I’ve recently been visiting a clinical psychologist. I asked to be referred back in the Summer as my anxiety has been growing as I age, to the point where I find myself freezing. I constantly find myself mid-way between fight and flight, in a state of fear and inaction.
I made a career move back in May, which ultimately turned out to be very different from the expected role. At the interview stage, I straight up explained the salary I expected. That might not seem like a lot, but never in my 37 years (at the time) have I ever felt bold enough to advocate for myself and make my expectations clear.
I came into the job with all the confidence in the world, suggesting improvements to processes as early as my first day, then it started to wane. The job was a lot more complaint focused than I anticipated. The overall structure didn’t lend itself to my skills for challenging conversations of disability, mental health and trauma, it was more focused on managing complaints at an executive level. It just wasn’t me.
The initial nerves that come with a new role, in a new industry, didn’t go as they naturally do. They intensified, to the point where I was growing more anxious by the day. This in turn made it difficult to learn and retain new information, leading me to feel I didn’t know what I was doing, that I couldn’t manage, and that I wasn’t good enough.
Many would write this off as imposter syndrome, but it certainly wasn’t. I know my strengths, it’s just the environment I’d found myself in didn’t play to them. That coupled with the apparent bar to comprehension.
I changed role and dropped salary, figuring if I changed my environment to something I knew well, Social Media, I would give myself space to breathe, room to develop and the best chance at overcoming the difficulties I was having
My first psychologist visit was mostly based on my expectations of the support I’d requested, and learning a little about me. My second visit, just before Christmas, was a little more intense. We spoke of how I felt about work and life, any difficult moments I had and a cycle emerged.
I’ve always said I can tell something’s wrong when I’m not writing. You only need to look at my output here to see it’s reduced quite a bit. This is the short of it, I’ve got it in my head that I’m not good enough at my job, and not good enough in life.
The cycle goes like this. My thoughts prompt anxiety, I’m anxious throughout the day, which is physically and mentally tiring, I’m either too tired to write, or feel I’ve got nothing to write, I go to bed frustrated at myself, promising myself I’ll write tomorrow. But I don’t, I wake up, and go right back to the start, near infinitely.
It’s exhausting and coupled with a muscle wasting disease, an absolute nightmare.
Now I know thoughts are just that. Yet we live in a world where people think Andrew Tate is a good role model, Brexit’s working, and voting Tory is a good idea. What I’m saying is, a thought held close can cause real damage when left unchecked for too long.
For as much as I encourage people to speak to me if they’re having trouble, I’m struggling to do the same.
Now. I know that that’s not true, that it’s doubt taking form and shaping my mind, but the thought’s there. Now that it’s been spoken, I can move forward with it and learn appropriate coping strategies and that’s what my next few visits will be about.
For now, I’m going to focus on writing. It’s a solid means of mental support for me, so it makes sense. I’m not going to work to a timescale, but expect a lot more from me across the year. Things might be a little different, as whilst I’ll still write on disability and mental health, I’m going to write more articles for myself, based on the things that give me joy, so look out for that.
Have a great new year folks.
Thanks for sharing – hope the new role is suiting you better?
You know we are here for you Joe. Here’s to 2023 being better for you.xx❤