When life throws lemons at you… sometimes you don’t manage to catch them…and sometimes they spit lemon juice in your eyes and you’re left with a terrible burning sensation and nothing to clean up with.
Well, that seems to be the boat that I’ve been in for the past year, on and off. It hasn’t been totally miserable but miserable enough to set me back on my ass and force me to start from scratch. I’ve washed the lemon off my face, brushed the dirt off my pants and whatever get off your ass kind of analogy that you can think of and I pressed the reset button.
This is not as easy as you’d think. It starts with the choice… CHOOSE to be better to yourself. You won’t be better for anyone else if you’re not loving yourself and you’re not living your happiest life, on your own. I had to pick everything that was making me absolutely miserable and change it. I’m not talking about a hair cut, a different work schedule, or a better diet to follow. I quit my job… a great paying job… with amazing benefits. I moved to a different town. I set out to find what life I wanted to live…and ps. I’m still sorting that out.
I know what you’re thinking. “Not everyone can just leave their job”. “I’m not ready to just quit”. “It’s scary”. Want to know what’s even more scary? Sitting in your bed contemplating the most pain free way to die. Wondering who would care. Giving in to the thought that whoever would care, would get over it, because I wasn’t a happy or helpful person the them anyway. This was the moment that made me realize that something had to change. I admit, I had these thoughts before, not as serious as this time but it was a struggle for years. I was lucky that I had someone I could talk to, someone who happened to be in the right place at the right time to be an ear…because honestly, I don’t know what would have happened if they weren’t there. I should have made these changes in my life long ago…even when I “couldn’t” leave my job, even when I wasn’t “ready” and even when I was “scared”…because there are scarier things.
Do me a favor. Follow these SIMPLE steps to evaluate your life and to change your life.
- Make a list of what you absolutely hate about your life and why.
This list needs to include everything. You don’t need to show anyone, it’s just for you. Grab your paper and pen. Mine included work and how it began to make me sick to my stomach just to wake up in the morning, knowing where I was going, then I would spend my night thinking about how I would have to go back the next day. It included my apartment, I lived in a beautiful little apartment, but it was depressing. A small, little one bedroom that was in a basement with little lighting. I have two dogs and a cat. I get that I have to keep on top of their fur… but in a small place like that it was near impossible and they could barely stretch their legs…which of course made me feel like crap. Then, maybe the biggest part was that I had NO IDEA what I wanted to do with my life. That killed me. How can I have degree, have a good job and a roof over my head and not know what I wanted. Some other things were my weight, my gym attendance track record, my eating style, my social skills, and my overall happiness. Seriously, think of everything.
2. Pick the things that are the MOST fundamental.
Obviously, for me I chose work, living arrangements, and ME. The rest, I decided, would follow. This is how life works, change the biggest things and then all the little things will change as well. I don’t have much to say on what’s the MOST fundamental for you because only YOU will know. I’ll tell you HOW you will know. It’s going to be the things on the list that are the HARDEST to change. It’ll be hard for you to make the choice, it’ll probably be hard financially and it’ll be incredibly hard to explain to your family and friends WHY THE HELL you’re making that choice. That’s how you’ll know. Good luck, dig deep.
3. Make the changes
Yeah. That easy right? No, it’s not, I promise, it’s not. I left my job in May of last year. It was so hard to admit that I was leaving my job due to mental illness. I did use medical leave after that episode that I mentioned at the beginning, then I had a little vacation leave that I was able to use up before we came to the conclusion that it was in my best interest not to go back. When I say we, I’m talking about myself and my doctor, they did leave it up to me to make the final choice…but I knew deep down that mentally, I would not make it. Financially, it sucked. I didn’t actually start working again until August. I used up every ounce of credit that I had. I’m still VERY much digging myself out of that. Why am I telling you how horrible it was?? Well, because it’s real. It also sucked explaining to people why I left and then when people would look at me in awe because I left such a good job, it sucked. It sucked when I’d have no “real” answer. Ugh, it’s still frustrating. Seriously, people need to learn to butt out sometimes. I moved, I could afford it, I had to use more credit. I NEEDED the brightness, and the space for the pets. That also sucked. So the theme of this is…it’s going to suck.
There’s always a but! I am so flippin’ happy with all the decisions I made. Life will always bring problems. It doesn’t matter what you do, because everything you do will bring a new set of problems. I’m not contemplating if I should live anymore…I’m wondering how I can earn a little more money to start paying off the “Cassie went crazy debt”. My new motto is; “that’s why the red is there” (talking about overdraft in my bank account). I am much more ok with saying that than crying myself to sleep at night.
I’m currently working as a personal care attendant, which I LOVE. I’m also working once again as a respite worker, I used to work this same job years ago and that’s what made me realize that I was happier doing that line of work. Yes, I had to get a second job, but I would work three of these type jobs over the one I used to work. I have this new apartment, I’m happier and the pets are happier. I applied last week to the Licensed Practical Nurse program at the Centre for Nursing Studies! Shag the Arts degree – let’s sum it up to experience. Those three fundamental things I chose to change are changed…or being changed. The little things, they’re falling into place. I go to the gym, I walk my dogs, I eat well, I speak with my friends again and though I still can’t believe I’m able to write this, I’m happy.
My life is no cake walk…the point is…use this to choose your poison. Which problems are you more happy to have? Personally, I prefer be financially unstable than mentally unstable, so here I am, achieving just that. Eventually, my finances will fall into place, I’m sure. As long as I’m happy and not hurting anyone else that’s good enough for me.
Friendly reminder. If any of you find yourself in the position I was once in, please seek help. Reach out to a friend, family, or mental health services. Problems don’t go away, but you CAN choose better problems to have.
Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255