The Big Heal
Jo named this post, it came out of nowhere from her brilliant brain and I felt it right to expand it into something people will read and identify with, and maybe even get help from. I'm done living with my anxiety to the levels it has been over the past few years. This particular episode has prompted me to go further, to really look at myself and my life. To perhaps make some really drastic changes to the things that I think are making it, and me, worse. But, for the first time in my life, I'm not going to rush it. I'm going to do this right, and do it slow.
I know I have said before that I've thrown the kitchen sink at it in order to get through to the other side, but the truth is I haven't. I've taken my medication, I've done yoga, I've seen a therapist and I've eaten well, slept and got plenty of exercise. But, one thing I haven't done is looked at my workaholism - my main pain, my main struggle and my main dis-ease.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. I have a primal fear that I'll get fired from my job. A job I've been spilling my guts into for 5 years now. I do it well and I've had some successes and I've had some failures in that time. My problem has always been that I focus so hard on the failures that they become bigger than me, bigger than the job and are almost always my first trigger into thinking I'll be let go, then useless, then homeless. I cannot seem to let this picture go. And it's not just upset clients or things going wrong that trigger me, it's small things, for example:
- Being 10 minutes late
- Having to leave early for an appointment
- Having an appointment at all in work hours
- Not answering my mobile when a client calls because I'm in another meeting
- Having a sick day because I am SICK
- Meeting a friend for lunch
- Leaving my desk to eat lunch
- Not answering an email straight away
Honestly? The list goes on, and it's giving me anxiety having to compose it...
None of the above are rules imposed upon me by someone else, not really. I have a really understanding manager who I'm sure if you asked him, he'd say I'm a hard worker, loyal and passionate about what I do. They are all rules from somewhere else, somewhere deep in my psyche, screaming at me - you're not good enough! You're a failure, you're a fraud! Don't you dare take time off, even if your head is hanging off, don't you dare walk away from your phone or your computer between the hours of 9 and 5, if you do, you'll pay a hefty price.
I'm starting to see just how damaging this is and has been for the last few years, maybe even the last decade of my career. I had thought of leaving my job this time around, but something stopped me and genuinely I knew, that I would get a new job and the above shit would happen all over again, just in a different place.
It's time I dealt with it.
The Big Heal is what I'm embarking on in the next few months. I've avoided it for one reason and it's a stupid reason really, considering how much time and joy the above has emptied me of. I've avoided it because I know it's going to cost me a lot of money. So not only am I a workaholic, I'm tight too...ha! It stops now. My savings have been dragged out, dusted off and I'm ready to invest in my health.
What prompted this post though, was something entirely different. As soon as I committed myself to spending money on getting myself better something incredible happened. I found a support group through a friend that I'm spending 2 hours with on a Thursday for free. Then, through my job I have been offered a 3 month course with a career counsellor in exchange for marketing services (a good thing for me, but not so sure it will help our business as I've had little twinges of changing careers for a good year or two now). And, finally through Sergeant Calm, I've been offered a 5 week programme through Float Culture, which involves 2 floats a week and sessions with a psychotherapist as I move through the programme.
I try not to believe in karma, but all of this happening at once felt like a divine intervention.
What I will spend money on is intense therapy with a specialist in anxiety. The above sessions will be a great complement to this but I know, deep down in my heart, that it's time to strip myself bare and build back up from the bottom - A Big Heal...The Big Heal.
Who knows what path this is going to lead down, I'm really not sure. But, I do know it's time to change. Some days I will be late to work, and other days I will want to meet a friend for lunch and I can't keep telling myself that if I do, I'll lose my job. That sort of pressure is killing me. It's time to slow down, really slow down and start looking at why I do this to myself. To start to deconstruct where it all went wrong. Why I have such strict rules on myself and why I inherently believe that if I don't answer every single email within 5 minutes, I'll be biffed out onto the streets to beg. I've seen how the world keeps spinning when I've been forced to take time off in the past. I've seen how the work still gets done if I'm there or not. I've seen and know that I'm not irreplaceable in a job, no one is. But I cling to it like it's the most important thing to me, when really it's not. At the end of the day, it's just a job and not something that anyone is going to remember when I'm on my death bed. Which lets' face it, could be sooner rather than later if I don't sort this shit out.
I'll continue to write about my journey, I'm excited at the conclusions I'll come to. I'm excited for the freedom I might experience.
What am I capable of without fear?
I don't know. But, I'm willing to find out.