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022 | Changing career paths + thriving w/ anxiety + depression

Hey, hey, hey. Welcome to Souls Undressed. I’m your host Tori Rankovich + you’re listening to episode 22. Today I’m going to be talking about why changing career paths saved my life. In that, you’re going to hear more about my story with my anxiety + depression. the ways that I have learned to navigate that + the ways that my previous career choice hindered me from being able to do that. Not the career itself necessarily, just the type of job I was doing, the type of environment that I was putting myself in, + the ways I became aware that it was holding me back as a whole human. Not just a whole teacher.

I think this episode is really important because so many of us begin to bury our identity in what we do. In who we are from 9 to 5 or 7 to 3. When you think about the grand scheme of life, really truly how long life is + all the vast options + the capacity you have for life, experience + opportunity. Your career, while it’s important to give you resources to do more, in my opinion, shouldn’t be you.

I’m not saying you’re wrong if your job is you. I’ve been that person. I still am that person actively. That’s not healthy for us. If we do something that our heart longs for + we feel called to that + the becomes our identity that is a bit more healthy than a job that we have convinced ourselves we need or we use to love so we should love, or we thought we’d love so you should love, but that gives us physical or emotional turmoil inside.

We have a very unhealthy relationship with money, jobs, careers, + commitment as a whole in society. I know that’s a lot but they all really tie together. This is an episode that I hold very near + dear to my heart. This is sharing into the depths of how I think I understand myself + the ways that I think I’ve been driven towards certain choices.

I’m going to share today’s quote + then we’ll drive right in.

“Depression is a frozen feeling. It’s not a disease of the mind. It’s a disease of the heart. It is sourced in unexpressed, unreleased, + unhealed pain that is held deep within the physical + emotional body. You can talk about it in therapy to soften its edges, you can medicate it in hopes that it becomes more manageable, but the real work has to happen semantically. Deep within the body itself. The frozen material has to be thawed out, worked thrush, and released. Our shadow is now our enemy, repression is. Unfortunately, we still live in a world that is afraid of the source material. So we shun it. Bury it. Quote on quote manage it with dissociative spirituality, medications, + feeling avoidance psychoanalyst. All of this merely perpetuates + concertizes the problem. The only way to heal depression is to get to its roots. To get right inside those frozen feelings + thaw them out semantically. We felt the initial pain in our bodies. We must go right back inside of our bodies to feel + resolve it. No more damming up of our emotions. No more defenses + denials. The feel is for real, so let’s feel our way back to life.”

- Jeff Brown @jeffbrownsoulshaping

Why this quote? I randomly in the middle of copying this quote down, was drawn to jot down a little thought. It ended up being exactly why I chose this quote to talk about this chapter in my life. Before I read that I just want to share this experience that happened Monday night + today that I’m recording this is Thursday. I was in the shower + I caught myself shouting out of the shower to ask my husband what time it was. Which is something that I used to do so often.

If you’re somebody with anxiety maybe that’s something that sounds familiar to you. When I was itching + he was working regularly all the hours possible, I caught myself asking him what time it was or checking the time in the evening so often. It’s something I do whenever I’m anxious + I’m trying to micromanage my time + perfectly plan out every minute so that I don’t have too much or too little time.

I asked him what time it was + I was like why do you care? He told me it was 6:30 + I had a little conversation with myself in the shower + I told him about it when I got out. I asked that because for a moment I had anxiety that we were running out of time together in the evening + that I needed to know how much time we had before we were going to be rushing off to bed. Well then I realized I work from home + he’s laid off so definitely doesn’t matter. We can go to bed whenever we want so if we feel like we haven’t snuggled enough on the couch then we’ll just stay on the couch for another half hour.

This is something that I did a lot when I was teaching. It was something I did out of the anxiety of running out of time to take care of myself. Running out of time to love my husband or my dogs or myself. Running out of time to stretch, relax, watch a show before feeling like I had to get in bed before I felt like I was going to be tired the next morning. It was a really big wow moment of, “I really did that.” I changed my life so that that question didn’t have to rule my life every single day.

You know that quote that's like, “You shouldn't live your life waiting for Saturday + Sunday.” You should live your life making the most of every single day because if you do the math on how many Saturdays + Sundays you have for 60 years that’s not very many. It might sound like a big number, but it’s not compared to how many days you have left. We should be making the most out of every single day we have left on this planet. Just because we live in a domesticated world where society has trained us to put shoes on, ride in elevators every day, + not step our feet on the grass ever doesn't mean that those aren't things that aren't important for this life.

I’m not saying every person needs to trade in their 9 to 5 Monday through Friday job but, if a person has no connectivity to themselves or this planet or to the importance of putting their bare feet on the grass + they are so sucked up in their 9 to 5 that they also allow it to pour into their Saturday + Sunday as well. You’re missing out on life. That is something I was doing. I was missing out on life. It was creating pure anxiety in my body that was manifesting in checking the time all the time, asking my husband how much time we had left in the evening, how tired he was, getting upset if he wanted to game because I felt like I was losing a night of valuable time with him. Pure panic. Pure anxiety. All the time.

What I wrote down while I was writing this, lends itself to why changing my career path saved my life. I had to change my environment to be able to access my physical + emotional body. That anxiety I was feeling in the evenings while I was in the shower or when I was worrying that I wouldn’t have enough time because I had this after work, or the housework would pile up because I was trying to get enough time focusing on me + us. I wasn’t having enough time to truly access my physical + emotional body. I was so deep in the survival of it all that I was just going from one thing to the next + I wasn’t ever sitting down + just breathing + existing with myself.

I had to be able to press pause or stop. For me, it was stop but for others, it might be a pause. On the automaticity, if it all. On the mindlessly detached track of survival, I was on. From the one thing to the next thing. I would not thrive in that environment because I was so numb to what I was feeling so that I could continue putting one foot in front of the other so I could continue to go into my classroom + do my job every day. I was so far detached from my own needs, from my own feelings, from my own desires of what it was that was going to allow me to feel fulfilled.

I watch so many people, especially boomers, it’s nothing against boomers. It's just the generation that's in this time right now, wanting to retire early or having regrets of things they didn’t do during this time or wishing they had done other things sooner than they started experiencing now. I can’t help but wonder is that because they didn’t do what they wanted to do back then when they had the time, or when they had the agility or energy level that they don’t have anymore. Our parents came out of a time where their parents knew what it was like to have to live hard times so they had to learn what it was like to put their noses to the dirt + push on + provide for their families when the money was there.

That’s a really important survival mechanism but in therapy, we talk about the ways we’re still living on survival mechanisms that aren't serving us anymore. Instead, they’re holding us back from thriving. We as a society could really benefit from applying that to all. We’re still as a whole living on the survival tactics of the past: the burying it, the shunning it, the quote on quote managing it. We’re just ignoring it so we can put one foot in front of the other + for me this is all linked to why changing my career path saved my life because that was me saving my life. I knew I had to step away + instead step into an environment that allowed me to say okay what do I need today.

I understand that not everyone is like me. I understand that some people will listen to this that is just not the real world. The truth of the matter is it is my real world + it can be your real world. The only reason it’s not your real world is that we've been trained by society norms to believe that that's what we have to do. People come to America for a free market economy. People come to America to build their own da reams so that they can monetize that + making a living on that.

You realize that that is exactly what quitting your job + doing what you love is. For some people doing what you love isn’t even entrepreneurship, but it is quitting a cubicle job + becoming a wildlife patrolman for the state. There are just so many things that we can do that help us connect back to who we are + who were meant to be + what we were put on this earth for. We have this time + we have these eyes + we have these feet + these senses. Why not use them? Why not take advantage of that while we have this time?

I understand that some people haven’t lived a life where they lost people so there are a lot of people who take time for granted but take it from me if you don't have your own experience that you aren't promised that. There is one day that might add you to the one in a million club as I call it. The club that nobody wants to be in that reminds you that even though it always happens to other people + never you that sometimes it can still happen to you.

We have a responsibility to ourselves, to our 5 senses, to the people that we love that experience this life us to go out + freaking do it. Go explore it. Take your freaking shoes + socks off. Put your feet on the ground. If you need something to do from your couch to encourage you to do what I’m talking about you should go watch, “Down to Earth”, with Zac Efron + Darren. There is not another show out there like it. Specifically the Puerto Rico episode.

This episode today is going to talk about what survival feels like + what it requires to be sacrificed. Aside from the corruption part of my old job, what else really let me know I needed to change what I had going on or change my environment. What “thrival” feels like. I always ask, “Are you living in survival or thrival?” Which is really just thriving + what that feels like + looks like.

Survival for me in the heat of it all, when I was working the job that was not allowing me to be emotionally full, it felt like anxious pre-worrying the night before work. Mostly on Sundays before the workweek would start but it was an anxiety level that was too high to be in that productive planning headspace. When you have debilitating anxiety it gets to this point where you create this level of avoidance + it’s far too high for any productive planning at that point. It was more like a panic fog of so many thoughts + so many ideas of things that should be happening. Almost exactly like the quote said a freeze.

That avoidance piece comes from my anxiety + depression. When I think about being detached + I think about disconnecting or rage quitting. That anxiety was way too high to follow through on anything productive. It felt like cold sweats every morning when I was getting dressed for work. I would not be able to get dressed with the top that I was going to wear that day for work because I would be sweating so bad that it would stink.

I also was at this level of anxiety that it was pouring out during my plan periods or on my lunch breaks. By the end of it when my body just knew + my mind knew that I wasn’t in the right environment for me anymore I was just crying on my plan period + lunch break. It was so overwhelming. It was intense. As soon as I got home I would crash. My anxiety levels had been high all day + sometimes I would cry but sometimes I would be so disconnected that I would come home, smoke, + then crash on the couch. Just be a bump on a log until I fell asleep + did it all the next day.

It felt like I was sacrificing the part inside of me that was screaming out with anxiety every day. The more + more I learned about myself the more I recognized that anxiety was literally my body being like this is not okay. We need to change something. I think that when I could recognize that every day that I ignored that anxiety instead of asking my anxiety why it was happening I was sacrificing the part of me that was trying to get me to listen. If you think about your inner child, if you’ve ever done inner child work, it’s like that inner voice in me was saying we are not okay.

Me crying every day is not normal, having cold sweats every day while I was getting ready for work is not normal but that’s something that I was so programmed to push through because I had chosen this career + I obviously was supposed to stick through it. What a detrimental way to think. Could you imagine if I was still doing that every single day for the next 40 years? Especially with how pushed back retirement is now. You can't live every day like that.

That’s why I wanted to talk about this. We undervalue the value of a day. One day. There's so much value in that. There's so much life that can be lived in that time. There's so much that can be experienced. There's so much to be said about how we feel every single day + if you feel like dog shit 5 out of every 7 days from 7 am to 5 pm what a fuking miserable life. No thank you. I refuse to live a life so asleep that I can convince myself that I am well in that environment.

I could not shake the feeling that I never had enough time to give myself. I never had enough time to spend with the love of my life, to build our family, to keep our home clean + put it together for us. Our life is the most important thing to us that we can build together. We have such a burning passion for the way that we make each other feel + the way that we feel sense we went to therapy + invested in feeling whole. I was just giving away my time to stress. When I wasn’t working I was stressed + sad + tired. What a freaking miserable ass way to live.

When we realize a job is important + having income to build a life is important. But the moment that that job or career makes you sacrifice valuable time + energy that you will never see again without a trade-off that fulfills or sustains you it’s toxic. I understand that not every single job is going to make you want to leap off the mountain tops but, every day matters. Imagine in your body if you work a job that you hate + stress you + makes you sad every day imagine how low your endorphins are. We underestimate how valuable it is to just build a life + seek out a life that we love. If we didn’t build the life we wanted so far so what? Knock the sandcastle down + rebuild it.

You got all the resources. There is something to be said about working a job you don’t love in order to fuel something you do + build up the money you need to do what you do but if you are constantly waiting for the perfect time you’re never going to go. I promise you will live within your means if you need to live within your means. We can always live within our means. We as creatures are good at surviving but if you are constantly + always holding on to one day I’ll quit my job to do this or one day I’ll have this much money, no you won’t. You’re never going to leave. Life is always going to happen.

There's always going to be another thing. If you want to use your current job that you don't love to fuel your resources monetarily to train yourself for the next thing you want to do, fine. Support that 100%. Brilliant plan. The second you have the education you need + you can pay your bills you leave the job that is soul-sucking you + do what it is you love. If you can overlap the two to give yourself security, great do it, but if you can't don’t quit on your dream forever just because it doesn’t feel like the perfect time. The perfect time is probably going to come around once in a million chances.

Recognize that I could barely identify with the anxiety-ridden human had become. I've been going to therapy for 2-3 years at that point. We had done so much work on working my way away from anxiety + grounding myself with realistic thoughts + avoiding overthinking. Those thoughts were all coming back again. Recognizing that I could barely identify with that person + that I was so far away from my center core who I knew I was + who I was supposed to be. It started allowing me to question what I truly wanted to gain out of my time on this spinning rock.

That is the undervalued question that I hope you will ask yourself when you are listening to this + when you’re thinking about it later + processing it all afterward. What do you truly want to gain out of your time on this spinning rock because that time could be 7 more days it could be 60 years. You have no way of knowing. If you don’t know what you truly want to gain out of your time on this planet you’re never going to do it. You’re going to keep giving away your valuable time + energy to someone who's soul-sucking you. Like I said, yes using something to gain a means as in to gain money to fuel something else, totally support it, but the money is always going to be there.

So you’re always going to have more money to make at that job that’s soul-sucking you if you stay. You just have to really ask yourself what I prioritize. Those priorities change. When you were 21 maybe the priority was all the money so you didn’t care if it was soul-sucking. By the time you’re 25 if you’re still doing something that’s soul-sucking, you’re on your way to a very sad dead end road of misery + sadness because you're not going to love what you do + it's going to be hard to find someone to love you every day if you're miserable. That’s all I’m saying.

Now, I want to talk about what thrival feels like. It feels like time, space, + more time to hear myself out. If I am in a terrible headspace in the morning + I need to understand why I feel like that to move through that, great. I can do that. I don’t have these super strict stern guidelines + a time schedule with a classroom of 30 people waiting on me. I can do something now that allows me to focus that energy back on me until I’m recentered or in a good space.

Something that puts me back in thriving mode instead of survival mode because if I were to ignore the headspace that I'm in or the sadness that I'm having or whatever roadblock I'm running into + keep bulldozing into it like a person running their head into a brick wall. That is just me trying to survive + most of the time I'm beating myself up so definitely not thriving.

Survival can only get us so far it can only sustain us for so long. It can only make us feel not crazy for so long. We have to learn how to feel like we’re thriving. How to thrive. It feels like having time to rework routines as each new adjustment teaches me more about myself + how that works. What I mean by that is every time I try a new routine + it fails, this new career path that I have chosen allows me the time + the headspace to rework that routine.

I’m learning to be nicer with my brain in the way I talk to myself but it allows me to sit down + be like Okay why didn’t I stick to time blocking? Clearly, my anxiety has something attached to finishing this session rather than stopping at 2:30 as I said. Well, I’ve also read up the whole reason that you practice time blocking is because we naturally have to teach ourselves to respect that time rather than our own brain. Okay, great. It’s logical but do we all have time to do that in our 9 to 5? No. That’s something that I have time to do so that I can find the best possible circumstances for my work schedule.

It also feels like starting my Mondays with therapy. Ending my Mondays with a massage. Feels like starting each day with a walk with my pups + my husband + the sunshine. Feels like pausing in the middle of a 2-hour time block of work to treat my migraine that’s crept in. Which when I was teaching I had to ignore. I had to push through. I had to go into survival mode. Do whatever I could to get through the day with a blaring migraine. It’s failing + reworking at time blocks to find the sustainable method like I just said. I can try + fail + try + fail as long as I’m still taking the time to still learn about whatever I failed at last time. Great. Cool. I’m still growing.

It feels like taking to heart every piece of life advice I’ve ever given to one of my high school students. That I’ve ever given to someone that I love. That is what changing my career path feels like. It feels like taking every piece of advice I’ve ever given + giving it back to myself. I can feel how much healthier I am.

I can feel myself thriving. I can feel myself being a whole fucking human being. I was not a whole human being before + so many people that I know + love are not whole human beings. It’s because of the 9 to 5 that they’re selling their soul to because at some point in time whether it be social norms, parents, teachers, whoever taught everyone that you had to wake up + you had to work. You had to make money + you needed to go do that every day until you died.

No. There’s so much more that this planet is made for. There’s so much more to see + experience. Find a way to make working work for you. I’m not telling you to not work. I’m not telling you to be a lazy non-contributing piece of work. I’m telling you, find ways that work with you that allow you to thrive. That allows you to have time + space to feel. Figure yourself out + ask yourself questions, + learn from the times that you fail instead of shutting down. Be like, “Cool. That fucked up. What can I do next time? I’m going to go eat a snack while I think about it.”

You have control over the way you spend every day for the next 86 years of your life. For the next 30 years of your life. For the next 15 years of your life. I don’t care how old you are. If you are listening to this, you have the ability to control how you feel every day for the rest of your days. Don’t fucking waste it doing something that sucks your soul dry. You can apply that to people too. It doesn’t just have to be a career.

So that means retired people too. I understand that maybe you’re away from the soul-sucking job but don’t waste your time on soul-sucking people either. Your time is way more valuable than that + so is your headspace. You have control over the way that strong brain of yours feels even though sometimes we don’t. Put yourself first. Nobody else can do that for you.

How can I help? If you have a human who you know is struggling with this, that you know is working a job that’s soul-sucking them, that you’re working a job that is soul-sucking you, the best way you can help is to take time to fill your life with other people that are doing things that serve themselves. That serves their souls. Take time to journal, to manifest, to think about what it is that you value + what you want to chase.

The things that you are doing when you feel your fucking best. There’s a way to make what you love into a sustainable career. There is. There just is. We are so good at manipulating + making things work the ways that we need them to. I know if you learn to value your mind + your happiness + your wholesomeness you will find a way to make what you love work for you.

My biggest suggestion is to take time with yourself. Take a little getaway. Take time with your journal. Whether it’s in the bath with the door shut + a candlelit or in bed before you climb out of bed. Take a day off. Do some soul searching. Go walk outside. Ask yourself what it is that truly makes you feel fulfilled every day.

Maybe what will make you feel fulfilled every day is not the same thing. Find a job that gives you variety in your days. You have so much control. Don’t just fall into the lie + contentment that you have to settle + pick the first job you can get + make money until you die so you can just give it away. You’re worth more than that. This planet is worthy of more of your time + your exploration than that.

Thank you guys so much for listening. I love sharing this little piece of my heart space with you. If you would love to hear more topics like this that can really be applied to so much but start with some soul searching + some self-questioning let me know. You can leave a review if you’re listening on Apple Podcasts. If you’re listening on Spotify I might even encourage you to go leave a review on Apple Podcasts.

Let other listeners know what you love about these episodes + what you would like me to change. You can connect with me on Facebook. You can find us at The Souls Undressed Podcast Community there. You can also find us on Instagram Souls Undressed Podcast. I love so much diving into these topics with you, learning more about yourselves, learning more about myself, about this life, + all of our experiences. Thank you again for being here + I’ll talk with you guys next Sunday. I love you.

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