Walking Out

How I’m Where I Am

What to do when you’ve only a napping moggie for comfort after yet another soul draining trek to the Jobcentre? (I mean “trek” quite literally but I’ll get to that later). Well, I figured I’d rant into the void in a, largely, vain attempt to expunge the internal monologue from my heavy, heavy, swirling mess of a head.

This is a wee intro, a li’l back story to explain how I got to where I am and preface much of what I’ll write about in the coming days, weeks and months about my experiences, so, here we go…

I walked out of my job last October. I was being screeched and sworn at by my boss because she hadn’t been given a get well card to sign. I bought the card, ergo it was my responsibility that it hadn’t been taken into her office for signing. As petty as that sounds, that day was the tip of an enormous iceberg of “yelling offs” I’d had for the most inane of reasons in the previous months. I was often told not to do a job then hauled over the coals for not doing it. I was starting to feel insane. I had a two bus, two hour commute to work and was getting into the office before people who LITERALLY lived around the corner and… DROVE IN! In order to get there on time every day, my alarm went off at 05:30 and, usually, I wouldn’t get home until about 19:00 (that was on a good night). I don’t care who you are, 13.5 hours is LONG day. Minus that and the 8 hours needed for sleep and I was left with 2.5 hours per weekday in which to cook, eat, clean, tidy, launder clothes, bathe, organise all the daily minutiae that constitutes running a home alone AND try to fit in some actual LIVING or, gosh forbid, RELAXING. Impossible. And, bear in mind, those numbers are based on a GOOD night. Oftentimes, I’d not get home ’til 20:00 and my s’posed ‘bed time’, in order to get 8 hours sleep, was 21:30! Needless to say, I rarely got anywhere near 8 hours.

On the morning commute, I became a consummate catastrophizer (what would we get yelled at for that day?) and on the way home I’d replay the shit that had happened, sometimes in tears. Between 4 and 5 hours sat on buses dreading and fretting isn’t healthy.

I read an article last year about the EU considering paying workers for their commuting hours. I have to say, that would’ve gone some way towards the emotional, physical and financial stresses that my commute caused me. My bus passes were costing me about 15% of my salary for a start.

One day, I racked up the ‘commuting’ hours over a week, then a month, then a year. Just using the average 5 hours a day is 25 hours per week (almost another full time job) or 108 hours per month, or 1,300 per year. The actual job was… fine but the commute was a tedious waste of life and the atmosphere at work toxic.

I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety my whole adult life. I’ve had long periods of unemployment because of it but when ‘well’ and employed, I do my very best, I work hard. I’m not lazy. I’m not stupid. Not that it means much… I have a degree. In fact, in that last job, I was the only person in the entire building who had one. However, the longer I stayed there, the more the rigours of the commute AND the rancorous atmosphere in the office wore away at me. The yelling-offs, the duplicity, the backstabbing, the snitching, etc. It became an unhealthy place for me to be and wearing the happy, I’M FINE, mask was getting harder and harder. Pretence is so damn tiring.

Before starting in that job I was seeing a therapist monthly and able to see my doctor regularly to discus medication and basically keep tabs on how I was doing. In this job, I was no longer able or ‘allowed’ to take time for either and was told I’d have to use holidays… so… I stopped going. Therapists and GP’s working hours are the same as mine were, so, I couldn’t get appointments unless I used holidays and I just wasn’t willing to do that. Seeing therapists, counsellors and GP’s when you have a mental health problem is like going to the gym, you HAVE to keep going to stay healthy of mind. I stopped going and I got sick again. The toxic work situation got in, dug deep and began stomping over everything I’d accomplished in the previous years. Work, commute, eat, sleep, long commute, work, toxic office, hideous commute, too tired to eat, not much sleep, sad commute, hostile job, weepy commute, forget to eat, fall asleep on couch, ad infinitum.

My mind got broke.

I walked out of my job last October.