Thursday, November 3, 2011

Unintentional Abandonment. Never even saw it coming.

I am officially on information overload. And trying to stifle the sheer panic I feel. One of my coworkers just told me he is leaving to take a better position in California. I’m devastated. He’s the guy that was really able to pull me out of my shell and is always dragging me off to this and that. He has an incredibly wonderful way of making you feel included and is always interested in everything you have to say. His constant good mood is contagious, and not in an obnoxious way. He’s also one of the most brilliant people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing (and I’ve know a lot of brilliant people). He has the exceedingly rare quality of being both a genius and incredibly personable. I don’t know about you, but I deal with a lot of genius types and they tend to run the gamut of anti-social, socially clueless, or condescendingly asshole-ish. He’s definitely one of my anchors here who’s helped inspire my confidence and make me feel like I am contributing as an integral part of the team.
He’s leaving.
I’m crushed. And panicking. I’m terrified by the thought of him no longer being here. Somewhere over the past few months without me even realizing it he became something of my anchor here. A steady rock solid source that I could rely on if I came up against something that I hadn’t encountered before. Which is a lot. This is actually not me second guessing my own wealth of knowledge. I changed engineering fields with this job so there’s a vast array of new information, skills, and techniques to take in. I’m learning, growing, and expanding my own abilities at an astounding rate, in large part because of the guidance I’ve received form this guy. He’s definitely my mentor here. He already said that any time I had questions I can call him or e-mail him and he will be happy to help out, but it’s not going to be nearly the same as being able to walk across the hall and sit down and figure things out in a hands on way.
My mind is reeling from the thought of not having his support.
And then I want to kick myself for letting myself rely on him or anyone else at all! Everybody leaves! But I never even saw this coming! Never suspected! Everything seemed so nice and stable and everything was working out so well! Out of nowhere. If I had just stayed more to myself I wouldn’t be so devastated at his departure. At least this doesn’t feel personal to me. I’m not internalizing it as my fault. Of course, it won’t actually happen for 3-4 months so I may just not be processing it fully yet.
In the mean time I’m spending as much time as I can just listening to him. The amount of knowledge he imparts in only 5 minutes of conversation is enormous and my brain feels like it’s ready to burst, but I have to soak it up to prepare myself as best as possible for when he actually goes. For my job and for myself. I’m hoping that the more I can learn and understand, the more confidence I will have so that I will reach a point where I do not feel the loss so deeply.
If I can push myself to learn more, be better, than I won’t need him. ß---- As I write this I’m looking at it and my schematherapy is smacking me in the forehead. See, I do learn.
::sigh:: I’m just so sad. And angry. And lost.
My mind just runs down these paths of destruction creating worst case scenerios where I get fired for not knowing everything that he knew. I feel like I should somehow already know the 20 years of experience he’s had dealing with this specific field and because I don’t I’m in danger. I know this is irrational, I was hired knowing that I’d never done quite this kind of thing before and that it would be a learning experience. The FEELING is still there. That I should know everything already. Where’s my matrix hook up? Jack me in. Upload. Bam. Done. I should know everything. Fuck.  
How do you prepare yourself for something you don't even see coming? My crazy relationships I can at least mentally prepare for usually. Not this. This was so normal! If even the normal things can change and leave so suddenly, how can I have hope that anyone will ever remain solid and in place?  I know this is life, and things like this happen all the time, but it doesn't make it any easier to process.

4 comments:

  1. i'm sorry you're feeling so bad.
    when someone we like leaves,especially so suddenly, it's always a shock.
    it's normal to rely on a 'mentor' or friend,and it's also normal to feel as if someone pulled a rug from under your feet when that person leaves.
    so be kind to yourself,you have a right to feel the way you do.
    as for processing it,you should talk to someone(friend/therapist),it always makes things easier.
    Think of it as something unpleasant that can however turn in an opportunity for you to learn how to deal with abandonment >i believe you'll see all the bad scenarios you're thinking of will not come true...

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  2. Fortunately I have therapy tonight so I'll be able to talk to my therapist about it.

    I'll try to think of it as an opportunity. I have a feeling my therapist is going to look at this as an opporutnity to work on my abandonment issues too. I hope all the bad scenerios don't come true. I mean, they havent' so far, but still. I just can't help how my mind ruminates on every single possibility. ugh.

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  3. I'm sorry that you are feeling this way, hopefully your session with your therapist helped you feel better. Catastrophizing and worst case scenarios are draining and overwhelming. I always try to remember that the ground is still below me and the sky is still above me no matter what happens. It may not feel like it is, but it is. My therapist has a great answer when I ask her the what if..."bad scenario" questions.. she always says that we will deal with it if it happens. I don't know, it comforts me. It takes some of the scary out of the "if" part by saying something will happen after, that my world isn't going to end if the "if" happens. Also, this coworker sounds like an awesome guy, but don't put him on a pedestal even he can't reach... he's still human and so are you. You do an amazing job with this blog and provide insight and understanding to so many people. I am new to your blog, but have read quite a bit over the past couple of days.

    On a side note, I am in grad school for psychology and was reading about cognitive distortions and pretty much checked them all off.. fantastic! I have to laugh about it... or else I would probably start catastrophizing about catastrophizing ;-)(thought a little humor about it might help)

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  4. Dx'd BP type II and pretty damned sure I'm BPD (though on the mild-to-moderate side) also.

    I've become very close with a coworker. We've sat next to each other since the office opened 3 years ago; the past 2 of those years, we've been isolated from the rest of the folks off in our own corner. We've both lost parents & been through other issues during this time, and have been mutually supportive. The office suite we work in is very nice, lots of light, a nice kitchen, good coffee service, large, new cubes, all that stuff.

    Last year my company bought out a small competitor across town and now she & I are being moved over to that office, which is much smaller, older, and poorly appointed generally. They set up some new cubes; 3 really small ones in what had been a storage room (at least it has windows), and one quite large one out in the reception area. Our new boss had us come over to pick out where we wanted to sit, and it happened we had to go over at different times. I told him that I'd prefer the one of the three back in the corner, but if my coworker really wanted it instead of the middle one, that the middle one would be fine with me. So the next day, my coworker told me that she'd chosen the large one out in the other room because she uses so much printed material and she needed the room (whereas I do almost all of my work online). Of course my immediate thought/feeling was a stab in the heart, and wondering WTF I'd done that after 3 years of being together & supporting each other, she no longer even could stand to be in the same room as me.

    Of course, the reality is that she *does* need the extra room, and she'd be incredibly uncomfortable trying to work in one of the smaller cubes. This time, I managed to keep it pretty well checked and just had to walk back to my desk quickly and breathe for a second. By the time she came by & stopped to talk a minute later, I was rational again. Or as close as I get, anyway. Yeehaw.

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Leave me a comment! It makes me feel good and less paranoid about talking to myself =)

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