Saturday, 12 March 2016

My Job Doesn't Define Me

I feel claustrophobic the past couple of days. There is a constant swell of panic and anxiety just bubbling below the surface, waiting to burst out if I let my guard down just for one second. I have been so up and down this week. Some days/hours, I feel okay and manage to summon hope and enthusiasm for the future but other times, like now, I feel lower than low.

This new level of sadness/panic that I'm feeling is partially due to work. I don't like my job and I don't like my workplace. The only reason I have stuck it out for so long is convenience and the fact that they pay full maternity leave. This is pretty unusual where we live and would make our lives so much easier than if we had to scrimp and save. So this is basically why I've stayed there for so many years. And I'm still waiting to get to use the ultimate perk. The thing is, I feel this situation has eroded my confidence hugely over the years. The thoughts of going in to work sometimes just makes me break out into a panic. Some days I'm fine but unfortunately the bad days are becoming far more frequent.

The thing is - I feel stuck. Even if I could find a new job, I can't very well walk in and then expect to be given lenience with frequent appointments and then days off straight away, or even for the foreseeable future. I could give up on the possibility of getting paid maternity leave too - the few companies who do offer this generally need you to be employed there for at least two years. I keep telling myself to think of it as "using" my current job for this purpose. I don't care what they think (or I try not to) so if I need to be at an appointment for a couple of hours/be signed off for a few days, I try not to feel guilty because I get nothing else from them, only diminished self-confidence and self-worth!! I get my work done, I keep my head down, I'm not a trouble maker, I am a pleasant colleague. What more do they want?

Now that I've seen another outcome to our IVF cycle, that I had never really envisioned for myself before, I am filled with panic and anxiety that I'll be stuck in this job, where I feel so simultaneously exposed and claustrophobic, for years and years to come. I need to look after my mental health and I had a good grip on things prior to our cycle starting. Work doesn't define me. At least not now. The only job I've ever really wanted was to be a mother and I've put any attempts to further my career and myself on the back-burner and really given it very little thought over the years, as it is just not high up on my list of priorities. I work to live and my priority in life is family. Now I'm scared that that's a pipe dream and I've pigeonholed myself into this situation with no way out.

I know I'm not thinking rationally at the moment and I'm not sleeping much this past week so that definitely doesn't help my head and my thought process. I wish I could see things rationally and put some perspective on things. My priority is still our family and I have other things in life that I'm passionate about and good at. I need to remind myself of this. I spend a long time at work, but it doesn't define me. It's a means to an end and I can only hope and pray that I make it to that end sooner, rather than later. I think while I struggle with this (and I hope I can get a grip on things soon), my mantra will simply be:


I am so much more than this. It is not who I am. It's what I do for right now, in order to follow my dreams, and live my life. 

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