…and it’s not because I’m stinky.
I’ve returned to counseling with a woman who helped me out in the past. She’s very quick to get to the heart of the problem and I’m feeling a bit like an onion these days. We’ve been peeling back the layers to find out the heart of things.
So I haven’t been writing on here in a while. I am, quite frankly, exhausted and worn down to nothing. I have no ability to concentrate by the time I get home at the end of the day and my sleep issues have accelerated. I’m experiencing a lot of pain – much stems from clenching my jaw and the knots in the muscles in my back. I’m not able to enjoy my class right now because I’m drained by the end of the day, so not much is happening for me academically.
I now have “homework” to attend to from my counseling sessions… all of it productive at least. I’m writing out much of what I’m trying to process these days. I’ve got a neat little blank book / journal (thank you Helen!) and I’m getting some of the mind-lint out. Ok. It’s not all mind-lint. Some of it is stuff I’ve been stashing away in my brain, really unable to actually acknowledge until now.
Seems all very “mid-life crisis”-y, doesn’t it? Ahh, here is moonfire… watch as she melts down in her early 40’s and has to go through psychotherapy. Except maybe that isn’t so far from the truth at this point. I shouldn’t be clenching my teeth by 9am. I shouldn’t be living on sleeping pills. This just doesn’t seem natural or healthy to me. And I’m not just talking about the foods I’m eating or the lack of physical exercise (other than housework and chasing after small fries).
Guilt… fear… anger… disappointment… seeking the approval of others…
Tonight I dug into the heart of something I feel deeply… I still feel like a little girl inside – hoping to get approval for doing things right. I’ve been driven to care for others and that’s not such a bad thing for a wife and mother, but how much has it caused issues for me with friends and employment? Truly, I am more of an introvert than most would guess. So I drive myself to take this job where the whole focus of it is to deal with people ALL day, every day. I’ve come to a point where I am a nervous, sensorily-overwhelmed person every day of the work week.
Even as I write this, I’m sitting here and I feel the gravity wells of tension in my back and shoulders.
We worked tonight on letting go of some things. The phrase we worked on was this:
“Even though I will never be enough, I still love and trust myself completely.”
It strikes me now, as I sit here typing this, exactly how true this is. If nothing I do is ever enough – at least in my warped and odd perception – then I still have to be good with myself and acknowledge that it’s ok. Striving is good. Having goals and pursuing a future is good.
But not at the cost of the present moment.
I hit a wall this week. It finally became apparent to me that I will run myself into the ground long before I ever find a place of peace with my job. This isn’t about fear of success or laziness or the inability to do a job. I’ve been doing it. I’ve been doing it well, even when taking into account the huge learning curve. I simply cannot set boundaries that either I or my co-workers can honor. If I work the “hard 8” as my boss puts it, while my co-workers put in long hours trying in vain to do everything that is required of us, I am a slacker and my team will resent me. If I put in the long hours (like I have been), I will neither accomplish all that I’m being asked to do nor will I maintain my health and sanity.
I finally realized this week that all of the paths in the maze are dead-ends. I can stay – prove that I’m “tough” and that I can take a hard environment, to the detriment of my family life and my academic career. I can go – failing to “make it” and leave behind the impression that they did indeed choose the wrong person after all… something that maybe I worried about in the back of my mind until I finally realized that no, I did work really hard and I did well at it.
My resume takes a big hit. My references probably won’t want to hear from anyone on my behalf ever again. (not sure on that one, but it’s possible)
I feel sad. All that work to get to the professional level and here I am flaming out. Less than 4 months to go and I’d have made it a year.
As I said though – I came to a wall. It’s a big wall, with bricks, stones, mortar and I think I see razor wire at the very top (too much living with someone who worked in corrections for years and years). I came to accept and understand that what I’m doing is unhealthy for me. This wasn’t some wild, randomly emotional decision. I was sitting in my office – body vibrating with tension and ungrounded energy – when suddenly I felt this weird peaceful feeling and I just knew. It was like sitting in the eye of a storm. I looked at the phone queue maxed out. I could hear the endless line of people down the hall and feeding into our office. One of the other counselors had just popped in to ask me to jump on the phones because we were stacked up. Everything went still in my mind and I realized that this was that “after” moment, the one where something significant happens – a catalyst – and then everything that follows is the after.
When I had a break, I went outside and called my honey. I told him that I’d finally reached that point and would be sending out my feelers for other jobs. Thankfully, he joked that he thought for sure I was going to call it quits back in August… ahh, those 12 hour days…
It’s not anyone’s fault. They were honest with me about the job and what was necessary. I was honest about my intentions and my interests. I work with good, caring people who want to help others. This isn’t about how there is someone abusive in our office. It’s not me being lazy or corrupt or failing to live up to what they need.
I have given them my best every day I was there. I have worked harder than I’ve ever worked. I have helped people and I’ve failed a few too. I know there are people that will miss me, but the days will pass and that will fade and someone else will take my place.
The question is: what do I do now?
I’m not totally sure. But it is bed time and I need whatever rest I can get. Tomorrow is another day and then I have two for a bit of recovery before it starts again. At least that’s how it will be until the right next thing comes along.