Hi everyone! It’s Jess AKA the Extra Ounce.
You may have noticed I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks. So I thought I’d give you a bit of a life update as to why that is and where I’m at.
So I moved into my apartment at the start of the month. Which was exceptionally full on because we had a week between signing the lease and actually moving. We also moved mid week which meant that I took annual leave on Tuesday and went back to work the next day. Yikes.
I also spent the weekend after I moved working on some super secret advocacy stuff I can’t really talk about. Suffice to say, it involves me and 13 other youth mental health advocates from all around Australia. Shhh! Don’t ask me about it! That’s all you’re getting for now!
During the moving process I coped some very passive aggressive emails from my research boss about her concerns that I was not going to meet deadlines. Apparently me moving house was a major inconvenience for her. *Yawn*
And whilst I had little sympathy for her position (and knew I would get everything done in time), I was scared she was going to sack me. I can’t lose this income. J has lined up a new job for July but until then I am basically the bread winner. So I started putting all this pressure on myself to get back on track with the research study. And prove myself.
And since it is casual work I can work on it whenever I want. This is usually a good thing but it made me a bit of a workaholic for the last few weeks. I would work 9-5 at my regular job, come home, work out, eat dinner, then do four hours on the research study, go to bed, repeat. On all of my days off (including weekends) I analysed at least two, sometimes three interviews (which is around 8-12 hours work).
I became like a 7-11. I was always open for business.
Which brings me to right now. I have a bad cold. And I know I did this to myself. And the thing that annoys me is that I saw the signs coming and I ignored them. I chose productivity over my own well-being. Which makes me a massive hypocrite because I always advise people that they are more important than any job or deadline or whatever.
Beyond the practical side of things there has been a lot happening for me mental health wise since my move. I assumed, or at least I hoped, that moving would be a massive step in my trauma healing journey. What’s that phrase ‘You can’t be expected to heal in the place that hurt you’? It was very that, my way of thinking.
And it’s true. Having my own place where there are no shadows or ghosts has done wonders for me. But I have discovered something quite disturbing about myself. And that is that I don’t quite know how to feel safe. Even though I am safe. I have become obsessed with safety.
When I was living in my family home, the things I was scared of what was within the building. Now I have nothing to fear on that front, I have become obsessed with what monsters may lurk on the outside. I have started checking and rechecking locks several times when I leave and enter the house as well as go to bed. I can’t help it. I am so scared of something happening. I am clutching onto my new found safety so tightly. I don’t want to let it slip through my fingers. So I check. And I check. And I check.
I think deeply rooted in these compulsions is a form of internalised victim blaming. If I check the doors enough, nothing will happen to me. But if I don’t check the locks and something happens to me or J, then it is my fault. When I relate the logic to my own past traumas it shows how I still blame myself in my core.
So suffice to say, I’ve been dealing with some stuff. Physical illness, excessive working, moving out and an exacerbation of my obsessive compulsive tendencies (I have no formal diagnosis of OCD, only tendencies). I’m not saying this to air my grievances or to give a sob story. I’m saying this to show that we all face challenges. And whilst I could write a pretty little blog for you giving you advice. It wouldn’t be authentic to where I am at. I think it would be more real of me to show that I am struggling right now. And hopefully, that it is okay to struggle.