Wednesday, June 30, 2004

It's amazing how easy it is for one to trick oneself.

Lately I've been feeling depressed. And I was blaming it on my job. "This is too stressful for me," I'd say. "I can't handle working in such a high-profile job. I can't handle having to find newsworthy stories every single week. I can't handle not having enough time to do the reporting I need to do. I miss freelancing. I want out." And then I'd feel really lousy, first because what kind of idiot gets a coveted job like the one I have and then doesn't like it? But moreso because I felt like a failure. Why can other people handle the pressures of being a reporter for a high-profile paper, and I can't?

But then I realized, this isn't about my work at all. Because really, it's not. First of all, for all the pressure I put on myself, and my feelings of inadequacy, neither my editor nor anyone else at the paper has given me any indication that they think I need to improve. It seems safe to say that they are generally happy with my work. Second, my editor happens to be one of the best bosses I've ever had. He's even-tempered, fairly consistent in his instructions (not always, but 90 percent), answers my phone calls, is polite to the employees, etc etc. Considering that he's a newspaper editor, these qualities are even more unusual for a boss! And third, yeah, it's a lot of work, but not so much that I couldn't have a life, if I were organized enough to have a life. The work is a lot, and stressful, but not so much that I should be feeling overwhelmed.

No, the problem is just that I'm depressed, and it's easier to blame my work than to confront all the other things in my life that I can't handle. There are other things that have been disappointing, and I haven't been taking care of myself. It's so easy to say "I'm not taking care of myself because I have too much work," but it's not true. I'm not taking care of myself because I'm just not.

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