Year In Review

A year ago, I was coming out of a very dark place. I’m not going to lie… it was definitely one of the darkest times of my life. I hated the person I had become. No, that’s not right. I was indifferent to the person I had become. I was indifferent to everything. I had no energy to care. My suicidal thoughts weren’t full of anguished passion. They were casual, almost curious, thoughts about how I would do it. What would I choose? Would it be easier to just twitch the steering wheel on my way to work so that I’d slam the car into the barrier? Minimal effort, but loads of trauma & risk to others. I kind of had enough in me to care about others.

Then there were the insomnia filled nights where my over-stimulated mind had no where to go but down the rabbit hole. Those were the times I thought most about cutting. Not cutting to have the pain remind me I was alive. Cutting to let it all out. I was almost clinical in those moments. I would think about how I’d always offer my left arm to the phlebotomist when they’d take my blood because the veins were so much easier to find on that side.

My wrist would itch at the thought.

It wasn’t even that my life was so terrible. I hadn’t suffered a major loss. I had a husband who loved me and was trying to help me. I was mostly praised for the work I did. I was certainly overworked, over managed, and entirely too stressed. There were surely people in worse situations who were making life work. I just felt like everything was wrong. Outside triggers (work, loneliness, exhaustion) played their part, but self-flagellation was huge. If everything was wrong it was my fault. I had pushed so hard for the move, the transfer with work, because I was trying to escape the feeling of being trapped where I was. Had I pushed so hard that God was punishing me for asserting my will? Was I so focused on my escape that I really thought things would be better? Was I going to be dissatisfied no matter where I was or what I was doing? Some sort of inescapable character flaw that would ruin my marriage and leave me even more alone? I was feeling even more trapped in myself and needed to find a way out.

I knew that things needed to change. I also knew that I needed my husband to fully understand where my head was so we could come up with a plan. Telling him just how bad it had gotten was so hard. I was ashamed. I was worried that it would be too much for him. I was concerned that he wouldn’t believe me or think I was blowing things out of proportion, overreacting to get something I wanted. I didn’t want him to think less of me. Be disgusted. Blame. I was terrified.

But I also knew that of everyone in my life, he was the one I could talk to. My best friend. So I told him. I cried. He held me. My gentle giant cocooned me in his love and promised me we would find a way to make things change, even though it meant putting more on him.

My biggest trigger was work. It had only been a few months since we moved for my job, but the job wasn’t at all what it was made out to be. I was dealing with a combination of lack of actual support and help to do a 2-3 person job, and too much management asking for the same thing in different ways to report to different bosses. I was pulled every direction and my unreasonable workload wasn’t getting any lighter. It didn’t help that my tendency is to work faster when I have too much, instead of longer, so no one believed me that I needed more hands because I wasn’t working late. But I was burning out… fast. After just three months, I was toast. If we were going to start cutting sources of stress from our life together, my job was the first on the list.

So we crunched the numbers, determined it could be done, and I handed in my notice. In two days it will the the anniversary of my last day and it’s amazing the difference a year, a lot less stress, and a fresh perspective can have.

I went from hardly having read a single book in the previous year to twelve read in the last five months. I hadn’t really written anything in the previous five years, but since quitting, I’ve written a few short stories and started on another larger project. We sold our house and moved into a beautiful new home and I have more energy to take care of it. I’ve made new friends, played new games, returned to old favorites.

Most of my days are peaceful and contented.

Most of them.

Do I still have bad days? Yes. But they aren’t nearly as dark, just dimmer. This year has been a year of transition and most of it has gone in the right direction. I finally feel like I’m on the right path, doing the things in my life that I should be doing. I’m still on the journey of finding myself, my creativity, my health. I will be on this journey for the rest of my life and I no longer have any intention of cutting that short.

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9 thoughts on “Year In Review

  1. I’m glad to hear you’re doing better. I guess I didn’t realize how bad it had gotten. As for the ideation, you’re not alone there either.

    1. Hey Rowan! For some reason your comment got tagged as spam, or I would have replied sooner. Last year was rough. I’m finding that a lot of people didn’t know how bad it had been, so I’m especially glad I took the time to talk about it now, with a little distance. It’s something that needed to be shared. Last year, I felt so ashamed and broken and just wrong. The more this kind of thing is discussed, the less it becomes a taboo and source of shame. Shame rarely leads to seeking help. ❤

  2. My wife had a similar situation; and I know it was the worst thing in the world to see your spouse in tears over stupid work stuff. We managed to get her out of there as well. Not the easiest thing, but I have a promotion coming so that’ll help a lot.

    It’s hard to understand the stress in that sort of situation. In the end, I still don’t understand. But I can at least believe in my wife and trust her feelings on this.

    1. Thank you for sharing! The main reason I posted this was so that others wouldn’t feel alone in similar situations or states of mind. You sharing your wife’s experience helps me to not feel alone in this either. It’s kind of funny how it works out. Losing my income meant some major changes in our spending, but we’ve never been happier with what we do have….

  3. “Cutting to let it all out.” I get that so much. Stress and insomnia put me where you were. I toyed with taking my life a shocking number of times in a few months and had specific plans for how to carry it out.

    Unfortunately, when I told my ex, he didn’t get it. He really never did. He wanted me ‘fixed’ and stuff back to his version of ‘normal.’ This just made it all even worse.

    With the awesome support of 5 friends, I was able to get some help, a diagnosis (bipolar 2) and treatment. 5 Years later, I’ve remarried to a man who gets me. Who understands I still have bad days sometimes. Who loves me for who I am. My stress levels have been pretty bad recently, and my hubby and I have talked about whether to move on or see where this new corporate exec weenie posse takes us. I am currently able to relieve some stress through other activities and giving myself permission not to fret about not doing all the stuff around the house.

    I work hard to protect sleep time as that is one of my biggest depression triggers. I work hard on balance and not looking at email 24 hours a day. I turn of the screens before 10 PM. I write about life. I do a bit of art quilting. I play a few MMOs when the mood strikes. All help.

    Thank you so much for your post. I truly appreciate it. Take care and keep writing.

    1. Zooey, thank you so much or sharing your story with me. I’m reminded that while all of our experiences are unique, they do intersect in ways that help us to not feel quite so alone. I don’t know how I would have handled things without the support of my husband and I’m grateful that your ex is just that now, an ex. Your new husband sounds like he is not only very supportive as your husband, but also your friend. (I’ve recently been back in WoW myself and I loved the story of ‘Armpithair’.)

      Thank you, as well, for sharing your coping mechanisms. Hubs and I are both night owls, so I’m not sure a screens off as early as 10 would work for us, but I have been putting the phone away earlier and reaching for a book instead. I play games, color, write, sometimes do a puzzle. It helps to pull me out of the hole I sometimes fall into on my bad days. Thankfully, we’re to the point where they are fewer and farther between.

      Current corporate shenanigans aside, it sounds like you’re also in a better place with a much better support system than you had five years ago. Best of all, that support is in place in case you need to make changes for your own mental health. For us, we decided that living simpler on less money was worth more than my paycheck. It’s been entirely worth it. Hopefully, your current stressful situation will right itself soon.

      And hey, maybe I’ll see you in Azeroth sometime? ❤

  4. Thanks for sharing your path out of a dark place. I love to hear your insights and know you have a tremendous core of strength. Now I see where it came from.

  5. Annnd I just saw your response. Early June…yeah, haven’t been bloggin much. More stress at work for me. Hubby is looking to find a diff. job so I can find something less stressful. It’s currently a balancing act for me which requires lots more sleep time. Hubby has me riding a bicycle in the early AM which is a challenge (to get up!) I am hoping things settle down some in the next few weeks.

    I’d love to meet you in Azeroth. We have toons on Dalaran, Jul’jin, Burning Legon and Dentarg.

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