Thursday, 21 April 2016

Trying on Type A Personality

Each time I speak to one of my mental health support team they seem delighted with my ability to "see what is going on" and recognize my own part in it.

They say I am "enlightened".

"While I do believe that not replacing the other manager in my department has meant a significant amount of stress and workload has been placed on my shoulders in a role I am not comfortable with, I also know work is doing what they need to do to keep the business moving forward in the best way they know how."

"Look at how much more clearly you are thinking!"

"I have expressed my concern about the direction work has chosen to take with my development after my stress leave, but could perhaps do so more clearly. 

My recent "outstanding"  review indicates that they are pleased with my performance.  I do have a role in how much effort I put in and perhaps am over extending myself to reach this level. I need to let my boss know I cannot keep up that level of performance."

"This sounds like an excellent communication plan for when you return to work! You are so much more aware of what is going on within yourself!  Most people don't have this level of enlightenment!"

Their delight is incredibly annoying.  

Enlightened, yeah I know the definition, but all I feel when I hear it is the 'light" part----like bright, blinding too hot, relentless LIGHT.  Tooooo much....too raw....burns....ahhhh ...TURNITOFF.  IWANTTHEDARK where it is PEACEFULANDQUIET and IDON'THAVETOBERESPONSIBLE!!!

I want to stamp my feet and point my finger and blame everyone around me because THEY are the ones who caused this.

So I try to acknowledge that there will often be days where I feel "enlightened" and days where I feel "endarkened?" ---and often they are the same day ---and I can swing back and forth every five minutes depending on what road I chose to let my mind wander away on.

Right now one of my coping strategies is to spend some days in internal work: self-reflection, reading, listening, writing, meditating, sitting. 

Other days I paint (rooms, not pictures), work in the yard and clean the house; something physical that requires external concentration and the external focus gives my brain a break.

The one thing I am coming to understand as I look around my newly painted house with the furniture all reconfigured and my spring ready garden with a list of 20 other projects looming---is that this is who I am.  

I am a busy person who gives a lot to whatever I choose to do.   I like to do things and see results.  These things I know for sure.

But what this also tells me is that this can be incredibly stressful  and frustrating in a world where you feel like you don't have the ability to influence where you spend all this amazing, creative energy, focus and determination. 

Which then means, that in ANY work situation, and in particular, one where you work in a framework dictated by others, there will OFTEN be times when you feel frustrated and stressed.

This leads to anger, resentment and often shutting down because you feel your best efforts are not requested or required. You feel stuffed in a box and told to be quiet.  

Finding the information on Type A people felt like an umbrella in a rainstorm of self-criticism and feeling a bit like a freak.  The majority of people (and we did an organizational personality inventory) work on a different energy level than I do--which makes you really start to question your sanity...and trying to be more like them...feels like stuffing yourself into shoes two sizes to small and acting like all is well! 

But I am not alone!  Type A abounds.  And I will try to delight in my understanding and EMBRACE my type A self instead of trying to change it!  

Let's look at how.....

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