This is something that has been playing on my mind for some time.
I have been in my volunteer job now for a few months and I’m really enjoying it. I’m learning so much about mental health, people and what I actually want from my life. It’s giving me so much more than I ever thought it would, and when I step through the door I am truly excited as to what my shift will bring.
But the few hours before my shift… well, that is something very different. Today I had an afternoon shift, and I woke up this morning feeling sick at the thought of having to go in. A million excuses for not going in rattled through my brain as I ate my breakfast and got myself ready. I felt nauseous and nervous on the way into town, like I couldn’t breathe for how scared and anxious I felt.
Where have I felt this before? …oh yeah, in every damn job I’ve worked since I was 18.
I only survived one month at my first job, which was as a changing room assistant in a very well-known cheap clothes store, as the constant abuse from customers, colleagues, added with the long miserable hours – I couldn’t take it. I walked out one afternoon after bawling my eyes out in the locker room and never looked back.
Christmas job at a well-known game shop, same feeling of fear as each shift dawned on me. When I started working at my longest-standing job (I worked at Blockbuster, no point in hiding that considering the chain is dead now…) I thought I’d overcome my fright at going into work. I found a job I enjoyed, with people I got along with, it was all I wanted. It was also my therapy after dropping out of university.
I wrote about my time working there, and the job that followed in an earlier blog post. Once again, the fear and dread took over before every single shift until the day I left.
It took volunteering the break the initial fear of looking for a job – before that, even the mention of working in the future reduced me to a shaky, hyperventilating state. (I did apply for quite a few jobs once this had passed, but huge gaps in a CV before you have the chance to explain them… yeah, needless to say I’ve had no luck there.)
Each job I’ve worked has broken me in a way. All I’ve wanted from life is a job that I love and enjoy, being able to earn a wage and say that I’m doing what I can do to the best of my abilities. Taking this volunteer position has been so good for me, and here I am, afraid of even getting to the building. Once I walk through that door and get into the office, I feel totally fine! I put the kettle on and do what I’m there to do. I leave when my shift is over feeling good about what I’ve done, and I feel accomplished when I get home. The few days I’m not in the office, I feel fine. But the day I’m due in… I’m a nervous wreck.
What is wrong with me? Am I seriously that damaged?