My marriage ended three years ago. At the time I felt like my world had been ripped into pieces. I couldn’t function properly; I had no idea who I was anymore. 14 years spent as half of a couple had stopped me being able to focus on just me. Once he had taken himself away I was left with no idea about who I was or what I liked. I don’t know how it happened, but somewhere along the line I stopped being myself and became an extension of him.
When he left he took everything.
I built myself back up. It took some time but I have some amazing friends to whom this debt can never be repaid. I started trying new things, to see whether I enjoyed them. I made new friends and found new ways to enjoy myself.
Then a year ago I applied for a great job and was successful. I threw myself into it; worked late into the evenings; sometimes went into the office at weekends – if not I’d be sure to do some work from home. It was ok though; I absolutely loved it.
My efforts paid off: I was promoted in January of this year. Unfortunately the full time assistant I was promised as part of the promotion never materialised. I was left trying to juggle the enormous workload of two full time roles.
When I requested help I was lectured to about managing my time better. In the end I had stopped sleeping and my IBS was really starting to give me problems.
I went to the doctor to see if he could give me anything to help me sleep, and relieve the IBS symptoms. He listened, asked questions, then said something that shocked me: “You need to take a break. You’re hurtling towards a breakdown; your body is trying to tell you to slow down. You need to listen to it.”
He signed me off work for two weeks. I struggled with it. I found myself with nothing to do; it seemed once work had been taken away there wasn’t a whole lot left.
Yep. I’d made the same mistake again. I’d let something else take over and pushed myself to the back again.
I gave everything so much thought during those two weeks. My daughter wasn’t happy with seeing me so little. I wasn’t happy that I had been working myself into the ground.
I talked it over with some very good friends just to get different perspectives on it, and decided that at the end of the two weeks I would return to work but begin looking for a new job. Something that would leave me time with my daughter, but also time for myself.
That wasn’t to be though; my boss sent me a letter saying he “had no choice but to let me go”, apparently I was “unable to handle the workload”. That actually made me laugh: I’d been telling him that for a couple of months!
But it was such a weight off my mind! That night, after I heard from my boss, I slept like a baby. My symptoms pretty much cleared up overnight. I can honestly say it was the best and most fun job I have ever had, but it was still such a relief to be free of it.
This was very much a wake-up call for me. It seems I’m just too good at giving things my all. I’m concerned that I let it happen again, especially after how lost I was the first time.
I’ve ‘found myself’ a lot quicker this time, and started doing more and more things for me. I’ve embraced my creative side (see Chunky Scarf and Button Tree – definitely more to follow!) and I’m even going to start going to Modern Jive classes from next week!
Hopefully I’ve learnt my lesson now. The perfect job can’t be perfect if they don’t treat you fairly. And I will NOT give myself up like this again. I like me. I want to spend more time with her.