I’ve been in a real rut lately. I feel alone, troubled, misunderstood, and unmotivated as hell. I left work early today, because I just don’t care anymore. Yeah, when I’m unmotivated, it’s serious. I can’t even show up at the office just to clock in and draw that paycheck.
I was thinking today that maybe I’m bipolar. And I don’t mean to be flippant about mental illness. But I just feel rather unsteady. I mean, since the end of September, I’ve been such a Debbie Downer. Sure, every now and then something brightens my day, and maybe for a few short moments, I feel blessed and happy. But those are just moments. Overall yeah, this trajectory has gone to the shitter. So why the marker at the end of September? Well, that’s when my manager of five years got fired. Abruptly and unexpectedly. It was the day before our department’s biggest event too, and the explanation from above (though none is legally required for “at will” employment) was generic, lame, insincere.
Certainly, this is all within leadership’s rights. For me though, this is but one of several serious missteps. I no longer trust the leaders. And when I don’t believe in my heart that leadership is inherently good, I can’t just sleepwalk my days. The activist in me tried desperately to change things. I tried to stay hopeful and optimistic. But here we are at the end of the year and every day at the office is just an act of going through the motions, of feigning interest. Who lives like this? (Sadly, probably a lot of people).
I suppose this is what happens when I become disenchanted or disillusioned: I just plummet into this zone where everything seems to suck the life out of me. I feel like a fraud; I feel insignificant. Mostly, I’m disappointed by the status quo around me and within me.
I’ve been going to therapy alone… I can always count on the end of the year to make me feel like a loser, like someone who hasn’t accomplished jackshit. I read all these sites on positivity and on being good to yourself. Maybe they buy me a few minutes of peace; then, I feel like all hell is breaking loose– at least internally. And of course, my emotional state/cycle never seems to jive with John’s. So when he feels like shit, I’m in a good mental state. When I feel like shit, he’s in a good mental state. Is that good or bad to be out of sync that way? I don’t even know.
I just feel restless. In the month following my manager’s departure, I couldn’t sleep and I had no appetite. I lost about 10 lbs in one month. Oddly, I then went to Taiwan where for some reason, the family stress had the opposite effect and I started overeating. Now, two months later, I’m mostly back to my original weight. There was nothing wrong with it, and I intended to at least pack back on some of the lost weight. But now it’s turning into some bizarre control thing. Like I had convinced myself that the lower weight was still solidly within my BMI. And now that I’ve gone back up, now I feel dissatisfied, like things are jiggly and wobbly. I know, a total first world problem. And you would think in light of all the news, none of this would matter. But like I said, I’m fucked up, and it’s a control thing. I just got a Fitbit, so new year new problem. You know how it is.
Two weeks ago, I started getting this insane mondo cyst on the side of my nose. Seriously, it was the size of a dime… on the side of my nose. I hadn’t gotten cysts in a really long time, and then this one was like a double mondo, with two bumps inside one. Naturally, I started freaking out– I was obsessing about it day and night. I have no idea how I convinced myself to leave the house during that period. Anyway, I felt so desperate, I started popping zinc pills like they were going out of style. And what do you know, I fucking gave myself mild metal poisoning. How the hell was I supposed to know that taking 8-10 times the RDA would do this? I’m a goddamn idiot. So yeah, I started getting stomach cramps and pains; I felt nauseas… and I only realized what was happening on a fricking whim. Like one day I decided, hmm, wonder what the web says about taking lots of zinc. It was kind of at that moment that I realized, I could be one of those people who overdoses on meds. Seriously. I look at those pills: they are so damn small. 3 mg of zinc or melatonin or whatever. They are tiny as hell. Anyway, the whole thing was a good reminder to myself to not be an absolute dumbass. Uh hello, am I the daughter of a physician or what? Fucking asinine. The good news is that the cyst is mostly gone, but a small bump is still there. And it’s discolored because I poked and prodded it so damn much. Whatever. On to other issues. And yes, there are plenty of them.
So back to the work dilemma. I met up in October with a friend who’s all into coaching and leadership and “living the dream” and shit. Yeah like Tony Robbins kind of stuff. I hadn’t seen her in a long time, and I have to say, she was just transformed. I mean, normally she’s a positive person anyway but she was super trimmed down and she just looked and sounded great. So I started on my buzzkill story of having to look for another job, boo hoo. She asked what I was seeking, and I gave some nebulous reply: that I didn’t really know but I hoped to recognize it when I found it. She suggested that I be more specific in identifying what I wanted to do. So she recommended a book about identifying and pursuing your dreams… I started reading this and well, now I really feel stressed because of course, I want to be able to identify a dream, a passion. But going through the exercises, I feel now like I have none. Like I’m just this boring, directionless, dabbler/wanderer. What the fuck am I doing with my life?
Yeah, I guess I had allowed myself to believe in the journey rather than the destination, but after reading the book, I feel like there needs to be a destination. And my personality has an affinity for the end goal…
Does it feel like too much self reflection? Yeah, I think so. And yet, I want to ask myself these questions? Can you sense my anxiety?
My therapist says I need to learn to be ok with feeling unsettled. That I need to practice mindfulness: notice that I am unsettled but don’t exacerbate the situation by topping it with anxiety. I can kinda see what she’s saying.
The thing is, I’ve been here before. This whole midlife crisis thing? This is like my third or fourth time going through it. Seriously. Why does it keep coming around? I have no idea, but I wish I could get this shit resolved once and for all. In the past, it was resolved through a new job. I was so happy when I landed that nonprofit tech job. Then management made some shit moves and I got disillusioned, plus I was sick of the bullshit nonprofit pay. The second time I had a crisis, I got out of it when I found my current job. God, I really thought it was the best: blending web tools with advocacy work. Then again, management made some dick moves and the environment just started to get stale. Now I read job postings and nothing sounds interesting. Nothing meshes with who I am. What the hell happened to me? When did I become such a boring, nondescript person with nothing to offer anybody?
For a long time, I felt really good about where I was. I was happy and fulfilled, but the people around me, the people I loved were not. I kept trying to figure out how to solve their issues and their problems. Now, I’m so relieved and thrilled that so many people I worried about, they found their way. They are happy now, and I am so proud and happy for them. But now I’m in the shithole. Maybe this is life’s way of throwing me a bone or two. When there’s a down, there’s an up somewhere. It’s never all down or all up.
I know, I sound like a spoiled brat. I know my life is really good. I just wish I could get it sorted, you know? I often think back to when I was just a kid– before the school anxiety and stress attacks of middle school set in– when I was a really young kid. I wondered how any kid who had a dog could complain or be unhappy with anything. Seriously. You have a dog. Your life is totally golden. And here I am with two of the loveliest dogs ever. And I’m a Buzzkill Betty. How/when did this happen?
I will say that one constant through all of these crises has been my friends. Different ones at different times, but always a steady stream. My therapist agrees that they have always helped me get through my struggles– be they personal/individual, marital, familial, professional… so thanks to all my homies out there. 🙂 I hope my issues aren’t a burden. I’m trying to hash them out… slowly and hopefully surely.
The new year is right around the corner. I’m hoping for a lot of things but most importantly, I want to continue doing things that make me smile: playing ukulele, singing karaoke, riding horses, hot tubbing, spending time with the puppies, watching tv dramas (Nashville), hanging with friends, hanging with Bubbey, and traveling. I’ve got lots of places already on the books, so yay to new adventures. Oh and maybe in the process of all this fun, I’ll find my next gig. Isn’t that what they say? Good things come when you’re not looking.