Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Returning to work after what has felt like a long weekend has knocked the wind out of me. Tiredness and depression were making me ponder what exactly it is that imprisons the mind from being what I would term happy and free.

A few incidents occured throughout the past week that led to me considering my own attitude towards different things.

My wife had involved me in fixing a computer for the son of one of her work colleagues. Although I was happy to do this it took far longer to complete because of his request that I save his documents, music and movies. In itself this wouldn't have been a problem for me, but, my wife had told me that I couldn't ask for anything more than wine or chocolates as payment - she wouldn't like to be seen as mercenary or making profit from someone she has to work with. I too don't like people thinking ill of me but I don't like being unnecessarily put out for the benefit of someone else I took umbridge against my wife's suggestion. This feeling grew worse of the evening as it became apparant that it was going to take twenty hours and not two. In the meantime I was reduced to watching television as the computer ran its backup, which, when I am in a proactive mood, makes me feel overtly irritable.

I spent the entire evening "fuming" about the waste to my time, the fact I don't drink wine, and that I didn't want chocolate. As it was, the backup was redundant since I could solve the system error without losing any of the data. The amount of time I personally put into the computer became just over an hour and in the end I wouldn't accept payment of any kind for it.

I understand that this had come about because of one very simple thing. In my hurry to accept the job and show the owner that I was both friendly and helpful I had disempowered myself and failed to agree any terms. I do feel that if I can help someone and save them time, money or hassle then I am happy to do it, but I must introduce boundaries. It was the lack of boundaries that made me feel powerless and subsequently irritable and angry. I can avoid this in the future by ensuring those boundaries exist, but that ignores the fact that I have those feelings and when a situation occurs I revert to type. I understand enough that the key is to let go of the concerns that I cannot change, though I am yet to discover the key to truly making this work.

My mum went into hospital on friday and over the weekend whilst she was there, I was upset and worried. This worry began to turn into anger. After my brother's year long suspension and subsequent firing for what was termed as gross miscondunct, my family, having endured that year with him, through conspiracy and misshandling by his and my employer, had been consistently stressed.

My father's health has deteriorated and he now suffers from low blood pressure, lack of energy and in stressful situations: memory loss. My brother has spent the year doing nothing constructive, is constantly depressed and has no morale or inclination to get another job - having been sacked for gross misconduct even the temping agencies are reluctant. Mum has been just as stressed, though none of us thought she would be the one to go to hospital.

In a martyr-like fashion I had something else to blame on my employer, another bit of evidence that what they had done to my family was unforgiveable. Looking back now it is almost as if I wanted it to be true that this was a direct result of the way they had treated us, as if I need someone to focus my blame on, something else to add to our list of damages when we go to industrial tribunal. My brother takes some of that blame also; his stupidity to do something I had told him not to, his lack of taking part in going through the facts and developing our side of the case because of the way he takes himself to his room to sulk in his depression, his lack of drive and his failure to see that if he took responsibility for his own life, even had we had to go through his suspension, it would have been far less stressful.

How, then, would I feel if this had nothing to do with stress? Who would I have to blame then for my mum's illness? Would I honestly twist the outcome so that I could place the blame where I wanted it to go? I think I might, regardless of what the doctors might say. Deep down I'd have my culprits.

Finally, two separate occasions were drawn to my attention in which I had come across as blunt and almost rude. The first, in a packed fish and chip shop, I had placed my order and waited for sometime as the fish was cooked. As the assistants sorted out the backlog of customers one asked me whether I had ordered what she was presently holding up, to which I responded: no.

The second occasion related to my repairing of the computer. I telephoned the owner, explained I had completed the job and wanted to drop it off that morning because I wanted to make sure that it wasn't at my house longer than necessary.

Both times, I was told that I had been stern and direct in my approach, offering no apology or chance for the recipient of my statement to acknowledge, let alone agree. My reasons had been in the interest of preserving time and ensuring I couldn't fall over my words or make a fool of myself in front of people I didn't know, through some misunderstanding or other - had my abruptness been pointed out at the time I would have become embarrassed and then angry because of it.

At this point it would be only a guess that I need to be more aware of my self in public situations, take a deep breath and be prepared for misunderstandings. I need to overcome that sense of being an actor who's forgotten his lines on stage.

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