Hot tea, press on nails & anxiety

The last six months have been interesting to say the least – My anxiety levels have bubbled at the rim of my tolerance level to the point where I finally up and quit the job with the big Rex. Seriously, I hadn’t had the funk this bad since the light went out in 2008 and I hit that big, dark wall of depression. Until now, I’d been pretty pleased with how things were going for me mentally – I took my meds every night… I kept myself happy, even in tough times…  Fred and I had been through enough therapy to never be angry at each other ever again and are genuinely happy to be with one another. I had happy little kittens to come home to every night and a relatively decent place to live in a city that has a lot to offer…  But dammit – all I wanted to do was sleep, watch YouTube and drink hot cups of tea on the couch in my sweatpants.

When I first started getting worked up about things it took me a while to realize what the problem really was.

Did I hate living in Milwaukee? I was pretty sure that was the case, but couldn’t figure out why because – to be honest – it’s a lot of fun here.

Did I hate the fact that I still didn’t feel like I had adequate resources here to have a “normal” life? *cough cough – bullshit* There’s so much here compared to Bay City, that’s a lame excuse.

Was it the lack of old-school-friends? Yeah – that’s probably the most reasonable answer. People miss one another and I’m no exception…  But I see my group of friends several times a year and even go on big, long trips with them…  So I have nothing to ‘really’ complain about.  Plus…  I’ve met some really kick ass people here in MKE that would probably be even better friends with me if I would get off my couch more often.

Was it that my dad wasn’t around? No – he’s here more than he’s home. He’s always welcome to crash on our couch and steal cards from the casino.

Was it that my neighbors were the anti-Sue and did things like poop in our elevator?  Well…..  That could stop and things would improve, I’m sure.

It was my job.

Fred kept pointing it out and I kept denying it – “It’s not that bad” I would say as I was walking in the door at 8:30 at night after a 13 hour day at the office…  But he would insist that the place was sucking the life out of me.

Traffic stopped car rides home from the office spent on the phone with the BFF bitching about how much work sucked started getting me thinking “maybe it’s not me”…  Then some of my friends started insisting that I was working too much and too hard…  Then, about April, people at the job started randomly walking out and/or quitting without notice.  My boss started sounding like a scatterbrained dimwit who didn’t know what move to make next because our staff was literally disappearing right before our eyes. She was losing her mind just as much as I was – and her mind-losing – regardless of the fact that she is a very experienced planner who has 30+ years experience in the business was driving me down a very ugly path.

“Don’t you tell me how I feel – you don’t know just how I feel – I stay inside my bed”

Wow, that was a dark NIN reference.  Downward Spiral….  Yep – it was out of control. Just call me Trent.

Resources were low, stress was high, management was non-existent, problems were band-aided instead of fixed and waking up every morning at 5:30 and going into the office was like a terrible, recurring bad dream that happened every-single-day.

I started looking for a new job in April – nothing was panning out. It never happens fast when you want it to.  I went on a few interviews but never got adequate feedback or calls back for a second round.  I started to give up – take the Xanax and just hit the grind day after day knowing that I HAD TO WORK. I put on a brave face and talked a big, brave, story about how it was “no big deal” and “it’s only a job”.

I was everyone’s cheerleader at work…  I smiled, I was happy, I was positive…  Until I finally looked in a mirror one day and realized I am way too fat to be wearing spankies & a cheerleader outfit every day. I couldn’t…. I just couldn’t.

So I put in a resignation letter, told management the reasons for my departure, then struggled with them asking me 100 times over to stay and that “things would get better.” I knew they wouldn’t…  Not soon enough for me not to commit suicide or at the very least – pick up some really poor behaviors again (remember that OCD you guys?) I finally just ended my tenure there.

I’ve never quite done anything like it before and I’m not super proud of how all of it went down. I quit everything I do – I was trying really hard not to quit another thing.  However, knowing I don’t have to go back has eased my anxiety about 110%.

So, when I began searching for something new I knew that I had to do some research.  Professionally, the last year and a half has been nothing like I have ever experienced  –  I had to find a company that was ethically sound – where people were OK going to work every day. I need a place where people are valued. A place where I have a say on how the processes and procedures I carry out on an every day basis are documented and carried out. A place where I can lead – not necessarily from a leadership position – but where I can make a difference from within my work group.

Shit, am I about to say this?  I needed a place more like Dow!

Sort of – I needed a job in an industry that I was interested in with people who value the people they work with and bosses that wanted to utilize what I had to offer and weren’t just looking for a warm body to fill a seat.

I believe I have found it. It may be 50 miles away from “home” But doing a little research really has paid off so far. I interviewed my new company just as hard as they interviewed me.  I asked for what I wanted. I waited for the proper offer. I asked for adequate time off. I told them what I wanted my position to be and what I was capable of.

All of that wishy-washy anxiety that I had every day going in to work disappeared as I donned my press-on-nails for each meeting I had with this new company and demanded that they see just how awesome I really am at what I do. I met with them 3 times in person and 2 times on the phone – which may seem like overkill for a job interview process, but I kept insisting that I job shadow and take tours and get to actually meet and spend time with the people I would be working with and who would be working for me before I would accept an offer…

Granted, an offer hadn’t even been promised at the time that I went in to job-shadow – but I knew that I didn’t care if they did if I went in there and hated what I saw…  All I knew is that I couldn’t blindly join a company that I had no knowledge of again and potentially put myself into a position where it was all give an no mutual beneficial take.

So it was win-win for both of us, because they ate me up – and I ate them up…  And for the first time in the 15+ years that I have been working I feel like I actually have a career opportunity instead of just another job.

I start in a week – and although I’m terrified of driving back and forth to the Chicago area every day – I’m super psyched at my own personal accomplishment of growing some balls and doing what was right for me for once.  I overcame the mental stuff before I let it overcome me – I fought for what I wanted instead of taking what I was given…  And so far, I’m pretty proud of myself.