Because some people in our organisation deal routinely with unpleasant and distressing material and events, we have good support systems in place for staff.
I have been grateful for them recently.
I realised I am approaching breaking point. Some of the behaviours that signal trouble for me include:
- mindless surfing and playing on my phone until late at night when I should be sleeping
- not bothering to prepare food, especially skipping breakfast
- eating lunch very late or not at all
- getting no exercise
- being tempted by the idea of being hit by a bus so I can have a nice long rest in hospital
- dreading waking up, and waking later and later
All of these have been happening. What’s not clear is what is driving the stress. My job has its frustrations, to be sure, but on its own is not so stressful it would be causing this kind of behaviour.
The fatigue of rheumatoid arthritis is a major factor. I feel so exhausted most of the time that attending to even the basics of living (showering, dressing, getting to work) are taxing my energy. By the time I have dealt with work and its inevitable pressures, it’s not surprising I am showing the strain.
So I took myself off to the Welfare Officer to see what can be done. She’s referred me on, so I’m booked in to see someone next week to discuss what my options are. I’d like to reduce my hours, but I know my boss is oddly reluctant to consider this (I say ‘oddly’ as she has been extremely supportive and understanding of my need for rest). Working from home would be one option but for boringly tedious corporate reasons, that is difficult to organise at the moment (you’d think you could just go buy a laptop and make it happen, but no.)
I don’t want to quit my job, as I enjoy it most of the time, and I’m very uncertain about what would happen if I stopped work (financially, mentally, socially). I’d like to find a happy solution. The challenge is that solutions take work, and work takes energy, and I have so little energy left after brushing my teeth that it seems like an impossible task. And yet, it could make all the difference.
It’s like the poverty trap: if you could just save a bit to get ahead of the bills you could change the whole dynamic, but you don’t have enough to get ahead. So the situation gets worse and worse. I do need to intervene to break this cycle before it breaks me.