I Quit My Job

This week I quit my job. Well…one of my jobs.

No, the boss wasn’t shitty. No, the coworkers weren’t stank. No, it wasn’t a job I initially had no interest in doing…

It was actually a job I was really excited about.

I was excited to hold the title of a profession that I had no technical schooling in. I was excited to once again be in a position to help others. I was excited to attend multiple trainings in safety, medication, and management of crisis situations..

I was excited to be a Mental Health Counselor.

One of the major ways that I have tried to cope with my own mental health issues has been to assist others who have some sort of mental disability or issue of their own. Feeling as if I am “paying it forward” or helping others surmount their own problems has, in the past, left me with a feeling of self-worth and confidence in the ability to one day overcome my own struggles.

But this time has been different. This time I have been facing people with issues far too similar to my own, with diagnoses that define themselves way too close to home. This time, I’ve had to navigate my own triggers and panic and anxiety while forcing a poker face of resiliency and responsibility. Responsibility of residents under my care. Resiliency in remaining calm when seeing a mirror of my own self-destructive tendencies staring back at me, challenging me in words and behavior.

I kept telling myself that eventually it would get better, and that the perks were way too good to pass up the position. I tried observing my coworkers when I could, and would try to understand how they manifested such a calm exterior when the medication, livelihood, and mortality of other people rested in their hands.

I tried talking to a person close to me about it, and they only replied that I took my job more seriously than my coworkers. And I felt ashamed of this- embarrassed. I didn’t want to be an uptight, A-type employee to that extent. But I also realized that they were looking at the superficial surface of my issues within the situation. They themselves don’t have mental issues, (or are at least in blatant denial of them.) They don’t understand that because I know the risk first-hand in dealing with the issues the residents are going through, that I constantly worried that the worst-case-scenario will happen on my watch.

Others within the workplace reminded me repeatedly to not trust the ones we were serving- to not get too close, to not give too much information, to always watch my back.

I have been on edge since before I can remember, and being told that being suspicious of others’ intentions would be a requirement to succeed in this job has been upsetting to my core.

The absolute worst part is that I have been too tired and too burnt out to do the work that I love to do. One weekend I work 7am-3pm, the next weekend, 3pm-11pm. And for a morning bird, those time frame changes have been absolute hell. I lost my ability to wake up with enthusiasm and excitement for the day. Instead, I’ve been living with a steady eye on my energy meter, blindly ignoring my emotional one.

Because if I had been watching my emotional meter, I would have quit a lot sooner.

After 8 weeks of anxiety and panic, I put in my two weeks notice this past Sunday. *Thanks a lot Aries Moon for the culminating panic attack that lead me to that decision..*

I have really wanted to shame myself for quitting a job that I was good at, (because tbh I actually was a really good Counselor,) for the excuse that it’s not good for me. But the real lesson that I have learned is that I cannot ignore my internal processes for the sake of a title or a paycheck. I can’t navigate my own internal woes if I’m busy reprimanding someone else for theirs. And I’ve definitely learned that Art environments are still, as they have always been, my favorite work environments above all.

So now there is only 2 more weekends of adjusting my sleeping patterns mid-week to go. And then this weight will be lifted, and I will be partially free. And I can’t fucking wait.

May you be well, May you be happy, May you be free from suffering.

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