Summer weather has arrived in the south. Many people deal with seasonal depression during colder seasons but mine crop up with warmer weather and linger until October.
See, I hate heat. I hate humidity. I hate crowds and school children on vacation who scream constantly. Trying to enjoy a breeze from your open window is nearly impossible. I hate how fast everything starts to feel. I hate the increased energy of go, go, go, and do, do, do.
I don’t like shorts or tank tops. I despise shaving anything. Summer is when I feel pressured the most to conform to societal and gender expectations. I feel insecure due to all the shoulds.
I enjoy colder months. Wearing pants and sweatshirts and sweaters. I like taking brisk walks in brisk weather. I enjoy how most other people stay inside and I can go somewhere and it feels as if I have the place all to myself.
I like the feeling of calm. The hush. Having adequate time to reflect.
I chose a job at a state park. It was nice at first, surrounded by nature. Taking my hour long lunch break to go hike the trails. I don’t have to sit in bumper-to-bumper, rush hour traffic. There are some perks. The pay isn’t great but at the time I accepted the job, it wasn’t much of an issue.
But now, I’m not so sure what to do. The long and short of it is, I don’t want to be there. I don’t want this job and I certainly don’t want it full-time. I’ve been handed more and more responsibilities. Some of my duties were vague at first but I brushed it off. Administration for state government is ridiculously bureaucratic and convoluted. The procedures and systems the state uses turns simple admin tasks into a labyrinth of frustration.
I put out a lot of fires. I clean up messes of co-workers. I know I don’t have to but I’m the type that gets tired of asking and then does it myself.
The constant barrage of customers (in person and over the phone) depletes my energy. By 2 PM, I’m so zapped I don’t know whether to cry or fall asleep or run off screaming.
I have a natural clock. I get sleepy at 10:30 or 11 PM and wake without an alarm, usually at 7:30 AM. I have to take something to force myself to go to bed earlier and I often wake up throughout the night. Since I have to wake up at 7 AM (sometimes earlier) there is this tiredness in me that I can’t shake even after a cup of coffee or a good walk.
And I’m tired all the time. My body aches relentlessly. I already have scar tissue on my muscles from a lifetime of anxiety and stress. I wear down easily. I’m still working in the sector of customer service and after 15 years of it, I’m beyond being through. I go home exhausted.
My anxiety is crippling. It affects my sleep. It affects my emotions.
I practice Stoicism and it helps to a point. I am a few years into recovering from a traumatic childhood and adolescents. I still suffer from toxic stress.
Sure I have good benefits but the amount of money that gets hacked out of my paycheck each pay period leaves me enough to barely squeak by. At first, the pay wasn’t an important factor. But as I acquire more and more responsibilities, the pay doesn’t increase and therefore the monetary compensation isn’t enough for the stress endured.
How do I go on doing this? I have a lot of obligations which require money. I could get a part time job to pay for those but I will never be able to save money.
To look at my future and see myself here indefinitely, fills me with dread.
So, how much is this costing me? How much is my sanity worth? My physical well being? I’m in the midst of making difficult decisions; decisions which won’t just affect me.
My body has been rebelling from the sheer state of panic and distress it’s processing. It is tough to calm my body and mind when I’m at a crossroads where I don’t know which way to take yet.
For any readers, have you ever left a job for your emotional and mental health? Have you been at a crossroads and were unable to decide for weeks, months, or even years? How did you finally make that decision, if you did? How much value to you place on your overall wellbeing?