I have come to the conclusion that I am not temperamentally disposed to working in customer service. The shame of this is that it is something I am ridiculously good at. The reality is that it stresses me to the point of shattering, and drains me dry. I have reached a nadir in my current employment, dreading certain days, knowing that it will press me to near breaking by the time I can escape back to my shaggy little hermitage. I have become over-reactive, to the point of meltdown over minor issues. Today I ended up having to retreat to my car, put in earplugs, and pour over the journal of ideas that I keep handy while I fought to keep from dissolving into a mess of tears. No, it wasn't pretty.
Analyzing, as usual, I realized that my over-reactive tendencies have been barely managed for a number of years now. I hesitate to use the phrase PTSD, because I don't dare compare my life to the rigors faced by vets, police, full time emergency responders that have caused many to slip into hellish existences haunted by their past experiences. But I spent far too many years living under a blanket of stress from work and my personal life. I think it destroyed my ability to manage what is likely normal stress for most people. It has made me almost fearful of the idea of having to have a full time job where I have to actually be in contact with others of my species. I just can't handle day to day stressors like I used to. Largely, I think, because I don't want to have to. I don't want to meekly have to take it on the chin. I want to be able to erupt, say "No," and walk away from things that make me unhappy. I think I have earned that right.
Funny thing though, I can be at the scene of a fatal car accident, helping to pry a badly injured patient from the car, and not have the feeling of insurmountable stress that I get from dealing with customers and management on a day to day basis. If anything, it is the exact opposite; under real, traumatic stress, I am calm, decisive, and in control. I just can't handle the little, petty shit anymore. I've had to deal with too much of the little, petty shit in my life, and I have had enough.
Today, fortunately, is my Friday, and a half day, I fought my way through the tasks that had to be completed, then fled the scene before I committed any act that could not be either denied, nor covered up by judicious use of a recip saw, a deep hole, and quick lime. I escaped to the serenity of the state park along the river, and the trail that has become my favorite run. The sky was grey and sullen, a fine drizzle turning the summer coating of dust to a caked layer of mud. The run, combined with the fresh, cool, damp air cleared my head. I do my best thinking when I am working my body. Swim, bike, or run, my brain goes into overdrive. By the time I left the woods to stretch out in the open meadow, I was formulating A Plan. Yes, whenever I am trying to realign my life, and come up with a plan to save my sanity and soul, I do see it capitalized: A Plan.
I know, I do this with regularity, and it rarely manages to make it off the drawing board. But it makes me feel better, and that is all that matters when I am this close to slipping back into that grim hostel that was my home for too long not that many years ago. I will say, that during the major meltdown of my life I did come up with A Plan (to buy my own home), and I did just that, despite having a major nervous breakdown... or because of it... or the breakdown was caused by the buying process. Oh well, chicken and egg, you know. I have had some moments over the last few years when I have had to give myself a shake, make some plans, and give something new a try. No, I haven't had any great successes with my various schemes, but I keep on trying.
Winston Churchill said, "Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm." I just need to make A Plan, and maintain my enthusiasm.