Is it OK, in this place that I have lived for 7 months now, that it still feels totally foreign? Is it OK that my self-doubt has not only not ebbed, but seems to have taken hold of my psyche in a way I never anticipated? That the anxiety, which I never even consciously recognized until recently, has gripped me so tightly, so much that I am literally making myself sick with worry? That, most days, I really just want to go home. Of course, if I went home, I would have to find a job – and deal with that anxiety – so I know that’s not necessarily the solution. But it sure sounds good right now.
Right now I am unable to differentiate between the anxiety about teaching vs. anxiety about all the other things that race through my head, and this puts me in a position of wondering if I even enjoy what I’m doing and whether I want to continue to do it.
I did not expect my life to fall into place and all my problems resolve themselves just by virtue of moving somewhere new. I knew they would follow me, and I was prepared to deal with them. But I was not prepared for it to paralyze me the way it has.
PART TWO – Or, Hi, my name’s Renee, and I’m a quitter
I was apprised of this the other day by an old friend whom I had contacted to garner some support and advice from. I knew she would be supportive but firm; however, I didn’t expect this little revelation to come out of the conversation. She told me “You can’t just quit because it’s hard, and you miss home. You can’t do that. You need to come up with a plan to get this stuff taken care of and do it.”
Jessica is the type of person who always lands on her feet. She can lose a job, living situation, or anything else, and be just fine. She is fearless, or at least gives a damn good impression that she is, and I admire and envy that about her. I, on the other hand, catastrophize every major hurdle in my life, wondering what the hell I’m supposed to do next and struggling to come up with an answer. So I asked her. How do you do it? How do you always land on your feet? She replied “After I run into a brick wall, I say ‘Ouch, Jessica, that hurts. This doesn’t work.’ And then I come up with a plan and a deadline, and then I get shit done. If that plan doesn’t work, I come up with a new one.” Well, that sounds easy. Why can’t I do that?
I am a master of not following through. I have an inordinate number of plans, ideas, and projects that just fall by the wayside – either I lose interest, don’t “have time” or just don’t think I can do it. When did I become this person??
PART THREE – Living on the Edge
I hate this – my anxiety has gotten the best of me the past couple of weeks and every day I have just been trying to hang on. I have never, ever in my life experienced anything like this, and it is the worst feeling in the world. I feel like I want to crawl out of my own skin to escape the rushes of adrenaline and fear that course through me; the nausea that has rendered me incapable of eating anything without wanting to just spit it back out, if I can get it in my mouth to begin with; the inability to sleep that makes me feel like I’m walking around half-awake. I’ve dealt with severe depression before, and that feels like a cakewalk compared to this. It is crippling me; I feel like I am about to break in two, and it terrifies me that I can feel this way. I have been trying meditation, but since I’m new at it, it is not necessarily providing the relief I really need. I started back on anti-depressants, so I hope those will kick in soon and alleviate some of the anxiety.
I just have to make it through the next two months until my contract ends. Then I will assess what comes next – whether to come home and stay, or find another teaching position in a new city. There is so much unknown right now, which does not help and I have no idea what will happen next in my life.
This is NOT how this is supposed to turn out.