I’m struggling with being unreliable in my everyday life/work. For the first time in my life, starting months ago with my collapse, I am not the reliable, responsible, get-things-done person.

It’s been both a welcome relief from pressure, and it continues to scare the shit out of me.

A number of things, beyond and on top of my battle with depression/anxiety, are causing an ongoing state of flux. Which means it’s hard for me to guarantee I can be there and complete tasks. Which makes me unreliable. I can’t promise something when I honestly have no idea what the next few weeks/months will bring or what will happen next.

And all of this right when I’m trying to re-enter life and move forward beyond my breakdown. To get back to being reliable, but with better boundaries. The timing sucks rotten eggs.

I know there are people in my life that have walked away from me (some without talking to me) because I’ve been unreliable. It makes me sad. And a bit angry. Why? Because I have been the reliable one for my entire life. For everyone. And now that I can’t be that, some folks walk away without even a conversation. It hurts, too. Hurts a lot. But mostly it makes me sad. Because I know there’s nothing I can do to “fix” it or change their mind/opinion, even while I respect their decision. I don’t know what their struggles are right now, and they might not be able to deal with me and my struggles/issues/depression/anxiety.

I also don’t have anything left to fight anyone or anything. All of my energy is focused on other things, both moving forward through my mid-life breakdown, and the recent things beyond/on top of it. And as anyone with depression/anxiety will tell you, many days just continuing to breathe is a big ask.

Which brings me back to struggling with being unreliable.

I can’t remember ever being that. I’ve *always* been the one to get-stuff-done. The one that is always there to help, to support, to step in and fill in the gap. The substitute player from the sidelines, that people depend on and assume will step-in, even though most of the time they forget I’m there. The one people call when they need something because they know I’m reliable/responsible and trustworthy and won’t judge them no matter what is going on and what they need. It’s not my place to judge them and their challenges/journey. I’m not them. So instead I do my best to support them, to be there, and be that reliable/responsible/helpful person. For anyone and everyone.

It makes me uncomfortable to not be that reliable person for everyone. To be the one that needs help but is still learning how to ask for it. It had become part of my identity, to be reliable. I feel like I’m floundering, floating along un-tethered. I’m not sure how to ground myself.

I don’t want to be unreliable. But right now I have to choose to continue it. Because turning my back on the things that are causing the flux and uncertainty isn’t something I could live with. I have to put those things first, to take care of me, to let someone else be the reliable/responsible/get-it-done person for everyone. The alternative, to walk away from the things causing the uncertainty in my life…I know I’d regret it. So it’s a non-starter. I can’t do it. I won’t.

And it’s hard. I feel guilty when I think about what I’m not doing and what other people have had to pick up starting when my collapse/breakdown happened all the way to now. But the thought of not putting everything causing the flux before everything else makes me ill, which is worse than the guilt.

So I choose the guilt. I choose the struggle with being the unreliable one in my everyday life/work.

I’m working on finding a happy medium where I can be present in my everyday life/work yet be unreliable in the long-term picture, but it’s a struggle. It’s not black and white. There are no clear defined lines/boundaries to work with in this struggle. It’s all gray and nebulous.

But some things will always outrank everything else and will always be worth the struggle. And being unreliable right now is worth it.


About slmcdanold

I’m learning to laugh at myself on a daily basis. I’m a librarian (cataloger) and I love it. My job involves all things metadata related in any and all formats. I have been known to cause a ruckus when necessary (aka troublesome cataloger) and make no apologies for it. I have a passion for continuing education and teaching. I’m a newbie coder (still learning). I like to cook. I’m a fan of rugby (go Australian Wallabies!) and ice hockey (go Detroit Red Wings!). I’m car-free and bike/walk a lot. I’m learning to love running one stride at a time. I own (and love) a very mouthy cat with a punk attitude and a slightly neurotic rescue mutt.
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