I’ve been saying at various times (like in this blog at Ylva Publishing) that I was going to go into 2014 with a positive attitude and try to handle obstacles with calm and courage and not let anything get to me.
I’m off to a bad start. The first couple of weeks of January have been miserable for me. It has a lot to do work-related stuff, but, unfortunately, the stress and anxiety has spilled into my personal life.
It just goes to show that any experience you have can trigger something completely unrelated and open the door to those soul-crushing demons.
I work in a healthcare facility and those of us who declined the flu vaccination must wear masks at all times while on the premises. Aside from the physical discomfort of having to wear a mask all day, there have been power struggles, personality conflicts, and issues around civil rights violations. These things have all directly involved me and I am on the losing side of the battle. I do not hold the power, and that means that I must tow the line and take the shit that’s thrown at me. And if you’re thinking that I should go to a higher authority on any of these matters, let me just say that I work in an environment where management backs each other up. If you are not part of that management, you are nothing, and no one will listen to you.
Having said all that, I’ve done a piss-poor job of adjusting my attitude to handle all this stuff better. That was my goal. That was one of my resolutions. But the stress—physical, mental, and emotional—have worn me out so much that I don’t seem to have the stamina to think about HOW I’m dealing with things.
There are days when I’m at my wit’s end. This week, in particular, was very distressful, and I came this close (picture a thumb and forefinger about a centimeter apart) to handing in my resignation. I wish I could have the satisfaction of doing that. But I can’t. The fact is, I need my job and I need my benefits, and my boss knows it.
I feel unempowered. Disenfranchised. Used. And, worst of all, trapped. I tell myself that I shouldn’t complain because there are unemployed people out there who would give their right (or left) arm to have my job. Mine is a first-world problem because I work at a desk and I get lunch breaks and I have benefits and I’m in a union and I have weekends off. I don’t work in the fields somewhere breaking my back in the hot sun, six or seven days a week, for slave wages, with few or no breaks and no benefits.
I know all this. Yet the frustration doesn’t leave me. It just grows each year that I remain at my job. Positive people will say that we are the captains of our own ships and our futures lie in our own hands. But there’s a limit to what we can control. I can’t put a gun to someone’s head and say, “Give me a job.”
What we can do is control how we deal with life’s struggles. We can choose to internalize them and let them eat away at our souls. Or, we can stand up straight and remind ourselves that we’re more than that. That the people who wish to do us harm can only do so if we let them.
Or, as a good friend tells me, don’t let them live rent-free in your head.
I’m writing up the eviction notice right now.