I hope you’re reading this and feeling well.
I work in an intense industry (mental health). Intense for me, anyway. I consider myself a highly sensitive person. I live with PTSD and anxiety is prominent. I have struggled somewhat for years. Always get told I’m burnt-out but not quite meeting the criteria because I’m still meeting all my job requirements. I get told I’m doing “too well” to be considered burnt-out. Or that I’m thriving under pressure. But internally, I feel like I’m crumbling. The Sunday Scaries are getting really intense. I am really stressed getting ready for my day. And really drained at the end. I do “do well”, as they say. No one would ever, ever know.
I am also a creative and recently got offered a work from home role in this area. Completely out of the blue. Certainly not as “rewarding” and definitely not what I went to uni for.
But I’m starting to think that living with PTSD, working in an intense role and juggling other responsibilities is a bit much. My employer is super, super supportive.
My issue is that because they are so supportive, I feel like I’m letting them down. I also compare myself to others. They can do it. Why can’t I? I feel like I’m running away. All my mental health training is screaming “this is avoidance!” And yet, if a client came to me with this predicament, I’d support them to explore that it’s okay to slow down.
I know the grass isn’t always greener. But working from home sounds idyllic. I’m a very motivated person. I do feel I’d need to make an effort to work from coffee shops on occasion and network for that sense of community. But I can set my own hours, work around my kids, wear my pyjamas as needed.
I feel like I’m failing. I am so jealous of people who can do “all the things” without feeling like they need to cry every day from the stress. I have some great friends who are giving a few mixed opinions. Some say I should go for it. Others say it’s a waste of a HECS debt and everything I’ve worked hard for.
Has anyone else changed careers as a result of their mental health? I’d love to hear all about it.
Thanks in advance.
Hey Cady, I like to think that the greatest detriment to our confidence and self worth is the comparing of ourselves to others. Every one has a different story, some that appear to be doing things easier than us may actually be hurting on the inside.
Being told you're doing too well seems pretty invalidating, like I just said they have no idea what is 'too well' to begin with. Burn out is just affecting you differently.
Try not to take your boss' support as you letting them down, after all you're still helping the pocket of whatever ceo you work under get deeper haha 😉 think of this new opportunity to work from home as a fresh start. I hope things work our for you. -b
Thank you for sharing your experience with us, and I warmly welcome you to the forums.
I'm entering the mental health profession and already I've gathered that it can be a very emotionally taxing field if you're not taking care of yourself and your own mental health, and it can be so easy to feel burnt out or drained. Like you, I'm a creative, and I know that I'm not fully satisfied unless I have a creative outlet alongside anything else that I'm doing day-to-day. I understand how invalidating it is to be told you’re doing "too well" to be struggling or burnt out.
May I ask, what is it that attracts you to each option? With your current role, is it the stability, familiarity, the people, the work itself? And with the new role, what are the main features that draw you in? This may also help you to realise what you prioritise in a job, which can be important information.
Would it be a viable and realistic option for you to change careers? It would be useful to consider the financial implications, as well as other important implications for your lifestyle.
One more question to consider: could there be a way that you could try and juggle both jobs for a while? Knowing your daily responsibilities, obligations, chores etc., is there a way that you could try and reduce your hours with your current job while experimenting with this new position? This may be a useful way to assess the benefits of both jobs side by side, which can help you make your decision. The good thing about your qualifications for the mental health industry is that you'll always have them too, if you do end up having a fresh start and then decide you'd like to move back into the mental health field again.
I believe that we're going through life trying to find where we fit into everything, where we'd like to be, where we feel we belong. I've heard so many adults in my life say things like "I wish I'd done this when I was your age", or "I hate my job, working is a chore". I think career exploration (within reason) is one of the things that makes life exciting. It can be amazing when there's an opportunity to experiment with jobs and roles that fulfil different needs for us.
This may be a lot to digest, but I hope you can find some useful advice in my experiences. Please feel free to chat with us some more, as we'd love to support you as best as we can.
Take care, SB