The past week has been chaotic both personally and professionally. I am super exhausted and I never even got around to sitting down on my couch until yesterday around 8 p.m. (which resulted in me dosing off like an old cat lady–cat also dosed off).
Work has been a little more stressful than usual and I’ve found myself (again) trying to stretch myself thinly across social/other personal obligations (which has resulted in very little restful sleep). I’ve also been everyone’s person to “vent” their issues to/resolve said issues (lately) and it’s starting to wear heavily on my soul. Imagine my surprise when my anxiety levels have skyrocketed!
For example, last week, three of my friends decided to vent to me about their pending separations/divorces with their spouses/SO.s. Breakups in general are difficult, but divorces, especially those involving property and/or children/pets can become quite messy. I have zero experience in the world of, “divorce” and listening to all of the drama those friends of mine were going through was emotionally draining. I’m not sure if they expected me to “resolve their issues” or just simply listen, so I chose to mostly just listen and wish them well with the outcome. Listening to them ramble has made me seriously never want to get married. It sounds both emotionally draining and expensive from jump AND if things don’t work out.
In addition to the divorce rambles, my ex has been having some difficulties in buying a house and I’ve found myself sucked in to listening (well, reading) his vents about it (and they’ve been super long and descriptive). While I haven’t bought my first home yet (I’m hoping to do that later on this year), I’ve heard from many other friends/family members about how stressful the process can be. He’s told me about how he’s been so stressed out about it that he’s not even sleeping or eating properly. Because I don’t hate him (he’s a good guy and we’re on “good terms”), I’m attempting to be somewhat supportive and at least listen and provide words of encouragement (like my favorite blanket statement of , “I’m sorry all of this has happened, but I truly believe things will work out, just stay positive”). I don’t know what else to say to him really because I don’t know how to “fix” this for him and to be honest, it’s not really my place TO fix this for him either. I’m starting to take on his stress though and it’s causing me to have some weird sleeping habits and also a bit of anxiety about my own future home buying plans. I feel like I’m being kind of a shitty person for not checking in more often to see if he’s ok (he’s mostly volunteering this information and initiating this conversations) especially since he was in a particularly downer mood last Friday, but I don’t know what advice I can really provide him because I have no experience in home buying. Plus, I don’t know IF everything will be ok for him, though I hope that things get better.
I’ve also become everyone’s “go to” to vent about work stress in the office and I don’t know how to fix everyone’s problems/unhappiness. I feel like I’ve been unfairly put in the position to be “little miss sunshine” and spread joy across the office when everyone is “overwhelmed”. I barely have time to knock out everything with my own job, let alone figure someone else’s out…but how do you even say that to someone without coming across cold, unapproachable or inappropriate? What am I supposed to do when I’m stressed and overwhelmed? I’ve discussed taking a “personal day” with my manager, but I know deep down I’ll most likely be inundated with work issues anyway on my day off no matter how much I legitimately try to relax and decompress.
I think by far though, one of the issues triggering my anxiety the most is having another friend of mine really going through a tough time with his own anxiety/mental illness. I try to be hyper supportive with anyone that struggles with mental illness, but half of the things I find myself saying to him aren’t even things I’m doing regularly myself…like regularly taking (appropriately) prescribed medication, remembering to breathe, taking things one day at a time, not abusing substances as an outlet, etc. I find myself taking it personally when he’s still having a rough/off day, even though I know (a someone who deals with anxiety a well), sometimes you just have rough days and simply having a support system/friend is what you might need in a specific moment to assure you that things will be ok. He says he feels like a burden (which I can relate, because anxiety basically makes you think you’re insane for “feeling” the way that you feel and it further triggers your anxiety to even talk about it in detail) and he’s not, but again, I can’t “fix it” for him, so I feel like I’m failing at being a supportive friend, even though I know that’s absurd.
I’ve basically decided to turn my phone off today to mostly focus a little better at work, but also to give myself a break from taking on everyone’s issues. I just need a brief break to gather myself.
Anyway, in terms of the anxiety roller coaster, I am on that long uphill journey where you know you’re inching closer and closer to “the drop”.
You feel each metal “clank” as you continue up this path and your chest tightens in anticipation. You know the “drop” is going to be intense, but shortly afterward, you’ll go through some loops and sharp turns, but things will resume back to normal eventually.