Right now I can’t do brilliant. Only average. That’ll have to do for now.

I’m feeling undeserving. I think this is just depressive negativity taking over. Undeserving of the good things in my life. I guess I’m starting to feel really guilty about my lack of contribution to the household finances in the last few months, so maybe it’s time to start thinking about earning money again.

But I just can’t think about working in a regular job again. I’ve had 14 years of being in and out of jobs that have just increased my Bipolar symptoms drastically or resulted in severe anxiety and panic attacks. I have never ended a job on a positive note- ever! I’ve always ended jobs due to health issues. I don’t want to just go back to this pattern. I want to earn money doing something I love. I just want to be happy and fulfilled whilst earning money. Is that too much to ask universe??!!!

Onto the more positive:

Going out for Italian tomorrow with Chris, then onto the IMAX cinema for The Dark Knight Rises. Chris has been going on about this film for the last year!!! Yes, a year!!! We’re both film geeks, but Chris just take sit to a whole other level when it comes to films that he loves. He booked the tickets 6 weeks ago. Chris at his geekiest.

It will be really great to go out on a date again. It’s been a long time and I’m gonna get dressed up and everything! (This doesn’t happen very often folks!) Chris has been on a bit of a downer recently (might be affecting my mood or vice verser) so I think we both need a bit of fun.

I really want to go on holiday to Center Parcs again. Center Parcs is my haven and I’ve been dreaming about lazing around the gorgeous spa, and stupidly-early morning walks around the forest to find deer. I honestly never feel so well as when I am at Center Parcs, it’s like the best medicine ever, but funner (yes, it’s a word in my Rachel dictionary)! It’s basically a whole holiday centre built into a massive forest. The accommodation is dotted around the forest in the most peaceful settings you can imagine. You wake up in the morning to find ducks, rabbits and squirrels on your patio. It’s like real-life Disney World!

Cars are not allowed on site except for loading/unloading which really helps create the magic. They have an amazing swimming pool with slides, rapids and wave machine which makes me feel like a kid again- not that difficult really!

There is just so much to do there, you could never be bored. I think I’ve done most of their activities now: horse-riding, archery, falconry, biking, nature walks, abseiling, shooting, canoeing, badminton, tennis, pool, snooker etc, etc. The spa is amazing too.

OK, well thinking about a holiday is making me feel a bit better so maybe I’ll go and do some more research.

Photo Credit: Toa55 via freedigitalphotos.net.

Bipolar Disorder: Repressed Anger

The Red Button

I am notoriously bad at asking for help when I need it, particularly in the face of the mental torture of Bipolar. I guess even after all these years with it I still feel ashamed, as if it’s all my fault. So asking for help comes with swallowing my pride and risking feeling vulnerable and exposed

Over the last couple of weeks my depression symptoms have been increasing in severity – mainly relentless despairing thoughts, fatigue and I’ve also been having panic attacks again.

Two days ago I was at work, sitting at my desk in the office thinking that I couldn’t handle this job anymore: a reaction to a few snide comments from a colleague.

This person is someone who pushes my buttons. Not just a few; all of them. Including the big fat red one that says “do not press under any circumstances”. Pushing the red button is my trigger into panic, anger and despair. It is the doorway to all my past pain and trauma. It is what I fear the very most,  and I know anyone getting near it will trigger my emotions to spiral out of control. I do whatever it takes in life to prevent anyone from getting even close to this button. But this colleague somehow manages to slip and slide her way around all my control mechanisms and with a sly, gleeful grin on her face, jumps up and down on my past pain anguish and trauma.

Suicidal and Resigned

So there I sat at my desk thinking that there was no way I could handle working with her anymore. I was exhausted, tearful, verging on suicidal. My body had almost given up. I wanted out of my life. I could easily have just curled up in a ball and refused to move or speak.  Let someone else take care of me if they want me in their life so much. I clock-watched for the rest of the morning. Each five-minute period more painfully slowly. I told myself to wait it out til the end.

I managed to get myself home at the end of my shift. I couldn’t go on like this.

Back in October I experienced a severe depression. Over the last few days I could feel the same symptoms coming on again. I knew that the previous episode had been triggered by an argument with this colleague. I had thought I was over all the depression. But seeing it come back in identical form made me realise that drugs and CBT weren’t going to help me anymore. I’d seen the psychiatric nurse recently and I’m on a huge dose of anti-depressants. I needed something different. I was beginning to think the key to my healing was in this relationship with this person and the buttons she was pressing. I was in so much confusion and turmoil that I knew I couldn’t make sense of all this on my own. I knew I needed to talk to someone, and I knew exactly who to ring.

Asking for Help- Ripping off the Band-Aid

My spiritual development teacher, Dawn Chrystal, patiently listened to my panicky sobs on the other end of the phone, helping me through the hysteria. She’s a wonderfully calm person and I regained composure fairly quickly. I think I panicked because I was so scared to reach out to someone I don’t see very often at all, especially about feelings that are so despairing and private and excruciatingly painful. Also talking about the emotions to her made them seem all the more real and raw.

Dawn reassured me and told me that she has worked with many people diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. She sees any illness in terms of the soul and said that in her professional opinion she believes there is a huge link between the Bipolar mood swings and repressed anger. It made a lot of sense to me, as I know I was extremely angry with my colleague last August during our arguments, but hadn’t expressed it in any way.

Repressed Anger

I’ve always held my anger in. I was brought up in a strong Christian household and was taught that to be angry was wrong. If I was angry I would go to hell. So I’ve always pushed and pushed it down, sucked it up and tried to see everyone in a more loving light. I tried to understand my boss and perhaps took on all the blame for our argument, accepting all her criticisms of me. If it was all my fault, then I didn’t have to be angry with her. I never expressed my anger, as nobody seemed to understand and the usual comments of me being too sensitive spilled from friends’ mouths. This only made me more angry.

But it all goes much deeper than the argument with my colleague. My terrible bouts of rage that have cropped up in the past, also triggered by this person in this situation, have their roots in my childhood and anger towards my parents. The colleague pushed the big red button, the doorway to my past traumas with them, exposing the red-raw nerve and unexpressed, repressed anger.

Dawn helped me to see that my relationship with this colleague is actually a gift. She is allowing me to re-experience the raw, un-expressed anger from my past and by doing this I can express it and let it go, a little bit at a time.

I had been denying my anger and pushing it down over endless cycles- each raging experience often proceeded by a period of depression. My depression has been getting worse and worse and she said this is because I’m denying all the pain and emotion, each time fighting against feeling it, as to me this would be unacceptable, to feel so many negative emotions- I think I’ve essentially- at a very basic, unconscious level- really believed I’ll go to hell if I do. The depression is all the self-blame and judging for being so “bad” for having this dark core inside me. I’d rejected myself again, as an unacceptable human being.

Hope & Healing

Dawn provided no end of comfort to me in showing me that overcoming the repressed past and integrating the”dark” side of me as part of my “whole”, is all part of my spiritual journey, and part of learning and growing. She helped me to see that in ringing her and reaching out, I’d let some of the pain out and have shown that I am ready to deal with the pain, to learn and move on.

I’ve learnt that there are people out there who really do understand and can help. Just by realising that there was a cause for my depression and that it can be healed, has really eased the self-hatred I felt. She has shown me that it is OK and safe and essential that I release the pain and anger I feel. I think God’s gonna let me do this a little bit at a time. By staying at my job with this person I will be allowing little rumbles with her to ease out the past, allowing me to express it in manageable chucks. It may hurt, but at least I know I have support there when I need it.

Support- Bach Flower Remedies & Exercises.

Dawn prescribed me some Bach Flower Remedies to help with the depression and anxiety. I will keep you informed of my progress with them. She also gave me a few visualizations to do:

1. To comfort my traumatized inner child: imagine I am in a big comfy arm-chair cuddling myself as a child. As a child I feel extremely frightened, alone and angry. As an adult I can reassure her, hold her and send her love.

2. Surround my colleague in bright pink loving light, within a bubble.Hand the bubble over to God. This is to make sure that I allow her to deal with all her issues herself, as I do tend to take on other people’s problems.

3. This is a very important exercise- Grounding. Imagine beautiful, white light from heaven arriving at the top of your head as a beam of light. Slowly it travels down your body to your feet. Here it continues into the ground, forming roots that reach deeper and deeper into the Earth, until they reach the centre. This exercise gives you a heavy, relaxed feeling in your body- a feeling of stability that should help you to feel supported. It should be performed with your feet flat on the ground.

4. Draw a picture of my colleague- a funny one. I drew her as a little baby sitting on a throne with a crown on her head, screeching and screaming and throwing her toys! It really helped me to see her more lightly and less as intimidating.

To Dawn- I am so very, very grateful.

To you- I hope you have, or will find, your Dawn. Give her a call!

For more information on Dawn Crystal, please visit her website.

Work Issues

Song of the Day: Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana.

Photo Credit: jpellgen available under a  Creative Commons Licence.

I haven’t written for ages because I’m in denial about stuff that’s going on at work and trying to ignore it in the hope it’ll go away. Writing will make me face up to it all!

Over the last couple of months I’ve been experiencing mixed symptoms- high energy, excessive flirting, needing to be at way more social events, crying easily, angry and irritable, needing to be centre of attention, obsessive thoughts. Could be the switch from hypomania to dysphoric hypomania?? Who knows!

Anyway, during this time my boss left for a new job- she has always been really great about my mood swings and very supportive. However, our new manager is not. I don’t want to elaborate at this time. My anger is fizzing and bubbling below the service and ready to errupt and I’m finding it increasingly difficult to hang on to civilised behaviour. I feel like a pitbull forced to be on a lead all my life and am now being confronted with a pack of snarling opponents. I’m ready to strike!!

Having mulled it over for the last month I’ve decided the best thing to do is to find another job. This is a huge risk to me, as changing jobs in the past has usually led to panic attacks and worsening Bipolar symptoms. As far as hours, convenience and job role go, my current position is ideal. However, the relationship with this person is extremely stressful and kind of cancels out all these other factors.

At work I’ve had increased interpersonal sensitivity and emotional reactivity, but at home I’ve really struggled to process the intensity of the feelings that are rapidly surfacing. I’m so stressed! I’m really angry with the other person, but also with myself for reacting so badly and giving her what she ultimately wants; I feel exceptionally guilty for being angry (I was brought up to believe being angry is the root of all evil); I feel angry that this has happened when everything seemed to be going so well; I’m so worried about changing jobs; I’m scared and intimidated about going in to work now- I dread it. It’s all really getting on top of me and I don’t really know how to process all these feelings. I think there’s a link back to my first few school years when I was bullied, so a bit of trauma is thrown in the mix too.

My main coping mechanism has been eating- stuffing the feelings down with sugar, getting that lovely numbed-out feeling when overloaded. I look forward to the next packet of biscuits or chocolate bar- the pleasure makes me forget about the pain of the unprocessed emotions. But this can’t go on. I’ve put on another half stone which I can in no way afford to do. The eating has to stop and the painful emotions dealt with. I just have absolutely no clue how to go about dealing with them.

On the plus side, had a great long weekend last week and went to see Rihanna at the O2 with Chris- fantastic and VERY raunchy!!

Bipolar Disorder: Up and Down and Up and Down…….

Song of the Day: The Devil Went Down to Georgia by Levellers (after The Charlie Daniels Band).

(Photo Credit: M. Denyer available under a Creative Commons License.)

(The deer image is because I saw one on my dog walk this morning!)

I don’t usually blog about the day I’ve just had, but I wanted to today because it was so weird Bipolar-wise.

Got up this morning and felt great. Haven’t been sleeping quite as long as usual- probably 2 or 3 hours less a night, but pretty much felt my usual morning energy buzz. Got to work and I felt even more buzzy and started doing the Little Miss Chatterbox act with people at work. Very quickly after talking to each person I came across, I suddenly felt really over-emotional and would start to well up. There have been quite a lot of sad things happen to people at work this week and over the last month or two, so I think maybe I was picking up on that. But I just don’t understand why I felt so emotional when talking to people- it was so strange. It was like I could feel all their sadness myself, all at once. Like I was ultra-ultra sensitive.

Once I started to work I just couldn’t concentrate- my head was all buzzy- thoughts racing through my brain. All this I guess would normally point to hypomania and looking back I think I have been a bit hyper over the last few weeks, but certainly nothing major and I wouldn’t say noticeable by others. Anyway coz I was starting to well up all the time I went to my manager and had a bit of a chat, which helped calm me down a bit. I think I felt overwhelmed by all my emotions hitting me at once. Work after this came a little bit easier, but my focus was still way off and my brain started to slow down.

On the way home came the next twist- I could only walk really slowly with heavy legs feeling like they were wading through knee-deep mud. This is classic depression with me. My brain had slowed too and I was finding crossing the road difficult- another Rachel depression symptom- it’s like my brain is too slow to work out how fast a car is coming and judge whether it’s safe for me to cross or not- very peculiar and not a bit less frightening.

So what happened today- did I just crash from hypomania to depression in the space of a few hours? I’m not feeling low- possibly more agitated than low and less able to relax than usual. I’ve also noticed a return in my health anxiety- where I worry that I’m going to have a heart attack any second- this is horrible and I just can’t rationalise it away. I’m eating atrociously too at the moment. Arghhhhh what’s wrong with me- I feel really weird! Now I’m worried about tomorrow too because I’m going to be learning how to use the coffee machines- for 2 whole hours!  It will be good to do something different but not with the way I’m feeling at the moment!

Bipolar Disorder: Workplace Challenges Part 2

Song of the Day: That I Would Be Good by Alanis Morissette.

(Photo Credit: Lynne Kirton available under a Creative Commons Licence.)

Yesterday I posted Part 1 on Workplace Challenges, which looked at the problems involving being around people at work during Bipolar episodes. Today’s post covers other problems which may arise.

Inconsistency and Expectations

I’m usually hypomanic when I begin a new job (I often apply when I’m hypomanic coz everything seems so exciting!), therefore I work very quickly and intensely, getting lots of good quality work done in minimal time. I therefore set my standards high with work colleagues who come to expect this of me all the time. Inevitably I am unable to maintain these standards when my mood dips back down. This hasn’t been too big of an issue for my employers, but I think it affects me in that I set myself mini- timescales of when I expect to get tasks done by everyday. If I’m slower than last week, I do tend to judge myself and think that I’m not working well. Because I think like this, I expect others to think like this too- so end up putting way too much pressure on myself to match my hypomanic standards. I guess I even go so far as to think I am being judged as no good, by my employers, if I can’t keep it up- which I know is a load of rubbish!

Nowadays, if I feel myself rushing through tasks or putting increased pressure on myself to maintain overly high standards, I try to have a “cigarette” break (I don’t smoke) where I have a quick stretch outside in the fresh air, take a few deep breaths and just give myself a chance to calm down a bit. My usual warning signs that I’m over doing it are tense neck and shoulders, achy back muscles and headaches.

Flexibility 

No, not the foot behind the ear type- but the being able to change tasks at the last minute, work at different times and generally go with the flow-type. Flexibility and Bipolar just don’t seem to work well together, last minute changes can cause me more stress than usual.

Luckily in my job I don’t have to be flexible with my working hours or routine too much. But there are times when I have to share a computer so if it is in use I need to be flexible in finding other “paper-based” tasks to perform. These can often be “one-offs” my manager has requested. It’s so strange that a little change like this can really throw me: I suddenly feel insecure and unnerved! I think this must be pretty hard to understand for most people.

If I’m particularly Bipolar one week I will mention this to my boss who then knows if a task is likely to be stressful, so she will give me easier bits to do or ask what I would like to do. She never makes this seem like a big deal and is very relaxed about it, so I do think I’m lucky in that respect. But still, I need to learn to be flexible, so practice I must!

Concentration

Cropping up in both depression and hypomania, lack of concentration can be one of the killer problems at work.

When depressed your brain’s working too slowly or you’re thinking about morbid things or obsessing over the fact that “Phyllis” blanked you in the corridor or endlessly worrying, then concentration on work can be near-on impossible.

When hypomanic I myself can’t sit still for more than 5 minutes and usually end up flitting about from colleague to colleague as Little Miss Chatty, monopolising conversations and arranging social gatherings. Ooooh- I just remembered that I gossip way more too and get very excited about little office scandals! Any social contact serves only to increase my excitability and decrease my concentration even more. It’s difficult to stop though when you’re having so much fun! I do realise that earlier I said I work more quickly and intensely when hypomanic– this is only when left alone in the quiet.  Then if people are about I start to get a bit crazy! Therefore I guess in future I will try to spend more time alone when hyper- I ruin all my fun 😦

Toilet-Crying

One of my favourites this, when I’m depressed is to go into the toilet and cry my little heart out.  I’ll be sitting at my desk holding it all inside, then my eyes well up and I think “oh s**t”! I’m rubbish at holding it inside, so I find the best thing to do is just let it all out in private. Sometimes I’ll talk to one of the others if I’m feeling really bad and need to go home, but most of the time I’m learning to handle it better on my own now. Either way, when I get home it’s TLC time- hug from Chris, hug from the dog, music on the iPod, soak in the tub (ooh that rhymes…well kind of)!

Performance Anxiety

No not singing, dancing and acting anxiety– but the kind where you go all nervous and light-headed when the manager comes over to watch you work. A time when your brain is bound to fail you and you forget everything you’ve learnt since the age of 10, sometimes even how to string a sentence together.

This has been quite an issue for me, not necessarily with my current job, but more in customer service roles where customers expect you to be quick and efficient. This increases the anxiety you already feel from having them watch you, loads of pressure. Absolutely hate it and have decided I am not cut out for customers! I would often have panic attacks before going into work in these kind of roles. It’s funny though, because I really love people and chatting to them socially, strangers included, but when it comes to feeling some kind of expectation or judgment from them, I freak!

Talking on the telephone is the other one I hate- no idea why but it’s always made me really nervous. Maybe it’s because other people in the room can listen to what I’m saying. I always feel I’m being judged all the bloody time! As long as I never have to work in a customer-based call centre I’ll be fine!

The trials of Bipolar Disorder continue (sigh).

Bipolar Disorder: Workplace Challenges Part 1

Song of the Day- Guilty by Nero.

(Photo Credit: stewickie available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License.)

Taking a look at the challenges that present themselves for those with Bipolar Disorder whilst at work, I’ve split my ideas into two posts: part one, below, looks at challenges involving relationships and social functioning. Part two will be posted in the near future and will cover more skill-based challenges.

Part 1: Working Relationships

Working in the “real world” with Bipolar has to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Luckily things have become easier over the last ten years- I’ve learnt so much about living with the disorder, when to push myself and when to accept my limitations. One of the hardest things, I’ve always found, is getting along with others at work when symptomatic.

Interpersonal sensitivity and irritability, both present in Bipolar Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder, can be a nightmare when trying to maintain healthy working relationships. When irritable it is so easy to snap at colleagues or end up arguing. Obviously combined with the sensitivity- when it is very easy to take offense and tend towards paranoia- the more likely you are to cause friction with those who are around you everyday. I’m open with my colleagues about my condition and luckily they are fine with it, so if I’m having a bad day I’ll tell them and maybe have a bit of a chat about it. That way they know why I’m a bit off my game, and don’t take it personally if I’m grumpy with them (well hopefully)! If I know I’ve been more sensitive and moody lately, then I will usually withdraw a bit socially anyway- this isn’t always a good thing in everyday life, but at work I think it really helps if depressed or irritable.

Dealing with authority figures I find either very intimidating when depressed or, when hypomanic, I tend to think I know better than them and have ended up arguing- one argument leading to a job loss. Never underestimate the power of even mild hypomania to get you into trouble! Because I’m fairly well-educated and bright, and work beneath my capability level, I always feel I can do things so much more quickly and efficiently than them! That sounds so conceited and up-myself, but it’s the truth! Hypomania has a nasty habit of distorting perception of the self in a positive light, just as depression does in a negative light! I don’t feel so great about myself at all when my mood is “normal”, I’m much more laid back and certainly don’t think myself better than others. When I’m depressed, others seem way better than me! Anyway, I’m starting anger management classes in September- so hopefully that’ll sort out my lack of temper control!

Other people’s bad moods affect me enormously too, so when a colleague is stressed I stay out of their way as much as possible. I think this is a sensitivity thing- where I seem to soak up other peoples’ moods and take on their feelings as if they were my own. This is when some of that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) comes in handy: if “Phyllis’ has blanked me in  the corridor I have to remember to tell myself that “she’s probably having a bad day” not that “she must hate me”! When colleagues are stressed it’s very difficult to not take moody comments personally- I always feel so personally responsible for everybody else’s happiness! There you go- another CBT fixer-upper: “I am responsible for my own wellbeing only”. Gotta love that CBT!

I’m sure there’s loads more to cover on this topic, but I think I’m done for today- just bought an iMac so we’re going to go and have a play- woohoo! Look out for Part 2 which will include ideas on basic skill issues, such as concentration problems.