Leap

I often compare recovery from a history of abuse to a journey on a rugged path with many pitfalls. Sometimes you follow the path for a while, and it just stops, leaving you stranded in a parched desert. You crawl back to a crossroads, tending to your thirst by lapping from a muddy puddle (hoping no one sees you do that). You find another path, relieved it has some trees to provide some shade. You stumble along, following its twists and turns; you are never sure if you are going in the right direction. All of a sudden, the path opens up, you have a view again, and you find yourself on the edge of a steep cliff over a cavernous canyon. Now what?

I’ve decided to leap into that canyon. No parachute. I’m going to throw myself off the ledge and see if I can fly.

Don’t worry. It’s a metaphor. I’m not about to physically jump off a cliff. But it feels almost that scary. I’m quitting my job.

There’s no soft landing. I don’t have another job lined up. I don’t have a plan.

But the thing is, I can’t live like this anymore. I am tired all the time. I am always behind and feel it like a huge weight on my shoulders. Morale is very low right now at work, for so many reasons, and since I gave up my director position last winter, I am not in a position to do much about it. I still love the work itself–it’s very meaningful, but there’s way too much of it. I like most of my colleagues, and I enjoy working on teams. But I just can’t do it anymore. Some days I feel so discouraged and depressed that I can’t get anything done. I know something has to change, and I don’t even have the energy to explore options while I’m still working.

Furthermore, there is something about the chronic stress at work that stirs up the chronic stress of being married to an abusive first husband and the chronic stress of being a child in unsafe situations. And those connections make the current situation worse that it really needs to be. It’s time to let go of chronic stress.

Finally, I think the main reason is this: life is short. If I give all my energy and creativity to a job that no longer makes me feel good, then what is the point of my life?

So I’m going to leap off that (metaphoric) cliff. I haven’t given notice yet, but I’ll do that either August 1 or August 8 (haven’t decided whether to give 3 or 4 weeks’ notice). I’m thinking September 1 will be my last day. Well, if I don’t chicken out.

 

10 thoughts on “Leap

  1. Wow, that is a big leap. Seems that a lot of things have pointed in that direction, that you are readying for the leap. You are very brave. Regardless if you change your mind (I don’t think it would be chickening out, just reevaluating) or not, I imagine that the option would feel freeing.

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  2. That is big leap. Let me tell you, about 5 years ago, I should have made such a leap for myself. I had a very stressful job being the intake coordinator for a large human services agency that has residential programs, vocational training, testing, case management, special ed consulting, tutoring, adult learning programs, and several other smaller programs. It was very stressful to work with the directors of all the programs, meet with people needing services, keep the programs running at full capacity, etc. Then my PTSD flared big time. I had huge issues getting out of my car to go into work. My therapist at the time talked me out of my car almost every morning. I had flashbacks at work. I had anxiety attacks. I couldn’t breathe sometimes thinking about all of the work. I called in sick lots. I locked myself in my office. I worked in the evenings and weekends lots so I could do work with nobody else around and no phones ringing to cause me stress. It became noticeable that I was struggling. I’m not sure anybody really understood this, but I know that I had a a month where I was simply unable to complete any work. Thankfully, the agency went through a financial crisis and my position was deemed unnecessary. I was laid off and eased into the life of an unpaid stay at home mom and wife on unemployment which lasted for 18 months. I would not have been able to achieve the level of healing I have while continuing to work at that job. I hope you find that things work like that for you. I’m thinking of you.

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    • I can relate to this. I am less productive than I have ever been in the past. Some days it is very hard to work at all, partly because work feels so stressful. And that makes me feel guilty and more stressed.

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  3. Congratulations, Q! I am so happy to hear that you are putting your happiness first, and that you are in a positive enough place to know that things CAN be better than they are right now – and you’re going out to find that better thing. It is scary, because at least it’s the devil you know, but I’m so glad you’re doing it anyway.

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  4. You definitely didn’t come to this conclusion on a whim, this has been a long-time coming. So much thought and flexibility on your end, trying to shift and make it work. And here you are, realizing it isn’t working. Kudos to you for making this difficult decision for your health and sanity. We can spend our entire lives afraid of leaping, as it is not easy to you. And you are doing it, and I can’t imagine you will regret the decision one bit.

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    • I tend to be cautious and frugal in my financial life. I was so broke in those early years, especially as a single mom. It’s made me very grateful for a steady job with a decent salary, good benefits and generous retirement. Those factors have only encouraged me to cling to this job (and of course, it’s also been demanding, interesting, and meaningful). But I am realizing that the time and stress are making me so sick and worn down that the other stuff can’t override it anymore.

      The good thing is I met with a retirement counselor today (even though I am too young to retire), just to review where I was financially. And all those years of caution and frugality have given me a cushion for this time now, when I can’t keep going any longer. So when I leap, maybe it won’t be quite as scary. I’m very fortunate. One thing I’d like to do is contribute to efforts to support women who don’t necessarily have those benefits from a job they’ve held for 15 years or so.

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      • I’m really glad to hear that your hard work so far in life, is paying off for you now. That you do have some security to lean into. And I know whatever else you do, you are going to be very successful and feel a heck of a lot more fulfilled and balanced.

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