Found this short video on managing stress. It’s helpful for understanding how stress affects the brain, mind, and body. I have to say that, for me, managing stress meant leaving a job that was too stressful. As a man (and I imagine for women too), admitting that a job was too stressful for me felt like weakness and failure. But the truth is that having Bipolar 2 disorder, means that I have to limit the amount of stress in my life. If I don’t, the consequences can be catastrophic. I know this from experience. I spent a few days in the hospital because I refused to limit my stress. My mind and body finally said, “Enough!”
So I left a job that I had worked for the 17 years. I was terrified to do this, but I had no choice. I applied for disability retirement and, by the grace of God, was approved. But I would have left the job either way. We’ve had to make adjustments to our lifestyle due to less income, although these adjustments were far less catastrophic than I thought they would be. In many ways, they’ve made my life better. I spend more time with my wife and kids, and actually listen to them, instead of staring off blankly while they try to interact with me. We don’t eat out as much, which has lead to healthier eating. And there have been a lot of other positives that have come as a result of having less money. Sounds crazy, but it’s true. I’m also pursuing a new career as a graphic designer, which is much more in line with my personality and interests ( I was a school administrator in my previous job.)
I think the key is that we are more important than the things that stress us out. And although change can be hard, it is well worth the sacrifice. We’re definitely worth it. Our self-worth doesn’t come from our jobs or possessions. It took me 46 years to learn this, but I finally did.
Stay the course. Keep the faith. You’re a hero.