I shot myself in the foot today. Metaphorically not literally, though maybe that would have hurt less. At work I spent the day doing two things. One was editing a file which had to have very precise syntax. I began the day feeling sad and self-hatey for no particular reason, so when I got to work I made some careless edits to the file, daring myself to slow down and check it through but secretly hoping I’d get it wrong so the voice that tells me I’m rubbish would have some ammunition. Predictably, I had made a mistake, and with each alteration to try and fix it I got more and more stressed and less and less careful, so it took someone else pointing it out to get me to see the error.
The second thing I did was trying to run an application. There are lots of settings which need to be correct, and although I was pretty sure they should all be fine I spent a long time restarting, changing small things, changing them back again, turning my entire computer off and on again, before I decided that even the humiliation of admitting my struggles would be preferable to extending them any further. I asked for help. The swift reply came that the particular version of my application was broken and wouldn’t work no matter what I did. Had it crossed my mind that the fault could lie other than with me, I would have saved several hours. I just assumed I would fail, and it led to my failure.
I dealt with this whole episode very badly. As with this blog, I didn’t tell anyone about it until the worst was over and I could pretend to be lighthearted about how my team must think I’m useless because I spent a whole day on something relatively simple (and asked one of them to do something complicated with a program they’d never even used because I’m scatty and thought they had). I can also be lighthearted about my coping mechanisms, which consist of biting my finger really hard when squeezing my stress ball doesn’t cut it and… that’s it.
Things I use to cope when not at work include wearing clothes I love (a jumper I stole from my dad, which is huge and grey and snuggly, and the t-shirt I bought a while ago which says ‘I can do anything’… which I’ve lost. And I hate losing things, especially when I don’t know where. So that one doesn’t work anymore), eating lots of sugar (which is effective for about half an hour, then the opposite of effective) and trying to be nice to myself (heaven knows I suck at that). Ironically the sermon at church this week was about coping mechanisms but I missed it because I was helping with the children’s group (something I find stressful and occasionally difficult to cope with). Coping is hard. Not coping is hard as well.