Sunday, January 18, 2009

Free Online CBT Course

I found a free CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) course located at It's called MoodGYM and I registered for free, started by answering a few questions and am now going through the first course. It has been quite interesting so far. Not sure if it's great or not just yet, but wanted to give you all the link in case you wanted to try it out. Let me know what you think if you try it out.

I will be going to bed soon because it's work tomorrow.

I. Will. Make. It.

Hope is a Thing With Feathers...

Though this post didn't start that way, it ended not so well, so I would like to warn anyone in a bad place not to read this because it could be triggering.

Back home again. My husband took me to get my nails done. They look great. Afterward, he took me to dinner at our favorite Mediterranean restaurant in town. A lovely Lebanese couple owns the restaurant who we just adore. They light up the room with their sweet, enlightening energy and it felt great to see them. Dinner was lovely as always.

It was nice to spend time with my husband like that. My daughter is at her Dad's this weekend which is a good thing because I don't like for her to see me not doing well. A few days ago she asked why I haven't been to work and I explained that I have had a lot of physical pain with my period and sometimes the depression can get really bad because my hormones are all up in the air. I wish that was all it was, but I don't tell her much. I never talk about my depression unless it gets so bad and so obvious and she needs answers. Otherwise I don't burden her with it, which I think is for the best.

It was nice to get out and live a little. I have to say that I am exhausted. At one point I got so tired during dinner I just wanted to sleep, but I reprimanded myself and tried to practice mindfulness. That can be quite difficult. A lot of times I am not mindful enough to be mindful. I wish I could visit an ashram in India and live with monks for awhile to learn with them.

My husband really wanted me to enjoy myself tonight. He can be so funny and he said a lot of things that we just laughed about. He is known to be not very affectionate and he was very sweet and affectionate tonight. It was really nice.

I called my supervisor this afternoon while waiting for my husband to finish teaching his art class. She does know that I have depression. She is the first person I've ever worked with that I told. In the past I would tell companies that I was physically ill with something because I realize most people just don't understand. I was quite afraid of losing my job because I've missed so much time this week. Not only that I haven't been at work much since the new year even though I was working from home. Perception is reality and a lot of people other than my supervisor and her boss don't realize I've been working from home so to them I'm sure it looks like I'm never there and they wonder what the hell is my problem.

She did say that people were talking about me not being there and questioning why. She doesn't tell them my problems with depression and since I have missed so much time she said it put her in a tough spot. She said that I do great work when I am there and I'm the best on her team and she does understand that I have issues, but at the same time she is afraid that it looks like she is favoring me because when she is out of town she has me do her work along with my own and lead the team. Team members get jealous and make comments when I'm not there. You would think we were in elementary school. Don't get me wrong, I do understand that they don't understand, but still, I wouldn't think the way they do if it were someone else.

The fact of the matter is that this week I didn't get my work done, I was working on a highly visible task in the project and she said it became quite political when I wasn't there and she felt in the middle of it all and didn't like being put in a bad spot. I felt terrible. I told her that her feelings are completely valid. She said that she continues to hope that I will get better but I can tell that she is running out of patience. She didn't say it, but I could hear it. I am running out of patience with myself.

She is the first person I've worked with that I really became good friends with. We go out to lunch quite a bit together and it has become obvious that people on the team don't like it because they think she favors me more. In reality she doesn't. When we go out to lunch we don't talk about work, but about our life, family, etc. We go to lunch to escape from work. She is a lovely person and a good friend. She has run interference for me in the past when I had depressive episodes. She just got promoted to a management position a few weeks ago and is worried that if she continues to run interference for me when I'm not there that it will make her look bad and they will wonder why they made her a manager.

I feel bad to have put her in this position. I told her that I will be at work Monday. It is a holiday Monday but I'm going anyway because of being so far behind. I told her that I'm going to work my butt and maybe we shouldn't lunch together until she feels ready. I could hear her relief. It makes me sad. I told her that I wasn't going to ask her out to lunch, but for her to just let me know when she wants to go. I don't want her to feel that people are talking about her behind her back and that is exactly how she feels.

Just to let everyone know, my job is not protected. I am a contractor and they can let me go at any time for any reason, even if it's no reason at all. I am not a full-time employee and do not hold the same rights as one. I am in the technology field and we are working on a project which has its first release date in a few months. It is highly imperative that the web application is released on time. I see a lot of hours coming up because the project as a whole (not just my work) is so far behind schedule. Some people have likened this last push to the release date as a "death march". If this company doesn't feel that I am producing what I need to produce they will get rid of me. They don't need any dead weight. I do not live in the technology hub of the world and it will be difficult to find another job. That is one reason why I am interviewing for a full-time position at another company Tuesday. I really want to have a full-time job in order to have better benefits and it will feel more permanent and not as precarious as my current contracting position.

I will feel embarrassed to go back to work Monday. I will feel more embarrassed Tuesday when everyone will be back from the holiday. I really wish that I could stay at home and fully focus on getting better. I wish I could afford a psychiatrist and therapist and yoga classes, walks on the beach and naps. I wish I could spend my days reading self-help books, being in groups with others, volunteering my time with the homeless, children with leukemia, nursing homes and animal shelters. I wish I could be that mother who has freshly baked chocolate chip cookies ready for my daughter when she gets off the bus from school. I wish I could be that wife who has a lovely house and wonderful meal ready for my husband and daughter. I wish my brain would get better and this depression would go away and if this isn't possible, I wish I could go away from myself.

You have no idea how many times I thought of ending it all. I have the perfect plan. I will go to work on a weekend and go into the bathroom. In a plastic bag will be letters to my loved ones. I want them to be in a plastic bag so that they don't get wet or messed up. I will take a bottle of water, wear my heavy coat that feels like a blanket, go to the bathroom and down a bottle of Ambien. Doing this will ensure that my family won't find me in this way. The floor in the bathroom is tile and that will ensure I won't mess the floor up for any reason because it can just be mopped. I thought of doing this in the woods but I'm afraid that the letters will be lost. I could mail the letters but what if the post office lost them? So, the bathroom at work is the best, I think. I do feel really bad when thinking about whoever it will be that finds me. I don't know how to get away from that.

Do you see how my mind works? I can go from what a nice time I had at dinner with my husband to eating a bottle of Ambien in the bathroom at work. It becomes tiring to think this way.....and old. Very old.

OK...let me practice mindfulness...

Breathe in...

Breathe out...

Inhale slowly...

Exhale gently...

I will get through this.

Yes, Catherine....I will get through this.

Thank you everyone for your kind thoughts and support. It means a lot to me. I hope not to let you down through this journey. I hope to make you proud. I hope to make myself proud that I got through it. I hope to get through it. I hope to really live and not just exist. I hope, and hope and hope. At least that isn't dead yet.

As the great poet Emily Dickinson said and it is my favorite quote:

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul.
And sings the tune
Without the words,
and never stops at all.

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