The sky today is a leaden shade of grey in my little corner of the world, sporadically dumping rain in buckets amidst a few rumbles of thunder and the occasional streak of lightning. I had to laugh at how well these outer conditions align with my inner conditions right now.
I’m not going to mince words or try to sound upbeat when I’m not.
I am stressed out, burned out, sick, sleep-deprived, and cranky.
Over the weekend I had a rather volatile allergic reaction to pollen from a certain bothersome weed that grows plentifully here. That was compounded by a throat infection–which other members of the household had last week–that showed itself on Tuesday, when I had to be back to work. Sleeping has not been easy due to a constantly running or stuffed up nose, as it’s difficult for me to sleep sitting up and lying down or reclining has made me feel like I am drowning or suffocating. When I have dozed off, I’ve woken up multiple times every night, and only actually got to sleep in the first place when I was completely exhausted.
So, why didn’t I take this week off for sick days? I am the only one in the office right now, so I’m not exactly permitted sick days. You see, since May 18th and until at least June 8th, my boss and my lone co-worker, who is his wife, are out for medical reasons. Oh, sure, when he called to check in, my boss told me if I was sick to close and go on home, but I know he didn’t mean it because he called back a couple hours later and gave me a To-Do List a mile long, most of which he wanted done that day.
I know that he’s stressed out and worried, but I’m stressed out, too. I’m trying to be compassionate and nice, but, deep down, I’m not succeeding very well.
Work has been, for months, making me want to claw my way out of my own skin. It chafes much like rubbing myself down with course-grit sandpaper. It’s high-stress and low-reward. I’m locked in exactly where I am; there’s no mobility at all as far as position goes. It has taken over my psyche in ways I vowed it never would, and the end of the line keeps moving.
(You see, I agreed to stay on for two years, at the end of which I was to aid in ushering my boss into retirement and be done with it. That two-year mark was almost six months ago, and every month that projected end date gets a month later. Now, we’re at late August or early September.)
Office-related stress crops up regularly in my nightmares these days. I have a hard time completely letting go of all thoughts about work once I’m off the clock. I’ve found myself eating mindlessly or gobbling up fatty, sugar-filled comfort foods the past few months to ease the stress. (Not good, I know.) By the time I get home from work, all I want to do withdraw from everyone into a quiet place with a book or a movie or just go to sleep and be like Rip Van Winkle and not wake up for 20 years, at which time all this will be over. I certainly don’t want to exercise, because the scant bits of energy I had that day are usually gone after work, and I need the sleep in the morning because I can’t get to sleep early enough most evenings to allow for morning work-outs past a less-than-ten-minute walk around the neighborhood.
None of this is healthy. I keep trying to come up with little things that may make it more bearable, but the more I do that the more it feels like I’m trying to put a Band Aid on a bullet wound.
I don’t know…I’m just so tired of it. I’m tired of trying to cram my foot into a shoe that doesn’t fit. I’m tired of thinking about it and I’m certainly tired of living it. I’m giving my boss until mid-July, and I’m putting in my notice, Hell or high water. (Part of me wants to do it sooner, but I need a good recommendation from this job to get my next one, as it’s the only full-time position I’ve ever had. The split needs to be amicable, which means I can’t leave things undone.) I can’t keep running myself into the ground, even if quitting means financial ruin on my part or anger or disappointment on his. I don’t have anything if I don’t have my health. Money’s no good if I end up in a mental hospital or develop any of a number of chronic, stress-related health problems.
It’s not easy for me to get to this point–I’m a life-long overachiever–of admitting that I can’t continue, that I can’t handle the way things are much longer, that no Band Aid I stick on this is going to make it measurably better.