Saturday, 18 March 2017

301-1/365 The Pressure Cooker

It's Saturday morning and I am lazing relaxing in bed at 10am, make of that what you will. Some of you early risers will be worrying I am wasting half the day.  I have had a stressful week, well few weeks, well months really. Life is days and days of 'all is well, everything is working out for my highest good, I am at peace' rapidly followed by 'the sky is falling, the sky is falling, panic and run for the hills'  I kid you not, I am all over the place.

The reason for all this angst is work. Our company has won a tender to be the sole provider in our area for certain courses. We knew going in how much the contract was, we won and now the staff lose. The company made a big deal about how we won on merit and reputation, I just found out that the other provider said they couldn't meet the contract requirements unless the budget was increased by another two million! So we didn't win on merit, we were the only ones who said we could do it for the money. We now have to lose 60 employees!! There will be no redundancies!! The plan is cut everyone's hours (therefore pay) in half and tell the "Hooray, we have avoided making any of you redundant. We are doing this to keep you all employed. We are fabulous employers"

The thing is I am not alone here, I need every penny of my full time salary, half pay is not an option, I have no cushion, no fall back, no family to help out. I am part of the majority at work and we feel it is the most underhand dealing ever.  I have been stewing and simmering away, struggling through headaches and upset stomachs due to stress and worry. I manage to come home decompress, remotivated, try and get back into the mindset that everything happens for a reason, all will be ok, it's always darkest before the dawn, every cloud has a silver lining (please add your own expression in comments) and by morning I am centred and calm. I drive to work purposely listening to my favourite uplifting music, I arrive happy and then as soon as I walk through the door the collective anger, depression, fear and resentment hits me and I become engulfed in the maelstrom of emotion. I spend my morning riding the wave (I'm sticking with the water based analogies) of bitterness and by afternoon I am mellowing out and accepting once again that I have no control over the situation and just have to keep going until a path becomes clear.

I thought I was aware of everything I was feeling and how much it was affecting me. I have had anger, sadness, regret, worry and allowed tears to flow several times, acknowledging the feelings that I am scared and feel powerless.  I thought I was dealing with it until last night, my daughter ended up being the detonator and I was the bomb. What started out as a pleasant exchange about our respective day ended in me going cataclysmic and actually screaming/growling at the top of my lungs <flood of shame> I literally sounded like a grizzly bear. At which point I promptly grabbed my bag and keys and exited stage left. I was raging, ashamed, embarrassed, furious, distraught, adrift (I am using up all the emotion adjectives in this one post) I was shaking, how dare my daughter do this to me, how can she be so thoughtless. I know even then that I am just looking to assign blame and not take responsibility for me, my action, my behaviour but in that moment all I want to do is lash out. I want to make the world sorry for how it's treating me, I want to........... I KNOW!!!! I want to DRINK!!!! That's what I'll do! Yes that's it!

I don't drink. I see how stupid and futile that would be. I think of the last (please let it still be the last) hangover I had, the pounding head and 20+ times I threw up, the shame and regret I felt and the knowledge that nothing had been achieved, solved or made better by doing that so why would this time be different?All the same shit will still be there tomorrow morning but with a hangover on top. I am starting to calm down stood in the aisles of the grocery store, realising I have felt this coming and that I knew the pressure was building up. I knew it was going to happen and I also knew that I still haven't found the safety valve, the steam release that spins around frantically letting out all the pressure before the lid blows. I am still exploding when things go wrong, I haven't worked out when I tip over from being stressed and need to relax into I am rattling around on the stove and some how we've got to get the lid off. It's a fine line I can see now I know has been crossed only once it's too late. A friend offered some very good advice about what I needed to do but in my head I imagined me punching her right in her face, cartoon style with stars circling her head. Today in my calm state I look back and can't believe I let myself get so high on stress, so high that I cannot get myself down, so high that my daughter must think I am insane. Maybe I am a bit insane, aren't we all but I can't help wonder if people will read this and think I must be slightly psychotic. In truth I probably am since I temporarily lost touch with reality, albeit very briefly.

I am delighted I didn't drink, I can't help but think if I made it through that ring of fire I am pretty strong in my sobriety but I also feel similar emotions to when I did drink. Remorse for how I acted, shame that I was out of control, a desire to be a better more in control version of myself. It seems a little harsh that the harder you work on yourself the harder you have to work on yourself. Is there ever a day you can just "be"?  This is me warts and all and I am happy? I'm not there yet.

This Ginger is still under construction.


  1. Ginger you don't sound crazy, you sound like you are going through and anxious time with out your old familiar crutch. It is rough but it forces us to find new coping mechanisms. Be kind to yourself and proud for not falling back into old destructive patterns. Bid hug

  2. Well done! You didn't drink. You coped. You are not psychotic, you are stressed. Hugs. xxx

  3. Oh no, thats just awful. How can a workplace just do this to it's employees? It's not right. I really feel for you, and I hope no matter what happens you will be ok and able to make ends meet. After reading your blog for a long time it's clear just how much stress your job causes in your life. I hope one day an opportunity arises somewhere else, where you will be much happier. x

  4. I'm so sorry this is happening. I hope things resolve themselves.

  5. I am under construction, too.
    You are not alone.
    I wish I handled all things well, but I don't.

    That is a very stressful situation at work.
    I hope you know one way or another soon.


  6. Tough times, I hope things improve for you. Well done for not drinking. SO x

  7. You didn't drink, you didn't add more fuel to the fire, be proud of that! Life is hard at times, I hope your work life resolves itself sooner rather than later.

  8. Hi Ginger, I also exploded all over my daughter yesterday.My son ran into the other room because the shouting scared him so much. Not my proudest parenting moment. Work stress is getting way too much for me. BIGGGGG WIN on not drinking. I had a fleeting thought about wine too and then even the thought irritated me. Money and work is such a big trigger and I am still learning how to navigate this. I also feel like a pressure cooker. I am the only bread winner at the moment and my kids are still small. Sometimes it all gets too much. At this point in my story I have to just focus on the bigger picture at the end of the day. Are the kids still alive? - check, am I still sober? - check. Can't do much more than that at this point. Once I have a bit more time (and sleep) I can focus on how I'm going to improve this unpredictable situation I'm in. Sending you lots of love. xxxxx

  9. We were all happy last night - my 12 year old daughter and I went to my 11 year old firs basketball game. Then my 23 year old daughter called from uni to tell me the price of postage and she needed money. it was for a good reason but it all turned to crap really quickly. Sometimes these things just happen, stressed or not - that's family folks xx

    GG - you give me amazing advice (I just posted about it on Putting Down the Glass's blog) and I am so sorry you are going through this. From a legal prospective they can't do that (well not in NZ anyway) but one would think if you have picked up a new tender then that mean MORE staff not less. Weird right? Sounds fishy - who would undercut themselves to increase temporary cash flow yet ultimately lose profit? That's the accountant in me :)

    Anyway, good on you for not drinking, when the shit hits the fan we revert back to "the pretend-ness of alcohol" what a load of crap that is too.

    You are one tough cookie Ginger.
    God's speed!
    Michelle xx

  10. Oh I so feel for you. Such a LOT of stress. Everyone is right though: you stayed sober which is strong work in the face of adversity. It's hard to figure out how to even -have- sober emotions.

  11. That is a very stressful situation to deal with daily. You're doing amazing. Keep it up!

  12. Bloody hell Ginge, I could feel the tension rising in your piece. Probably best not to punch daughter. You should read the chimp paradox. Can't remember who the author is off hand but he says that now and again, you have to let your chimp out and it bounces off the walls and then you put it away and your rational self takes over. My chimp often gets out and goes for a long fucking bible and is a right bastard to get back in the box. My work is also coming to an end here and am casting around for another job, without much of a positive result so far - not that it helps you much. Anyway, got to go and catch a chimp.