I have always been career-driven. Since leaving university, I have worked very hard in order to be financially independent. A few months ago, however, I suffered what can only be described as a breakdown. I was exhausted, physically and mentally. I became unable to think straight and the pressure of my work became too much and I was unable to cope. It was a scary time and I have since quit my job.
Now that I have managed to rest, I feel somewhat like my old self, but I find myself completely lost as to what to do next. I don’t know how to begin to put my life back together again. I have a few good friends and a number of family members who have been incredibly supportive. I see now that in my efforts to have a thriving career, I neglected the people around me and it cost me countless friendships and any success in my love life as well.
I have a job interview next week and I have a lot of anxiety about it. I was always confident before, but I don’t feel that way anymore. I am scared of failing and I am mindful of making further mistakes in my life.
Is there anything I can do in order to feel better?
Thank you, Josephine
Chronic stress can affect us all at one time or another, particularly if you have a demanding job role. It is important that you do not rush your process of recovery or feel pressure to step back into the working world before you are ready. Remember that this point in your life is a positive one because it is causing you to re-evaluate your life choices. The key priority here is how to best take care of yourself moving forward. Start by taking the time to consider the following question. What is it you truly need to be healthy and happy?
It seems that you have unknowingly specified what areas you wish to focus on in order to feel better. You mention how you have not prioritised your loved ones. There is no better time than the present to embrace the love of those around you. Little steps, one day at a time can make all the difference. A starting point for you could be scheduling a phone call once a week with a family member or friend that you have lost touch with. Perhaps another idea would be to send a letter or a card, in order to let somebody know that they are in your thoughts. Romantically speaking, allow yourself the time to come to feel open to the prospect of future romantic relationships. Again, this should be in the form of little steps as the opportunity presents itself. During this time it is important that you are your main focus, however. Prioritise your own healing and maintain patience. In first learning to love yourself, you will be better able to love others.
Another area of focus here is on regaining your self-confidence. It is often assumed that confidence is a trait that we are born with. However, it should be thought of as a habit or a skill that is learned, always in development and always evolving along with our life experiences. It is normal that sometimes it waivers, but it can always be reclaimed. Two emotions that greatly hinder our sense of confidence are guilt and shame. When we feel like we have failed, these two emotions can take considerable hold and cause us to doubt ourselves. The point being, there is no use in beating yourself up about where you feel you went wrong or recounting specific times in which you wish you had done things differently. Keep firmly in mind that you have nothing to feel guilty about nor is there any shame whatsoever in your efforts to work hard. Your confidence will return in time.
It is only logical that you harbour some anxiety about your upcoming interview. Breathing exercises each morning may help you to keep your anxiety levels under control. Josephine you have stated that you are fearful of making mistakes. But you are only human. We all make mistakes, it is a part of life. Every experience, good or bad, teaches us something. The important thing here is to be kind to yourself. Believe that if it is meant to be, then the job will be yours. If not, then another opportunity will come along when the time is right.
Lastly, do recognise that you are in the midst of a transitional moment in your life. As such, know that if you find yourself unable to shake feelings of depression, low confidence or anxiety, counselling sessions can be a wonderful support to you. You have been through a traumatic experience and you do not have to go through this journey alone.
Have faith in yourself, Josephine. Wishing you health and happiness.
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