Before I go on I will say that this is entirely my fault. It was my choice to follow when the office moved. Then I quit after 8 months because it was too far. Then it was my choice again when I went back after a couple years. The job was fucking awesome when it was one city away. Now it’s not just far away but located such that I am now driving into Toronto like everybody else (and their grandmothers because grandmothers still work) in this area. Not only that but the location of the office is such that it makes public transit nightmarishly impossible. Oh it can be done, but it takes a good 3 hours (1-way), train/bus transfers and probably $20/day. I ride home on my bike in less time than that.
So here we are at the crux of my dilemma and anxiety with work.
Commuting wrecks my zest for life. Y’know how there are certain things in your life that just drive you to insanity? Specific things that you have absolutely no patience for? For me, it’s traffic. It always has been. I don’t get road rage I just get antsy, irritated and miserable. It could ruin my entire day. I don’t know how people do it seemingly unaffected for years. I try to put up with it but I can’t help how much I fucking despise it. I cringe and chew my lips to shreds while maniacally switching radio stations like an ADD superstar because radio ads make me want to stick a pencil in my eye.
When I think about the 12-13 hours a week I spend just getting to and from work I want to sharpen that pencil a little more. The shit I could do and the more hours I could put on my bike with that time. Possibilities are endless. BUT, traffic. Brain dead. Tanks of gas which equals a shit ton of money. Intense wear and tear on my car that equals even more money, my mind, my patience. Toll highways for sanity but at the cost of an appendage – more money. When it comes right down to it I pay more money to get to work than it makes sense to.
That would be my car on a tow truck after it broke down on the side of the highway. That bitch of a repair cost me WAY TOO much.
I’ve done audiobooks and podcasts and lectures and talk radio. It sometimes helps but often I can’t stay focused.
I know what you’re thinking…
“But it’s entirely your fault y’know! If you aren’t happy why did you go back?”
It just ended up this way. This job, this choice, this life. I liked the job enough to try and make it worth it. It’s just worn on me in a major way over the years. I guess I was wrong when I thought I could do it. I thought it would get better, both the job itself and the commute. I was wrong. Also? I have been pushing and hoping for work-from-home capabilities but I seem to get a rolled eye or turned up nose at every suggestion. I’m not even going to get into the benefits to everybody involved when it comes to telecommuting.
That’s not the point though.
The point of these series of posts is to express how these aspects of my life affect my overall mental health and anxiety. When I contemplate my triggers I immediately question what I can do to alleviate the stresses that clearly make my anxiety worse. I’ve done a lot over the years. I’ve learned to say “No” to pretty much all social events. I’ve learned that when I feel my anxiety taking a turn for the worse I ignore everything and everyone around me. Sometimes it lasts days or weeks. Sometimes laundry doesn’t get done. It’s my fail safe mechanism though, to close out the world and get by with minimal interaction. So it’s no surprise when my mind keeps saying I need to find a more suitable work-o-sphere. My first reaction to anxiety is to RUN AWAY and that’s not healthy. I know the commute is a massive trigger on so many levels and what’s worse is that I don’t have the answer right now as to how to fix it other than throwing drugs down my throat.
I’ve been working on trying to manage how I mentally deal with it. I’ve been trying to get a grip on myself daily with the traffic and commute. In some ways I’ve tried to re-wire my coping mechanisms and force myself to believe it’s “not that bad.” A sort of suck-it-up-buttercup band aid solution. It’s not that bad, everybody else does it and they don’t seem to be sticking sharpened pencils in their eyes (that I know of). There’s gotta be a way to self-soothe and manage the anxiety before it becomes all-consuming. There’s got to be a solution for me other than running away aka: quitting because I’m a fucking wimp. If the commuting is causing more anxiety than the actual job, to me that’s a roadblock that I should logically be able to deal with.