Should I Stay or Should I… Live?

*Disclaimer/Trigger Warning* This post will involve some discussion about my own experience with suicidal thoughts. If this is something you would like to avoid, just select a post without the #suicide tag.

I’ve been struggling lately with a big decision regarding my future, my financial security, and my overall well-being. I’m not sure whether or not writing it out in here will help me sort out my thoughts and my options, but I’m hoping that I can work through this decision and reach some sort of conclusion that will be the best for my situation and for my mental health.

Here is the long and short of it: I want to quit my job.

Don’t get me wrong, not everything about my job is horrible. I used to really enjoy my work, and I took pride in the tasks that I felt I was able to do exceptionally well. But the novelty of that wore away as the stress from working every day – and working in an inhospitable environment – began to take its toll. I was recently transferred to a store located in the city where I’m currently living, which was supposed to reduce the level of stress but ended up making things worse, for a number of reasons:

  1. The store where I’m currently employed is smaller than the one I used to work in, which means less employees, which means working even more hours, 7 days a week, while still being paid as a part-time employee.
  2. I have had trouble adapting to how some of the senior staff members go about dealing out criticism or assigning tasks – They can often be quite terse and blunt in a way that isn’t always easy to take again and again.
  3. The Mother F@*%ing Planogram…

So this is what a Planogram is, for those who don’t know: Basically, it’s where the product in the store gets moved around to different locations. Employees are given these diagrams to show where each product’s new home will be. This process took a week, and while I was not one of the people working midnight shifts in order to complete this task, I was one of the employees working during regular business hours, having to deal not only with a bombardment of complaints from customers about how everything wasn’t in the place where it used to be, but I was also the victim of my co-workers’ unkind treatment caused by their own stress at also having to deal with disgruntled customers.

Since my transfer in late July of this year, I have felt more stressed and anxious, and especially depressed, than I’m sure I ever have at this point in my life. There would hardly be a shift where I wouldn’t be thinking about resigning or just walking out, just less than an hour in. A lot of suicidal thoughts would also enter my head at this time, and overall I found it very difficult to concentrate or perform tasks to the best of my ability. I was feeling on edge, and I would often be forced to sneak off to the bathroom so I could have a panic attack without anyone else seeing me break down.

It got to the point where one day as my boyfriend was dropping me off in front of my store, I proceeded to have a horrible panic attack and couldn’t go in for my shift. It was then that my mother brought up the possibility of taking a medical leave of absence, to try and sort out some of these mental health issues, to try and get an appointment with a counsellor or therapist, and ultimately just to take a step back from everything that was making me not want to live anymore.

Which brings me to now: I am due to return to work on the 15th of October, I am working towards getting a doctor’s referral so that I can schedule an appointment with a therapist, I have managed to relax a little bit and even gone on a evening trip into Toronto with my boyfriend a couple of weeks ago – But most importantly, the thought of going back to work absolutely terrifies me.

This job, while beyond unpleasant, happens to be a lucrative one. I get paid very well, with the promise of regular raises to my salary, and if I stay with the company I could eventually have the opportunity to earn a full-time position which would include health coverage and benefits, something that I don’t currently have. My boyfriend and I have been saving up for our own apartment, and I do have a considerable amount in savings, but if my income were to suddenly go away, it could cause that entire future of living with my boyfriend to vanish into thin air.

And I have been brainstorming ideas on how I might supplement my income – selling bath bombs, for one. I’ve also been hoping to do some freelance writing, and to dedicate November to working on a novel. Even if I did all of these things, I know I wouldn’t be able to earn up to what I am currently making, and I certainly wouldn’t have any health benefits.

Personally, I’m fine with the idea of not making as much money as I did before, in order to do something that makes me feel sane as well as makes me feel happy. However, we live in a harsh reality where money is a significantly important resource that most of us would be unable to live without. I know I’m a simple person, and I don’t need to be rich in order to be happy, but I can’t deny that the idea of financial security doesn’t have its own comfort.

There’s also the fact that I am flat-out afraid of what other people will think of my decision – my mother, my boyfriend, my boyfriend’s parents, etc. – even though I know that, realistically, I shouldn’t be making this kind of life-altering decision based on the opinions of others. Even so, it’s hard to shake the fact that their opinions do matter to me, especially Kurt’s opinion, since the two of us are planning our life and our future together.

I have thought to myself multiple times that if I continue to work at this job, I won’t live to see the New Year. And I’m not saying that to be dramatic, that is an actual thought I have had multiple times. There are things holding me back of course, mainly the regrets I would have, the loved ones I’d be leaving behind, the overall fear of dying, but these types of thoughts continue to nag at me, and they only seem to intensify the longer that my anxiety levels are at an unbearable level.

Long story short, there are a great number of pros and cons:

Pros:

  • Being able to regain my sanity and work to improve my mental health at my own pace
  • Having the time to breathe
  • Gaining a feeling of happiness over what I am doing with my life
  • More time to do things that I enjoy and that give my life fulfilment, including things that will earn me an income

Cons:

  • Loss of financial security
  • Greater financial stress on Kurt, and on our future overall
  • Judgement and disapproval from loved ones
  • Inability to cope with anxiety, stress, and thoughts of suicide

I am definitely not writing this post in order to take some sort of poll, to get other people’s opinions on what I should do about this major life decision, but as I’m writing this I do feel somehow lighter about having gotten all of my thoughts and fears down into a tangible form. All of these thoughts are no longer trapped in the swirling vortex that is my brain – it’s like I freed up some space in there, giving the rest of my brain a little wiggle room 😛

I certainly won’t be making this decision in the span of a single day, and not without consulting those that my decision will also impact, but having a method of airing out these feelings I’ve been having has been therapeutic in its own way. I do see this blog as a type of therapy, in some ways, and today it has certainly done its job 🙂

Hope you all have an amazing day – stay positive 🙂

LIS_sig1

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