My life a little over a year ago was half wonderful and half awful. From the outside looking in one might say, “She shouldn’t be anxious! Her life is great!” And perhaps you see your own life that way and you discount your feelings?
On the home front, everything was and still is thrilling. I love my husband more and more all the time. We are doing well financially and have a beautiful home. My dog and cat bring me joy every moment I’m home. Yes, home life was great.
Work life, not so great. My job, which was my first career position using my degree- sort of- was a major stress on my life. We had no employees to do the work we promised to do. Well, we did but he was not particularly a great employee nor was he competent in the main part of his work that we as a company were trying to sell.
By the last six months, I was the only employee. We had issues with clients and the work that was done on their homes caused by piece of shit contractors and no way of solving those issues because it was already done on our dime and we were running out of dimes.
The month leading up to putting in my notice I cried every day. My weekends were dreadful because as soon as Friday afternoon rolled around, the anxiety I felt about Monday being right around the corner was already weighing on my mind. Every day I pulled out of the driveway of my work there were hands wrapped around my throat, squeezing, squeezing. My chest felt like I was having a heart attack, although I knew I wasn’t. There were tingles behind my ears and up the back of my head. My stomach was in a constant state of ache and, TMI, but I had loose stool.
Diagnosing isn't rocket science people
The stomach ache and bowel problems were not new. It was something I struggled with for seven or eight years on and off. It may seem like too much information for you, but it is a common symptom of anxiety. (Also, I’ll tell you a well kept secret….everybody shits.) I went to multiple doctors, had multiple tests done including ultrasounds, a scope shoved down my throat to look for ulcers, tested for celiac disease and H. Pylori, and CT scans. One doctor wanted to send me for about $1000 worth of blood work and at that point, I said no. You name it, I’ve probably had it done.
Not to mention the anxiety that I was under from thoughts about having stomach cancer or another fatal medical diagnosis. This is the way an anxious brain works. In another post, we will talk about catastrophizing.
It was all exploratory. It surprises me that it took as long as it did for me to realize my stomach issues were directly correlated to anxiety. One highly anxious day my symptoms began to return after being dormant for months which gave me the revelation that my stomach issues were related to my anxiety. And it was only half a year ago that I realized this!
But, when everyday is high anxiety and my stomach was always hurting, I couldn’t see that it was related to any specific thing. My life was anxiety. It was my normal.
Seeking out help...Finally
After all the tears, choking drives home, and exploratory tests to see what was causing my stomach issues, I fianlly said something is wrong with my mind and I need help.
And there is no shame in that to me. If I have a bad cold, I go to the doctor. What is the difference?
So I got help. I called a psychiatrist friend of mine and asked for recommendations for a therapist and he led me to the best.
Before my first visit I was saying things like…
“I should want…”
“I can’t leave because they rely on me.”
“I should have done….”
“I can’t leave because my boss works for another company and she is really liking it. If I leave, she will have to come back to do things.”
Today, I look at that sentence and think, “What the hell. Why should you be solely responsible for someone else’s dream?”
starting a new life
By the next visit, I was thinking about putting my notice in. I still felt awful for thinking about leaving them, but I knew that for me to survive, I had to leave. I could not continue living in my hell because I didn’t want to let someone else down.
I do want to stress that the people I worked for are great people. A dream was started, but the founder wanted to work on other dreams and that was fine. Great for her, actually, but she should have let the other dream go. I wanted to tell her all the time, “It’s okay. It’s okay to stop if this is not something you love anymore.” But I also don’t like to assume the thoughts of others. This was just what the perspective looked like from the outside.
By the third visit, I had written my notice.
And by the fourth visit, I had put in my notice.
Sweet freedom! Now, I would love to tell you that gave me total relief. All though it did give me a hope of relief, I wasn’t in the clear yet.
But the leaps and bounds I have taken since that long year are incredible to me.
I have been with my current employer for over a year now, found the profession I was made for (Physical Therapist Assistant), have put in an application for the program at my community college, started writing a book, and now I have decided to help others get out of their anxiety pits by starting this blog. If you had asked me if I would be interested in any of this then, I would have screamed, “Hell no!”
I had absolutely no ambition, no drive, and no interest except my television screen and my couch.
Still, a year later I have to work at controlling my thoughts and reactions to things. But I would say I am an entirely new person.
Have you ever struggled to quit a job?
Let me know in the comments below!