I quit my job.
Well, I quit in my head a while ago but I stopped working the other day. It took me a while to process this reality like I was a passenger in my own life. I was miserable and had been for a while. I spent months contemplating what to do, only to be hanging on at the end. After some reflection, I realized that I was going through the stages of grief.
First, came denial. This went on even after I put in my resignation, and delayed changes in behavior that would be expected with a major life change. It wasn’t until I started saying goodbye to my work friends and the city of San Francisco that the “realness” of my decision hit me. I was walking away from the career that I worked hard to create and couldn’t wrap my head around my future career that I was working to build. The catalyst to passing through this stage was recognizing self-sabotaging behavior that threatened the future that I am working to build.
But before that came anger. Everything at work was frustrating me and I didn’t have the resilience to overcome it. On top of that, I stopped doing the things that fulfilled me and provided outlets to stress. I even stopped getting massages. If you know me, that is a sure sign something was off. I wasn’t surprised when my body responded negatively to this pent up stress. I am proud that even when my anger was truly tested, I was able to walk away without chopping anyone in the throat. ?
Bargaining came with its’ friends, guilt & fear. I tried to delay the inevitable by taking a 5-week leave from work. I planned to repair enough in my time off so that I could continue “doing the most” — working full-time while also working on my business.
Welp….as the title of this article would indicate, that didn’t work.
Taking leave gave me the clarity to recognize how unhappy my job made me, but first I had to deal with Bargaining’s friends. Guilt told me that I didn’t appreciate the “good jobs” with the “great companies” I have had. Fear made me feel like I couldn’t do for myself, what I have been doing for these major companies my entire career. My leave experience turned out to be a pivotal moment for me — it gave me a test run of not getting a paycheck (my short-term disability claim was denied but accepted upon appeal, more on that in a separate article) and clearly illustrated how big of a trigger my job had been for me. Taking leave was like a detox diet and my body clearly didn’t want that job reintroduced into my system. It was also during this time that I recognized I had been suffering from depression.
Depression is a b*itch and anxiety is one too. Nothing made me happy. My mind wouldn’t stop racing. Moments of joy were either a memory from the past or hopes for the future. Depression made it hard to see or think clearly.
These feelings were amplified because I was also dealing with caring for a sick and aging parent for the first time. I don’t understand why our “healthcare” system doesn’t seem to prioritize “health” or “care.” I mean, if someone can’t eat how could they be ready for release? Why keep shuffling them between short or long-term care? We just need care!
Going through these experiences was difficult for me because I had trouble discerning my real feelings from depression. Honestly, I am just learning how to“feel” at all so this was a challenge. (Thank you therapy.) Throughout this journey, I not only learned a lot about myself, but I also learned a lot about others. It seems like life sucks for everyone at some point. For some, you may not know that part of their story. For others, that’s the only part of their story you see.
Last, but definitely not least is the wonderful summit — Acceptance. My acceptance came shortly after leaving my job. My final few weeks at work were incredibly challenging, however, I am thankful because the experience reinforced all of the reasons I decided to leave and made it easier to walk away. It forced me to grow up. I had some important conversations that forced me to recognize some things in myself, both positive and negative. I’m still figuring out where this will lead, but my voice is getting stronger by the day.
I have new energy and determination. I feel in control again. My therapist would be so proud. I was able to recognize something was off, have difficult conversations, then recognize and process my feelings. One thing I internalized from this experience is that some times, things in life will be sh*tty, but we don’t have to allow it to make us sh*tty people.
Have you been abnormally sh*tty lately and no matter what you do, you can’t seem to get back to being yourself? Just know there’s hope if you put in the work. Let my story be a testimony.
Now, I wake up excited. I no longer have the ‘Sunday Scaries’ and am happy working through the weekends. I may not know what I want to be when I grow up, but I have a clear picture of what I want next.
“I trust the next chapter of my life, because I am the author.” — Someone really smart
I’m not sure who I’m writing this for but I hope that it finds you. If you found this helpful, let’s connect. I’d love to hear more about your story and I’ll share some things that I learned in finding my way back to wellness.