For the third time in the past nine months, I find myself making a major life decision. I’ve quit a good job, put myself in a psychiatric hospital and now I’m going to be filing for bankruptcy. I don’t take these decisions lightly, they’re important. And if I’m perfectly honest with myself, I hate change. When I’m making these decisions, I feel like I’m turning myself and my life upside down. Yet when push has come to shove, I’ve made all three of these decisions almost instantly, feeling in my gut that I was doing the right thing.
I don’t know how most people are – I’ve always felt that I handle change worse than most – especially when it comes to my personal life. I’ve always wanted to feel comfortable in what I was doing. Not just get good at something and go through the motions, but really understand something inside and out. Then I wanted to stay there. I could be an expert in my own little world.
I crave routine. I’ve never been real adventurous. I like to eat the same foods, watch the same things on TV, sit in the same place. I’m not big on surprises. Let’s plan things out and make them happen. Let’s be safe. Let’s do it the way we’ve always done it.
But I’ve surprised myself when I’ve made these three decisions – they’ve all been made rationally under great emotion, they’ve all taken the bigger picture into account, and they’ve all been decisive. Usually, when I’m feeling a lot of emotion, I tend to try not to make decisions. I’m a very emotional person and I’ve always thought that’s worked best. When I’m feeling a lot of emotion, it’s easy for me to be selfish – maybe that’s part of why these decisions have worked for me – maybe I needed to be selfish. And decisive, that’s probably the biggest surprise of them all. I usually think big things through over and over, looking at every possibility and potential outcome. These times were different, though – I was quick, decisive and right.
Something else these three decisions have had in common for me was that I was already near my breaking point when the time came. For me, these were survival-level decisions. I made a decision each time that I was going to choose taking care of myself over pushing through more stuff that was just grinding me down. When I quit my job, it was about having some kind of quality of life, which I was missing. When I checked myself into the hospital, it was about saving me from myself – my life was in danger. When I decided to file for bankruptcy, it was about living without a mountain on my back, it was about letting go of pressure that I couldn’t handle.
So for the third time in a year, I’m being turned upside down again. These decisions twist me inside-out. I put more weight on them than they deserve. They’re big decisions but I treat them as though the fate of the world rests upon my making the correct choice. I wish I could be calm about this. I wish I possessed the confidence to trust my decision-making. But I can’t and I don’t. So I tumble along, twisting and turning myself around with every little step along this journey. It’s exhausting.
Big-picture-wise, this is the right thing to do. But I feel it every time I have to think about paying a bill, using the credit card to have to pay for something, looking at my bank account. I could drive myself mad doing this. I’m taking anti-anxiety medicine daily, sometimes more, to try to help myself get through this. It’s taking just enough of an edge off to keep me sane and somewhat functioning.
I still get stuck in my old trap of thinking I should be able to handle anything that comes my way. Every time I try to sort out the money, I feel like I should be able to make it work out. And it doesn’t. And I walk a fine line to avoid beating myself up. Some days I get down on myself. Some days I can shrug it off. But it’s always a battle.
I can get overwhelmed by the little things. Having to make decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of when we’re cleaning out the garage – I multiply these choices by the size of the whole house and it gets to me. The same goes with feeding the family – making the decision about what we’re going to eat and how much it costs and making everyone happy – doing that for a week just amplifies the process of grocery shopping. It feels like it’s so easy to get overwhelmed. Little things add up so quickly.
Right now I’m turned upside-down by all this – the magnitude of filing for bankruptcy and the minutiae of the mundane daily things that go along with it. I’m trying to keep my head about me, but that’s a big task.
Declaring for bankruptcy is the correct next step for me and my family. The changes that I’ve made by quitting my job, putting myself in the hospital, and taking time to recover from that have cost us a lot of money, and that’s why we need to move in this direction. We need to lift the financial burdens off ourselves to move forward together.
In doing so, I’m again making the decision that taking care of myself is the most important thing I can do. For the third time this year, I’m twisted upside-down and I’m making the decision to get myself righted before I move forward. I can’t do anything productive for my family when I’m not right. So I will take care of myself again first, and then we will move forward. When we do move forward, we will do so with more knowledge, less weight and hearts full of hope.
Author Bio – Jason has suffered from depression and anxiety for over twenty years. He can be contacted here on his Facebook.