I define “shock therapy” as quitting your job and figuring it out from there. You’ve procrastinated too long on this and know you’ll never do anything until something drastic happens, and the likelihood of that is very unlikely unless you do it yourself.
So you administer the shock, say “fuck it, I quit” and take it from there.
Is shock therapy for you?
No matter where you go or what you do, you’ll always come up against a narrative telling you that you’re not good enough, you’re not able enough, you’re not rich enough, you’re not worthy enough, you’re not successful enough, blah blah blah. The list goes on. But it’s always there. Always — because the narrative comes from you. The story may have originated somewhere else, but you’re the one who chooses to believe it while allowing others to reinforce it.
Too many believe they’ll look weak or a failure if they make a decision for the good of their mental health, so they ignore the plea from their mind, endure far too much stress, and ultimately end up in a right fucking mess.
Not long ago, my article, “Work has me Crippled with Anxiety, Is it time to quit?” found itself fighting for pole position on the first page of Google. As a result, I’ve received thousands (I’m supposed to lie, right?) of emails from people suffering from severe work anxiety looking for answers. I don’t know these people nor their circumstances, but if they’re taking the trouble to email me, then my best guess would be that the time has come to quit. Or step down to a less stressful role.
Of course, that kind of advice can’t be thrown around without digging a little deeper, and asking why? Why is your work so shit? When you know why — you’ll be in a much better position to either fix it or move on to greener pastures.
You need to understand the bullshit stories you tell yourself because they’ll paralyze you into thinking you don’t have a choice. Or the choice you must make is to go out there and save the world. After all, aren’t we now being told by ordinary people that if we don’t live extraordinary lives we’ve pretty much fucked it all up? And nobody likes the taste of skunk shit on their tongue so that right there is enough to make anyone anxious!
First and foremost, I think you need to be extremely careful in establishing why your job is shit! Is the job itself making you anxious or are there external forces at play? Figure this out and then get to work on fixing it. If your job is making you sick, and you can do something about it, then it’s your responsibility to do something about it because if you don’t, nobody else will. If you do utter the magic words, “I Quit,” it’s very likely that in a couple of months you’ll look back on that decision as one of the greatest decisions you’ve ever made—if you make it for the right reasons.
A lot of people also think it’s all or nothing. Passion and purpose. First of all, these are bullshit ideologies sold on the Internet by internet marketers, bloggers, and digital nomads who have a very keen interest in the outcome. Great, if you can achieve it. I wish you all the luck in the world. But please consider just how much bullshit is spoken and how much work is involved before you embark on a journey down this very uncertain path.
It’s absurd to think the only way out is to do something you love. How about a job you don’t hate that helps facilitate better mental health? That’s a lot more manageable, right? And you can always make that your platform for further trajectory if your ambitions demand it.
A friends boyfriend recently quit his job because it was making him anxious and miserable. He had wanted to quit for a very long time, but he just couldn’t find the words, so he continued to endure. The years passed by as he became more depressed and anxious in his daily life. And then he quit. He didn’t consult anyone. He didn’t even think about it. He just quit. He knew the only way he was going to get off his ass and find something better to do with his life was by putting himself in a position so terrifying that he had no choice in the matter but to do something about it. He administered his own shock therapy. Of course, he was terrified. But he was also liberated and empowered by his decision. And letting go of all that stress freed up the energy he so desperately needed to get out there and find something better. Which is exactly what he did…
Most people give up smoking because it causes cancer and are rightfully proud of themselves for doing so. So why would you not give up something that’s causing you to be anxious or depressed and be proud of that decision also.
Is it time for you to administer shock therapy?
I can’t answer that, but you do have options. Lot’s of them. We need certainty in life. It’s one of our greatest human needs. People freak out at the thought of the unknown. There is comfort in misery. Don’t cling to it. Don’t let your desire for certainty ensure you live a life of misery. Surely the unknown is a pretty exciting prospect if it’s reached a stage where everything you know is anxiety and depression?
Whatever you decide to do. I wish you the very best of luck.
Thanks for reading :)