Stressed is Desserts spelled backwards, but it sure don’t taste as sweet.

I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, getting back on the blogging horse has been on my mind more than ever recently. Now that I once again face unemployment.

My contract is finished and it isn’t being extended. I can’t help but take that as a reflection on myself and my capabilities or lack thereof. I’m assured that it is nothing to do with me and I am asked to simply swallow the fact that the role doesn’t work and sadly I won’t feature in the restructuring.

What I’ve come to realise is that employment is a joke. A cynical, dark, quite unfunny joke. I was just a cog in a machine, replaceable, malleable and ultimately unimportant in the grand scheme of things.

I no longer want to work in a place where I constantly feel unappreciated, where the most praise I’ve ever received in my whole six months was for untangling a necklace. A monkey could do that. I did far greater and more applaudable things in my time there than disentangle a fragile gold chain.

I’m done with corporate, office life and running around like a headless chicken to find a corkscrew. At least for the moment anyway. I feel totally burnt out, used up and empty. I have nothing left to give and so in a way this contract finishing couldn’t have come at a better time.

I was diagnosed with reactive depression and Globus Hystericus (which very much sounds like a made up disease) a few weeks ago, both things caused by stress. GH is a spasm of the neck muscles caused by anxiety or stress and it feels like there is something stuck in your throat at all times, like a pill or a wedge of bread. It also makes your neck incredibly tight and tense and routinely makes me gag. Sitting at your desk trying not to vomit is always a laugh. And as for the depression, yeah I’ve felt incredibly low, like nothing really matters and that I’m altogether a pretty useless human being. My lack of energy or oomph (as I like to call it) is shocking. These symptoms scare me a little bit. They also make me think about the damage stress does to us. Maybe not physical damage but psychological and that’s just as bad for us. There’s a lot of stigma attached to mental health but mood and morale are so important, they’re the making of a person. After finding out about my impending unemployment I had a bit of a meltdown, I’m normally an excitable, happy and positive person, but suddenly I couldn’t even get out of bed and my eyes were raw from crying. Life felt like it was closing in on me and I started collapsing. My parents were away on holiday and I just couldn’t bear to be alone, it actually hurt to be in the house on my own. An overwhelming sense of panic set in.

This is where God came in. A situation that would have driven me away from God in the past, drew me incredibly close to him. Despite my despair, I also felt an amazing sense of relief, that all this striving and daily berating of myself was finally over. I could walk away from this knowing i’d given it my all and learnt a hell of a lot along the way. God gave me exactly the support I needed, surrounding me with my amazing sister and niece, friends galore who cooked for me, listened to me, let me cry, prayed with me and generally looked after me when I didn’t really feel like looking after myself. And by the grace of God, I was restored, I had enough motivation and love behind me to go back to work, to face my fears and see my contract through.

But this horrible episode of my life made me think about the thousands of us who suffer from stress. And it worries me because what is it really doing to us? What damage is it causing? What lasting effect will it have?

Stress makes you feel weak, it disables you from achieving your best. It restricts and limits you. I don’t want to be limited anymore, I don’t want to pick at my mistakes everyday anymore. So I’m taking some time off. To get better. To become myself again. To enjoy life without stress.

And that doesn’t mean sitting around watching daytime television and eating a bag of kettle chips. No, no, no. I’ve decided that writing is the one thing I’ve always wanted to do. The desire to write a book has never faded, in fact it’s only grown stronger especially since going on the road with authors. They are living the dream, why can’t I have a slice of that? We should be greedier for life. I want more than sitting behind a desk and frantically replying to emails. I want to be my own boss, I want to create and imagine all the day long. So I’m taking some time out to – you’ve guessed it – write a book. Life’s too short not to at least try and achieve your dreams.

So here’s to the summer and the birth of a great story. (Hopefully)



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