Back into the fire: an update on working and life

It’s been some time since I’ve written about my return to work, about how I’ve been managing. For a while – a long while – I was managing so well I didn’t need to think about it. There was nothing really to say.

So I can’t tell you when I stopped feeling comfortable in my skin again. Sometime between February and now, while I was looking the other way, thinking about other things and just trying to keep up, I lost part of myself. The part that puts down markers and holds fast to boundaries and says “no more” without fearing the consequences, without giving in.

Without resorting to desperation.

Without succumbing to panic.

Now, again, I imagine the judgement of others – which is my judgement of myself. I jump at unexpected sounds. I am immobilized by the need to make decisions. I feel fragile.

I know it’s work that has worn me down – or at least I know I’ve let it. I love my job but not to the detriment of my sanity. Others surrounding me are running around trying to keep everything afloat as well. Perhaps they are struggling like me, perhaps not quite – not yet. But the mistake I’ve made is allowing that to keep me in the fire. I’ve turned to them for approval when I say no. I’ve pushed myself to perform in return for recognition, acknowledgement. That amounts to putting my sanity in their hands.

Thankfully, I still have all the lessons I learned while on stress leave. Thankfully, I can now recognize the signs of impending doom, and can mark the distance from here back to my boundaries. There is hope, a way back.

I don’t know how to catch hold of that nugget that is my strength, to catch hold and expand it. But I know I have to.

Maybe the knowing is step 1. Maybe I’m already on the right path.

Maybe it is already time to search for step 2.

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7 thoughts on “Back into the fire: an update on working and life

    • Jan, how wise. I was already on step 2 without realizing it – how nice to discover that instinct (the right instinct) actually does take over. Thank you!

  1. I’m so sorry to hear this. I’ve learnt over the past few years it comes in phases and cycles – like you say, when it’s going well you don’t think about it, then it catches you out. Recognising the signs and knowing your own boundaries is so important and means you are miles further than you were before. As you say, no job is more important than your sanity and your health! Look after yourself, focus on the good things, embrace those you love and don’t be afraid to ask them for help x

  2. I just discovered that somehow I was no longer on your “follow” list. Maybe it was my blog move. I’m so glad I popped over on a whim, hoping to track down an older piece that I love. Anyway, I can’t begin to tell you how much I relate to this post, especially in this moment. Since February, work has been such hell and I’ve been horribly dependent on approval for no good reason. There is a step 2, I just know it. Peace be upon your journey to it. (And let me know when you get there so I can find out what it is.)

    • You had me at “hoping to track down an older piece that I love.” Really?! That is so flattering, I have no words. As for this unhelpful need for approval, I can’t imagine you don’t receive approval daily but I know so well that need for it. I’ve been meditating but I won’t lie, I spend a lot of time trying to talk myself out of caring what other think. I love you anyway and always though 🙂 xo

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