Navigating change and life transitions can bring fear, doubt, and anxiety. For young children, the addition of a new sibling or care person, entering daycare, school, or big changes such as parents divorcing or a move to a new place are a few that come to mind. As young adults, we leave home, begin new careers, start families, and enter and end relationships. As we age, we navigate new freedoms, such as retirement, and new challenges, such as declining health.
Work is such a big part of our lives. And stress is a part of life. But when workplace stress reaches beyond normal levels and becomes unhealthy, we need to do something about it. Actually, rather than just reacting to the crisis du jour, we need to think about actively protecting our mental health at work every day before crises develop.
I was resigning, in the truest sense of the word. I was conceding defeat without being checkmated. I had come to accept that something undesirable could no longer be avoided.
Choosing to go to therapy may feel scary and overwhelming. Some may even have the belief that a therapist tells you what to do to ‘solve’ your problem. Therapy over the years has been stigmatized, but as we become more aware of mental health, the stigma has lessened.
I’m going to go to a bit of a dark place, and I would invite you to follow me there because it is important. I have had (and the way bipolar disorder goes so cyclically, likely will have again) suicidal ideation, and I would like to tell you what it is like. I’ve never told anyone this before, but I would like to tell you this now because of suicide awareness day, which is commemorated each September 10 in honour of all those who have died by suicide and those living with suicide attempts or suicidal ideation and their loved ones.
Do you feel like you always have to be doing something? Do you find it difficult to let go of your to-do list and just relax? I needed to go through burnout to learn that there are drawbacks to being a ‘high achiever.’ The pursuit of excellence comes at a cost. Relentless busyness is not good for us.
I was driving my car down the street, heading to a movie with a friend, when all of a sudden: WHAM! A pothole. My tire was in there before I could react, and I don’t know what it did – bent my alignment or twisted my suspension or something (can you tell I’m no mechanic?) – but the next thing I know, I am stranded by the side of the road and being towed to the shop, facing a very hefty bill and a long process just to make her roadworthy again. And I missed my movie.
Years ago, my Roman Civilizations professor began the course by having people shout out things from the Romans that we still use today. Students called out things like cement, roads, and the [Julian] calendar. After a while, he told us to think smaller. No matter what we said, it wasn’t small enough. Smaller, smaller, smaller.