I’m not gonna lie. 2022 has been a tough year for me. I really struggled with my Depression and Anxiety for most of it. I’m glad to put 2022 behind me. At the same time, I feel like I am more resilient at the end of the year than I was at the beginning. There were parts of 2022 that I do/did appreciate.
Note: see “M*A*S*H” Abyssinia, Henry (TV Episode 1975) – IMDb for context on the title of this post. The sentiment doesn’t fit super well, but the reference was just too much for me to pass up.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?
While I think this phrase is a gross oversimplification, and is sometimes outright bullshit, I do think it holds SOME truth. We ARE undeniably shaped and impacted by our experiences. Sometimes the result is some kind of growth (I’m not referring to some random protuberance that appears on someone’s face here) and we end up better for it. But sometimes experiences just suck and that’s all there is to it.
Everything happens for a reason?
This is a phrase that I find to be a common one people of faith use when someone they know is going through some shit. The reason is usually that God has placed this challenge in their life to help them grow or to test them in some way. While their intentions may be good, I find this phrase/idea to be decidedly unhelpful drivel.
Let me explain.
I’m a recovering Catholic. I still consider myself a Christian; though I don’t use my Christianity as a weapon or a stamp to mark people as “other” or “less than” like so many Christians do nowadays. That shit infuriates me. I place more blame for this on leaders in organized religious groups than on the individuals, though. While religious faith (not just Christianity, but all of them) can help people find meaning and even some peace in their lives, I firmly believe that religious faith is also an amazingly convenient means for people with power to manipulate people without power. Way too often, faith is the hilt people offer to religious leaders to allow themselves to be turned into instruments of harm.
No. there is too much. Let me sum up.
I believe, when you boil things down to the most basic level, EVERYTHING happens for some combination of four reasons:
- Human decisions
There are undeniably folks who will take issue with my excluding “the will of God or some other deity/deities” in this list. That’s fine. I’m not attacking anyone here. Just sharing what I believe. To me, the idea of a god taking discrete manual actions to affect each and every person’s life is to label that god as a moron.
Even a junior-level database administrator knows that relying on manual tasks to maintain even a hundred databases (let alone billions) is a guaranteed path to failure. So they use automation and scripts to allow their efforts to scale. Even if one’s response is that an all-knowing god IS capable of doing all this manually, why would they do their work in the least efficient way possible? Are junior-level database administrators smarter than an all-knowing god? Really?
I jumped up on my soapbox a bit here, huh? I hadn’t intended to when I started this post. But I’m keeping it in so that this post is an accurate reflection of what’s going through my head right now. Again, not meant to attack anyone.
A look back at 2022
I feel like some sort of retrospective of accomplishments from 2022 would be valuable for me, so here goes.
- While I did not post often, I did continue to blog about my experiences with mental health challenges. Since this is a personal blog, I don’t pressure myself to post with any particular schedule. I post when I am able. I don’t post when I am not. And either is OK.
- I had a fantastic year at work. I’m in my dream job at Microsoft where I help the folks who produce Power BI and related products and services understand the goals, priorities, and challenges of some of the world’s largest organizations. Feedback from all sides was that I went above and beyond even though I was just doing the job the way I felt it should be done. That feels great and keeps Impostor Syndrome on the sidelines way more often than not.
- I had the courage to take a leave of absence/medical leave from work when I realized that I just COULD NOT get myself well AND do my job at the same time. I am fortunate to have this as an option, both from a benefits/financial perspective, as well as from the standpoint of a compassionate and supportive manager and team.
- Back in July, I started sharing daily check-ins on how I am feeling/doing each day. See #MentalHealthDailyCheckin » Can’t Juggle (cantjuggle.com) for more on this effort. I started just posting on Twitter and eventually added LinkedIn and Instagram as well. I’ve only missed a couple of days, which greatly exceeds my own expectations. Since I have never had the discipline for keeping a journal, this has been a very low-effort way to reap some of the benefits that others get from journaling. Also, the feedback from this effort has been amazing. The outpouring of support and appreciation for my openness has overwhelmed me with joy and love from friends, family, coworkers, even total strangers.
- It took a bit longer than expected, but I did finally get my youngest daughter to say, “tits.” See There are no “bad” words » Can’t Juggle (cantjuggle.com) for more on this noble pursuit.
- I managed to make it through my first ever experience in which suicide felt like a really good option. See Cat Pee, Suicide, and Bananagrams » Can’t Juggle (cantjuggle.com) for more on this.
- I made the incredibly difficult decision to surrender 3 of our cats in order to do what I needed for my own mental health even though it was a very unpopular choice for my family. See Surrendering Cats: Pre-game Show » Can’t Juggle (cantjuggle.com) and Surrendering Cats: Post-game Show » Can’t Juggle (cantjuggle.com) for more on this.
- For the first time, I shared that I am the child of a sex offender, around which a lot of my childhood trauma revolved. See John Cazale and Inmate 19250 » Can’t Juggle (cantjuggle.com) and Overcoming Victimpostor Syndrome » Can’t Juggle (cantjuggle.com) for more on this.
I made some really difficult choices this year. On the whole, I feel like I made the right ones. I’m still here. That’s a big one. I’m hoping 2023 is less… interesting for me. I can’t imagine having another year so jammed up with strife, tribulations, bullshit, drama, and so forth right after this one. I made it through 2022, and I’m proud of that, but 2023, take it a little easier on me, yeah?