My last post was a really ironic way of taking an unexpected hiatus from this thing. Self-love… it’s so damn important. If you can’t love and take care of yourself, who will? If you don’t look in the mirror and possess the ability to measure and recognize your self-worth, who could possibly equip you with that skill? The answer is harsh and simple: no one.
Since my last post in June, I’ve experienced some serious lows and have made some major life decisions based on these lows. I desperately needed a change… both internally as far as my mental health is concerned, and externally in my day-to-day routine.
My job was draining me of my happiness, motivation, energy, and ability to see the good and value in myself. For those who are unaware, I devoted three years post-undergrad at a crisis residential facility for children and adolescents with ID/DD who also experienced severe behavioral challenges. I started as a direct care employee and worked my way up to program management. Believe it or not, it was not the aggressive, challenging behaviors that I dealt with on a daily basis that drove me to be so unhappy; it was the environment and the fact that as a program manager, I was required to drain so much more of my mental and emotional strength than the job description had implied. This mental, emotional, and psychological demand left me physically incapable of just leaving work at work. An incredible imbalance of work and personal life like this would drive anyone with even just a glimmer of hope for self-care to an almost crippling depression, and that’s exactly what it did to me. It no longer mattered how much I loved the program I worked in, the children I worked for, and the incredible individuals I worked alongside… I needed to take care of myself.
So, at the end of August, I made the most difficult decision of my adulthood and I quit. Initially, I felt an incredible sense of relief. However, the anxiety and dread that comes along with being unemployed, living on your own, and going to grad school set in and I found myself in more of a panicky state rather than solitude… the complete opposite of what I had hoped for myself. The honeymoon phase of minor personal changes and leaving my job was over, and I was now faced with more sadness, dread, and anxiety.
Fast forward to a few weeks later (present), and I’m now preparing to take on a new, completely different, part-time position at my old job (which I’m ecstatic about, because I get to be involved with the program and the kids there but in an entirely different, healthier capacity). I’m also continuing to work part-time at the coffee shop that I’ve been at for over 4 years, and I babysit on occasion… all while still pursuing my M.A in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. I’m still struggling to increase my level of self-love, but I’m making small steps in the right direction, and honestly those are the only steps I can manager right now.
Why am I spilling all of this? Well, for one, this is a creative outlet for me… and in a way it’s helpful to put all of this in writing. Secondly, I’m hoping that this might reach one of the very few readers I have out there that might be experiencing a transitional period in their life. If you’re faced with a million forks in the road with absolutely no sense of direction, IT’S OKAY TO BE CONFUSED AND SCARED. What ISN’T okay, is staying in a job (or in a location, or with a partner, or in a school program, etc.) when it’s stripping you of your happiness and overall mental, physical, and emotional well-being (re: Eliminating Toxicity in my last post).
I have a lot to work on to continue bettering myself, and I am acknowledging that I will have many ups and many downs. The most important part of the process, for me, will be making the conscious effort to bask in the ups, minimize and avoid dwelling in the downs, and remain constant to avoid that honeymoon effect of positive feelings.
Thanks for reading, we’ll be back to our normally scheduled programming with some tasty fall recipes very soon!