Monday, December 31, 2007

Today I only cried once...

And so, I cried at work, again.

This time though not in front of a manager or director.

It stemmed from an interaction with my director, but I managed to hold off crying until I left her office.

It's gonna be a hard few months. *sigh*

Happy new year everyone! ;)

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Dyslexia as an Adult - the beginging of the journey

I think I’m going to use this blog space to chronicle this for a while, so be forewarned that it’s going to be a lot of (possibly whiney) introspective ramblings, so you may want to skip it. Also, they’re likely to be long winded, there’s a lot of stuff in my brain that I have to move out of here.

I’m a wreck.

I haven’t felt this way in a long time. It’s not depression, it’s something else. I was about to say it’s something intangible, but that’s not true, I know it’s source, I just don’t know how to compartmentalize it so that it isn’t spilling out into the rest of my life.
Basically this has everything to do with my past post.

The problem is not that I’m dyslexic per se (although, I think I may have some issues floating around somewhere in my muddy brain about that too), but what that has means for me at work, and what it will mean for me in the future.

I know that my manager and director thing I’m not performing to the level I should be for the level of job I have. This is especially painful right now because I’m about to have a performance review, which is going to be wildly painful, and I suspect will involve tears (on my part, not my managers *grin*).

So, good news first.

Friday at work I broke down crying in front of one of the managers (not mine, everyone was on vacation, this was the manager who was holding down the fort and was helping me with a piece of writing I was trying to do). Now, that doesn’t sound like particularly good news, except she was really good about it and has agreed to help me through this. I told her that I have a doctor’s appointment to get myself referred to a specialist and that I’m working on coping strategies and on and on. She said that kind of a proactive approach bodes well for me, because it didn’t have to get to a point where someone had to pull me aside and say “you’re work is shit” (my words, not hers) and then have to deal with it then.

She said she would work with me through this and said (and I agree with her) that it’s probably better to have a mentor/coach for this kind of thing that is someone you don’t report to. A really good outcome of the conversation is that she said she is going to approach my manager and director and tell them what’s going on and what we have planned. I know it maybe sounds like I’m wimping out letting her do that, but I really do think it’s better. She’ll be able to talk about it in terms of workplace accommodations and point out my strengths and make suggestions for different approaches and things like that. Me, I’d just be trying my best not to cry (and likely not succeeding) and wouldn’t be able to really put things in context. So, this is a very good outcome.

And yet, even though I have this really good outcome, I’m reeling. I’m terrified of what all this means. I’m full of a feeling of failure because I can’t do the work. My confidence at work is shot. I’m so obsessed with it all that I basically can’t seem to enjoy a single minute of my day. There may have been 5 minutes on Saturday where it wasn’t filling my brain, and as a result filling me with a ridiculous amount of anxiety.

I don’t know what I’m afraid of. I’m afraid they’ll think I’m faking. I’m afraid that I’ll never be able to learn. I’m afraid I’ll be dead weight at the office. This is one of those things that I have hidden my whole life, I don’t know why, but it is. Something I’ve found ways of coping with. Hell, I even learned to write in a reasonably coherent way by just writing the way I speak (those who know me in real life and read this blog know that read this just basically sounds like what I say out loud), but writing the way you speak doesn’t help in government. I can’t write a briefing note or a slide deck the way I would speak. So it just gets jumbled and incoherent and hard to follow. It makes me want to pull my hair out. The person I spoke to on Friday (from now on we’ll call her Coach) said that she will help me with that, that she’ll sit down with me and come up with really specific detailed outlines and then I can write to those. And yes, I do use outlines already, but once I start adding the details to the outline that gets jumbled too.

Wait, where was I? I don’t know, there’s a hell of a lot of stuff going on here, but it’s a muddled swirl, I can’t seem to grab and identify the separate pieces, so it’s making it bloody difficult to pick one item out and address it.

The bottom line is I have to deal with this, and it's not going to be easy. So, I guess I'm scared.

Being scared sucks.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

dyslexia woes

so, I'm dyslexic.

have been for as long as I know.

I have always managed, so nothing was really done about it in school.

I remember it coming up once when talking to an academic advisor (aka guidance councelor) in university and discussing that the feeling was since I was also depressed, and I seemed to have my own coping mechanisms for the dyslexia, that we should focus on that.

Mostly my dyslexia has been something that kind of frustrates me, and often gives me fodder for laughing at myself. For instance, in the world of letters that I mix up, for some reason one thing that I will do often is write "reslut" instead of "result" - good times are had by all when I'm writing at the white-board...

But lately things have been different. The focus of my job has kind of shifted, and suddenly, instead of being someone who does a lot of giving of advice and consulting with folks, I'm someone who is expected to deliver a lot of written products, strategic products. It kind of changed without warning because the direction of the Branch kind of changed.

on one hand I'm very excited about the opportunity to learn lots of new skills. on the other hand this is one hell of a painful learning curve. And, just to make things more interesting, my dyslexia gets way worse when I'm stressed.

So, basically I'm pretty stressed about work right now. Filled with anxiety and yech. I think I haven't been performing up to expectations for the last while while I'm learning all this.

This being me, I do have a plan. Step one will be to go and get assessed and documented, which I think I do through my family doctor. If I'm documented then at least they can't penalize me for it, in fact, technically I think they are required by law to provide reasonable accomidations, which, in my case, is just going to be mostly talk to me about it, let me talk it out then figure out how to write it.

Step two (the terrifying step) will be to talk to my manager about it.

Step three will be to seek out resources that help with this kind of stuff, and do some actual considered work to figure out coping mechanisms that will help me.

Step two is the scariest because I'm just worried that it's going to look like an excuse or something, because I've been there for three years now, why hasn't it come up before, that kind of thing.

The truth is, I didn't realise what it was until a couple weeks ago, and I've been sorting through it in my head since then.

I certainly have some weirdness around this, not sure what that's about.

In fact, I am having some general life weirdness these days. I'm not depressed at all, but I'm not in great shape. I think it might be time for me to go back to a therapist. And of course, because of my inability to set priorities, apparently what goes through my head when I think about this is "when will I have time for that?!?!?!"

I think it's time for me to do some serious self-care. So, I'm going to have to figure out what that self-care involves, and what I need to give up to do it.

la la la...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Anyone have this week off?

Okay, I have someone to go to the Nutcracker with, but what about the rest of the week?

I took this week off to hang out with my mum, but due to various circumstances, she can't come into the city, and I can't get out of the city because I have some things I have to take care of here.

So, now I'm kind of sad and lonely and have a rediculous amount of time on my hands during the days this week.

Anyone got some time free this week? Feel like doing something distracting with me?

Anyone want to come to the Nutcracker tonight?

Turns out I'm going to the Nutcracker alone tonight, which frankly doesn't sound like *that* much fun to me.

Is there any chance that anyone out there in blogland (well, Toronto blogland) is around tonight and maybe wants to come with me?

Monday, December 17, 2007

I've been tagged...

Eight random facts
(1) Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
(2) People who are tagged need to write a post on their own blog (about their eight things) and post these rules.

1 - I'm dyslexic. I spend a lot of time and energy and effort trying to hide it. It's kind of biting me in the ass at work right now though, so I need to figure out if I can get myself some official documentation as an adult (I think it's usually something they document with kids...) in a back-pocket just in case kind of way. I also wonder if there are places that I can learn more coping mechanisms for it. I am kind of working at coming to terms with it.

2 - I am full of confidence in my personal life, but completely insecure at work. It's possible this is somehow related to point 1.

3 - I lived in Zambia for 2 years and Barbados for 1 year as a child, but I was born in Guelph and keep coming back to it. I suspect I will live there again in my lifetime.

4 - My favourite author is Philip Pullman and I am equally terrified and excited to see the Golden Compass on the big screen. I really want to see it, but I am terrified they will ruin my favourite book.

5 - I actually enjoy doing the chicken dance *ducks a tomatoes are thrown at her*

6 - In a little over 4 years I will have been with my partner (John) for as long as I haven't. That is to say, I'll have lived 18 years of my life without him, and 18 years of my life with him.

7 - I straddle the border between extrovert and introvert, but my defense mechanism is to just pretend I'm always and extrovert. This has diminished somewhat, I now actually allow myself to just leave the big crowds of people instead of feeling obligated to stay in them and getting stressed. If you'd ever been to a party at my house you will notice I spend all my time in the kitchen talking to a few people at once, rather than in the main part of the party with the big group of people.

8 - I think subserviant chicken (from burger king) was the best thing ever to have graced the internet. (well, that and the recent cat wake up call cartoon that has been floating around)

No tags, I don't generally tag folks.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Theatre in Montreal

Okay, so, Dan's recent comment about theatre in Montreal made me think that I should post a bit about theatre in Montreal. It's a mecca for French-language theatre, but I'm going to guess that the comment was directed to english theatre, so...

You can find:

A Christmas Carol until Dec 18 - Montreal School of Performing Arts ($12 includes coffee and cake!)

We Women until Jan 25th on Fridays only, by Gleams theatre company that apparently doesn't have a website, which seems pretty bloody short-sighted to me...

Wildside Theatre Festival Jan 8 - 19
I love theatre festivals, you never know what you're going to see, good or bad.

Half Life Jan 24-Feb24
I don't know anything about this show, but it's directed by Daniel Brooks who is an absolutely wonderful director who I love.

Relative Good Feb 26- March 30
I know nothing about this one, it's a directed by the author, a Montreal playwright.

Maddly Heisler March 25-April 30
Again, looks cool, don't know anything about it.

Forever Yours Marie-Lou April 22-May25
This is a wicked play. It's a Michel Tremblay play, you can never go wrong with Michel Tremblay.

Montreal Fringe Festival June 12-27
Fringe festivals rock.

For more ongoing theatre you can check out:

The Segal Theatre

Variety of theatre and improv

National Theatre School

Concordia Theatre dept

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