You know when one drop of ink taints a crystal clear bowl of water? My work situation is tainting an otherwise beautiful time in my life. I won’t be listing all of the horrible awkward details here, but they include our program head making passive-aggressive comments in meetings, calling me out on mistakes no one else would have even noticed, and hiring people who don’t fit into our clinic and make everyone uncomfortable. Many of the coworkers I was close to have left or are waiting for their new hire dates – seven, to be exact, in a clinic of only about thirty people altogether. The program head has stopped making weird comments about my pumping and now is uber-sweet about it. Then today she called me out on a mistake which was really embarrassing and then told me (with a falsely sympathetic and patronizing look on her face) that I could come to her if being a new working mom is too difficult and I need to talk. 

The thing that’s bothering me the most is how I respond. I’ve spent the last few months processing all of these happenings in my coworkers’ cubicles or in the hallway. I’ve given one of our new “supervisors”  who doesn’t fit in and acts better than everyone else (mind you, I have a higher degree, have been licensed longer and have worked at the clinic for longer) the silent or bitch treatment, depending. I’ve said things to this woman that shock me. And recently, since she’s started being grossly sweet, I’ve made myself vulnerable to her, ie, admitting how tired I am, identifying my weaknesses. Suffice it to say, I just don’t feel comfortable about how I’m handling it all. 

When I began to realize how serious the situation was a few months ago, my intention was to rise above and end up proud of how I handled it. In some ways I am – I haven’t quit, I’ve delivered what I believe to be excellent services to my clients, and I’ve supported my interns the best I can. In other ways, though, feel ashamed of my mistakes and sometimes dirty for venting so much. 

It took me a long time to learn how to behave at work and in social and professional situations. I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD  twice by specialists who do extensive testing. Usually people grow out of this disorder, but I was re-diagnosed at age 25, which is rare. Because of my inattention and related anxiety, I do make small mistakes. I do behave impulsively sometimes. I do lapse into fight or fight reactions. I’m also really emotionally sensitive. I want to be strong and deal with this situation effectively, but it’s hard. Every day I leave my awesome child and COMMUTE to a job that then makes me feel sick. I drive away from my family. I pump three times at work and get barely any milk. Sometimes in meetings I’m so anxious and offended I’m shaking and my heart is racing. I’m on high alert all the time. And now, tonight, I’m feeling like some of it’s because I’m not smart enough, professional enough, organized enough. 

I’ve known for awhile that I need to work in a certain type of environment with a boss who is supportive, easy-going and appreciates my strengths. This is NOT that environment anymore. It really was when I started, so it’s very disappointing. I am working SO hard, seeing clients back to back, working with women who refuse to see the new therapists because they don’t like them (she hires people who don’t fit into the culture) and supervising the two psychology interns day in and day out. I’m working so hard and things just get worse – I feel defeated. 

I’m not sure what the universe is trying to show or teach me, but I know it’s something. Hopefully writing this will help me come to that realization. I’ve tried mindfuless, being strong, recognizing myself as much as possible, and always getting support from J. I’m hoping things will get better soon. And a little surprise if you’ve made it this far – we are seriously considering moving back to San Diego soon! So maybe there’s a light at the end of the tunnel…

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