This is a bit of a personal post, and a book review at the same time. Mental health has been a trending theme, it seems- especially, in the world and time of “The Great Resignation and COVID.” I’ll start off a bit about my experience. I loved my previous job, but… I didn’t know to properly set boundaries and to say no. American culture makes it hard to say no, establish healthy boundaries, and to the job tends to suck life out of you.
Starting over is scary. It is one of the reasons why we stay where we know the outcome. It is less scary to take the leap than to stay where you are unhappy. My conscious would question at first… “are you sure you are comfortable with this?” I ignored it, I ignored the very essence of me and all the red flags that were there. Soon, the rational voice stopped and instead I started to feel nothing. My very close coworker tried to help me set boundaries, and help me, but things still happened; and often happened to her as well. The people that I had spent so much time with- they felt like family. They had invested in my knowledge as well and yet things got sticky and worse. In the end, choosing me caused me to loose one of my close friends.
The issues didn’t really arise for myself until I stood up for something I was uncomfortable with- then I was gaslighted and forced to continue working in a toxic environment. (Forced in the sense I needed the job to make a living, and stayed in this uncomfortable rock and hard place due to that need.) I am not writing about this to complain about my previous job, there were aspects of that job I loved and thrived in- until I was no longer able to keep calm and carry on. I am a fairly easy going person, but I was becoming cagy, stressed, and angry. I felt like an ostrich, or a turtle; I wanted to hide. Nothing made me feel better, the love I had for what I was doing caused me anxiety and stress. The stress got to the point where I felt the world would be better without me and even at that, I kept going and still stayed. My family started noticing I wasn’t really present in conversations, my mental health was hanging on by a thread. I didn’t know if I could hold my tongue anymore, and I didn’t want to snap at people.
So I quit, I quit for myself, and for my future so I could fix what was going on mentally for myself. I found a job that has a very team oriented environment that encourages healthy boundaries. It feels like a safe haven, and still does. Everybody has a story, the person may look happy and content; but no one EVER fully knows what is going on. What I didn’t know, was all of the stress was compounded and never released- could and DID cause some HORRIBLE issues.
You spend the most time with yourself- it might be wise to show yourself compassion, and to talk kindly to yourself. First of all, finding a counselor/someone to talk to was hard. The wait times were either a couple of months or minimum of six months. Thankfully, I had a friend who was kind and kept pushing me to find someone- I found the most amazing counselor (had to wait a month, it was worth it). That was just the beginning though! I thought once I quit I was going to feel relieved and begin feeling like myself again; that didn’t happen. I didn’t understand what was happening to me, I was dealing with horrible nightmares, facial tremors, anxiety attacks, I couldn’t be in a room with more than 5 people; going to the store was a disaster- people would ask me why I left my previous job and I couldn’t take it. I reached out to my doctor until I could speak to my counselor. My doctor, she gave me a couple prescriptions, but she gave me a VERY useful tool too. She recommended the Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle; it was a life saver. I was lucky, I have a support system that lifts me up. Some people aren’t that lucky.
Things that helped me: hugs from my loved ones, yoga, hiking, yard work, working out, cuddling my dog, physical therapy- help to retrain my nervous system, bubble baths, acupuncture, counseling, talking with the doctor, talking with friends/family. Only you know you, it never hurts to try something new! Everyone is different, there are other things that may work well for you.
Burnout: The Secrets to Unlocking the Stress Cycle, Book review:
Did you know that Burnout kind-of sort-of stems from the days when humans were nomadic? The Hunter Gather period. The book delves so much further into why things happen, and why our bodies respond the way they do. It is like a map/hack for the brain! It is awesome. I listened to this book on Audible, and also the paperback copy- so I could make notes. I have re-listened to it, and I think it is a tool I plan to use over and over! I feel like anyone and everyone should read this book. The book talks not only about burn-out, but being kind to yourself/ healthy boundaries and healthy ways to navigate unhealthy situations. Get Burnout! You won’t regret it!
Find it on Amazon here!
Listen to it on Audible here!
Suicide Hotline: 800-273-8255 ; ask for help!