My Job is Killing Me.
Last Monday, Ms. Happy Black Women wrote a post that resonated with me. She wrote about how poetry saved her life. As I made my trek into a place that was killing me a.k.a. my job, I thought about the parallels. For the last few months, I have been depressed. I just about cut contact with almost all my friends and family, because I didn’t want to be burden to anyone. I didn’t want to be the party pooper, somehow.
I finally realized that only constant (among a few other things) in my life was my job. My job was killing me. Let me share my typical workday with you. I leave my calm apartment and make my way into drug central. No exaggeration! All the stores are covers for whatever your drug of choice is and so many people around those corners are zombies. Just in and out and waiting for the next moment to get high. These same zombies, then come into a number of programs that I am responsible for managing.
Over the last few months, my team and I have been threatened, physically assaulted, emotionally abused, had conversations tape recorded (without our knowledge) and have even been spit on. Why am I still here? I did not trust my gut. About a week into the position, I knew that I had to leave. But, I just ignored that feeling and “little” voice in my head that said “GET THE HELL OUT OF THIS PLACE” for a number of months. The one thing that became apparent was that I needed to leave this environment.
While, I am generally a pretty happy, optimistic and energetic person. I realized that my job was stealing my bliss. The saddest and almost frustrating part of this, was somehow I let this all happen under my nose, on my watch. Where have I been the last few months?
What made me wake up and realize that I had so many wonderful people around me? I woke up, went to work and told my boss I wanted out of this place. I did not like the person that I was becoming. This shell, that learned to function under these traumatic circumstances. I really think that I have become more of a mean person and I absolutely hate this feeling. Initially, I felt happy, since I finally let out this secret out of the bag. But, it didn’t get better because I was still there, functioning or trying to function in chaos.
I know that my blogmate and I try to capture stories of the world around us and share them. I wanted to share this story with you for a number of reasons. Last Monday, I read this blog and thought more about my ability to empathize with others and find beauty and joy in this world. Then a few days later, Erica Kennedy died. A few articles mentioned that she was extremely depressed and had started to lose contact with friends and family. I almost thought why am I staying silent about this? Why am I not actively asking for help? Am I accepting this situation? I know that Black Women are stereotyped as these “super woman and bring so strong”. I wanted you to hear about this Black Woman’s struggle with an environment that was dysfunctional and fueled her depression. I know that I am not where I was a few months ago. I am in a better place, I hope it will get exponentially better, once I leave my job. I know for today before heading to work (yes, I am still there but not for much longer, I promise you), that it is a beautiful day and I have one more day on the planet. For that, I am happy and I promise you I will not allow my job to kill me.
Authors Note: I think for the last few weeks there have been tiny reminders from the universe that more people of color, especially Black Women are sharing there struggles with a number of mental health disorders. I wanted to share a snippet of what depression has been like for me. More importantly, I hope that people start to realize there is no reason to be ashamed of how you feel. PLease check out The Siwe Project for more information!