An explanation, perhaps.

I have a new job.
It’s a brand new world.
I’m walking home (I walk home now) with a smile on my face, listening to the birds calling my name.
I chat with my colleagues, I go for coffee.
I leave on time (mostly).
I’m still having nightmares – but less often.
I’m still struggling for breath – but not as much.

I’m learning that there’s going to be some long term damage from my old job though.
Panic is a learned behaviour. I’m walking too fast, typing too hard, speaking too quickly. I’m in a constant state of hyper-alertness – and my naturally analytical approach to life amplifies it.
The job change has helped enormously, it being the cause of my troubles.
But it’s not going to be a simple fix. There’s just been too much damage.

At the end, someone was finally able to identify that it wasn’t just a bad fit, it wasn’t just my own depression and anxiety tendencies, it wasn’t just bad management, and it wasn’t just too intense a pace and too high a workload.
It was vicarious trauma. My experience got compared to that of war veterans just back from theatre. That got my attention.
Me? My little civilian job? My bureaucratic, paper-pushing, deadline-meeting, esoteric deskjob?
But when the list of symptoms started, and I mmhmmmed to each and every one, it was harder to shrug off.
I’d been chalking it all up to my usual scuffles with depression, and assuming that I was having such a hard time with my job because I wasn’t suited to it.
(Because I wasn’t good enough at it) a tiny voice whispered, endlessly.
“Too empathic,” said Dearest.
“No work-life balance,” said my mother.

It was never what I accepted the position for in the first place, but that’s what happens sometimes in government. In comes an unexpected file, there’s a body at a reasonably appropriate level with a good range of skills, and voila. Nevermind the unknowns – everything’s got unintended consequences, and whatever it is needs to be done, now. Have a stab at it.

Now that I’m in my new position and new department, I’m starting to develop some new perspective on it all.
For one, I’m telling that tiny voice to shut up already. I was damn good at my job. I have only to look around at my new colleagues and see what little’s asked of them in comparison, and the timidity and lackadaisical pace with which they bat around problems, to know that.
And for another, I’m going to start seeing a trauma counsellor, who specializes in the topics I’ve just left (but not left behind).

Dearest is enraged at it all. Infuriated with my previous management. Terrified about my health. Frustrated as all get-out with my doctor who didn’t pick up on any of it, other than telling me that I should look for a new job (after I’d already started looking anyway), and essentially reinforcing the theory that it all led back to my own genetic predisposition for depression.
I, on the other hand, am almost surreally philosophical about it all. Detached. Amused by everything in my new job and work environment because it is in such shocking contrast to the old.

So, tomorrow, I’ll try walking a little slower. Learn to take my time.
It’s a brand new world, after all. I shouldn’t ignore the view.

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1 comment so far

  1. Lynn on

    This is such good news. I hope it means a major change of lifestyle for you. I like to hear you sounding happier and more relaxed!

    I got your comment about reading at BOLO, which is AWESOME!! I will be posting/sending around more details on that once I have booked a place. If you’re ready to get started though, the first thing you should do is pick out the post you want to read – anything from the past year or so – then send me the link (lynnturtlehead at gmail dot com).


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