As I said in my New Year, New You? post at the beginning of the year, don’t wait for a manufactured calender date to motivate yourself to make a change. Any day, month or year can be the perfect time to re-evaluate and reflect on where positive changes can be made.
Since February there have been many changes in my life – myself and my mother changing job, becoming single again and supporting my mother through a tough time – and in this period I have triumphed yet I have also made a few decisions I am not entirely proud of.
With regards to my career I made the decision to leave my old employment as its atmosphere was no longer one I wanted from a workplace despite making good relationships with my co-workers. Whilst I enjoyed the people I worked with and my role, I could feel myself begin to strain under the amount of pressure placed upon me. With 1 in 10 suffering from a mental health related illness in the UK many of you will be able to relate to the feelings of anxiety, stress and exhaustion in the workplace. A survey in 2017 resulted in only 13% of people feeling able to disclose a mental health issue to their manager or supervisor and within this statistic 16% received disciplinary procedures, demotion or even dismissal. Luckily in my previous job when I had a ‘bad spell’ of anxiety and low mood I was signed off of work for 2 weeks and given the opportunity to integrate myself slowly back into full time work. In this aspect my managers were great but it only took 3 months after this spell before I started to feel the stress and pressure again. At this point I knew it was time to make a permanent change if I wanted to stay on the right path. Deciding to leave was tough as it involved having to put me and my mental health first and this is something I am not always the best at doing.
Throughout this time my mother was also having a rough time with her mental health and grief as this was only a month after the second anniversary of my fathers death. As I have outlined before, grief is incredibly complex and never goes away fully. It was during this time that my mother also decided she wanted a job with less responsibility than what she had in her previous managerial role, merely being able to enjoy her job and know she is doing it well with no pressure. At the end of the day if my mother is happy and stress free that is all that matters to me and it is also what is best for her. Many surveys and research trials have proven that employees produce higher quality work when they are happier, stress free and confident in their job.
So already by February, my whole day-to-day routine, and my Mum’s, had completely changed. We were now able to spend more time doing things together and doing things for ourselves such as meeting up with friends and attending classes we didn’t find the time to do before, but really, we were just enjoying the simplicities of life like having a lie in on a Wednesday or going out on a ‘school night’ knowing there won’t be any repercussions the next day. I know I said managers should want their employees to be happy and stress free but walking into the office with sunglasses on, paracetamol in hand, stinking of alcohol, probably isn’t the best way to create a happy working environment.
Aside from my work life, as of February, I officially became a singleton! Like any of you who have been in a relationship will know, re-adjusting your life after coming out of a relationship is difficult. For so long your focus and decisions had been based on what’s best for you and your partner and then suddenly you only have yourself to think of – its a strange thing to wrap your head around. So not only had my daily routine now changed, a person who used to fill a lot of time in both my old and new routine was no longer there to fill it, which left me with even more time on my hands. As someone who likes to keep busy this change, alongside everything else, had a massive impact on me mentally, leaving me not wanting to get out of bed and wanting to constantly sleep as it meant I wouldn’t have to think or accept that this change was permanent.
After a few weeks I began to feel like myself again, finding ways to fill my time. For a while I pretty much saw my best friend every day, as when we are together, no matter what we are doing, it brightens my mood. She also happens to be insanely good with advice and comforting words which everyone knows always helps in a time where you need the reassurance that everything will be just fine.
I remember the first night I went out clubbing with my friend as a singleton. We had pre drinks at my house before my mother drove us to the train station in which we would get the train that would take us to where we needed to be. I was excited but nervous at the same time of the idea of going out. Excited because I was getting some much needed quality time with my friend but nervous, because it meant I would have to answer some uncomfortable questions regarding my relationship status. When it comes to breakups I have met two different kinds of people. One, being the people who believe in order to get over someone you need to get under someone else, and the other being you just need to take your time. That night, upon seeing some friends I knew in the club, one of them quickly directed me to a boy I had only met that night, the second she found out I was newly single. Although I knew she meant well, I couldn’t help feeling uncomfortable and as if I shouldn’t be there. Luckily the boy was lovely and respected my situation and I carried on with my night, but it definitely highlighted to me that I was not ready for anything like that.
As time went on I began feeling more comfortable and happy at the thought of being out with my friends who were also all single at the time, getting the opportunity to speak to new people and just let my hair down. However as the weeks went on and time went by, going out and drinking started causing drama and stress that I just do not need or want in my life. Some decisions I have made and some that I can’t even remember making – let alone doing – have been awful and I have ended up hurting people who have been caught up in it. As someone who never wants to hurt anyone or cause any negative connotations with myself, seeing the impact of some of these decisions was devastating. In reality I know a lot of people do silly things when they are drunk and people have definitely done way worse than me, but me being me I feel everyones pain times ten and knowing I’ve hurt someone in any way plagues me with extreme guilt.
I remember when I was 12 and getting an operation, my father said to me he would do anything he could to stop me from feeling the pain and nerves I had surrounding it all and I shook my head and said ‘no, you have had enough experiences with pain, I would rather go through this then you ever experiencing anymore pain.’ and I still live to that this day. It sounds silly and maybe to some people weak as I don’t stand up for myself sometimes but I would much rather take someones pain and bare it on my shoulders then watch them have to suffer. Then again maybe thats me being selfish by not wanting to witness anymore suffering that I can’t do anything about.
Sitting here writing this is me turning the page, starting a new chapter with more clarity for what I want and aim for in the near future. No matter how much I sit in my room riddled with anxiety over the thought of being a bad person for some of the decisions I have made recently, it won’t undo them no matter how much I wish it would. From here on I now know where I am career wise, friendship wise and relationship wise as well as knowing when to be able to say no to another drink when out clubbing. I always knew as someone with anxiety that alcohol doesn’t exactly help but I had never seen the effects it truly does have on my body until now. I am definitely more conscious of the amount I drink now due to being unable to sleep or eat the next day because of my mind and heart racing.
To anyone who has been affected by my bad decisions lately just know I am sorry from the bottom of my heart and I promise I will do better. The last few months I have lost my sense of self and my identity. I no longer knew what I stood for or what direction I was wanting to travel in. Now I do and I will never stop learning and trying to improve myself.
Thank you for being patient with me in terms of my decisions and blog posts! Inspiration hasn’t been coming lately yet here I am writing this at 2am because my mind needed a blank page to spill on before settling for some much needed sleep! As always I am open to any feedback/suggestions you may have and I have left some informative links below.