You’ve made it. You are starting on the first day of your perfect job. You have built a life that will accommodate this new career and your family is in full support. Everything starts perfectly, you exceed expectations, you work harder than expected and longer than “required”. Then, out of nowhere, something goes wrong. What is the problem? That depends. It could be a mental of physical part of your body trying to tell you that something isn’t going right in your new perfect world. This is when you have to decide if things are “worth” it. Is your health, mentally and physically, worth the dream job, or did you fall into a position that is going to require you to start fresh?
Anxiety disorders are becoming more and more common. In the United States, 27% of adults will experience some sort of mental health disorder. This may be partly due to better abilities to diagnose, but it is also due to the change in the working economy. The WHO (World Health Organization) expects that Americans have a 47.4% chance of having some sort of mental health disorder (anxiety, depression, etc.) at some point in their life. Outside of the U.S., Ukraine, Colombia, New Zealand, Lebanon and France come in with rates that vary from 18.9% to 21.4%. Unfortunately, only about 41.1% of people with mental health disorders will actually seek treatment.
The signs are not always clear though. Depression and anxiety can sneak up on you without you realizing it. You may feel like you are having an off day, or just don’t want to eat much for weeks on end. These can be warning signs of something a bit more serious. Untreated, anxiety and depression can lead to some pretty terrifying panic attacks. Eventually this all leads to the inability to preform your duties at that perfect new job. The best way to stop this from getting out of hand it to discuss all of the different factors that you are facing with a qualified professional on a semi-regular basis (at least during a yearly physical).
While all of the causes are not yet clear, there are particular triggers that can lead to different health issues. If you live in a $500,000 house and everyone else is living in a $1m house around you that can actually be a piece of the puzzle. If you are working long hours and not seeing your family as often as you like, that can add more to the layers of issues that will eventually cause a “snap” for lack of a better term. Your particular triggers will vary and some may never see any effects at all. You may make it through life without ever experiencing an issue like this, but expecting that you are the one that won’t is a dangerous gamble.
While mental disorders are easy to treat, the lack of attention paid to them can cause physical issues. A panic attack can occur at any time. Generally, you will feel like you are on deaths door. Heart rate increases, trouble breathing, terror of something unknown all lead to exhaustion. While a panic attack is not life threatening, it is threatening to the life you are leading.
If it Happens, What Do You Do?
It is key that you stay on top of these things. We are working more and getting paid less than ever before. This is just the way the world is going. It is also part of what is causing mental disorders to see such a rise in prevalence. So the question is – what do you do if the warning signs are all pointing to this perfect job causing a significant decline in your quality of life and health? Maybe you look for something else, or you check with your benefits department to find something that will give you the time to get things under control. If things get serious, consider looking into a leave of absence. Generally, you can take a short leave of absence that allows you to seek the medical attention you need to get things under control.
On the other hand, you may just have to realize that your dreams do not fall into where your life is right now. You have to make a list and decide what is right for you, your family and your health. More than anything though, you have to keep an eye on your health because once you let it get out of control, your perfect job may not be there waiting for you when you get back to being yourself.