From The Outside Looking In to Finally Being In

In an attempt to add some clarity about where I went for ~4 months, I want to tell you all about my new jobs!

I started off the end of summer by landing two jobs. One, at my school as a costume shop assistant, and the other at a local hospital. I then started off the school semester in August. I only worked at the costume shop for a few months, because honestly, it wasn’t what I was looking for at the time and added more stress than it was worth (not that it was a bad job, it just wasn’t a good fit). I am still working at the hospital, and I just finished my second semester in my masters program (yay for the semester ending!).

School was challenging this semester. I don’t really know where I fit in yet with this program. I don’t know if I still want to be a counselor. I don’t have any real “friends” from the cohort, and a lot of that is because I honestly would rather die than leave my house 90% of my life. I see my cohorts hanging out, studying together, drinking together, playing games, and I am met with an uncomfortable sensation Part Fomo, part social anxiety. I wish that I could be “Normal” and hang out on a whim with these people, but I feel a tightness in my chest whenever I think about it. Social anxiety is such a weird feeling. I worry all the time what these people think of me, while rationally knowing if I stepped out of my comfort zone, they’d like me more. But I still can’t. So I stand there, like a puppy in a windowsill, watching everyone become a close knit family before my eyes. It is painful, to feel like an outsider every day. Sometimes, it makes me feel like I should just give up. I am taking this break specifically to decide whether I should stick with this or not. It is frustrating, because it isn’t the workload at all. It isn’t the material. It’s only the feeling that I don’t belong.

Maybe that’s why I like the hospital so much? I am part of a family there. After the first week, I felt whole there. I felt no tension, no anxiety, and no distraction. I love my coworkers. There are some that I would literally risk my life to protect (something you have to do sometimes with my specific job…). I’ve literally thought of how I could distract a patient if they turned violent, how I could turn them to me instead, to save some of these people. No one makes me laugh like these folk do. No one understands quite as well, why I’m crying over a patients symptoms. We don’t have to hang out outside of work. We don’t have to go out for drinks, or play monopoly together, but I can actually see myself sitting down with some of these people, talking about frustrations, expressing fears, and just having fun. I have never felt like this at a job before. Ever. At my last job, most days, I would stay out of the office every second that I could. I would cry on the drive home, feeling so hated and lonely. Now, I laugh and think about what “x” said that made me almost pee myself. I think about how “y” told me really good news about her life, and how happy I am for her. I think about the patients we see, and the difference we are all making. I think about the people I watch save actual lives every single day. I think about the doctors, the psychiatrists who deal with patients throwing, and hitting, and yelling. I think of the nurses who meet me with kindness. The staff that stock our things. The office people who organize our schedules and perform checks and balances. I think of the people that remember my name. 

Maybe you won’t understand, but for me, something as simple as hearing my name met with a good morning is enough to turn my whole day upside down. It is enough to make me feel like I am cared about. And that is why I care about them. I am honored to see their work, their dedication, and their loyalty to the cause. I am hopeful to hear their stories, to witness their growth, and to aide in their challenges. I am blessed.

Happiness doesn’t always come from every source in your life. Some days, I do leave crying, remembering that I can’t help everyone. Remembering the bruises that I was given. Remembering the hurt in someones eyes. But for the first time, I really do feel like I’m making a difference. That my family is making a difference.

Let this also serve as a reminder to leave a job that isn’t making you this happy. Seriously.  I know that’s easier said than done, and that most people can’t financially afford a job change, but if you aren’t happy, start looking for something different. You deserve to do something every day that doesn’t make you regret waking up. We all do.

xoxo,

Clare

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