anxiety · job anxiety · life · phone anxiety · social anxiety

Weekend Reflections

Today, as I type this blog post, it is Sunday. You would not believe the rush of elation I felt on Friday after I got off work and was physically walking to the bus stop to get home. I was FREE and at ease knowing I did not have to come into work for the weekend. It was a completely different feeling to go home with the knowledge I could stay up to 11 PM or 12 AM without my job obligations hanging over for me. For the two nights I experienced after returning home from work, I often perceived I already had so little free time left for myself by 6 PM. Once 9 PM creeps by, I am frustrated by how fast time goes by during leisurely hours and my motivation to actually do anything fun is killed immediately as I worry about having to be in work in a few hours. But on Friday, I was so happy when it was 9 PM because I knew if I stayed up late, there would be no consequence I would have to face tomorrow.

I did wake up several times on Saturday morning. The internal alarm in my brain kept thinking I had to get up for work and it took a second or two each time for me to remember it was a weekend. I felt so assured because Monday seemed so far away at this point. I spent Saturday shopping at a mall with my parents. No one bought any clothes except for me, and I only got two long sleeved knit tops that I liked, and then we ate a whole pizza pie afterward. I also tried a free cinnamon morsel sample from a nearby store. It was too sugary for my tastes. There is a Build-A-Bear workshop in the mall too. It was kinda fun to stand by and watch the employees sewing the plushies together (after they put the stuffing into the toy) and fitting them with clothes. The evening was uneventful, except that I did not eat anything for dinner since I was still too full from eating two and a half slices of pizza, although I did treat myself to another generous amount of coffee when my parents and I  came home from the trip to the mall. I finished several pages in the latest book I am reading, “Homecoming” by Yaa Gyasi, and am nearing the end of the book.

So yeah, it’s Sunday now. Waking up earlier than my set phone alarm sucked because then it entered my frame of mind that, “Hey, it’s Sunday. Guess where you have to be tomorrow.” Ugh. My heart was pounding just thinking about work. I’ll say this: The third day was better than the second day of work, but it doesn’t mean I still felt out of it. I did answer the phone all day long when it rang. A handful of times I was able to transfer the call easily if the caller was speaking clearly enough for me to hear his/her name and I had no problems with directing whichever coworker to take the call (depending on who the caller asked to speak with). However, it was terrible the times I tried my hardest to pick up on the caller’s name and even after I would ask him/her to repeat what was just said, I STILL could not hear him/her and ended up having to ask one of my coworkers to help me. I was flustered over asking for help, and I fear I will continue to not be able to hear the caller clearly enough. A coworker gave me a copy of a list of names of the people who usually call, but the list itself is like pages long. It also does little to help me that the times I try to make out what a caller said (if he/she is speaking very low), I get their name wrong when I am notifying my coworker to take the call. I cannot believe how stressed I feel just about this one aspect of work.

Also on Friday, Alan spontaneously suggested I could try making an outbound call. It was very brief but it scared the hell out of me. My coworker walked me through what I would say before I transfer the phone line back to her so she could take care of the rest of the call. As I spoke with Alan outside prior to leaving work, the privacy of the conversation gave me the courage to ask him for his opinion on how I sounded on the phone. I am mentally hitting myself in the head now realizing that I could’ve been more specific with my question since he was in the office throughout the day as I was answering incoming calls and I don’t know which ones he was actually listening to and which ones he hardly heard if he was busy with stuff on his computer and/or taking another call. He told me I sounded good and happy. He used some other positive adjectives but it seems like my brain has completely wiped those words from my memory units by now because I stick to remembering negative experiences rather than good ones. I almost wanted to cry right then and there as my voice slightly cracked and I looked at him when I said it’s hard because “that’s not how I see myself.” This will be the closest I will get to implying to him that my self-esteem is zilch and with everything I do, even when people praise me for doing well, I just can’t bring myself to believe in me. I could hear my own consciousness nagging at me, wondering if what he was telling me was a fluke and that, in actuality, my coworkers think I am terrible at my job. I almost did want to come clean and tell him the hard truth about how I actually see myself, but I didn’t want to become emotional again.

At some point after I got to work, Alan did ask me why I got so upset on my second day (when I cried). I said I had misunderstood the message that the caller was giving me on the phone. I guess he was trying to comfort me by explaining that everyone has made errors in the office before, like when one of my coworkers was entering in the wrong amount of money information for a client and didn’t know about it for the longest time. He was also telling me that it isn’t a bad thing for me and everyone else in the office to be tough like a rhinoceros. I can’t remember everything he said. I think he was alluding to the fact people can be assholes and we don’t need to bother taking it personally because it’s the other person’s problem for being mean in the first place. Something like that?? Again, my brain fails me since I always imprint on negative experiences instead of clinging onto the positive ones.

I am not going to lie and say I’m not apprehensive about work tomorrow. I give myself credit for doing better at work on the third day than the second day, but even my own belief in myself is feeble and weak at best and I eventually go back to considering if I didn’t accomplish anything in the office and/or was not helpful to my coworkers. Sometimes through the day, they have do smaller tasks to aid them, like asking me to shred documents or grab something from the printer they just printed out.

Today I am committed to spending my day with positive vibes. Or at least trying. And maybe going to fail miserably. I’m heading out later for a meet up with some (hopefully) new friends at a coffee shop near Manhattan’s Washington Park.

Before I go, I have some questions for whoever is reading this and who might not mind giving me their opinion. Are you friends with your coworkers or are you content to just work professionally with them and get stuff done without it becoming a friendship? I ask this because I’m very socially awkward (if you can’t already tell from this blog post, lol) and it’s painstaking for me to approach or talk to my own coworkers unless it’s for work related stuff. Maybe I feel this way because I’ve not been with them for, like, let’s say, six months, however, something tells me even if I were with them for a year, I’d still be pretty quiet and private around them… :/

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11 thoughts on “Weekend Reflections

  1. I wasn’t close to my co-workers at my old job. Since changing jobs in April, I’m more friendly with my co-workers, because I’m in more of a team (in my old job I was in the basement with just my boss and rarely saw anyone else, and even my boss wasn’t always around; currently I’m in a team of seven all working together in a much larger organization).

    I wouldn’t say I’m hugely friendly with them. I can chat a little bit with them (usually just listen to them, as I find small talk hard), but I don’t discuss anything really emotional or personal (my boss knows a bit about my mental health issues, but the others don’t) or socialize with them outside of work hours or anything like that. I have found it easier to talk to them the longer I’ve been there – it was quite hard initially.

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    1. The most I can say to them outside of work matters is like, “good morning”, “how are you?” and “have a good evening, I’m heading out for today.” I cringe remembering my own voice saying these things. I find small talk hard too. I’m definitely not comfortable asking people about their personal lives.

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  2. I’m friendly with my co-workers but I know none of them will be on my bestie shelf forever. There is one in particular that is quite…nasty…I just ignore her bad behaviour. Internally I know that’s as childish as her temper tantrums, but it makes me happy.
    There is one to balance her out, that I go and do stuff with outside of work & is welcome in my home & vice versa.
    Just be open – say hi & bye, if you meet up on a Monday ask if they did anything exciting in the weekend; if they are a reader ask what they think of the book they are reading & small stuff. It will get easier. Promise.

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    1. The hardest part besides small talk is trying not to feel awkward as f*ck being around people that already have an established rapport with each other and I’m sitting there just quietly doing my work, too uncomfortable to chime in bc whatever they ate discussing I don’t think is my place to say anything.

      I was thinking about using the “how was your weekend?” line but I’m seriously afraid of sputtering out the words too fast that no one can hear me. A habit of mine is to talk fast when I’m anxious. 😕

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  3. I wasn’t close to anyone apart from the people who worked closest to me for the longest time. For me, it’s sometimes more about becoming comfortable with a place than the people. So when I eventually stopped feeling like the awkward new person, it was easier to speak freely. It’ll come in time, but not right away so don’t think gberesy anything wrong with you for still being apprehensive! 💜

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    1. Do you still work at the same place? How has it been for you?

      I do think there isn’t anything wrong with me being quiet. It’s when someone comments on it that I start feeling very self-conscious and even anxious. 😕

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      1. Yikes. I missed that crazy typo in my original comment.

        Yeah, I do. It’s okay. I’m still quiet – because that’s me. However, I make a point to say hello (when I’m in the mood) to anyone I recognise, I ask them how they are. I find that a simple ‘how are you/I’m fine, how are you?’ exchange goes a long way. It’s brief and depending on your mood, you can end the conversation after that with little awkwardness or keep going.

        I get that. Just a few weeks ago someone told me I was the quietest person they’ve ever met, like there was something wrong with it. I did feel self-conscious for a while but afterwards I just brushed it off. I think they talk too much, so maybe it all balances out 😂.

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      2. I say hi too, but I find for the times I ask the “how are you?” question, it feels like I do it more out of politeness or to be less awkward. However, I end up feeling awkward anyway when the person just says, “good/fine”, and I answer the same way when asked the same question no matter how I am actually feeling on the inside. I almost feel as if everyone, myself included, is just playacting when they ask people how they are and that really we all want to get through the day and go home. Maybe I feel this way because I live in the city and in a place as big as this with so many people, it’s hard to tell who is being genuine.

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      3. I automatically assume that people are not genuine until they prove themselves to be otherwise. I live in London where people are not particularly friendly to strangers, so I understand that. In a way we are all playacting, but it’s polite and takes a few minutes out of the day. I’ve found that it’s better to have the shortest interactions with people than nothing at all.

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      4. In addition to my awkward feeling over the “hi/how are you?” bit, I generally find it hard to reach out to people for help.

        At work, this is tough for me. Maybe my anxiety plays a part in this because everytime I find there is something in my work I don’t understand and I need to ask a coworker for help, I actually feel like a mixture of anxiety, fear, and like I am being a nuisance for needing help. It doesn’t reassure me either even when the coworker is the one training me and literally tells me, “if you have any questions, just ask me.” I especially find it difficult to approach a coworker if and when the person appears to be busy or working on their own thing and it heightens my anxiety bc I perceive I’m “interrupting” or “annoying” the person by needing his or her help. It’s gotten to the point that I get so anxious that I almost want to be honest with my coworker about how I actually feel and directly ask her if she minds if I come to her for help if and when she is busy. I have not decided if I will go through with it because I’m scared she will laugh at my silly question.

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      5. Yes, I know exactly what you mean when you say the “you’re so quiet” comment makes you feel like there is something wrong with that. Interestingly, my coworker (who speaks kinda loud) is the one who said I was so quiet. Being quiet is not a bad thing. I am starting to see that. It’s when I associate my quietness with my anxiety that I get self conscious because I perceive the person noticed I was quiet and is using that as a personal dig at me for having anxiety. I make more trouble for myself than is actually there! 😐

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