Going through a transitional stage in life is difficult enough, but having other people criticize you for the choices you make during that stage makes it even harder to face. A year ago, I was in one of the worst places, emotionally, that I had ever been in. For the next six to eight months, I really struggled to find my place, to figure out who I was and what I wanted in life. I am still searching for those answers, and have accepted that finding my purpose, peace, and passion make take time and might be very unconventional, but it's what I feel I must do at this time.
Deciding to leave a job that made me miserable, exiting a relationship that was not adding to my happiness and being at my heaviest, sent me into a state of depression. I was internally dying, spending nights crying, not getting any rest, pretending to smile when it was the last thing I wanted to do. I decided I needed a serious change, and I can honestly say that within the past three months, my outlook on life has improved greatly, I'm feeling more optimistic about the future, I smile more and worry less, and I am willing to try new things to discover who I am. Even through some of my most "WTF" moments, I can say, today, I am getting to a more healthy and happy place. I'm discovering my happiness comes from inside and is not predicated on anyone else or a job.
Since posting the first blog two weeks ago, I have received some of the most encouraging and uplifting messages, which I appreciate. I have also had friends express concern for me and the choices I'm making and the undertones in my writing. Reallyreaux is not a place of me to complain and gripe about the bad things in my life, but a way for me to express how negative experiences have impacted and shaped me, and the lessons I learned from those life experiences. I appreciate the concern and know that it is coming from a good place but I want to assure anyone reading this, that my writing is a form of therapy. I am finally being honest about the trials and tribulations in my life. Everything isn't always great; I do have bad days. I will share my ups AND my downs. I want to be transparent in telling the story of how I'm "getting to happy" and every path has not been rainbows and sunshine. There have been some rough times, I'm sure there will be more, but I'm learning to truly be positive and actually believe that trouble does not last forever. Writing about my challenges and victories allows me to confront my life head on; addressing my "demons" in a public way forces me to deal with the issues concretely.
I don't want anyone to think that I am crying out for help or that I am in need of an intervention. Writing and sharing my experiences IS my intervention. I take solace in knowing that everything I went through (and am going through) is not unique to me. Seeing people comment that they've had similar life experiences, makes me realize that I am not alone in the struggle and there is light and love ahead for me.
Making a choice to take a break from being a social worker was the best choice for me and my mental health. I was growing jaded and burnt out, failing to give my all to my clients, who need me to be at 110% to help them combat life's issues. There is a term call compassion fatigue that people in the helping professions can experience. It is defined as "an extreme state of tension and preoccupation with the suffering of those being helped to the degree that it can create a secondary traumatic stress for the helper." I was that fatigued helper and before I literally drove myself crazy, I took a much needed break. Some people think I'm crazy, that I'm wasting my time and potential and that I'm not using my degrees and work experience in the best way; but I disagree.
Taking a break to preserve my mental health is the best thing for me, and if more of us weren't consumed with trying to make a job our life, more of us would probably take the same time away. If being a social worker taught me anything, it showed me that eliminating stressors in our life is the smartest move we can make. Choosing to find peace and happiness for ourselves is imperative. Ensuring my happiness is the best way for me to be the best I can be and be able to help others achieve that same level of happiness despite their turmoil and hard times.
I know that everyone won't understand my journey, everyone won't agree with my choices but I do wish everyone would respect me as I navigate through this thing called life.