I knew I needed time off work, but I didn’t realise just how much being there was causing these negative feelings I was experiencing every single day. I thought it was my just my general mood, because I was struggling to find my feet as a journalism graduate. I thought it was because of the mudane pressures that come with being an adult.
Still, a few days away was enough to put things into perspective for me. I went away to places I had never been before and I explored.It gave me a moment of pure calm as I looked up to the moody sky and realised for once I didn’t feel the same. I took a deep breathe and then watched the waves of Loch Lomond roll out and into the roots of outgrown trees. As myself and my boyfriend crossed a wooden bridge we peered over like excited children, chatting about all the different kinds of pebbles. We discussed and challenged the easiest route to get around a slightly alarming puddle. We saw some ducks. I was content.
Walking is my therapy, so these trips became more than just your every day stroll. I ended up with the kind of soul-searching, outwith my usual boundries kind of walk which usually occurs when life is in the process of adapting around you.
Walking brought up feelings, and it was refreshing to break through the numb quiet I have become used to, a gentle reminder that despite my moment of calm, I am still struggling.
Most people in my life know this, that mentally, physically and financially I am drained.
Though it may be unbelievable, I am still happy, I have very good friends, and I like coming home to my supportive and intelligent partner. (And of course my cats). But when i go to work, I become sad. It’s like a shift in personality. I stiffen, I expect negativity, to be talked down to, to be cursed at, shouted at irrationally. But I can handle that. It comes with the job and you find positivty and kindness goes a long way in dealings with these situations. But I become unbearably sad and it isn’t right. Work doesn’t give me any feeling of pride, I no longer feel a sense of achievement. I feel stuck, badly paid and unappreciated. I am not happy about the way things are run, or with some of the people “running it” I am unhappy not just because of me, but having to watch everyone else I have grown attached too struggle and feel just the same in varying ways.
It is a workplace that is in no way shape or form forward thinking about the welfare of its employees, nor their livelihoods. Everything is a bother, or a problem. You request a day off weeks in advance and you are verbally called a pest. You work your socks off, you produce sales, instead of gratitude, you gain nothing. It is a still silence.
It is an expected silence.
And so you watch a manager get a hefty bonus for sitting in an office huffing about its awful staff and how everything is left for them to do, because we are incapable. While the staff and other management are hard at work serving, dealing with the everyday issues and nonchalantly working away, indifferent to the opinion of one on their individual abilities.
I spend most my time there, but this work is not my life, just my livelehood. And that is something I am made to feel ashamed of and restricted to. I did not spend 5 years studying journalism to be forced into a weirdly controlled working environment that tells you how to feel, or do, without reflection, a moment of creativity, a challenge or offer any prospects. It is not a happy workplace and I will never lie about that.
So my time off has been very much a rude awakening.
I already knew I was stuck and there is nothing I can do about that until I can find a new job. While I never expected to be in this position, at least time off has confirmed what the problem is, that I need mental stimulus and respect. I need more than this and that is completely okay. It is a simple conclusion but a sign of a changing attitude, because if there is one thing I do best, it is that I believe I adapt well, even if I don’t realise at the time.