I have been struggling with Depression.

Never Again

Hi.

I am writing this before I head off to work.

I slept badly again. I didn’t get to sleep until around Midnight and I woke up – wide awake – at around 5am. That’s not nearly enough sleep for someone who is burned out with adrenal fatigue. If I could just get a good night’s sleep, or a few in a row, it would help massively.

While at work yesterday, I couldn’t have felt any worse. I had also got a bad night of sleep the night before. So I emailed my HR contact and basically said I can’t do the job anymore – at least not full time. I didn’t care anymore what would happen to me, because I was at breaking point. I kind of wanted them to tell me to go home and not worry about coming in again.

I started this job just 7 weeks ago and have struggled to cope with the pace. It’s ridiculously busy, with emails constantly pouring in throughout the day, the phone ringing intermittently and various files to follow up on urgently. The role is car insurance and my stress is worsened when I spend much of my time sitting on hold to other insurers (I literally can be on the phone for an hour waiting for someone to answer) and it is impossible to catch up.

Everyone else in my team is in the same position, but they care more about the job than me. They have ambition around Insurance. Some of them have studied or taken exams and want to make it a career. I am not like them.

The rest of my team seem in no rush to leave at the end of the day. When it hits 5pm, I am ready to get the fuck out of there. I am spent. The noise and the stressful environment have taken their toll, and I am weak. Throw in the lack of sleep and subsequent lack of energy and it’s a recipe for disaster. Often my colleagues stay to work over-time. I turn down the offer any time I am asked.

The stress of the job has been creating a lot of anxiety for me and is the reason I can’t rest well at night. So I needed to speak to the lady in HR.

Instead of 9-5, I will now be working 10-4 (5 days a week). While this is an improvement and will help me, I will be losing money each month and I will still have an insane workload, because the company doesn’t want to pay more money for new staff. But fuck it. I don’t care anymore. That’s their problem. If I can’t do all the work, despite pushing myself to the max, it’s not my issue.

I still need to get out of this place, because I have been doing insurance for a few years and I’m completely sick and tired of it.

No wonder my health seems at an all time low.

I walk around like a zombie, wondering why I shouldn’t just give up entirely and end my misery …

But that’s no way to think. When you die, it’s over for good. I feel inspired to do whatever I must to leave this industry. As a HSP and INFJ, I need purpose. I have a lot of passion in life – about injustice, animal welfare and fighting the bullshit we call normal and acceptable. I need to center my career around something I care about.

I was looking briefly at Open University courses, but on a part-time basis they take 6 years to complete. I would be 32 when I was done if I started the course now. I’m not sure I have the patience to wait 6 years to live my life.

So I still have no idea what I am going to do. This life can be very testing for those like myself who don’t just want to fill a spot and work for money. We spend most of our lives at work, so if we had our jobs we need to change them.

I would love to hear from you. I am sorry I haven’t posted much in the last week or so. I hope I feel stronger soon.

Thank FUCK it’s Friday!

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10 Reasons I HATE being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP).

HSP

This is a follow up to my previous post on 10 Reasons I LOVE being a HSP. If you don’t like anything negative, you may want to skip past this one.

Although, I would say we need to accept both the good and bad in anything. Some things have been difficult for me lately, so this is my opportunity to rant. There will be the occasional swear word (because I think swearing can – sometimes – be a good way of expressing and releasing anger), so – again – if you don’t want to hear it, you may want to steer clear until my next post.

With that said, for those who are deciding to stick around, here is a list of the things that I really don’t enjoy about my High Sensitivity.

#1 – Too much empathy. This one is kind of funny, because being empathetic was also one of the traits on my love list. But honestly, it’s not always great to feel empathetic. Look at all the messed up things in our World. As an HSP, it’s hard to not worry about it all. For me, I constantly worry and feel heart broken that animals are abused and murdered every second for food that – in my opinion – isn’t really food and is not needed to survive. In fact, I think it’s killing us because our hospitals are full of dying people. Animal products are obviously not the only problem in our diets, but 18 of the 19 leading causes of death (I think the 19th was falling/trips) have been directly linked to the consumption of meat and animal products like dairy (Go and search for ‘Dr. Michael Greger’ or read his incredible book, ‘How Not To Die’ if you want to find out more).

More pressing than anything is the reality that in Asia they believe that killing dogs in the most violent and merciless ways will make the meat taste better. I won’t go into detail on this, but be grateful if you don’t know about the Dog Meat trade and Yulin Festival. I still find it difficult to believe that this is actually happening. It makes life painful to know anyone could treat another living being in such a way. In a more general sense, I absorb people’s negative energy as well. If I speak with an angry customer on the phone, it makes me feel angry and irritable. And sure, nobody else (HSP or otherwise) likes to speak to difficult people, but I find myself less able to hold a barrier between us.

(Note: People are obviously also treated like objects and nothings, but I am more drawn to animals because I think they are the most helpless and innocent of all.)

#2 – Inability to deal with stress and often feeling anxious. I am going to do a future post on Anxiety, but let’s just say that feeling anxious every day takes its toll. The World is very stimulating as a HSP and every day work life (at least how it currently is for me – an open office, yikes!) can feel like a living hell. I recently started a new job and have been suffering with increased anxiety and insomnia. I thought by working for a smaller company, my problem with anxiety and over-stimulation would be decreased. It turns  out it is just the same, if not worse, because there is still a lot of noise. It is just more enclosed. This is also combined with working in a career that bores me beyond belief. I need to make a shift in what I do (it’s Car Insurance) but that can be easier said than done when you have bills to pay.

#3 – Feeling less of a man. Again, I want to do a more in depth post on being a Highly Sensitive Dude, because that is what separates this blog from others already out there. But for now, I will say that – even now that I know I am a HSP – I can get down on myself for not feeling manly or resilient.I can feel weak and ‘too sensitive’ in this often cruel and competitive World.

#4 – Lack of friends and support. Sometimes, I feel like I cannot connect with a single person, apart from my girlfriend who is very similar to me. I have grown to feel distant from own family, who all seem completely different to me and so I don’t know how I inherited my high sensitivity. When I feel peaceful and am away from hectic places (like work or busy supermarkets) I can feel at ease with myself and don’t really mind that I’m not super popular, but when I am feeling low and defeated, I worry that nobody would come to my Wedding (not that I have one planned) or, worse yet, to my funeral. I speak with people online, but without physically being with someone that connection can feel limited and not real. I am, however, grateful to have at least one person who gets me. Because that’s really all you ever need.

#5 – Other people don’t get it. I hate that people see sensitivity as a weakness. I hate that this World is so full of shit. The Kardashians. The Only Way is Essex. Famous people who only care about themselves. Rihanna and Drake outselling real musicians who actually put effort into their song writing. A lot of people are not good people and will do whatever they have to in order to benefit themselves. So much of our World is so superficial, narcissistic and shallow that I often feel like I don’t belong here. I hate that being kind and caring is undervalued and status/money/possessions are seen as the symbol  of Success. P.S. My Dad still thinks I am just shy and will grow out of it like he did.

#6 – Creativity is not valued and I feel like just a number. It is hard to remain spiritual or to have faith in a World in which Millions of people compete for recognition of their creativeness. Everything is about marketing and branding.

Although there have been many times when I have worked on music and felt deeply proud of my work, when I have only a small reaction (if any) it can make me doubt myself. I feel like if something doesn’t bring in money, it’s wasted time. I know that is silly and being creative is about more than making money, but when you feel like it’s the only thing you are good at and can succeed in, while struggling to exist in a job that feels empty, it can make you desperate for a bit of fame or some acknowledgement, at least.

#7 – Dear head, shut up. When I’m laying in bed at night and I cannot turn my brain off, nothing could be worse. I once went to the Harry Potter Studio Tour in Hemel Hemstead. I had been looking forward to it, but the long drive was very overwhelming and tiring for me (it was my first time on a Motorway, and hopefully my last). By the time I got there, I felt so on edge and annoyed. I ended up having such bad insomnia that I literally didn’t sleep for one second. Not ONE wink of sleep!

The next day, at the Studio Tour, I was sat at the opening (just before you go into the Great Hall) and they play a short movie. I was struggling to keep my eyes open and all I could think was, ‘No! This is meant to be an amazing day and now it’s fucking ruined like every other thing I try to do!’ After the tour, several hours later, I had to get back on the Motorway (so I guess the first time wasn’t my last) and head home. It’s about a 3 hour drive. Holy shit, was I tired! I somehow managed to make it home without falling asleep at the wheel and then crashed on my bed for about 30 minutes before my Mum woke me and reminded me that I needed to get to the theatre that night to see ‘The Boy in the Striped Pajamas’ (which turned out to be amazing, despite the lack of rest). I learned the hard way that I should never create too many plans for myself at once. The next day, I was in bed doing absolutely nothing and feeling like a zombie.

#8 – Having to plan things, rather than being able to go with the flow. I wish I was able to just book a holiday, or begin a new job, or turn up to a restaurant spontaneously, but because I am a HSP, I need to know exactly what to expect so I can begin to make plans. Most people will start a job, albeit it with some nerves, and then will quickly fit in and find their ‘place’ in the company. For me, I am very slow to warm up and it can take weeks to feel comfortable in a new environment and around new people. I can accept a job offer and then I start and realise the environment is going to be too stimulating and stressful for me. I wish I could adapt and just be more easy going and relaxed. The same with a holiday … I need to know it’s going to be a peaceful setting and I want to know everything about it because, as I said, new situations can kind of freak me out a little bit.

#9 – Getting stuck in deep depression. I am speaking about my personal experience and don’t want to imply that every HSP is depressed. However, I think it is common among us and the reasons for that should be understandable. We are in a minority and the Working World (if you are not self-employed) is nearly always designed with extroverts and groups in mind. The typical employer believes that people should work together (even when they have individual duties and objectives) and this can be a living nightmare for us introverted and/or sensitive folk. I will probably do a full-length post in which I rant about open offices. I also get depressed because of point #1 (the suffering in our World) and because I think too deeply about everything. Last night I was watching some conspiracy theory videos. I’m not going to delve too far into the conspiracies – and some might even be offended at the theories – but let’s just say that there is a lot of weird stuff surrounding 9/11 and The landing on the Moon in 1969. Go find Shane Dawson’s videos on YouTube about these topics. It’s pretty scary to think the government might manipulate us to such an extent. I will shut up now, because some of you are going to think I’m crazy. Oh, and Madeleine McCann’s parents totally did it – just saying.

#10 – There are just so many obstacles to peace and relaxation. I would love to sit around all day in my underwear doing Yoga, Meditating, walking my dog (maybe put some jeans on at that point) and playing guitar. Oh, and reading. But life always finds a way to stop you having that freedom. My Mum keeps suggesting I partake in the lottery … because that’s working out for a lot of people, right? But honestly, it can get to a point where I feel so sleep deprived, over-worked and starving of fun that I struggle to pull myself out of bed and do it all again another day.

There we go. 10 super-negative things! I hope I didn’t make you feel like you want to jump off a bridge. I’m sure as a HSP you can relate to a lot of what I have talked about. I would LOVE to hear from you about your own struggles. If you missed my positive list, be sure to go back a post and read that. This really can be a great thing. We are awesome people. Life can create a lot of problems for us, but we have to carry on and see things through even when we are burnt out. We need to practice daily self-care and be more diligent than others, but when we feel good and peaceful, there is nothing else we need.

I look forward to speaking with you again soon.

~ Alex.