Pursuing Happy: My Story (Part 1)
I love to tell stories, but I’ve always had a hard time telling this one. Maybe it’s because it’s so personal or because it brings up some tough and painful memories. Or maybe it’s because I wonder if anyone is even interested to read about it. Regardless of the reasons, I want to share my story with you today. Because I’ve learned that we all have stories worth telling - stories that can encourage, inspire, and empower one another.
So here’s mine.
I was a senior research analyst at a well-known university with great benefits and a good salary. My work was important - often influencing the decisions that were being made at the highest levels of the university. I was good at what I did and worked hard to get there. My boss was friendly, the office was nice, and I got along great with my coworkers. But I still hated my job.
Every day, I came home feeling tired and completely drained. I hated dealing with office politics, my work felt meaningless, and I felt no joy or purpose in what I was doing. While working full-time, I was also pursuing a PhD that started to feel the same way. I was dragging my feet through my dissertation proposal and coming home exhausted every day. My day was full, but I went to bed feeling empty every night.
I also started to develop some health issues during this time. I was dealing with symptoms like ulcers, indigestion, achy joints, skin rashes, swelling, and fatigue. In the span of a year, I went to doctor after doctor trying to figure out what was causing all of these symptoms, but none of them were able to diagnose me. One of my doctors were convinced I had lupus, an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack its own tissues, but all of my tests and biopsies came back negative or inconclusive.
After a frustrating year of battling these health issues without any diagnosis, I started to wonder if it was actually my stress and unhappiness that were causing me to become physically ill.
To be honest, I can’t remember what triggered things the day that I decided to quit my job, but I do remember coming home, sitting at my dining room table, and having a complete breakdown. Full on ugly crying as my husband sat there and tried to console me.
I think it was in that moment that I had reached my limit. That night, we both realized just how unhappy I was, how long I’d been ignoring it, and how much it was affecting my health and overall well-being. I was stretching myself thin - forcing myself to do things that brought me no joy - and it was taking a toll on my mind, body, and spirit.
That night, I drafted my resignation letter and decided take a break from it all.
But quitting isn’t the end of the story.