You know that game where you use tiny tweezers to extract cute little plastic pieces from a cartoon patient without touching the metal sides of the gaping wounds in his body? One slip and a loud
pierces the air. You drop the item and someone else takes a turn.
Yesterday, I felt a bit like the guy on the table. Looks like fun to carefully pull things out for a closer work, but if you keep at it, your hands are going to start to shake with the continued effort to be delicate and you are inevitably gonna hear more and more of the "EHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH".
For lesson one, Inner Mean Girl Reform school has asked me to take a look inside to get to know my inner mean girls. Tease them out into the light where I could get a good look at them. It is sort of like trying to pluck them out of your subconscious to have a little meet and greet with them...get to know them...learn their names....see what it is they think their job is.....play nice, make friends. You know, all the things school is about.
So I did the quiz to help me identify my IMGs---and there were no real surprises (although I did not have the Perfectionist show up...probably because of the one question where it asked if I expect to be good at something the first time I try it. Perfectionists would say yes...but I said no.)
I confidently applied the tweezers to the task at hand and tried to extract my Comparison Queen.
Ok so not so easy. I tried a different tactic and reached for my Achievement Junkie...
Attempts to extract my Doing Addict and Superwoman provided the same results.
While I had identified each of these archetypes as part of my IMG classmates....all my efforts to bring them out to meet me resulted in icy tingly sensations all over my skin and rapid breathing I associated with panic attacks. What was going on?
I took a break, spiritually hung up my Gone Fishin' sign and pulled out an old sketchbook that belonged to my oldest to try to draw these girls. Maybe if I could visualize them it would be easier to connect with them.
As I started to draw I realized that all of these archetypes were actually embodied in one figure. She was the culmination of my IMGs ---or maybe---she was their guardian and I had to go through her first to get to them. I am not sure yet....I just met her.
Her name is Yolanda and she tells me that she is in charge of my IMGs. They came into existence to protect me, but she has taught them the world is a dangerous place and they must be hyper vigilant to come to my rescue in a flash. Before I can think and before I can question what is going on in my mind or my body, they will dart in and out telling me I am not good enough; I am a failure. They and ask what's wrong with you? and on and on. Yolanda tells me it is all for my own good.
Ok so Yolanda (I have decided to call her Yo-Yo behind her back) is exhausting.
Back in 10 Minutes--I need a break from Yolanda's scowling, judgmental glare.
I have a meeting with my psychiatrist this week. My insurance company has been calling and so I know I must start to face the reality of making a decision about going back to work.
So using the questions my therapist had prompted my thinking with, I turned to my laptop to see what sort of stuff is out there for this. I spent the next two hours reading information on how important it is to be part of your back to work process if you are returning to a job after illness. I read things on what to say to coworkers, how to support your supervisor who may not know how to best support you; how to express your needs and establish new routines at work that will allow you to foster the self care principles you need to stay well (like actually leaving your desk for breaks and lunch--which I seldom did).
I took notes. I wrote down suggested scripts. I dredged my soul for what I would need to return to work. What could I ask for. I was feeling Yo-Yo the whole time. "What makes you so special that your place of work would do ANYTHING for YOU? "
She is trying to protect me from rejection. I get it. But her voice is so loud that I need another break.
OUT TO LUNCH. I hang that sign on my forehead. Not really, but visually in my mind it is there. Anyone looking to chat with me about the hard stuff can wait till tomorrow. For anyone trying to dig into the hard parts--the dark parts---the secret parts....I say:
Until tomorrow....Work in Progress....