Mind control

After a quiet start, my new job’s gradually gotten busier and busier, to today which was actually quite stressful. I’ve been asked to help organise this big event that the charity is running at the end of the month for all its volunteers, where they’ll be giving out awards and making speeches etc. I’m having to contact lots of people in the organisation to get information that can be posted around the event, e.g. highlights of the year, photos, interesting stats that people will be able to browse while they’re waiting for the event to start. It’s turned out to be a much bigger responsibility than I initially thought; and at the same time I’m having to help K out with other smaller reporting projects that aren’t all that easy.

While I’m trying to organise things I still feel very new, but through the work I think I’m gradually getting to know my role and the way things operate, which is good. I still love the office and the people, I just wish the job paid enough for a place of my own in London, but I know it never will. Well, at least it’s an interesting job.

There was some extra stress today as we all had to move desks. Our experienced colleague, A, wanted to move to a desk in the corner of the room, away from front of house where she doesn’t want to be any more. Someone would need to replace her at reception and the whole team agreed that P would take that place, as she has a friendly face and just seemed right for it. I certainly didn’t feel right for it, and no one suggested me going there, thankfully. With P moving it meant I could take her desk in the other corner, a perfect place for me to set up camp and become invisible at will. So far I’d been sitting near to reception with my back to the door, not feeling very comfortable as I’d have to turn around every time someone came in to see one of us.

We did all the moving this afternoon and P clearly wasn’t happy about losing her comfy desk in the corner. It took ages for all the phones and desks to get sorted out, during which time she became visibly sulky as she waited. I got the feeling she would have been much happier keeping her old desk while I went to reception. I wanted to tell her that the whole move hadn’t been my idea, and that our manager was the one who wanted her to go on reception, not me – but I recognise that it won’t do any good me starting an argument. I got into those situations so many times before at RG, and I just want to be more professional here. So I didn’t say anything. The best thing for P to do, if she’s really unhappy, is to tell K, who will have to sort it out.

From experience I know these things happen in small teams where you’re working with the same people day in and day out. You’re not always going to agree on everything. At least I’m not counting the days here, like I did throughout my time at the bank. And at least I’m not obsessing about my time at RG any more. Since I started at the charity I’ve hardly thought about it, to be honest. I can definitely cope with the low pay when the job gives me such peace of mind.

Yesterday there was a quick one to one with K, who seems pleased with my work so far. I like to think I’ve been able to impress her with my efforts to get to know the organisation, and in helping her out with the mini projects she’s been sending my way. She mentioned that we’ll be catching up every two weeks until the end of my probation – which she hinted that I’m sure to pass, unless anything goes horribly wrong in the meantime (please don’t let it!) I would honestly love to keep this job and stay for many years like nearly everyone I’ve met there, get so used to work that I know it all inside and out like A. Clearly it’s a good place to be with people staying there for such long periods of time. It was never like that at RG or at the bank. And yeah, it is one of the world’s most well known charities, so obviously it will do me good to stay there, personally and professionally.

If I do stay maybe it will become the career path I was looking for instead of counselling. Who knows? I know I’m going in the right direction at the moment, and it’s so good to have that feeling back.

I felt stressed out today but it wasn’t entirely to do with work. It was more to do with mum’s passport. She applied for a new one recently and although they’ve sent her her new one, she hasn’t had her old passport back yet. It’s been almost a week and it should be here by now. It’s so silly that we’ve both spent time worrying about something that’s bound to get sorted out soon, but what can you do? We both have that disease of anxiety. All I can think about is someone finding her old passport and stealing her identity to commit some huge crime. Never mind that an expired passport probably isn’t going to do any criminal much good, the idea is in my mind now and it won’t leave until we have the thing back safe and sound.

I really don’t think anything’s going to happen, and maybe the fact that I can say that with some conviction is a positive sign. Even though a visceral dread has underlined my day concerning this matter, I can still be aware of what it’s doing to me and quiet myself with logical words. Maybe I just have to hang onto that.

That needless dread has made the day much harder than it needed to be. I was so anxious on the train to work this morning I thought I was going to kill someone. It’s like I’ve got so used to worrying about anything I actually want to worry now, even when I know what it’s about and why it’s pointless. I’m still automatically trying to control things that are out of my control. I’m not handing anything over unless I remember to, which isn’t very frequent.

It’s all proof that changing one’s brain patterns is an incredibly hard thing to do. After nine years I’m only just starting to try. I guess I’ve been starting to change for the whole of the past nine years. Who knows, maybe after twenty years I’ll find myself in the middle of changing, as opposed to still at the beginning of it!

I’m trying to give up porn again. A few weeks ago I managed two weeks of abstinence, until a slip which saw me descend back into mindless addiction quite quickly.

I understand clearly how this addiction works today: I stare at hot men in public, it turns me on, builds up an excitement in me to the point where I have to go home and use porn. All these behaviours reinforce each other so strongly, that I know it will get harder and harder with time to ignore the cravings for porn. I can’t just stop looking at attractive men in public, they are everywhere. To disconnect that behaviour from its reinforcer, porn, I will undoubtedly have to go through weeks of mental torture. When I tried it before I could only manage two weeks before I became so weak with desire I practically rushed home on a Friday evening to use. It’s my crack cocaine.

I’ve heard that a month can be enough to break any habit. Whether I’ll be strong enough to last a month this time is anyone’s guess. I really want to right now, but anything could happen in the next few weeks. Stress tends to make me particularly susceptible to triggers. And by giving up porn I have no idea what my ism is going to want to fix on next. When I’ve tried to give this up before it has clearly revealed to me the void in my life. The less I use porn the more my thoughts become dominated with how hopeless my sex life is, and how unobtainable the men I really want are. Since I gave up alcohol, internet porn has been the crutch I’ve used to avoid those feelings.

It tells me I can’t do without it, that I don’t need to. When I’m on a train and I see someone stunning, the addiction latches onto their image and literally forces me to stare. To avoid staring is a strenuous effort, the action of staring has become so automatic. I’m like Pavlov’s dog, I just can’t stop myself from drooling.

This isn’t like drinking. Where thought processes are involved it’s not a simple case of stopping in an instant. If I do ever manage to recover from this addiction, I don’t know what’s going to happen, whether it will allow me to form better relationships in my life, or if it will simply mean I never enjoy an amazing orgasm again. Whatever is to come of this, I know that the addiction has gone too far. It’s not just the money I’m spending on porn videos every week, it’s the fact that it makes me behave like a crack addict. Every time I use, I feel cheap and dirty afterwards, and I’m hurting myself ultimately by wanting a fantasy I can never, ever have. I can’t predict how long I’ll stay clean for, but just for today I don’t want to use. Just for today, I can do it.

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