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MadeOfScars posted 1/28/2014 10:27 AM

I've already lost my marriage for all intents and purposes. I don't want to lose my health or my job in the mix too. How have some of you been able to compartmentalize?

My job comes with a lot of responsibility along with the 26 people who report to me. Since getting the news I've barely been able to focus on work. Some people suggest throwing yourself into work to help get through times like this. Some suggest exercising like every waking moment of the day. I'm rambling, but my question is simply how do you make yourself do what you need to do with this hanging over you?

strangeasfiction posted 1/28/2014 10:35 AM

If you find out please please let me know. My first step would be some counseling. My first IC session is later this week. I need it like yesterday.

jenfrat posted 1/28/2014 10:40 AM

It's a problem for me too. I'm a high school teacher and it's hard not to let what's going on at home affect me at school.

silentscream13 posted 1/28/2014 11:44 AM

I do it. I wish I could tell you how I compartmentalize. I have always done it. My IC says it is a coping mechanism I developed as a child. Unfortunately, it also comes with a cost when the compartments become to "full" and I cannot close the doors any longer. Things like rage and despair overflow.

I am slowly starting to learn to open the doors and let some of those feelings come out later when I am alone. My IC also suggested (today actually) to either get a punching bag or start taking boxing classes to help me with my rage.

I think the way I do it is to honestly just shut that part of my brain down and pretend like everything is fine. Years of participating in theatre paid off I guess.

If you just tell your brain to focus only on the task at hand and keep practicing that you will begin to compartmentalize in a healthy way. I wish I could be of more help.

kalimata posted 1/28/2014 12:02 PM

Yes its difficult to compartmentalize. I wonder how to do it myself all the time.

If you find yourself straying at work, try to shift your focus on happy memories (kids, vacations, etc). Something else besides the affair.

yearsofpain25 posted 1/28/2014 12:03 PM

Good question. Not easy and I'm not exactly sure how I do it. Somehow I visualize the actual entrance door as a 2 way place where I check my bags. On the way in I drop off my personal baggage and pick up my professional baggage. Then on the way out I drop off my professional baggage and pick up my personal baggage. It doesn't always work but most of the time it does. I have to focus a bit to do it. Becomes difficult when the two are related.

Howie posted 1/28/2014 12:08 PM

It is murder. I was in a total daze on the job.I reported-I felt I had to do my duty but I was often, for about three months, very dysfunctional. Luckily,as a research librarian, much of my work was solo.The work helped at times,as a distraction from pain but performance was very hit or miss.In a more demanding environment,I would have been in real trouble.I was very s-i-c-k.As it was, some suspected but no one knew the real issues.Faced with disciplinary action,I would have revealed my angst and hoped for mercy.After three months, my performance began to gradually improve and by 5 or 6 months, I was fine-workwise.
I did use various mental tricks : "box"this issue, turn the mental tv channel,etc,that helped. Seeing, for one month (twice weekly,hourly sessions) a professional counselor helped since expression of my sorrow and rage,lessened the distraction.Ultimately,only time passing really solved the distraction issue.
The pain is unbelievable and of course it affects work.Don't be hard on yourself.Ask for help.You can get through this.(Nice side effect of the betrayal,isn't it?). Best-

Brandon808 posted 1/28/2014 12:22 PM

In a nutshell....

Get pissed. Get really pissed.

I think of that scene from the movie Good Will Hunting

Sean: My dad used to make us walk down to the park and collect the sticks he was going to beat us with. Actually the worst of the beatings were between me and my brother. We would practice on each other, trying to find sticks that would break.
Will: He used to just put a belt, a stick, and a wrench on the kitchen table and say, "Choose."
Sean: Gotta go with the belt, there.
Will: I used to go with the wrench.
Sean: The wrench, why?
Will: 'Cause fuck him, that's why.

I struggled, don't get me wrong. However, the times when I got myself fired up and was able to focus was when I put myself in that mindset.

Why did I keep going. Keep trying. Keep pushing all the shit that was done out of my mind when it would have been absolutely reasonable to curl up in a ball?

Because f*ck her...that's why.

RealityStinks posted 1/28/2014 12:57 PM

SoulHurts -
I was in the same boat. It's still hard at times, and it takes me longer to get things finished sometimes. But, it gets better.

Early on, one thing I did that helped out was making lists. I felt like I was writing out instructions for an intern, but I found it helpful to be able to cross things off one at a time. I felt like I was accomplishing things and it also reminded me of what I had to get finished that day. It broke the day into more manageable pieces and took away some of the feeling of being overwhelmed.

Hang in there man, time helps.

self-rescuer posted 1/28/2014 14:34 PM

I made a spread sheet that sectioned off each hour of my work day. During each hour,I would focus like a laser on the work at hand but at the top of the hour, I'd make a huge X on the hour I'd just survived. At that moment - that brief moment - I'd allow myself to feel the gut wrenching agony.

Then I'd give myself credit. Sometimes the credit was for getting my work done well. Sometimes the credit was for not vomiting. Geez - I filled out weeks of those charts. They kept my life from being a blur of pain.

I've not thought of those charts in months. It was a simple little spreadsheet but it kept me productive and focused and oddly, comforted.

greenashes posted 1/28/2014 14:47 PM

This is something I struggle with and not just in regards to my current situation, with everything bad that happens. I think people have different coping mechanisms but for me I allow myself to break down and shut down for a couple days (hopefully a weekend). Then I go back to the world but I don't beat myself up if I get overwhelmed in the first couple of days. I then immerse myself completely in whatever task I'm performing and only allow myself to think about the next step. After some time goes by I then start to think back on what happened for short periods to process it. I hope you find what works for you.

SadInNC posted 1/28/2014 15:44 PM

For the first 2 weeks, I couldn't deal at all. I was basically in a fetal postition in my bed. When I did get up, I drank vodka and went into horrible rages and hysterical crying. I guess I'm not the best person to give advice here.

I was supposed to start a new job! I had to postpone my start date by a few weeks because I knew I could not begin a new job in the mental state I was in. When the day came that I had to start work, I just made up my mind that I had to do it. I did not want to go! But, I have found my inner dragonlady and I switch to her when I go to work.

theansweris42 posted 1/28/2014 17:05 PM

I've been good at compartmentalising since I was young as well...

After DDay I was a brutal mess for about 3 months. I'm now entering into month 5 and I am feeling almost completely back to normal. I have between 5-10 bad hours per month, I'd say... This is compared to 24 bad hours per day during the first few weeks.

Although skeptical, I went to 2 hypnotherapy sessions in the first couple of months post-DDay. I had tried being hypnotised in the past and thought it was a bunch of hooey, but decided it was worth a try because the mind movies and rage just wouldn't stop. As a person who is generally pretty good at controlling my emotions, the roller coaster was distressing me a lot. I'm not sure if it was the hypnotherapy or just my own coping mechanisms, but I've been able to push most of the bad stuff out of my conscious thoughts. It sometimes pops back up to the surface, but those are usually times when I'm stressed, tired, or hormonal.

The hypnotherapist did some exercises with me to get rid of the mind movies (did some guided imagery to get me to replay the movies from end to beginning, and then taking the tape out of the player, putting it in a box, putting that box on a train, and waving to it as the train headed off in the distance... This even sounds hokey as I type it now... I'm a natural sceptic...).

But yeah, maybe hypnotherapy might be useful for you. I kind of approached it as "it's worth a shot, my mind can't get any more messed up than it is now." Five months out, I'm feeling pretty sane most of the time.

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