I have noticed that I have a difficult time settling down. I have a hard time remaining satisfied with a job (I usually have held positions maybe 1-2 years, the longest for 4 years), and find myself easily stressed or anxious with work. I start grad school programs, but stop them, wanting to move onto something else, scared if I stay in that program, I'll be stuck with a career that I don't want. I also dream constantly about packing up and moving. We have moved eight times in 9 years (three times to different states).
I have periods where I feel anxious or depressed, but it is usually tied to this feeling of being stuck or trapped -- I feel like I need to start another job or I need to move somewhere else. I feel really good when I first start a job but, when I settle in, I start worrying about maintaining the job, making friends or becoming attached, and so forth.
I have been married for seven years, together with my husband for nearly a decade, and we have a toddler. I am very much in love with my husband and love being a mom, but I also daydream about starting over completely and just being alone with no attachments (I would NEVER act on that, however, it is just a feeling that I sometimes have).
What do you think is going on? I don't know if any of these things are helpful, but my husband is medicated for an anxiety disorder, my mother struggles with severe depression, but didn't receive help or treatment until after my sister and I were grown, and I have a tendency to compulsively overeat (had struggled with bulimia in college, getting down to about 100lbs).
Thank you for any guidance.
Wow, your post is so spot-on for me as well. I'm a very antsy person. The job thing (I have a career I love, and did complete grad school for it, but purposely chose a career where I could move literally ANYWHERE in the world and do my job.) Kind of self fulfilling prophecy there.
I'm constantly in search of a better option. Just recently I decided I hate our place and want to move. Before, we up and moved to Alaska. DH was not happy but now he's more into it than me... I'm ready to move to a new state (/country), he says we are just getting started here.
I also have moments where I picture what it would be like to start over. And like you, I would never do it and am completely committed to my marriage and family... but still... I picture it sometimes. (PS I think this is normal, and I don't sweat it.)
For me, I have struggled with anxiety disorder (panic attacks) that manifest themselves in the form of obsessive thoughts and behaviors. In college I was a compulsive door-checker. The neighbors would ask me if I was okay... I would get to the end of the walk, turn around and check the door, then walk to the street, turn around, get to the bus stop, turn around. I actually had to plan in more time for getting ready because I knew my compulsive checking would make me late. Also the stove/oven. Compulsively checked that while at home.
I was prescribed as-needed xanex, which helped me get over a real hurdle with this. I still get panic attacks, but work through them. Maybe once or twice a year are they so bad that I take half a xanex (my script is the lowest dose available, btw). I think becoming a parent helped me put my life experience into perspective too... don't panic with a child, just take care of business, or they feed off of your negativity. You know the drill.
Anyway, long story short, DH and I just had the worst fight of our lives. PS we've been fighting a lot lately (don't worry, this is going somewhere good, promise!). Okay, so I'm such a planner, I want to talk about plans and then go do them. Moving, new job, new state, new this, new that. Onwards and upwards! Drives DH nuts. The talking forever, the unrealistic plans (some of my plans could legitimately be categorized as "crazy schemes" for a lot of mainstream America). We also have struggled with his drive and ambition (he has none, or rather, very little) and I have WAY to much. Out of balance, we are, to say the least.
Okay, so this worked so great. We sat down, and we discussed our long and short term goals. It was a date, we made plans, no kids, etc. Just us, hashing it out. This was SO GOOD. Quite of few of my goals were bumped to the long-term category (+5 years, which is really where they belong, and I needed a reality check on them) and then we narrowed and re-fitted some of our short-term goals, which gives me something to work on and fantasize about.
That's really it - fantasizing. I need something to imagine and envision when doing the day to day slog. If I have too many fantasies (or none at all), I pick fights, get really crabby and am generally unsettled. This goal-setting meeting really filled that need for me. And now I can be agitating for goals of DH's too, which is helpful, not annoying (I hope). Also there are multiple goals for one time period, so that helps too.
So, minor success story for you. Sorry about posting a short novel, but hey, I was on a roll!
Are we the same person, MovnMama?! I had to read this aloud to my husband because it sounds identical to the sorts of things we face/talk about/I do. I see in your signature that you're a high school teacher; do you teach history, by any chance? ;)
I have had anxiety attacks in the past, but not since I've had my daughter. I know what you mean about not panicking when you have a child. I also can be a little compulsive about things, such as checking to make sure that I unplugged the coffeemaker or locked my car doors.
I think part of my current problem is that I had taken time off to stay at home, had a difficult time getting back into the workforce (my prior work experience is all in academics/libraries), and fell into an HR role. Now I'm required to get a grad degree in the field to retain my job, and it's really not my passion. So I feel antsier than ever and just want to go back to school for librarianship. I'm sure I just need to stay put, but I am not interested in my field at all. I make myself feel terribly guilty about going back to school for something I'd enjoy because I feel like it would take away time/money from my daughter and her educational future.
I wonder why I feel this way. What was your childhood like (if you feel like sharing!)? Not that it is related to my childhood. I'm just curious if we've had similar experiences there as well.
I actually teach Language Arts to 11th and 12th grades. So, kinda close to history, as in, it's not math! As for my childhood, I was an only child and really quite lonely. My parents were older and didn't play with me very much. I got into a lot of trouble as a teenager, I think because my mother was overprotective and overbearing when I was a child. But I did a lot of growing, more than people who don't screw up, as far as I'm concerned.
It's funny you mention the career vs. working thing, because I just wrote a post about it in the working parents forum. It wasn't really helpful to the mom asking for advice, but it totally addresses the concerns you are talking about. You could read it if you like: http://www.mothering.com/community/forum/thread/1297693/what-is-the-secret-to-happiness-as-a-working-parent#post_16287550
Quote: "I'm sure I just need to stay put, but I am not interested in my field at all. I make myself feel terribly guilty about going back to school for something I'd enjoy because I feel like it would take away time/money from my daughter and her educational future."
Personally, I would not dump a bunch of money, time, and effort into a degree I didn't want. Screw it - get a new job, a new degree, something you are passionate about. Life's too short to waste in a job that's "good enough." Your daughter deserves a parent who is fulfilled personally and professionally. She'll make it through college. I promise. If you want to be a librarian, do it. If you want to be in HR, do it. But DO NOT waste your professional life on a career and degree you don't care for because of the dent it makes in your kid's college fund, and she'll have to stay late at daycare once or twice a month. Believe me, when she's college age, she'll appreciate the fact that you went back to school for something you are passionate about, rather than "getting a good/stable/boring" job that pays the bills and her tuition. She deserves a role model more than anything, don't you think?