One of the hardest things about this blog, the entire blog, SAnnComte.com, is being honest. Have you noticed how hard it is to be honest with yourself, or about yourself with the people around you? It’s not that we are trying to hide, but we’ve been programed to put on our best faces and show the world only our best selves.
I’m not one for sharing everything. There are somethings that don’t need to be shared. But we don’t have to hide all the bad. I truly believe that one of the reasons we were put on this earth with the ability to interact with each other is to help each other. How can we help others if we don’t know what’s going on with them? How can others help us if they don’t know what is going on with us?
Even though I believe that, it’s not easy. Not by a long shot. It’s so much easier to hide. I have a hard time believing that people care about me that much. That’s ridiculous; I know. People do care. I care. Others care.
What does this have to do with me quitting my job because of anxiety? Well, that was back in June/July when I quit, when I was so overcome with anxiety I couldn’t stop shaking internally for over a week—or maybe two, I don’t remember—when I randomly started crying and couldn’t calm down, when I had a horrible meltdown that scared my husband.
Did you know?
If you don’t know me, of course you didn’t. If you do know me, maybe you’re one of the very few people who knew. Notice how I said “very few”; only very few—I can probably count them on my hand—knew what I was going through. And, of course, I had no idea how to share what I was going through with others. I was just trying to survive.
Let’s start from the beginning.
I’ve worked in marketing since I graduated college. And it has always had it’s stresses. I’ve come to expect some of the last-minute requests and emergency communications. But this last job… too much. Too much!
I don’t want to get into the details of all the craziness that was my last job. I still love the company’s products. I still love and have great respect for many people who work there. But there were things that happened, that I don’t agree with, and that caused a lot of stress and anxiety. There were many days I felt I was for sure going to be fired, not because my boss was an ogre—far from it, a.k.a. super nice, supportive boss—but because the expectations in my job were crazy, overall organization was almost nonexistent, and I was being thrown so many things to be done at once with a lot of pressure to make sure it was all done on time and well. Quality above quantity was not a thing in my job, although it was spoken of all the time. The reality was quality and quantity at all cost.
My anxiety started to kick in full force last October. I had always felt the stress of my job, but there were some things that happened around this time that caused my anxiety to grow at a steep incline. And it got worse every month. Every day it seemed some new emergency needed communicating. Something else had to be done right now. And I couldn’t let up on everything else that was happening. It all needed to be done no matter what.
Finally, my body and my brain had had enough.
Do you ever think things are okay for now and then one little thing happens and you realize, no, you are not okay? Far from it. You’re much worse.
That is exactly what happened in June.
I thought I was managing my stress and all the expectations pretty well. Things were definitely not perfect. I growled under my breath behind closed doors at things that happened every day. But I was calm and collected, managing to get through my work day, until something so simple set me off. I think back to that incident now. I totally blew it out of proportion at the time. It was simple, small, inconsequential, really. But my stressed-out brain didn’t know the difference. It could only interpret something bad.
And I cracked.
I don’t remember that night very much except I barely slept. The next morning I had this horrible feeling and I knew I couldn’t deal with the day, so I took a mental health day and stayed home from work.
And I shook internally the entire day. I could not come down from that high-stressed feeling no matter what I did.
I walked around numb.
I followed Chef Comte on a business errand. We had lunch together. We took a nap together.
Through all of this, Chef Comte was worried. He tried to be supportive and help me stay calm.
And then, I got an email.
A work email.
And I broke, completely.
Chef Comte had to yell at me to calm down. He grabbed me and held me close and talked softly.
And then he said, “You need to quit. This job is not good for you. You can’t work there anymore.”
It was exactly what I needed. I started to come down. Just a bit. Just enough to think rationally again. It was like I needed his permission. I did, didn’t I? We were trying to start a business. I was making consistent, good money. I couldn’t quit. But I could. I needed to.
So I did.
It was one of the hardest things I have had to do because I had to admit that I wasn’t perfect, that I couldn’t do everything. It was scary because I was stepping into the unknown.
I still shook internally for over a week or more. I still couldn’t come down all the way.
Chef Comte and I discussed me finding another job. Every time I thought about it, I felt sick. I couldn’t get another job. Not right now anyway. I needed to heal.
I quit my job and I worked on healing and coming down from the high stress. I tried to focus on calming activities. I breathed. I did yoga. I started to heal little by little.
And Chef Comte and I reevaluated everything we were doing at that time. Were we really doing what was right for us, what we wanted to do? Or were we just trying to keep up with the Joneses and do what we thought we were supposed to do.
After a lot of contemplation, prayer, conversation, etc., we decided we needed to change what we were doing. We stopped the business. We sold our house. We put adoption on hold. We moved to my parent’s house in another state. We prepared for Chef Comte to work full time with the military for a while. Chef Comte went back to school. I decided to make writing my full-time job. I also decided to focus more on yoga. And I knew I needed to go slow and take the time to heal.
And… It has all been the best! Quitting my job is the best decision I have made in a long time. It was hard a first. I felt guilty. I felt guilty for not contributing money to our family income. I felt guilty for being a quitter. I felt guilty for being a strong, independent woman who couldn’t handle the stresses of an overly-demanding job.
I just felt guilty.
I’m not sure where the healing has come from exactly. Lots of things maybe. Prayer. Faith and reliance on Jesus Christ. My amazing husband. Yoga. Time to go slow and find my passions again. This blog. My puppy. Amazing and supportive family. Loving friends. Change. Living in a hotel with my husband, with very little worldly possessions, relying on creativity to keep us sane and entertained. October was an amazing, healing month.
I had no idea how bad it really was until I was finally able to calm down. What a difference! I can’t believe I let myself live through that much anxiety, EVERY DAY!
I still have things to get over. My anxiety may never go away. It still creeps up when something I can’t control happens. But I’m able to handle it better. I’m able to take the time to calm down.
Yesterday was National Stress Awareness Day. I shared on Instagram how I believe that if something is over stressing you or consistently stressing you to the point it is hard to come down from it, you need to reevaluate that thing and possibly step away. I did that with my job, and I was the best thing I have ever done.
I quit my job because of anxiety and I am doing so much better because of it.