Around this time last year I made the hard, necessary decision to give up my job.
After four years of working in mental health- four years that were rewarding, and turbulent, and creative, and frustrating- I needed to step away. My own mental health during that period fluctuated dramatically. I finally realised that I had to choose myself. So I chose self-preservation. It was liberating and painful in almost equal measure.
Following the painfully recent election in the UK, a lot of people have been posting about the importance of living ethically. Of using our sadness/ anger as a motivator to do good. A lot of this has focused on how we can donate money, or food, or clothes. This is really important, and if you are in the fortunate position to be able to do those things, you should. But throughout my life, I’ve learned that our most valuable commodity is time.
One thing I am struggling to adjust to after six months in my new role is the knowledge that I can no longer say that my job, in and of itself, helps to serve the community. I don’t get to feel that the majority of my time is time spent as a force for the greater good.
It’s a cliché by now that you should put on your own life-mask before helping anyone else. But to follow that metaphor, I have my life-mask on now. Since it’s on, it is time to start helping others. I don’t know exactly what I am going to do, but I will be giving up that valuable resource, that gold-dust commodity: time.
It’s the best tool I have with which to make a difference.