You may have noticed, if you are a frequent follower of SWB, that there have been several long blips where I have simply vanished over the last couple of years. These almost exclusively match up with periods of ill mental health for me, and mirror the rather pathetic picture of what the past few years have been like for me.
I don’t like to harp on about my anxiety and depression- not because I’m trying to hush it up, but because I write because I enjoy writing, and because I want this blog to be the sunshiny place it should be, considering it is so full of cake. But, I have anxiety and depression, that is the truth of it. And my job was making me a lot worse.
I’m not going to go into the nitty gritty of each miserable detail of my descent into woe, nor each nail splitting, heart wrenching step back up, nor knock back down I’ve suffered. But looking back, a frightening number of blips match up to times I had to be signed off work, or times I tried to fight my way back there.
The job I did was an good job- well paid with a reputable firm, several benefits… it was also in London, and pretty dull. It was waaaaay outside my field of interest, being that is was a financial firm, and there wasn’t even a hint of creativity or do-gooding to the work. The deadlines were pressured, the work load high, and the payoff not grand. Such as are a great deal of jobs I have done. Such as are most jobs. However, this, combined with some shakeups in my personal life (including my father leaving and being made homeless), combined with some real ‘characters’ in the office one by one snapped whatever cords were keeping me balanced, and I fell. And looking back over the past couple of years, I never really made it back up.
In March this year, after another six months off sick and several botched attempts to return, I bit the bullet. I quit. It took three days of panic attacks to do, and the final day in April took another three days of doom to face, but I did it. I left. I never need go up to London again, except for pleasure. I also don’t have a job.
But you know what? Financially, currently, I’m not any worse off. After a time, sick pay withers away, after all. Obviously I need to find employment, but for now, nothing has changed. Except the two ton weight I’ve flung off my shoulders and into the abyss, that is. Within days of quitting, people noticed a difference in me. I noticed it too. I could smile again. And laugh. I didn’t sit locked and tense, eyes darting all the time. I relaxed. I slumped. My confidence started to return, smidgen by smidgen. I went on a date. I started going out more, and feeling able to cope with that. The shrivelled little version of me left crumpled on the floor began to pick it self up again.
I’m not saying I’m fixed, cause I’m not, but I am better. My creativity is back. My energy is better. I want to do things again. I feel stronger, and prettier and more powerful than I have in years. It’s like my doctor said; it’s amazing what the wrong job can do to a person.
So…. what have I learned? Well, I’ve learned that a pay check and healthcare is not the be all and end all in life. Yes, I need to pay my mortgage, but wanting to not wake up in the morning in the darkest way is NOT the way to do it. I have to be true to myself.
Currently I am job hunting, and adapting what I’m looking for. I instantly signed up with agencies looking for a carbon copy of the job I just left. Which is really fucking stupid, excuse my french. I’m nearly 27- I need to fall into my career now, and stop dicking about putting things off just so my bank balance will look ok. Look how much good it has done me thus far.
Current plans include pushing my arts and crafts ‘business’, which I have been doing for years and happily earns me a bit of pocket money. In terms of bill paying work, unless the former suddenly leaps ahead, I’m going to canvas bakeries and cafes with my wares, and ‘worst comes to worst’, take part time work, so long as what I’m doing isn’t completely soulless.
So yeah. I did promise you’d get wet with my thoughts this month.
I hope today finds you bright and sunny, despite the weather. I’m off to find some brunch, then pack for a trip to Brighton. Whee!