I’ve been working hard lately. It is an understatement to say that I have a lot on my plate. My team has grown to 25, and I have a number of big projects front and center right now. While I have many different projects to think about big and small, there is one particular project that happens every year around this time that has intense deadlines and deliverables that are out of my control, and I am the only person with enough of a handle on the big picture to tackle. I need to be on my game, and it isn’t a time for anything to go wrong, but on the Friday before the Memorial holiday weekend it was clear that everything would go wrong, and I would just have to fight my forward and resist letting everything fall apart.
We had entered the portion of the year between when Isaiah died in May of 2020 and is birthday in June, so shit was heavy and emotionally thin. I had spent the morning of the Friday before Memorial Day not eating so that I could have my liver scanned, had woke up generally grumpy about a number of work related, and was still struggling to process what had happened in Uvalde Texas. I was tackling my regular workday, while also preparing for working 12+ hour days over the 3-day holiday weekend so I could fulfill this annual project before it’s deadline which happened to magically shift right into time I scheduled off to process Isaiah passing, and I felt a strong snap. That mental break that sounds like the sizzle of a desert highway in the midday sun. I’ve seen it many times before, but I couldn’t let this episode own me. I had to find a way to get through the next week so that I could not just finish this project, but be there for my wife during her time of need.
I was laying on the couch, crippled with anxiety and sinking into the pits of a depression. All too familiar territory, and I knew that I couldn’t let things slide any further, and I had to find a way to not just operate Kin in safe mode, but I needed to find some fuel to get him through. I’ve long perfective my approach to using my anxiety for fuel to get me through work times, which ultimately ends pulling me out of the ditches of depression. However, I found that I am also am getting much better at separating out the layers of what the fuck is wrong with me, identify any usable fuel, while also setting aside the things I can’t do anything about, and light the fire under my ass regarding the things I can do something about—resulting in the following layers:
- Kin is a Loser - This is a well known fact that I honestly get fucking sick of hearing, so anything in this category goes directly into the fuel category.
- Done More for Isaiah - I’ve worked through this one sufficiently and come to the conclusion that I did everything I could to help the kid in his journey.
- Is My Liver Failing Me - If it is it is all your fault for drinking and doing drugs, no reason to dwell here to much until we know more—-it is what it is.
- I Deserve a Holiday - Holidays are arbitrary social constructs, and I am taking the entire next week off and will have plenty of other time in the future.
- Those Kids in Uvalde - My heart just hurts for those kids and families, but there isn’t anything I can do to help them here in Oakland, CA today.
- Conservatives are Destroying the Country - This one triggers me because of my upbringing, let’s work on this later, and just use as a fuel for right now.
- This Project is Too Much - No it isn’t. You are one of the few people who can tackled projects of this scale, so shut the fuck up and get to work.
Peeling back the mental onion that has me paralyzed on the couch helps me see everything that is contributing to my state. There are a number of things going on here that I cannot control or do anything about, so let’s be honest and set those aside. However, there is actually a shit load of fuel here for me to burn to get me through this project, so let’s take some of this anger and hurt and use it to power through the shit ton of work I have to accomplish over the next week. With this approach, it all becomes much more doable. My entire body still aches and my head is spinning with a range of messed up thoughts, but I am functional. OK, get the fuck off the couch, and get to work! Anything but success here is unacceptable, and I refuse to give in to the world today.
I did just that. I got up off the couch and went back to work. I worked through the weekend and on into the week. I got everything 90% of the way, a week ahead of the deadline, and one day before I was scheduled to take time off work to celebrate Isaiah s time on this planet. I didn’t just do it, I am pretty confident I did a really good job at delivering on the project I needed to get done. I went into my time off work much more confident in my abilities, proud of my follow through, and my ability to be present for my wife as we spent a week celebrating the kid. This outcome is the result of years of experience being a professional “Kin Handler”. Learning to identify early on when Kin has drove things into the ditch, then figure out how to turn that anger, anxiety, and depression into fuel for work. Which to some my seem like an unhealthy way of dealing with mental health, but for me, my career is my savior, and the number one reason I am sane and able to be a functioning human being. I am very thankful my career as the API Evangelist, and have a lot of gratitude for my role as Chief Evangelist at Postman—it is the cornerstone of the amazing life I am leading today, and will be for the next 47.38 years. ;-)