I haven’t been able to catch my breath, literally, for more than a week! And to be honest it’s been really scary! The doctors have run a bunch of tests and there really seems to be nothing wrong…and then there’s everything emotional that’s going on in my life that have been causing a fair amount of stress. And suddenly there might be an answer. There are coaches who might try and tell you that they have all the answers and that their lives are a blissful series of self-actualised moments, without stress or worry, but I am definitely not one of those coaches. My life is complicated and sometimes I get so caught up in trying to empower and help others, that I forget about my well-being a little. I am not trying to portray myself as any sort of philanthropic martyr, I am just saying sometimes my life lacks the balance that I am so passionate about helping others find. Being a self-employed coach comes with it’s own set of challenges and I’m self-aware enough to admit that I don’t have all the answers on any given day.
What I do admit is that I try and be fully present and conscious of what is going on in my life, and through this awareness I find that life is far more manageable. But I guess this breathing problem, whatever the cause, has thrown me a little. There could b e any number of reasons that I am more stressed than normal…because as much as recovery coaching is my passion, at the moment it is not proving financially viable as a full-time income. So I have been in the SA job market since July and that has proved nothing short of humbling, tending towards soul destroying. I am educated, intelligent, motivated and very good in a number of areas ranging from training and facilitating, to managing people and being an organised and efficient administrator. But after sending dozens of job applications, maybe in the hundreds, I am still living off my savings. I always knew that it would take time to build a practice and I am not even in the give-up ballpark, but a gal’s gotta pay the bills! Especially an independent and proud one like me.
And it’s not so much about the jobs that I am not even considered for, the “if you haven’t heard from us in 14 days, please consider your application unsuccessful” variety. It’s the ones where there is communication and interviews, promises of follow-up and possibilities, only to materialise into nothing, not even a final call or email, that are difficult to deal with. It’s been a tough lesson in self-worth, because there are have been days when my professional confidence has hit an all-time low. I’ve coached myself through the really rough days and talked the situation through with my incredible personal support network, but I can’t help feeling a little defeated. Recruitment consultants promise the world face-to-face, only to disappear into the abyss of unanswered emails and phone calls. I get it, it’s a tough market, but surely a little consideration for the job seekers fighting it out in the proverbial trenches would go a long way. I think it smacks of bad manners and a lack of consideration, especially since I place such a high value on communication at all levels.
So I’m starting to think that this has a lot to do with me not being able to catch my breath. And then over the last few days while co-facilitating my Recovery Wellness Group I realised that there was another, much deeper element of stress. And this one has to do with my personal recovery and wellness. A conversation in the group made me question my own recovery and whether taking addictive, prescription medications at points over the past seven years were in fact relapse episodes!! Did the use of Xanax or Diazepam during particularly difficult times in my life constitute a break in my recovery!? And I inadvertently spent 10 days subconsciously obsessing about it… Because if this was to be considered as such, I wasn’t living or working authentically. It meant I was being dishonest with myself and my clients and that really shook up my entire value system. Through personal reflection and honest evaluation, I decided that it hasn’t affected my recovery as I personally understand and believe it to be. I was very conscious of my use, was upfront with my doctors about my substance abuse disorder and closely monitored my use, following medical advice on decreased dosages over time. But it was so fundamentally upsetting to me it seems to have manifested itself physically.
So although since I started to explore these possible causes the issue has become a little better, there is still personal work to be done. Of course my doctor is not prepared to rule out that it might be something physical, but as I mentioned the tests so far have shown nothing! My less medically-inclined friends have suggested that breathing exercises, acupuncture or Reiki might be helpful. As for me, I’m exploring all the options, doing a boatload of self-coaching and just trying to keep all the pressures and challenges of daily life in perspective. After all life is better with a clear head and an honest heart.
Til next time