I started a new job in a new city in August 2017. My partner and I packed up our lives and moved from Boston, Massachusetts to Culpeper, Virginia on the assumption, expectation, and hope that this would be a step up for me career-wise.

During the first week of our arrival, in the first few days of starting the new position I had a breakdown. My skin was clammy, my thoughts were racing, I felt lightheaded and weak. I had trouble breathing and couldn’t focus. I’ve been in treatment of one kind or another since 2005 and had never had a panic attack.

I felt deep fear that this move had been a mistake, that I shouldn’t’ve come here and brought my partner along either. That the job wasn’t what I wanted, wasn’t a good fit, that the town wasn’t a good fit, that we weren’t a good fit for it. I was afraid that there was no way to go back without humiliating myself, that I couldn’t undo the terrible mistake I’d made.

I couldn’t imagine staying and doing the work, and I couldn’t imagine going home either. I felt trapped in my own choices.

My therapist of course was back in Boston, he had recommendations for me but all of them were in Washington, D.C. None of them easy to get to for me.

I went to a walk-in clinic and managed to get 30 doses of a PRN for anxiety, paying out of pocket because I wasn’t yet covered by my new insurance.

Time passed. I hung on, and it passed. I’m still not 100% sure that I made the right choice. I am still plagued by fears and doubts of my future and my choices. I’m not acutely or actively symptomatic, but there was a moment where I was afraid I would have a relapse of dangerous self-destructive behavior.

If you’re feeling alone in questioning your circumstances, a job you’ve taken, changes you’ve undergone and it’s overwhelming and it’s scary and you feel out-of-control and wild and your thoughts are racing. You’re not alone.

I’m here with you.



3 thoughts on “#LISmentalHealth2018

  1. I’m glad you made it this far, and we’re with you going forward. My parents retired to Luray, just over the mountain from Culpepper, while I live in Ithaca, so I relate to the culture shock. Good luck on finding a way to work toward your dream job and town. May this just be a short stop along the road.


  2. I am so glad you made it through those days.

    I am so glad you recognize you hurdles and can do something about them–I have family who suffer more because they cannot counter what they cannot see.

    I loooooove what you are doing to improve LCSH inequities–the calls are now coming from inside the house.

    But most of all, selfishly, ! am glad that you got a new job, which was the same as my old job, because otherwise I would not have reached out and connected on twitter.

    And one other thing–I left that job after 2 years and 4 months. I learned a lot, I loved certain aspects of it, I value the experience, but I left. No regrets.


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