I’ve been on my new medication for almost two weeks now, and the difference has been pretty incredible. At first it caused some kind of nasty akathisia (basically feeling like ants are crawling up and down my arms and legs so I need to move, all. the. time), but that seems to have passed now, and I’m just left with this almost boundless need to do things. I cleaned my closet, dear reader. I voluntarily cleaned my closet. I packed up all the ill-fitting clothes and banished them to Goodwill without a second thought. I washed everything that needed it and put it away. I cleaned up the huge piles of junk that had all but taken over my room. It’s bizarre!
I think overall it’s a good development, though I’m still sort of processing how I feel about it. Hopefully it will continue. Right now, I’m basking in the knowledge that if something needs to be done, I can just do it, rather than ignoring the issues for months until it has to be dealt with.
Don’t get me wrong, everything isn’t magically better. I haven’t progressed in my proofreading course, though I feel like I might be able to now, and I still play video games a little too much. But it’s the first real sign of progress that I’ve had since I started this journey a year ago, and that makes me feel pretty hopeful.
I started taking a new medication recently, and it is having the most bizarre effect. I feel a constant need to be doing something. Which, for someone who has gone years without really wanting to do much of anything except play games, is highly unusual. I think it’s something called akithisia, which can be a side effect of the new med, but I guess I’ll have to call my doctor and see what he thinks.
On the silver lining side, I got my bedroom and closet almost completely cleared out today. It took like 6 hours, 2 contractor grade trash bags, and 5 smaller bags for Goodwill. Turns out, I had a lot of shit that didn’t fit anymore. But now it’s out and the closet looks great. We also got a shoe rack that we put up in the laundry room (near the garage door), so now my shoes aren’t tripping everyone up when they go in the closet. Yay!
On the cloudy side, I think I’ve been driving Jon a bit crazy. I’ve just been constantly needing to do something, but the things that we usually do together don’t require any movement, so they’re harder for me to do right now. I’m also having a little trouble finding words (mild aphasia?), so that can be frustrating (I couldn’t even think of “floor cleaner” at the store today, which made the poor associate look at me like I was an idiot.)
I’ve been playing a lot of Animal Crossing: New Horizons lately. It’s a lot of fun, enough that I got Jon interested in it too. I really want to work on my island, but I’m having some trouble focusing enough to really accomplish much. But we’re still having fun with it, at least. Hopefully he won’t murder me in my sleep because I’m so restless~
I’d like to write more, but honestly I’m having trouble sitting still again, so I guess I’ll will end here. Hopefully this stops soon, it’s very frustrating.
It was so hard to walk into my boss’s office and tell him that I was leaving. He knows I’ve been struggling, but he was still pretty flabbergasted by the whole thing. But he was very supportive, and so was his boss (my work friend and mentor). It’s still scary to be flying off on my own like this, but I think I’m going to be happy. Now I just have to get through the next two weeks of getting all my affairs in order and trying to leave them in a good place. I wish my therapy appointment hadn’t had to be rescheduled, because I would have liked to share this with her. It’ll keep until next week, but it would’ve been nice.
I’ve spent all afternoon looking at possible business names, which is seriously putting the cart before the horse. But it’s fun and frustrating and easier than thinking about everything I have to do in the next two weeks. It’s going to be worth it; I just have to keep forging onward.
We don’t usually do much, if anything, for Valentine’s day, so that isn’t a big deal. But Jon is still recovering very slowly from his surgery and my dad is in the ICU because of severely low sodium levels and today it all just hit me. Maybe I’m PMSing, or maybe the PMS just made me acknowledge the feelings that I’ve mostly tried to ignore. I don’t know. But I had a meltdown, wrote a pretty emotional email to my boss that.. is gonna be pretty awkward to deal with, and nothing really changed.
My mom and I apparently had synchronized meltdowns, because she called me when I was driving home. I couldn’t answer (driving and talking on your cell phone isn’t safe, friends), and it’s probably for the best, because I was already trying not to cry (crying while driving is also not safe, friends~). When I finally got a hold of her again, she told me that she had had a moment of not being okay and that’s why she called. It sucks, because I can’t really do anything to help her, or Jon, and I’m so fucking tired of that. I just. I can’t do anything.
Life, if you’re listening, can you maybe go easy on us for a month or something? I need things to be at least in the possible range of getting better so I can quit my job and get my shit back on track. I may end up doing it anyway, but it feels really scary when Jon isn’t working and there’s no real end in sight right now. Just. Throw us a fucking bone please.
I made the mistake of starting to read The Freelancer’s Bible tonight before bed. And now my brain won’t stop mulling over everything I read. Mental note: don’t do this again!
I’ve started going through the Proofread Anywhere course, and it’s going well so far. The idea of freelancing is still scary to me, but I have the aforementioned Freelancer’s Bible (henceforth TFB) and a few other books to help ease me into the specifics. I think I really want to do it, though it’s hard to know when or how to get there.
The TFB suggested that one of the benefits of freelancing is that you can do lots of different types of work if you want to, and I think that’s probably a good mindset. Maybe I can pursue the medical coding certificate at Blue Ridge Community College, as a secondary skillset to go with proofreading. That would probably make medical transcription or proofreading doable, and coding itself might be remote work, I’m not sure. But now I keep thinking about what other possibilities there might be. I could do WordPress work, I could do some development work, maybe; it wouldn’t be much of a stretch from proofreading legal transcripts to actually making the transcripts and even branching out from there into medical transcripts. That depends on if I actually like the work though, which is still up in the air.
I have other interests too, of course: video games, knitting, reading.. Surely I could find work if I tried, right? At least we’re financially in a position where we’d be okay if I had a few dry months.
Regardless of all of that, I’m going to have to take the plunge eventually. I’m not sure I can handle trying to juggle both my full-time job and learning a new trade, and thankfully, I don’t really have to. But I still want to have some reasonable assurance that I could enjoy doing this, and for that, I need to get through more of PA. I can’t do that now, because I need to go to sleep, but I can do it tomorrow. And I can read some more of TFB. Just not right before bed!
I’m still afraid that the whole thing is too good to be true, and that I’ll get to the end only to find that there aren’t actually any jobs. I hope that won’t happen, but who knows.
Brain dump so it will hopefully shut up:
Build a report of how much we spend each month and how much we currently bring in. Maybe build a budget to aim for if I quit my job.
What are my goals for starting this business? What do I really want?
What alternative freelance job types could I really pursue, both with and without additional training? Make the list of skills suggested by TFB (preferred, other).
Brainstorm list of what I would need to get started.
I can’t sleep, but I’m only a little mad about it. I still have to work tomorrow, so it’s unfortunate in that respect, but the thing keeping me up isn’t my anxiety for once. This time, it’s excitement. Excitement about finding a new job, excitement that I’m actually getting support from the people I care about, excitement that maybe I’m finally starting to get better. At least a little bit?
I’ve mentioned my thought about starting up a freelance transcription proofreading business to my mother-in-law, my therapist, and my mother, and they’ve all been varying degrees of supportive. I was so sure that everyone would tell me that it was a stupid idea and wonder why would I throw away the job that I have (that I’m growing to hate) for something as potentially dead-ended as this career that no one’s heard of. But MIL was nothing but supportive, to the point of saying that if I did end up working from home that we would have to have a standing lunch date or yoga date or something, and therapist thought it sounded great, and my mom was kind of grudgingly on-board with the idea.
I’ve been sort of plotting it out, and I think I’m really going to try it, at least. ProofreadAnywhere lets you pay for individual modules rather than the entire cost up-front, so I can try the first week for $77 and see how I feel about it afterwards. Maybe I’ve romanticized it too much and it won’t be any good, but I really hope that it is. It seems so promising. I appreciate that Jon is willing to give it a try with me. I think he’s happy to see me taking an interest in something again – I’ve been pretty blah for the last year or so. Hopefully it all works out.
Things that I need to think about:
How to handle the business aspects – taxes, sole proprietorship versus LLC, etc.
Getting a decent professional headshot for LinkedIn and other photos (maybe?) for a website for myself.
When do I quit my current job?
Ways to keep myself on track
Domain name for myself/business. I have jenshort.net but it feels kind of casual so I’m not sure if I want to use it. Jennifer Short shows up in google results mostly related to the murder of the little girl, not sure if I want anything of mine associated with that, even if it is my name.
Do I also want to take the transcription course for a fallback?
If I start making decent money, I should put some of it away for a retirement fund, since I probably won’t have my pension from VA state.
Probably a lot of other things that I’ll think of later.
I think I might try to blog some about the course. Not what information I learn, because they’re pretty strict about not sharing that, but just how I feel about the process and that kind of thing. Hopefully my momentum will continue to carry me forward.
As usual, I failed to keep up with my writing. But I’m back now. It’s been a pretty rough year. Jon has been sick for 6 months (and out of work), I’ve been struggling with my depression, and I’ve realized that I kind of hate my job. I like some of the people I work with, but the actual work that I do holds no interest for me anymore. It doesn’t help that Jon works in the same place, with the same people, but is higher up in the chain. I am stuck, as my therapist says, in Jon’s shadow, and that’s not a great place to be.
It’s funny, because I’ve never really thought about it that way, but it’s true. I’ve spent so much of my life wishing that I could be as good at getting things done as Jon is, or as good at some video game as Jon. It’s stupid, because there are plenty of things that *I* can do: I can make web apps, I can do some web design, I knit, I read, I write.. I could be better than I am at all those things, but they are things that are mine, rather than his or ours. I think I need to make an effort to both expand that list of things and to be better at remembering that it exists.
In any case, I think I want to quit my job. I’ve been thinking that since last summer, but it’s been more of a stress-avoidance feeling than anything else until recently. I’ve been thinking since my last appointment with my therapist about what I might do if I didn’t have my job any more. And somehow, I randomly ended up reading a question on https://ask.metafilter.com from someone who had a disability that prevented them from working normal 9-5 hours, and one of the answers mentioned maybe doing remote copyediting or proofreading. And that set off fireworks in my brain.
I’m good at writing and good at proofreading — Jon and my former boss ask me to proof their emails or documents pretty frequently, and I had a huge part in getting our unit documentation in order. What’s more, I think that kind of job would be of the form where I would get discrete tasks and have to do them, generally with a pretty hard and fast deadline. And that’s what I want. If it happened to come with a side of working from home, that would be even better. So I’m going to look into it. I was so fired up that I got off my ass, got over my stupid phone anxiety for 10 minutes (talked to a very lovely older woman, so not only was it not scary, but it was actually pretty nice), and got my college email account reset so I could access things like requesting a transcript. I don’t know if I want to go back to school, but where I work has a pretty good Technical Writing program that would probably be useful if I did. I might check and see if the community college has something more focused on proofreading, though.
It’s weird. I don’t know if it’s the prospect of something new or the prospect of just getting out of my current position, but I actually kind of feel good about this right now. To the point where I wanted to write about it, even. I don’t know if this feeling will last, but it feels like it could be the beginning of an upswing. I really hope it is.
“I’ll never know and neither will you of the life you don’t choose. We’ll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn’t carry us. There’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore.” — Cheryl Strayed
I'm a 41 year old woman who lives in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. I love D&D, video games, my husband, and my cats. I have anxiety and it's kind of taking over my life. I'm hoping that talking about it will help me. Whether it will or not remains to be seen. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯