I hate making every other post about my mental health situation (you don’t believe me, do you?), but everything seems to tie back to that these days. Some spans of time are better than others, but overall this deep sense of panic is inescapable. I’m not being overly dramatic, it is just what I’m feeling at the moment. So I write about it. It’s better than some other ways to deal with it, anyway.
That said, I could focus on doing things like meditating — recommended to me by both my doctor and therapist — to help calm down and feel centered — but ultimately I’m just grabbing at loose ends here. So I’m depressed. Clearly. I’m just lost. On the days that end in massive amounts of tears and gasping for air, looking for a way out, I just try, to the best of my ability, to pull the pieces together and give myself the positive reinforcement required to shut my eyes, clear my head, and face another day. It’s not that bad, but then it is. You know?
Turning 30 has been harder than I expected for me. Besides the whole biological clock – going-to-be-really-really-hard-to-have-kids-thanks-PCOS – situation, I’ve run into some new medical issues. Nothing life-threatening so far, knock on wood, but things that seem to swing into play at a certain age and genetic disposition. Not to be all TMI (isn’t that the point of this blog) but my mother and grandmother have GERD and apparently I now have it too (if you don’t know what that is and really want to know, be my guest and look it up, but anyway it’s not fun. A whole new diet and a pill should help.) Yeay for being/getting old* (*not to offend anyone older than 30! Trust me I’ll be there soon as well.)
I might also have adult-onset asthma — I’ve been having trouble breathing, which initially I thought was just the result of my panic disorder / anxiety, but turns out there’s more to it than that. Went to a respected doctor today and she send me home with meds for the GERD and an inhaler, plus chest xrays since I’ve been coughing for a good month-and-a-half-now. Yippee. Oh, and she wants me to see a neurologist about my anxiety spells just to make sure they aren’t more serious than that. Fun times.
The panic is the overwhelming feeling, however, that all of the exciting opportunities of life in terms of risk, are now over, or at least far more risky. I’ve fallen into marketing and I’m ok at it, and I love it for a short while for any new product or company, but I can’t say I’m the type who will ever be fully engaged for the long term in this role. Worst case, someone will find this blog and spill the beans to the world and my career in marketing is over. I bet people who know me personally have found this site over the years and read what I’m writing today. I can only hope they won’t use the content maliciously against me.
In the real world, I’m pretty sure most people think I’m ok at my job. I have my bad habits, but I work hard and generally produce quality results. I don’t think people who know me in real life realize just how panicked or depressed I am. And with the exception of someone really cruel outing me and my blog, I don’t intend for them to know. It isn’t appropriate to have emotions at work. I keep my cool most of the time and have some amazing references willing to attest to my passion and productivity.
But they saw me in the good period, the early period, before the excitement washed away, where the depression seeps in, where in order to achieve the same level of success I achieved “yesterday” I need to go another mile. I gave my all from the beginning, sprinting full speed out of the gate, and now that’s expected. I could certainly be more productive with my time, but I’m just at this point where I’m not only wondering what value I’m adding to my career, but if I’m chugging away at the wrong career.
I wrote a post yesterday about how maybe marketing isn’t the right field for me. What I wonder is if I played it all wrong. For the better, I was able to spend my 20s in marketing and obtain growth in my salary where I’ve been fortunate enough to save a quarter-million by 30. That’s an accomplishment I frequently undervalue. But money seems to be the root of all my stress. Either you have it or you don’t. When you have some you want more. I don’t even want to live a luxurious lifestyle. I just want some form of sanity. I can’t be a starving artist, even if I was able to chip away at the savings I’ve amassed in my 20s slowly and still have some after a few years of finding myself.
But where did that creative girl go who painted and wrote poetry and performed for crowds? Where did the girl go who, despite knowing her own natural talent for color, light, and composition, was too scared to dedicate herself to years of becoming — who knows what — someone who doesn’t regret her only seemingly sound and tangible goal in life remaining being to save money. $3.5M for retirement to be exact. I’m on track to that if I can just remain engaged in my role as a marketer.
What happens is that I am too much of a perfectionist, without being perfect myself. I tend to be critical of others and it’s hard for me to keep this quiet. I know I piss off my coworkers sometimes and I often apologize but after a while the apologizes are useless. Maybe it’s the ADHD but I just can’t hide what I’m thinking. If I were some brilliant artist or nutty professor that would be accepted as one of those traits you just have to grow to love once you’ve grown to hate. But I’m not an artist or professor. I’m a cog in a machine and I’m supposed to play my part. Turn when asked to. Don’t move other parts around or recommend ways they could be improved. That ultimately is what grits away at me like sandpaper. Again, I’m not perfect, but sometimes other people’s acceptance of imperfection is the most bothersome of all.
There goes that “artist” speaking again. Fuck, I wish I could move to LA or NY and write for some HBO show called Ladies where women in their 30s realize they’re no longer Girls and don’t know what to do about it. For the record, I’ve only seen clips of that show, because I can’t handle hipsters or anything hipsterish. I’m old, remember?
Before you go all apeshit on me about this old thing, just know that an aunt of mine, one of my youngest aunts, I recently found out was in the intensive care unit for complications from a surgery. She’s in her 50s so not 30 but still, on the younger side for my family. I was really upset with my parents for failing to inform me that she was in the hospital in the first place (geez crust mom, dad, for having no ability to determine what sorts of things you should tell me about when I live across the country — mom’s excuse, she’s not “close family” — uh, mom, she’s my goddamn aunt — anyway — )
I am worried for her even though we’re not close. I’ve never lost anyone in my life yet who is young-ish. Only my grandfather who lived far away, a great uncle, and great grandparents who I barely remember. The people who were just, you know, supposed to pass away at some point. It’s not exactly happytimes when they do, but it’s not the sort of life-altering shock that comes from losing someone you know and care about before their “time,” whatever that means…
A good friend of mine, who is my age, was recently treated for thyroid cancer and they found out it has come back. She doesn’t seem that concerned about it, so I’m not sure if I should be. I have trouble emotionally handling such situations. I feel a sense of fear, she is a friend and I never see her (she is a childhood friend from the other coast), I am upset with her that she continues to smoke despite it clearly not being a good idea, I’m jealous of her for managing to have two kids (well one with another one the way) before our age so she can hopefully fight this terrible battle and win, coming out a stronger woman on the other side. Does this make human? Make me a heartless sociopath? I don’t know.
Then there’s my father, who by now you know I have a, eh, strange relationship with. His obesity has always led me to believe I’d receive a call regarding a heart attack or something out of the blue, but not, it’s also cancer. He was given two years to live. He’s made it to over four, the doctor’s say it’s a miracle, but they make it clear that any day things could shift significantly downhill. He’ll be gone soon and I’m not at all sure how to process that. I wish we could just have a happy family gathering and come to terms with the reality of our worlds, but that will never happen.
Anyway. It is what it is. I AM getting older. Maybe I’m not old yet, but I’m feeling the aging process. It’s crazy how you go from being too young to being too old as a woman anyway. People still seem to think I’m 25, for better or worse. I’m pretty sure my job opportunities get stalled because I look young-ish, but I don’t want to chop off my hair and paint crows feet on my face to get a better title and salary. I want to think that isn’t part of the story in moving forward in one’s career, and of course there are exceptions, but ultimately as a woman you’re not treated with respect until you’re clearly an old. Unless you work for a company run by a bunch of 20 year olds in which case if you’re an old than you better be running operations or something (ala Sandberg) or WTF are you there to begin with?
Well, look at that, there goes me again running somewhere else with my train of thought. I am clearly stressed and I’m not sure what to do about it. I’m tempted to quit my job and take one of those Eat-Pray-Love soul searching journeys around the world, minus the love part and minus the eat part since apparently I’m not allowed to eat anything spicy, mint, butter, fatty things, carbs, wine, soda, citrusy or tomato-like (thanks GERD.) Well, fuck it, I’ll get all spiritual then. That’s what’s missing from my life anyway. Eat (healthy food) – Center (self) – Create would be my journey. Go off to the hills of Italy somewhere and learn to paint again. Prepare myself to become a mother. Come back a better, more grounded person. I am not the person I want to be right now. Being a marketer will never make me that person. So I just have to decide how important that is, and if I’m ok with a life of financial uncertainty.
You only live once, right?