I ran 5 miles today! I can’t even remember the last time I hit that milestone; many, many months. For a long while, I haven’t had the motivation or energy to keep up with my usual running routine. A good week was a couple 3 mile runs and a bad week was absolutely no mileage. As I describe in a previous article, the Quarter Life Crisis, I have been in a terrible slump, funk – whatever you want to call it. I believe the main problem was my dissatisfaction with my job; I felt like my career was on a path of pure mediocrity. (For any SpongeBob fans – the thought of my career being comparable to Squidward’s clarinet playing was devastatingly unacceptable.) To make matters worse, I was on medication for anxiety that I believe was increasing feelings of depression and I was feeling lonely living by myself and doing the same mundane routines every day. I constantly felt angry and disgusted with myself that I was allowing myself to play a victim and feel sorry for myself all the time. But, I felt even angrier that I had no idea how to fix it. So, as the saying goes, drastic times call for drastic measures. In a period of about 2 months, I had moved back home with my parents, rented my house to my brother and a friend, quit my job without any prospect of a future job and gradually weaned myself off of my anxiety prescription (with help of a doctor).
At each of these events, I wanted to instantly feel better. When I moved back home I did feel good for the first few days, but I knew I was still not myself. Although I was in the company of my parents and sometimes my nana, I still felt separated. I worried I was going to burden them with my lousy moods and negativity. At the time, I was still working at the job that did not fulfill me in any way and I was still weaning myself off the anxiety medication. It was not long after moving in with them that I decided to quit my job as well. Because I was living with my parents and had a good amount of savings, I knew it was not totally irresponsible. So, I gave my notice and felt instantly relieved. But, that didn’t last long. I got cold feet and gave into the temptation of the possibility of a promotion. I withdrew my resignation and stayed. Within a few days, I deeply regretted it. The feeling of a weight being lifted when I gave my notice disappeared and an even heavier weight fell upon me. It was like I lifted Dorothy’s house off of me one day and the entire Emerald City fell on me the next. This promotion would mean continuing to do the same work with the addition of managing other co-workers. What was I thinking? I felt extremely embarrassed to have to give my notice twice in just a matter of weeks, but I knew I had to. Each day I stayed there, I felt more and more miserable. I didn’t even have the strength to give a full two weeks’ notice this time. I gave a little over a weeks’ notice and even that felt like an eternity, but I didn’t want to leave without cleaning up as much of my work as possible. Even when my last day came, I felt like only a small amount of the weight, or a portion of the Emerald City, had been lifted from me. I didn’t feel like a new person, I wasn’t a born-again optimist like I thought would magically happen the instant I walked out of my office for the last time. I felt better, absolutely, but still not myself.
A couple weeks after my last day of work, I officially was off the anxiety medication and again wanted instant gratification. To the contrary, I felt even worse, I even had a complete meltdown one night when I couldn’t find the olive oil I use to make homemade microwave popcorn. (Again to all the SpongeBob fans – I felt like I was overreacting even more than Mr. Krabs when he lost his millionth dollar.) I did some research and found that symptoms could be more pronounced for up to several weeks of going off the medication; lovely. So, a few meltdowns later and I’m finally feeling more like myself than I have in a very long time. That 5 miles I hit today wasn’t just a running milestone, it was a feeling of being back again. I’m in control now. I’m strong again and I’m going to use that strength to try to think more positively and not constantly put myself down. I know I’m not magically going to be Miss Optimism, but with little steps in the right direction, I will definitely get rid of Wench Negativity!