Realities of Not Working the Traditional Way

January 23, 2018

Finishing my job at the end of 2017 was a necessity, yet, at the same time, a shock.

Although I loved what I was doing, my body was not able to keep up with amount of stress that it was causing. Massive self-doubt, too many tears, physical symptoms (blood pressure, palpitations, headaches, and a cold that wouldn't go away, to name a few) all led to my GP, Psychiatrist and Mr P make me face the reality that 'pushing on through' and 'things will get easier' was not the way to go. I needed to remove the external stress to allow my body, and mind, recover to such a place that I could start to move forward again.


Having wanted for so long to be normal (there's that word again) and get back to work, interact, make friendships and contribute to society, as well as the bonus of earning some money and relieving some pressure from Mr P, stopping work only four months in was somewhat of a let-down and brought up the feelings of failure that I have tried to escape from for the last 30 years. I had dealt with these 'failure' feelings through hours and hours of CBT, but almost overnight, they returned. As well as the depression that the stress had been hiding. Oh, yay! NOT!


Initially, I went into denial mode. The 'it's the holidays, I wouldn't be working anyway'. But as 2017 turned into 2018 and people around me were returning to work, the reality that I didn't have a regular job hit me. Hard. I have been digging deep to move forward, but it is not easy. So much of who we are is made up of what we do, of the contribution that we make and the reward we get for that. This is what society tells us.


However, reward is not always money, and for me, that had become secondary (which was a shift in itself). The reality that I wouldn't go back into my old job took a while to get used to, and the reality that when I did go back to work it would be for a much lower salary? That took a while to get used to too.


So the feeling of failure seems to be not of earning money, but of making a contribution to society. Especially as I had moved out of the often bad-mouthed financial sector into education. The thrill of being with little ones each day, of seeing the joy and innocence, and knowing that I was contributing to their growth, even in a very small way, was a regular injection of self-worth, and I felt great because of it.

How do I now make that contribution to society? How do I feel good about myself every day? I know that I am a decent person, that I have things to offer, and since I was hospitalised three years ago I have wanted to live a life that inspires myself and others every day. It was fine when I started volunteering and then moved into paid employment at school. I felt that I was living up to the 'inspire' tattoo on my wrist, and being paid for it. Now, I need to find another way to do that.


Learning about myself. Writing about myself. Getting my thoughts out, and at whatever point in the future, sharing those thoughts through this blog, is a way that I can look back and reflect and inspire myself, and hopefully inspire others. I have other ways in mind too, and those will materialise. Or they won't.


Life is a work in progress. I realise this. And I shall remind myself of this every time I need some reassurance.


I hope today you are having the best day possible, love Becs xxxx

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