Work and Worry

I've found myself getting increasingly stressed over the last few months.

The cause? My work.


Like the majority of people, it isn't the first time working has caused me stress, given me nightmares, exacerbated my anxiety. I have often found that my work is closely linked to me mental health and well being.

Looking over my blog posts from last year you wouldn't think that for half of it I was feeling depressed and even, at times, suicidal.

I felt that if I took happy pictures, posted happy posts about our days out and fun activities that I could paint a picture for my children in years to come of how wonderful our life was and what an amazing childhood they received.

The last thing I wanted was them reading about all the times I sat, sobbing desperately, calling my husband to come home.

And we did have amazingly happy times - the times that I want to remember, the times that pulled me through when I was feeling most depressed.

I was forced to give up my last job because going to work was leaving us in debt. The reality of our finances meant that the cost of childcare and living was no where near covered by our income and we could no longer sustain it.

It was the right thing to do and I walked away with some relief and even a little hope.

And yet it was the worst possible thing I could do for my mental health. Combined with a change in medication, I was a mess. I think I did a pretty good job of papering over the cracks enough but I was crumbling away until the summer holidays when my mood improved.

Then in October I went for a new job. And starting was stressful, I'm not good at coping with change and any sort of uncertainty sends my anxiety levels soaring.

But I love my job and over the months I felt like I was no longer living under a cloud. I've felt like I re-discovered a me that was more than 'just a mum'.

Until Easter.

Things are tricky at work now. I once again have childcare issues to face and there is a question mark over my role, my hours, my worth.

It is not mere paranoia, the whispers of an anxious mind.

And the stress is creeping up on me again.

Merely the suggestion of losing or leaving my job is enough to stress me out enough that I can't think straight.

In a vicious circle I stress, I make mistakes, I stress some more.

And then, ridiculously, I stress more about being stressed and I'm trying to frantically hit the brakes but I feel like I'm losing control.

I can't go back to where I was this time last year.

We live in a society where our self-worth is based on what we do and what we have.

Without a job and with rising debt I felt like I had lost my purpose and I questioned why I was here at all.

I know that it should be different. That we should value ourselves for what we are and that Mums who stay home with their kids are doing an amazing job, contributing massively to society and future generations... blah blah blah...

The truth is, couldn't see that I was doing a good job, let alone amazing. I didn't feel appreciated by my kids, my husband, my family or society in general for staying at home in a never ending cycle of laundry, cooking and cleaning.

I can't go back to that.

We've just reached a state in our finances where we're keeping our head above water, paying off debts and no longer wondering how we will get to the end of the month.

If I lose my job then we lose that financial security. We kiss goodbye to dreams of the first holiday since our honeymoon seven years ago.

If I lose my job then I worry about my well being, providing for my family, saving for the future.

And yet, if I had the courage to walk away then this particular uncertainty will go away.

A very small part of me does wish I were strong enough to just leave now, knowing that everything will be OK and that I can cope with not having a job again.

What do I do? Is there anything I can do other than sit and watch and wait for others to make decisions for me?

So I wait. I do what I can. I struggle with working my bloody socks off one minute and resisting the urge to skive off the next. I'm once again back to sticking a smile on my face and pretending that I'm not thinking myself into a mess underneath.

And I will do it all in the hope that I can work it out for my kids, my family. If I want financial security it is because I want it for them. I want my own mental health to be stable because I want to be that way for them. I don't want Matt coming home to a wife who is crying and stressed out.

The decision remains.

To work or not to work?

Perhaps we'll soon find out.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Quit...

It makes you miserable, financial security or not.

Find a job that ignites a spark and fuels a passion... That will help bring out the real you again, raising youf self esteem which in turn will enable you to be the wife and mum you want to/fell you should be.

It may take time to found a that role but you can find something in the meantime, just don't stop pursuing what you want to do

ChrisB said...

For me the answer was a Saturday job, meant hubby was looking after the kids so not reliant on childcare ... also good for hubby and kids, gave them a closer relationship too. Meant some cash, but also for me the importance of adult company too