A Moment to Breathe

I feel like I am in the eye of the storm; the centre-point where the air is at its eery calmest. A false calm.

I don’t really know where to begin, in describing the hell that I have endured, except to say that having successfully endured it does not give me a sense of acheivement. I feel, in fact, that I have failed myself.

As I think I’ve hinted at over the past few weeks, work has been very full-on. Despite the arrangements with my manager and HR that I am to “not take on too much”, I have found that I have been working 12 and 13 hour days. I have found that some team members were happy just to dump what they could on me, both work and shit. I have pushed myself to get through this, and I have.

So why don’t I see it as a success? One lesson I thought I had learnt was to respect my limits; to recognise the warning signs of stress and depression so that I could take action to prevent them getting worse. Over the last month or so, I have seen the warning signs, but I have been pushing them to one side, ignoring them, displacing them. I have managed to ‘hold on’ at work, but at the cost of using every particle of my emotional, physical and spiritual energy. When I came home at night, I could not find the energy to do anything other than sleeping or watching TV. There was nothing left over for my relationship, my hobbies, my family or for me.

I fed my soul into the mouth of the corporate giant, and didn’t even get a few crumbs belched back at me.

But I had to ‘be strong’, to ‘weather through’, didn’t I? To recognise one’s limits and needs is weak, right? So that makes ignoring one’s limits and needs courageous, doesn’t it?

Bullshit. What it is, is stupid. Stupid and likely to end in disaster.

I’ve put myself through the mill for work, and now I want my life back. Lesson learned, once again.


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June 2003
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