It has me a bit stressed out. Which is not unusual for the writer with the day job.
I'm bipolar, and have social anxiety that impacts my ability to function on a daily basis. People don't get that, because I do really well at appearing to function. When I read Poppy Dennison's post today about the importance of being nice, it couldn't help but resonate. See, I'm on social media a lot—as an author I need to be. But social media, especially Facebook, can be a den of nightmares. Everything seems to be a judgment: You must do THIS. How dare THEY do THAT. If THIS doesn't happen, your world will be over. Everything you eat is DANGEROUS. Don't you care about THIS, and THAT and the OTHER THING! You are a horrible human being for not caring enough!
The problem is that I do care. I care so much that I've had to shut most of those notifications off. And even shut off through careful filtering and unfollowing, I still get notifications. It creates a field of negativity. Between that and the work stuff, I've struggled to keep my masks on. I've done the usual stuff. I've kept the whiteboard notices on my door. I've played music (mostly upbeat dance), I've set aside the critical work to do the things in my job that keep me going. But I still have this task, and it weighs on me.
When I know I'm going to have a day like this I dress for it. In college that meant wearing a suit to feel powerful against it. I still do that sometimes. But usually I settle for a tropical shirt. A bright cheery reminder. Something that will look good even on a guy my size. I have a couple dozen to choose from in sizes from XXL to 4XL—just to be sure that I have one I can wear. Because as silly as it sounds, that bright fabric between me and the world matters. It's a shield, and yet it's me.
So tomorrow, a day I've isolated from the appointments and on which the main task giver is away, I will wear a tropical shirt. A new one in 4XL that won't tug against my chest. I won't worry about looking fat. My tropical shirt will be my shield. My quirky whiteboard message will be my wingman, providing just enough distraction that I can get my job done.
I don't know if it will be enough.
I know I'm not the only one who gets stressed out at work. How do you deal with it? Let me know in the comments (and don't forget to sign up for the newsletter)!