I confess. I was a toxic person.
A “toxic” person can possess many different characteristics — some can be more harmful than others. What do you do when you realize you have a toxic attitude?
I never imagined myself becoming a toxic person. It started in about 2017. I had gone through a tough time with my mental health and I believed I had gotten past it. In my mind I was fine, but looking back I was still not OK. My mood swings had become more frequent and other people were noticing. At work, I was told my attitude was affecting the office. I felt like my multiple sclerosis (MS), which causes mood swings, was not being acknowledged.
Working became something I hated. I had to force myself to go and I would arrive angry and moody. Although I thought I was hiding this emotion, it was on full display. I would have a comment about anything and everything, or my body language would show that I was over it. I was always taking on too many tasks and would become overwhelmed. This would send me into a rage.
I never wanted to go anywhere or do anything socially. I would just sit and be angry at the world. My conversations consisted of complaining or badmouthing someone else. I began to notice people tuning me out when I would start to vent.
When I lost a friendship, I realized my bad attitude and mood swings were outrageous. This friend and I talked every day. At times, my replies were snarky and hurtful. It didn’t occur to me how much I was hurting this person’s feelings. One day, I made the wrong comment. It was the last day my friend and I spoke.
Making a change
Losing my friend took a toll on me. Sitting and reflecting on my actions and attitude really made me upset. I had to stop using my MS as an excuse for my attitude and I had to make a change. My first step was quitting my job. I decided that this was a toxic place and it fueled the fire inside me when I was there. I was not a good employee nor was I a good co-worker to be around.
My daily home routine and habits changed. I had been averaging three to five hours of sleep a night. This was another reason why I was always mean and miserable. I started taking antidepressant medications that helped with my sleep, and I started doing hot yoga and reading. These improved my attitude tremendously.
I started a new job and vowed to stay positive. I don’t sweat the small stuff or take on more then I can handle. Pacing myself to make sure things get done in a timely manner and asking for help when needed also assisted in my change. I now look forward to interacting with my co-workers.
This experience was definitely an eye-opener for me. I know that my MS changed my mood and emotions, but I don’t want that to be an excuse for my actions. I have learned a lot about myself and decided to move forward in a positive way.
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