This may sound bizarre, but I feel like people can't really know me unless they know my demons. I mean, it's not like if a random person catches my eye in line at Starbucks I feel the need to blurt out, "I EAT AND PUKE!" But rather...if I'm going to get to know people, like really get to know them, I feel this weird compulsive need to warn them of my diagnoses and neuroses as if to give them the chance to run away from me while they still can.

Case in point: some of my co-workers at the nursery school. I love my job. I absolutely love, love, love my job. It's my sanity, my 6.5 hours a day where I'm outside my own head, my excuse to hug and kiss sweet toddlers and to run and play and be silly. It's my time to practice my patience (deep. breaths. GOOD LORD.), to learn from others how best to handle tantrums, biting, and hitting. It's my time to get served sand-pancakes by eager two-year-olds expecting dramatic YUMMY reactions every time. I love sand-pancakes! Just look away, kids, while I secretly dash the sand out onto the ground while you think I'm eating it!

My co-workers are amazing too. I feel so lucky to work with a group of young, talented, passionate women. And lord help me, it's SO NICE to interact with adults during the day while taking care of kids!!!

But as I've gotten to know to a few of my co-workers, I feel like I'm hitting an invisible wall, an invisible barrier, that I have to break down before I can get any closer to them. I feel like they need to know that I sometimes eat huge amounts of food and then throw it up because it makes me feel numb. Or that sometimes I don't eat for a really long time because it makes me feel in control. Or that sometimes my anxiety takes over so much that I become a really, really shitty friend. Or that my depression was so bad when I first started my job that for the first, oh, month or so, I cried in my car during my break every day. Or left and threw up.

See? See, co-workers? I have mental illnesses. Yes I can do my job, yes I can be great with the kids, yes I can still function as a human being. But look at me! Before you become friends with me, you should know I'm fucked up!

If my wonderful therapist were reading this, this would be the point at which she would look me straight in the eye and say in no uncertain terms that everybody is fucked up and I need to stop making such a big deal about myself.

And I know she's right. 

Sometimes my anxiety makes me a shitty friend. (Cait knows all about this and for some reason, she still loves me.) Sometimes I use unhealthy behaviors as coping mechanisms. Sometimes I can't push away the depression while I'm at work.

But you know what? Often, I'm a good friend. I'm fiercely loyal, and I will make terrible jokes to make people laugh, and I'm a hard worker. I know I have demons, I own up to them, and I'm getting through them with the help of my therapist, medication, Cait, and the sheer benevolence of the universe. Often, I feel like I can be a pretty good person to get to know.

So, to my co-workers: Hi. I'm fucked up, but probably so are you. Want to be friends?


Sholeh said...

Hiya- it's one of your co-workers. Guess which one!

I'm working my way through your blog little by little. It has made me laugh, it has made me cry. And yes, your a little fucked up, so am I (who isn't in some form or another?) but I find that I love you more and more each day. Please know that you have someone at work that you can talk to open and honestly with when you need/want to. I may not always be able to relate or fully understand where it comes from but I will always listen. So please oh please oh please can we be friends????!!!!!

Erin said...

I really just want to be able to click a HUGE "like" button on this post because of your brutal honesty! Yes, we're all fucked up, that's for certain and probably should just be a given in life. Thank you for allowing me inside your world, so that I can become more familiar with mine.

And, co-workers??!! That's sounds awesomely amazing...

Melisa said...

Very well said!!!! You are beautiful and amazing!!! We are all "fucked" up and anyone who says they are not, they are "fucked up" the most!!!! Wish we lived a little closer.....we would be good friends!!! So thankful you have someone like Cait in your life. Keep going forward.....keep getting better and keep your chin up!!! You are loved much!!!!

Melisa said...

OH.....AND WORKING WITH KIDS.....IT IS THE BEST PLACE YOU COULD EVER BE!!! Kids help us forget out cares and worries for a little while. I love my job....even though my job is interviewing for court and talking to kids about the incredibly awful things that adults do to them.....they still have an awesome innocence about them which makes my heart happy!!

Anonymous said...

My favorite Chinese saying is:'No one can hang a flag outside their house which says 'no problems here.' Because yep, we're all fucked up in one way or another.

The Babysitting Lady said...

It is so true, everyone has their own issues. What seems horrible, crazy, or ridiculous to one person may seem mild to another who perceives their own issues to be much worse. You sound like you truly love your job and the children you care for and that's really important. If you want to confide in your co-workers about your eating disorder, that's up to you. But don't be surprised if then your co-workers start confiding in you about their issues (and you might even think theirs are worse)!

Anonymous said...

Except for the eating disorder part, your first paragraph describes a younger me. Could this type of need to let others know how messed up you think you are (in order to protect them?) be hereditary?

It may help you to know that I eventually grew out of it. So may you.

Lyn said...

I'm right there with you sugar. I went away for treatment as a teenager and it put to slumber my battle with anorexia and bulimia for a long time. But now, with my stress and depression at an all time high I've started it all again. It's that feeling of control over some aspect of my life. I guess it goes to show that you never fully overcome your demons...
You have no idea how much I needed to read this post today.