Have you ever questioned your existence?? Not your purpose, but your actual existence.?. Have you ever felt in your heart that everyone else's lives would be better if you didn't exist?? Or that no one would realize you were gone if you were to just disappear??
I started working again. It had been over 6 years since I had last needed to answer to another human for employment purposes. Punching a time clock each day I was scheduled to work. Learning the tasks I was supposed to complete each day. Answering to a supervisor when answering what I had done during my time at work.
When I started I experienced anxiety around going into a place of business as an employee. As the days passed, I grew comfortable with my co-workers, as well as my supervisor. I was able to ask questions whenever they came up, without being made to feel stupid for asking these questions. I was enjoying working again. I was able to contribute to our family in a financial way. While our schedules transformed to match my work schedule, everything seemed to be working out.
I started as a part time employee, only working 30 hours a week, on average. While this was a great length to re-enter the work field with, as time went on, and our lives transformed, I found myself needing to bring in more money. A full-time position came available, so I applied for it, with my supervisors approval, as it was in a different department.
I got the full-time position! This brought up some new issues with our schedules, and how we would make everything work, but it did work. We were able to make everything flow smoothly most days. I was fortunate to have two new supervisors who were also open to my questions. They also were willing to work with me when I needed assistance with my schedule. I would be able to work extra hours to make up for any time I had to miss due to family schedule conflicts, like appointments.
I was enjoying this new position. Learning all of the new tasks that I was to complete each day. The co-workers in this new department were, for the most part, easy to work alongside as well. Then, one day, I was offered a new position within this same department, but on a different team. While moving to a new team was a normal part of this department, as you wouldn't stay in the beginning team forever, my move was to a team that came with higher requirements.
I agreed to the move. It wasn't long before I noticed that things were very different on this team. Where I was once working with people who trusted my ability, I was now working with people who didn't have any trust in my ability to do the work. Where I had been working under the supervision of people who were willing to work with my schedule conflicts, allowing me to make up the hours that I would miss, I was no longer given this opportunity.
Under this new team I was not allowed to make up my hours. I was scheduled to work from 8 to 5, and those were the only hours I was allowed to be working. If I had an appointment, and had to show up late, I was not allowed to work later to make up the hours. On top of having to watch that I did not work outside of these hours, there was no trust when it came time to do the actual work I was doing.
As time went by, I found myself dreading having to go to work. I was no longer enjoying my job. What had started out as a fun new adventure was turning into a nightmare that I was living day by day. While I was working, I received a message through the office messaging system. This message came from my supervisor. I read it thinking it was for me, only to realize that it was not in fact for me. It was a message she had wanted to send to my trainer on this team. What made it even worse, it was a message about me.
While I was on this team, I started feeling raising anxiety, and falling depression. I got the feeling that I wasn't able to do anything right.
At the same time, I was going through personal, medical, issues that I was trying to figure out with my physician. I was having major pains that couldn't be explained through the external forms of investigation. My physician wanted to go inside to investigate what was going on. The appointment was made.
I requested the time off. It was going to be the day of the procedure, along with a few days for recovery. My supervisor denied my request. I had had to use my paid time off bank, that had grown, since I had moved to this team, so I wouldn't be getting paid for this time off. I knew I needed to take this time, and get this procedure done, so that I could get answers for what was going on with my body.
I made the decision. I was going to keep my appointment for the procedure. I needed answers for my physical issues, and this procedure should give them to me. It was during this time off that I fully realized what had been happening mentally with me. I took the few days of recovery, however, when those days came to an end, I could not imagine sitting in a chair for 8+ hours.
Oh, and then there was the drive! I was not able to ride in a car without intense pain. I would not be able to take the pain medication that had been prescribed while I was on the clock either. What was worse than the physical pain I was in, was the mental battle I was going through. I had been able to put into words what was going on with me mentally.
"If I were suicidal still, I would be driven to committing suicide by the leaders of this team."
It was an eye opening reality that terrified me. I had not felt this way for many, many years. I did not like this feeling. The feeling of being suffocated by the thought of returning to work. It was a true terror that I felt deep within. My heart ached at the thought. My stomach twisted with the ache in my heart. How could I have suicidal thoughts?? I have a wonderful husband, and five amazing children! This wasn't real. It couldn't be real.
Yet, it was real. While discussing it with my husband, he told me to do the thing I couldn't do. I couldn't quit. We needed my income for our family finances.
I had to quit. I could not go back into the office under this supervision. I could not go back into the office as a part of this team. I knew a transfer was not an option. If I were to go back to work, I would be stuck on this team.
I did it. I sent in a letter of resignation. As soon as I hit the 'send' button, I felt a weight lift off of me. My drowning depression, lowered in its level, allowing me to catch a breath. My anxiety that had me so high strung, lessened its grip, giving me the opportunity to find my feet landing on the ground.
What were we going to do financially?? Well, we didn't need to pay for child care anymore. Also, my mental health found a place of rest, which was definitely of major importance for our family. We would figure it out. I was not in a good place, and that was more harmful than not having the finances flowing in.
Questioning my existence, genuinely believing that everyone in my life would be better without me, feeling in my heart that no one would notice if I disappeared, brought me back into a low. It was a low I thought I would never feel again. While the action step I had to take seemed scary, the reality of what was happening to me was scarier. Quitting my job brought a freedom back to me.
I was free from the deep depression. I was free from the anxiety that closed in around me. I was able to breathe again. I was able to see that if I disappear, I will be missed dearly. I was able to feel that my existence is wanted. My existence is needed. I am loved!
The moral?? If you continue on a path, especially after noticing that this path is a harmful path for you, that you know you need to stray away from, you are putting yourself in harms way. Even if the alternative is scary, look at what can come from both paths. One may lead to death. The other may lead to some struggles, but it will work out. Which path would you want your children to take?? Chances are, that is the path your children want you to take as well.
Take care of yourself. Take care of your health. Pay attention to the signs. Know that if you put yourself on the backburner, if you decide to continue on a path that brings you to sacrifice your mental, and/or physical, health, you should re-evaluate your choices.