It has been a while since my last post. Well, more than a while. I can only apologise. To whom, I don’t know as I don’t imagine I have the whole world waiting with bated breath to hear my latest ramblings.
Now the apologies are out of the way, I want to share my BIG NEWS. Life has been extra tough for the last 5 months. One of my daughters had an awful experience back in June and has PTSD and anorexia, my son is autistic and has started secondary school and I have my own health issues that have been taking over recently.
I have always been a perfectionist; things are either completed at 100% perfection, or they are not done. This is a pressure that I apply only to myself and only by myself. No one else has the same ridiculously impossible standards for me and I don’t hold them for anyone else. As a result, I run to the flighty side. I am a very all or nothing person and I cannot stand to let anyone down. The recent events in my little family have meant that I feel I am letting everyone down. I have to put my family first and that can mean not being the best person in the world at work. As a teacher it can be hard to take a day off for a hospital appointment as there is that niggling thought that you are letting the children down. Once or twice this can be forgiven, but recently I have been having more time off than present at work. There have been appointments at various clinics for my children, appointments at the doctors for me, I have had flu, dizziness, a chest infection… and there has always been someone to berate me for it. Okay, one person; me.
My perfectionism has lead to me feeling guilty whenever I am unwell which has lead to me being more unwell. I love my job, I always have, but recently it has felt like I cannot possibly continue working 50+ hours a week in pursuit of perfect when I have so much else that needs my focus and attention. I have dragged myself over hot coals of deliberation and drawn many a (colourful, pretty) mind map. Even this short post doesn’t do justice to the misery I have put myself through over the last month or so. I have quite literally wrestled with indecision and worry.
The options I was considering were:
- Carry on working, find some way of coping with the stress, pressure and guilt.
- Work part-time
- Give up work entirely
Option 1 – To paraphrase Einstein, to keep doing the same thing but expect a different result is insane.
Option 2 – my perfectionism made this not really viable as I would have a propensity to work full-time hours for part-time pay. I don’t really have an off switch when it comes to work.
Option 3 – made the most sense, but it is the littlest bit TERRIFYING>
These options went round and round my head perpetually. A constant itch that I couldn’t scratch. All the time the appointments, ill health, guilt, worry, anxiety and panic were going on and making each other worse through my inability to act. It is very obvious to anyone that option 3 made most sense. It is obvious that it would give me time to be with my children, sort out my ill health and actually be. However, it was the most terrifying thought. I love my job. I love the people I work with, I love teaching. How do you even begin to accept that the very thing you love is causing the biggest misery in your life?! It upset me so much each and every time the idea came back round for consideration on the merry-go-round that my thoughts had become. I pride myself on my intelligence, but I can be incredibly stupid when it comes to taking care of myself. It struck me that I was watching my health decline (especially my mental health) and I was getting more and more stressed that I couldn’t take care of my family as much as I wanted to and all the time there was a solution. A solution I was terrified of, but a solution nonetheless. (Side note: isn’t nontheless an awesome word?)
Yesterday I went to work for a meeting with my headteacher. Yesterday I cried in her office. A lot. Yesterday I gave in my resignation. And while the tears still threaten at times, the relief is also starting to hit me. I have cut an enormous amount of pressure out of my life by making a choice. It was not a choice I wanted to make, but I am still glad I have made it.
Currently, I am giving myself a year. A year to change everything. I want this blog to be a record of that. Today is a new day, the newest in fact. Today I start the next phase of my life, however short or long it may be. I am excited, terrified, relieved, regretful, sad and happy all at once. Let the games begin.