Life is a funny thing, right?
I’ve had so many work opportunities open up to me lately. Really good jobs, really good projects, and all really good fits for my abilities. I’m spoiled for choice, which is humbling for me. I spent nearly five years in a job I felt forced to stay in so that I could afford graduate school, but which was hell. I felt I didn’t have other choices available to me, especially during and close after the recession, so I did what I had to do to stay financially solvent. I learned a lot, and I grew a lot, but it came at a cost, and one of those costs was my post-trauma experience.
So now, having so many great paths open to me, it’s humbling and overwhelming and a caution. It’s not the blissful joy or excitement that it could be. But many things aren’t for me right now.
I do know that as I’ve learned to better manage PTSD, and as I’ve learned how to take better care of myself, I am approaching new work opportunities with caution. I tend to go all in, to set my needs and my health aside, to drop personal relationships to low priority, and to not be able to turn it off to rest. I don’t want to repeat those behaviors, and concern about that was one of the first things to come to mind as my opportunities started to materialize.
I’ve previously and still sometimes do have a hard time with success and with things going well, because I have a tendency to connect good life events with severe trauma. I know I’m not the only one who experiences this, and it can cause unconscious sabotage of opportunities, positions and relationships when you can’t cope with what you think is about to follow the good times. With so many great things popping up for me at once and the opportunity to continue to do the work I find fulfilling, all of the aspects that tend to make me freak out, shut down and sabotage myself are in play.
But not this time, because this time I know. This time I’m noticing, I’m acknowledging, and I’m taking steps to do things differently. Concerned about success? I’m reminding myself that I’ve worked hard for it and I’ve earned it and the opportunities that are coming in (and that I can require adequate compensation for it or decline!). Sabotaging myself? I’m reminding myself that this is new and different and I have tools to help me now. Tempted to toss aside my health and well-being for THE PROJECT? I remind myself that if my priorities are not where they need to be then I am not where I need to be, and sacrificing relationships for the short term has long term consequences.
I’m starting to see the results I’ve worked so hard for, but I still have to treat myself carefully because really good is sometimes more complicated than just something to be grateful for and excited about when you have PTSD. I’m looking forward to the day that it isn’t.