First world problems


Life is hard, not exactly a revelation I know. How hard depends and way to many factors to calculate here. Across large swathes of our planet life is a fight for survival, food, water and shelter are hard to come by. So why do so many of us in the west struggle with everyday life? Social security guarantees us the basics to survive, even if the luxuries are less abundant.

Depression is not confined to the western world, in fact the highest rates are to be found in the middle east and north Africa. In the UK statistics show that 1 in 4 people suffer from mental health issues each year. It seems that living in a developed and highly educated country offers no immunity. Depression is prevalent amongst high achievers with feelings of loneliness, fear and guilt.

Having a decent paying job with plenty of hours is a dream for many people. Not exactly living in luxury but enough to pay the bills with some left over for a summer holiday. What if the job is stressful? What if it’s potentially dangerous requiring total concentration with no opportunity to relax in-between. What about customers mess you about, or fail to show, or want to defer payment? What if it was a job you left many years before and hoped you would never have to return to? Does that make it a good job or a stressful job? That’s the situation I found myself in 4 years ago. I hoped to have moved on by now, instead Im still here.

Serious chronic health issues, worsening as the stress increases, leading to multiple emergency referrals have quickly become the norm.  Its at this stage that the job stops becoming a good source of income and becomes part of the problem.

Looking in from the outside the solutions seem obvious, it’s not so easy when you are living it. Thats one of the reasons I write this blog, it puts me on the outside looking in at the problem. It makes it easier to see the issue as others see it. Sometimes though, even when you see the problem, you need someone else to point out the solution. That was the case this week.

Sitting in the treatment room suffering anxiety and tunnel vision, stressing over the day ahead. Poor sleep had troubled me for the previous week and I was exhausted. The therapist used a technique to reduce the symptoms. I was resigned to the stress to come, and no doubt the lack of sleep and deterioration in health to follow later that day. Then a question was posed. “Would you be better going to work, or going home and doing something you enjoy like painting”?

I have an ambition to quit my job and become an artist. I need more practice but that practice is in short supply at the moment. At what point do you say enough, lets do it. Lets take a risk and go for it? For me it was right there. I went home, and I painted. The focus on quality.

Life appears different. OK so I have a small income elsewhere and Im not going to starve, so its not for everyone. The point being focus on what makes you happy, what is important. The fear of taking that leap is often far worse than the consequences itself. What do you want?



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