04 January 2015

I keep going

2014 was a banner year: dealing with a bullying situation at work, continued battles with depression and anxiety, discovering that I was on the Asperger's spectrum and discovering what that means to me, enrolling and completing a certificate of advanced Data Studies from the iSchool at Syracuse, leaving a job that I had for eight years, moving to Vermont, and starting an MFA program in comics.  Lots of things yeah?  One thing that I haven't discussed publicly, or talked about a lot, is that I took emergency leave from my job back in May.

I haven't really talked about it, and I've mostly avoided talking about it here, because I didn't want other people to think I was dragging them into something or whatever.  I still don't.  But I've come to realize people are going to think what they want, regardless of what reality is, and some are going to do their best to keep their head in the sand.  But I shouldn't be afraid to talk about why I took leave.

A few people think that I took leave because of particular person at work.  They're partially right.  But also wrong.  And some of them didn't really seem to want to hear the real reason, but here it is:  I took emergency leave because it was the closest I've ever come to ending my own life.

The depression, anxiety, and situations at work made my life so miserable, that I didn't want to keep on anymore.  Some of what was going on was my own making. Of not trusting in myself, of not believing in myself, of not being me.  Some of it was the fault of others.  Some of it was just things.  Either way, I couldn't be at work.  In conjunction with my awesome counselor and other medical folks, I took leave to figure out what I was going to do next and to put my head back on straight.  It was during that time that I decided that one way or other I was going to leave my job by the end of the summer, even if that meant moving to some random part of the country and working at a bookstore or some other random job.  Or joining the Rangers led by Isildur's heir.  I looked into graduate programs to apply to, jobs, etc.  I came back from my leave, still somewhat shaky, but with a plan in place and made it happen.  I got out.  I left a place that was going to literarily kill me.

I'm sure I made mistakes as I left and shoved back against what made me so miserable for so long.  But I also know that it was the right decision when I was criticized for how I took my leave and not following the "normal protocol" and "normal rules"...even though nothing about the situation was normal.  I lost people that I cared about as I left.  Splits, strains, cracks, and fractures appeared and I know I took a hammer to some of those to separate, because I wanted to put out how I really felt, in the hopes that they'd understand me a bit better.  I did what I thought was right at the time.  Not sure I'd do it any differently now.

The point of all of the rambling?  To say that if you are in a similar spot, or if your job makes you feel so miserable that you don't want to go on, you aren't alone.  Ever.  And regardless of what other people tell you, of what they try to shove down your throats about "that's just part of life" or "all jobs are miserable" please tell them to kindly fuck off and make a plan to find something new.  Set a deadline. Set goals. Get help.  Life is too short to be miserable where you spend the bulk of your days.

I'm in a better place as 2015 starts and I'm enjoying the new path that I'm making for myself.  There are scary and exciting things ahead.  And I can't wait to see what happens next.


Heather A said...

Just want to say I appreciate your openness about what you've been through and that I'm glad you have turned a corner and are on a better and very exciting path for 2015. I think it's an important thing to talk about ... what you've been through. Too often bullying, harassment, cruelty, and poisonous environments in our workplaces aren't talked about for the very reasons you were reluctant to speak about it in the first place. I've worked in many places and have been shocked at how much of it really goes on. It's never worth it to stay in a toxic environment. Still ... that such work environments aren't uncommon is the real problem and something should be done to truly address it on a large scale.

I wish you all good things and the ability to put bad stuff behind you.

Andrew said...

Thanks for the kind words Heather. I'm working on putting it behind me and if nothing else its become part of my comics work in some places. I agree with you that something needs to be done on a large scale. I know one thing that I had to start believing was that all work places aren't like that. And if they are...I don't wanna be a part of them. Happy new years to you!