memoir

Without getting too much into the details of it, I’ve started to write something like a memoir. It began as a defense against a really bad day last week, where my anxiety spiked for reasons I still don’t comprehend. I have no idea what triggered it. I just know it was bad.

Writing helped, and it’s been interesting to me to start to put everything down on paper, to try to pin things down and dissect them and to look back to see how and when and where things went so wrong and then so right.

Because that’s been taking what little writing time I have, I thought I would start to share it here. I think all three of my readers have an idea of the journey I’ve been on, but I am still curious. For those willing to give feedback, do you find this compelling in the slightest or is it narcissistic in the extreme?

Be honest!

xoxo

-Alas


As I begin this draft, I’m not certain it’s a good idea. I think I’ve been building for some time towards writing about the past 19 months and what little I’ve learned along the way. I suppose I do so partly out of a need to make more sense of it all myself, but also with some thought towards the possibility that somehow, someday, my own journey might be of some use to some other benighted soul who is engaged in the same struggle that I have been: anxiety.

I suppose I’ve always had the tendency to worry about things that have been wholly out of my control. I’ve always had a touch of the hypochondriac about me. In retrospect, it seems obvious that some thirty odd years of cultivating those seeds was destined to lead to a bumper crop of issues. I only ever needed the exact wrong conditions to push it from the manageable but annoying tendency to forecast worst case scenarios at the slightest provocation – forecast, but not truly believe – to have it become something that is not only out of my control but which also tends to control me. Now do I not only absolutely believe that the worst case scenario is going to happen, I believe it against all logic, reason and previous experience.

It’s exhausting.

So I’m tired and angry as I write this. Tired because I feel defeated after more than a year and a half of anxiety defining my days as either good, bad or Really Bad. Angry because I’ve always tried to let logic rule over my thought processes and how I view the world, but all the logical thinking in the world does piss all when I’m in the grip of irrational fear. I know that it’s right there in the adjective I’ve chosen that this fear is not rational, but I still feel I should be able to talk sanely to myself and just stop freaking out that I’ve suddenly developed an allergy to eggs where none has ever existed before and so the breakfast my husband lovingly made me isn’t going to actually be the thing that kills me.

Things that also probably won’t be the thing to kill me but which I totally lose my shit over anyway include going to the airport, sitting in a crowded theater, yogurt and that one time a red ant bit my foot. Which was nine months ago, but I remain vigilant! Against my will and against all reason, I remain vigilant.

The day on which I decided to start writing all of this down was a Really Bad Day. One of the (thankfully) increasingly rare ones, where I’m not even sure what triggered the massive amounts of panic and so I have even fewer ways to try to deal with it. At least when I know what the underlying issue is, I can talk to my husband and together we can talk about how unlikely it really is that I have throat cancer. When I just feel panic and my body goes in flight mode but I have nothing to flee from exactly, it gets a bit more tricky. Generally speaking, on days like today, I flee in various ways until I’m too exhausted physically, mentally or emotionally to do anything other than shut down in some gruesome sort of surrender, where it becomes all about endurance.

If I can get through this minute, and then the next, and maybe through the day and then the night…. I just might make it.

Anxiety is the thunderstorm that rolls suddenly and violently over the landscape of my days. Those torrential downpours and even weeks of persistent drizzle have changed the contours of my life, to the point where I don’t recognize any of my personal landmarks most days. I have been flooded and battered by these waters, unfamiliar, cold and dark.

I am not an optimist. Anyone who knows me would attest to it. Probably loudly and at length.

But here’s the secret about my anxiety: It has had one profoundly positive impact on my life, even among all the destruction and devastation that it has wrought. It has been, to paraphrase Charles Spurgeon, “the wave that has dashed me against the Rock of Ages.” I have learned to kiss it, after my own fashion, even as I yearn for a life free from that pounding surf.

Having rediscovered the safety of that Rock, unyielding to the fury of the ocean storm, and steady under my feet as the firmest of foundations, I keep asking that this trial might reach its end. I have learned my lesson, God. I am lost without You. If I promise to follow You faithfully for all my days, will You make me sane again?

God doesn’t bargain like that.

But He leads me on, and I follow.

on work

I was gonna write a thing about my recent job search and my conflict in not knowing which option to go for should I get any offers. In fact, I wrote a lot of words about the whole thing. And then before I reached a conclusion of any sort, well…

I got a job offer.

And yeah, I accepted it.

I am mostly sure that it was the right thing to do, but I’d be lying if I said I were positive.

The thing is, I am fairly certain that it’s not the job that I want. In the job I’m about to leave, I discovered a deep passion for Accounts Receivable, of all things, and the job I just accepted has basically nothing to do with that.  I mean, I need to have accuracy in data entry, but whatever. I can’t think of any jobs that don’t require that in some way, shape or form.

So I took this job for the benefits, including the ones that the company doesn’t actually offer (those being that the husband works for this place as well so shared commute and use of carpool lane on the way there and shared lunches and blah, blah, blah). One of those benefits will be a massive discount on tuition1, which will at least put me on the path towards my Bachelor’s in Accounting.

I’m giving my current boss my two weeks’ notice on Monday, and I’d by lying if I said I weren’t looking forward to that, at least a little. Of course, that’s mostly because I’m so tired of him and his shenanigans2 and it’s kind of just driven me to the point where I want to embrace a workplace that has an employee handbook, no matter how out of date said handbook seems.

Anyhow, all of that is to make some explanation to my one whole reader as to why I’m saying I’m all on fire to write but then haven’t actually pulled anything together enough to get anything posted.

Sometimes, I am not organized.

Also, I’ve been busy.

I had to jump through all the “on-boarding” hoops3, which was really not that bad, but was still worse than it needed to be. There was just so much repetitiveness in having to type all my personal information out time and time again. If you have my address, birthday and SSN in one document, why do you need all of them in all the other documents? Annoying.

But I quibble, and that’s mostly because that little part of me was wondering if I made the right choice in accepting this job. I’ve been reflecting on that over the past few days and here’s what I’ve come up with:

  1. I was applying for jobs a while ago but that had been mostly out of a sense of anger and/or dissatisfaction with my boss. Nothing ever came of that, despite my being a whole lot more assiduous about applying to places back then.
  2. My decision to start looking for a new job most recently was due to some really good reasons that have a lot to do with my sister.
  3. I actually realized this latest go-round with applying to places that, I don’t know, maybe I should pray about it first and see if I felt like God was guiding me in this direction or if I was doing it for wrong reasons again.
  4. Yep. That is a feeling I did and do have.
  5. I had three interviews in a three week period which seemed like confirmation that I was on the right track.
  6. I asked God specifically to not let me have favor in a place/environment that I wasn’t meant to be and to make it really obvious where I was supposed to go.
  7. I had so much favor in this latest interview at my new job that I was interviewed on Wednesday, given a job offer on Thursday and on-boarded on Friday. It’s been very fast, especially when I was told at the end of my interview that they wouldn’t be making any decisions until this end of the next week and then got an email the next afternoon saying they didn’t want to wait to make the offer. Favor.

At the end of that list or the day, it doesn’t really make any sense that I should still feel a sense of hesitation about this new position, so perhaps it’s just one more way in which I allow fear to dictate to me.

If so, I am not going to allow fear to stop me from stepping out. I’m taking this job and I have every intention of absolutely rocking it.

All I have to do now is make it through a few more weeks of work without letting everything I genuinely do love about my current job make me feel regret over my decision to move on.

  1. I guess I just gave away that this place is a university
  2. Wherein ‘shenanigans’ is code for fucking idiocy
  3. Remember when it was “orientation” and I’d call it “disorientation”? Yeah, me too. I think all of American corporate culture changed the word they call it so that people like me couldn’t mock it quite as easily. Okay, this is probably not true.