I quit my job. God, I feel so liberated. The stress immediately melted off. My anxiety was reduced to almost nothing. My mental health almost immediately rebounded. I feel SO MUCH better.
Granted, things are going to be a little tight until I find a new one, but we decided that ultimately my mental health was more important than a paycheck. I think we both knew that I was on the verge of a breakdown. I had told my psychiatrist earlier in the week that my mood felt very brittle. I was soldering through and maintaining, but it wouldn’t have taken me much to break. And it was going to be a big break. Bigger than last year. And I couldn’t have told you which direction it was going to go.
So we talked, and I sent an email.
It’s done. And it feels. So. Good.
I had forgotten what it was like to be out from under all of that stress. I feel human again. I’m sleeping better, I’m eating better, I feel like a new person.
The last week has been filled with getting our ducks in a row, but starting tomorrow the job hunt begins full throttle.
Hello fair readers,
I’m trying hard to adhere to my goal of posting more often. Let’s hope this trend continues.
Anyway, on to an incident this week that made me realize that despite my apparent stability over the last five months I’m still walking a tightrope of emotions. I’m not sure if anyone heard about the CNN/Apple glitch this week that sent the same push alert multiple times. If by multiple times they mean almost 50 alerts in 20 minutes, then sure. Between my iPhone and my iWatch I got the same CNN news alert that the guy that had triggered the inbound missile alert was fired almost 50 times in 20 minutes. But at the time I didn’t know this was a glitch. I was at work and the two would not. stop. dinging. My coworker estimated that I was getting an alert every 8-20 seconds. Turning both the watch and the phone off didn’t help. By five minutes in, I could feel the rage building. By ten minutes I was practically shaking. That same noise repeated over and over and over again was pushing a button that hasn’t been pushed in a long time. I could feel the rage in my chest. My heart rate was increasing. I was starting to sweat. It was the beginnings of a massive panic attack that had a really pissed off component to it. I wanted to break my phone, my watch. I wanted to slam something off of the desk. I probably should have taken an Ativan and in the moment I did have that thought, but I was clear-headed enough to know that I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to go into that blissful fog. It was almost time to leave and I knew if I took one I might not be okay to drive home. So I breathed. I took off my watch and put it and my phone in a drawer. The alert sound was still there, but it was muffled. I could deal with that. At the end of the day I dealt with what could have been a big trigger, and I survived. Clearly, therapy and all of the tools that it put in my toolbox are working.
One important thing that my therapist and I talked about today was goals. I always set myself goals every year. I write them down in the back of the TARDIS notebook that I haul around with me everywhere so I have a reminder of them. But goals, when you have a mental illness, can present challenges. Some everyone who sets goals experiences, and some that might be more specific to those with mental illnesses.
Everyone procrastinates. It’s a normal part of life. But sometimes that procrastination isn’t really procrastination. How are you supposed to accomplish anything when getting out of bed and getting a shower are extreme challenges? Procrastination goes hand in hand with motivation. Sometimes you have to put your goals aside and ride through those times the best you can. It’s ok to say “I can’t do this right now” and set other things aside and focus on the small things – getting a shower, getting through a work day, eating regularly, having a conversation with someone.
Fear is another component. For me, at least, that fear is bourne of the thought “what if I don’t accomplish this?” Am I setting myself up for another failure? Can I handle this kind of failure? How will I feel about myself if the end of the year comes and I haven’t accomplished this? Am I willing to take the risk of trying and not succeeding? Fear goes hand in hand with doing things outside of your comfort zone. There’s always a fear of doing things outside your comfort zone, I don’t care who you are. There’s a reason that it’s called a comfort zone.
So here’s some of my goals for this year:
- Find a new job – this is the biggest and scariest thing on my list. I’ve been at my current job almost six years. I know how it runs, I know what to expect, it’s familiar. But I went back and got my MBA so I could move on to something new. I need to put aside my fear of the unknown, and the fear of changing careers, and get on with it. Someone told me recently that the first job is always the hardest to get. And I think that’s very true. I have the education, I just may not have as much experience as a new position might call for. It’s time to start small. Maybe apply for jobs that might be a step below what I actually should be doing, but instead focus on getting in with a company where there’s room to grow.
- Lose ten pounds – this isn’t going to be easy. One of the medications I’m on has a side effect of increased appetite. I definitely get that. At times I get ravenously hungry and eat everything in sight. So I need to work at making better food choices, and probably eating at least light snacks more often to curb that. I put on ten pounds in four months last year after I started it. We just bought an Instant Pot so I’ll be cooking more at home now that I can cook things a lot faster.
- Continue learning French – I started using Duolingo last year, and made great progress on it until the Great Depression of 2017. I kind of fell off using the app during that and never got back into it. Time to pick it back up. I at least want to make progress this year as the goal next year is to go to the Benelux countries. At least passable French would be helpful.
- Quit smoking – at the very least I want to get back to vaping rather than smoking. Baby steps.
- Read 35 books – I’m on book number 2 right now, so I’m a little behind. But I’m going to work on catching up over the next few weeks. Maybe I should start posting book reviews.
So that’s that for this week. What could have been a major setback turned into a small victory. And I’ve set some pretty lofty goals, but go big or go home, right?
Over the past number of years, because of the lithium, risperdal, poor eating habits, and just not going to the gym like I should, I’ve put on 40 pounds. As much as I’d love to blame the meds for all of it, I really can’t if I’m being honest with myself.
So it’s time to take some action.
I’ve been eating better over the last few weeks – cooking healthier lunches for work ahead of time, not stopping at Sheetz on the way home from work, etc. I have a gym membership, I just really don’t use it. (I’m paying for the thing, I really should get down there a few times a week and make use of it.) I definitely need to watch portion size – doesn’t do any good cooking healthy meals if I eat twice what I should.
But it’s time to really knuckle down and do something about it. I’m not going to run out and do some fad diet or the 21 Day Fix or some other trendy diet. Just good old fashioned eating better and hard work.
I know that the meds are going to make it hard to lose the weight, and honestly? If it’s really that bad I may ask to switch them to something that weight gain isn’t the most prominent side effect. It would be better for my physical and mental health to drop the 40 pounds on a different medication than to keep carrying it around.
So new trend starts today.