Actually I had hoped that this little text would somewhen appear on “To write love on her arms”, a page about depressions and everything related – but since they have so many pitched articles, mine fell kinda off the edge of the table.
But as I invested time and effort in it nevertheless, and it had been quite some writing with an “aha effect” for me, I will share it with you anyways!
I am a planner, organizer, everything in control person and people say I m great at what I am doing – probably that’s why I made this to be my job. Juggling with time frames, deadlines, humans and money is what I do in my job with passion and a perfectionist’s precision.
Luckily, or unfortunately, I am also in my private life in a passionate and tight relationship with my zillions of to-to lists for every day, and my little pocket calendar – all spread throughout my whole apartment. Under the couch, on my desk, on my wall…
You might be laughing about it, as I usually do – but you know what I noticed? This urge to plan everything in detail (even vacations are my planning-victims) has started just when all this chaos in my head, as I call it in a way, started.
So much had gotten lost in these storms of thoughts, feelings, fears and ideas that at some points I wanted to make up for this “weakness”, officially labelled as depression with a tendency of bipolar behaviour. I didn’t want to forget appointments anymore, let down friends and forget my family’s birthdays so I started this all. I found my own ways and I realized how good it felt to actually be in control of something – noting everything down in something tangible gave me this feeling of security that I was able to carry around and simply look at when my brain forgot what day it was and what was on my plate for the day.
And being in control of at least something in my life as I felt like – that was what I liked about it. More and more – every day I also realized how much others appreciated me being in control of my life as they thought it was like. And how they liked to have me help with planning parties, vacations, surprises – I was someone to rely on when it comes to the detailed planning, not forgetting a thing. Because somewhere, on some sheet of paper, I had it all noted down. You just had to find it somewhere.
And this is also how it was in my profession as a project manager – if you look at me, I am perfectly organised, I rock a team of quite a few members and don’t forget a single deadline or important matter to discuss. What noone saw for a long time was, that it wasn’t all in my head. It was in my two calendars, my lists, the messages to myself in the company’s chat tool. I was functioning as you would expect it to be for someone who works on a project bringing millions of revenue – as a ypung woman in the IT business you have to stand your man even more, I always thought. Show no weaknesses, go strong or go home.
But they saw how it looked inside of me when I had lost my calendar with important appointment info and to do lists. Those days were tough ones at work, needing to explain to people why I all of a sudden forget meetings, deadlines, important matters even though they were raised just a day or even a few hours ago. I felt stripped, naked, busted – and waited for everything to fall into the tiniest possible pieces. And I waited. And waited. And nothing happened – people joked about me being human at last, and built me up again. I made it bigger than it was to my team, and it was an amazing feeling to see and especially feel how I was accepted with my flaws and noone had stopped appreciating me now that my “mystery” was laid open. And I was surprised that I was not even alone with depressions in my team, suddenly I had peope come up to me and out in meetings with me, feeling even more safe and understood before and after all these experiences that I made, I simply had to help and encourage my folks tob e open about it as it´s nothing tob e ashamed of. Have them do what I didn´t dare to do before this mistake that I really do not regret anymore, it´s turned from a curse to a blessing because it enabled me tob e myself. A 100% myself and not just a person wearing a mask to fit the system or what I believed was the system right there.
You see, not every weakness ends up being a “contra” point used against you – I learned to be creative to work around those weaknesses and maybe be ahead of them, and learned from failing to hide them. Embrace yourself, embrace what others see as weaknesses or flaws and think outside of the box to turn them into strengths that make you stand out. Because if you you, it´s not only making you human and feeling better, but you might just as well be an inspiration to others, fighting the same silent and hidden fight as you were before „coming out“.