I’ve been having a rough go of things lately; definitely for the last few weeks, but I’m probably looking at 15 months of stress and anxiety building up.
If you follow me on social media – mostly Instagram – I am open about it. It’s primarily work related – I’m in a stressful, demanding position that is far above my rank level. I finally got some help – after a full year – but only after my Corporal retired and someone was posted in. Unfortunately she didn’t alleviate my stress but added to it. She’s a nice lady, just a little rough around the edges – unfortunately because of her actions while I was away, we’re required to be in uniform and no longer in civilian clothing. Kinda sucks but it’s also nice that I don’t have to think about what I’m going to wear each day.
However, since getting back from course – and being away for 2 months – my stress and anxiety has been getting worse and worse. We’ve been going back to the gym again, which I think has definitely helped manage my stress, but it feels like it’s too late.
About a month ago I started feeling really run down and burnt out – but I forced myself to work. Every day Captain would ask me how I was (which she always does) and for days I responded with an “I don’t want to be here” until I finally lost it.
It was a Tuesday and I told my Captain that I NEED to work from home once a week – Wednesdays as it’s in the middle of the week and a nice way to split up the week. I have been on the brink of going to Mental Health (MH) for most of the last year – but thankfully my last supervisor was amazing and she kept me sane. Unfortunately she was posted out in June and my new supervisor… well, she’s just a different person and personality and a lot more high strung and with me being an empath, it is exhausting energetically.
ONE day a week. WORKING from home. I do actually work and am at my computer all day. And yet the Deputy Commanding Officer didn’t want to support this. I don’t know if he understands that this request is to help mitigate my stress and anxiety to (hopefully) prevent me from going on stress leave. I told my supervisor that if he didn’t support this, I’d be going to MH and I’d probably be off – and have NOTHING to do with work – for likely weeks.
Yes, I guess I did give them an ultimatum – but my mental health is more important than my job…. unfortunately I do often put my job first and that needs to stop.
So I’ve been working from home (one day a week) for the past few weeks. It has helped a bit but not much. I’ve had multiple crying fits over the last few days. My husband has held me, sobbing, unable to help me feel better. We’ve talked things out and I’m really trying… but it’s hard.
This is not new for me. Feeling like this. However, the challenging part is now that I’m drinking alcohol again, I need to be VERY careful about not drinking to numb. Unfortunately some of my other destructive behavior has become prevalent; shopping and candy. But I’ve recognized this behavior and am doing what I can to stop it.
I’m trying to take it out at the gym.
Tonight was one of those days. We hadn’t been at the gym for about a week. I’ve been having migraines so haven’t been going… but tonight I forced us to go despite really not wanting to. My poor husband endured my angry outburst about not being able to sync my bt headphones to my phone. Took me over 10 minutes of turning my headphones on and off, trying to pair, etc – I just wanted to throw my phone across the room I was so pissed. I just wanted to cry – again!!! But despite everything, I managed to get in a really good cardio workout – 40 minutes between an elliptical (but it’s not an elliptical) and the rower. Almost threw up, actually, lol!
They say that salt water can cure anything – tears, sweat, or the ocean.
Did I feel better after the workout? Of course… but I know I’m not out of the dark yet. I still woke up this morning not wanting to go to work. I’m still exhausted and feel on the verge of tears. My supervisor recognized it and is intending on having me leave early today.
It’s hard to dig out when you feel so low. It’s exhausting to tread water for so long – sometimes I just want to give up and give into the feelings of hopelessness. But I know it’ll pass. It always does. But in the moment, it feels impossible to see the light.
Chatting with my husband, as he’s spent his own time in the darkness, shared with me how he dug himself out; the plan.
For my husband, he made his “50 year plan” – as he turns 50 next year – so he created a list of everything he wants to do in the year he turns 50 – things like doing a Spartan race, get a first draft of the novel he wants to write, do a cycling race (he wanted a triathlon, but he’s having issues with his Achilles tendon so may not be able to do that much running), take a bicycle mechanics course, start earning a secondary income the year he turns 50 and be completely out of debt the year I turn 50 (so 4 1/2 years) – that type of stuff.
This gave him something to focus on other than how much (he thought) life sucked. Now, the darkness that was once all consuming is behind him. He’s now motivated and excited about things.
I think that’s where most depression stems from; lack of direction and focus in life. If there’s no reason behind what you’re doing, then what’s the point? Or, why are you doing what you’re doing if it doesn’t allow you to do what you want? And if you don’t know what you want to do, then why are you doing what you are?
Basically, ask yourself these questions:
- Where do you see yourself in X years? Have multiple plans from short term (6 months to a year) to longer term (2-5 years)
- Will your current employment get you there? If not, what will you have to do to get there?
- Is what you’re doing on time off get you closer to where you want to be? Lots of people complain not being able to reach their goals because of “not enough time” but they spend hours on their phone or watching Netflix – I am/was there!
- Are your relationships supporting or distracting you? It is important to have support, but it’s also important to have healthy boundaries. Don’t be afraid to say “no” if you need to.
- Are you willing to fight for what you want? It’s not going to be easy – especially if you have ambitious goals! Be willing to fight for it; whether it’s less sleep or less time with family/friends. They may not necessarily agree or support you so it might be a battle and it’ll become pretty clear how important it is to you.
So how am I refocusing my energy to try and get out of the darkness? To be perfectly honest, I’m not entirely certain. It’s something I definitely have to think on as I have a lot of things I WANT to do… probably too many things. So not only am I spread too thin at work, but I’m spread too thin at home; I have no direction.
So I’ll probably blog about this more as time goes on but I hope this gets you thinking about your life and setting goals and living your best life.