Slice of Advice

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Original Question:

I recently began a full-time job for the first time in a couple of years and almost immediately suffered from panic attacks, increased stress, and worsened depression. Before this full-time position, I worked on a contract by contract basis, so the regular paycheck was a big reason to jump on the work, but it feels like all my money now goes to shrink appointments and medications to try and level me out enough to deal with a job which I now can’t bear. My time away from work seems to be made up solely of dreading going back to work. I know many people don’t like their jobs, but this is seriously affecting my health and personal life. So, what should I do? Quit the regular paycheck as my friends suggest and return to contract work, or, as my shrink and members of my family advise, just figure out a way to keep on showing up for work.

Photo by Nick Karvounis on Unsplash

Slice of Advice:

You’ve connected the expectations of this new job to your mental health symptoms and have reached out to others before throwing in the towel, so my guess is you’re used to pushing yourself beyond your gut feelings in case you’re acting impulsively. This shows a self-awareness you should be proud of. My question would be what are the reasons your psychiatrist recommended you continue with the position? I’m certain they gave them and did so with the positive intentions.

My guess is they know you enough to know that this is an opportunity to work on skills such as grounding to build a resilience to change and coping you may lack. A concern of this is the depression which can easily shift into apathy. If you become numb and indifferent to the position, this is as bad as the depression itself because you’ve cut off the emotions needed, the ones your psychiatrist intended for you to work through. Any bouts of dissociation doesn’t solve mental health issues, it IS a mental health issue, so be sure to mention it to your psychiatrist ASAP in the case it does. The moment the apathy cuts out is a highly emotional one and they can speak to you about handling those feelings as they rush back.

You’re right, most people hate their jobs, so another question would be: Is it the pressures of a full-time job or the routine of showing up to the same place very day doing the same thing—which can be dreadful to someone used to a haphazard routine with some give—or is it the job itself causing the panic and depression?

If it’s the pressures, then you’re right to first try and work through this with your psychiatrist and identify where they stem from. If it’s the job itself, there’s got to be other full-time jobs out there you can explore while you’re getting through your current misadventure so you’re not missing out on a paycheck I’m assuming you need.

One thing I’m going to add is self-care. I know everyone makes it sound like it’s all scented candles and a hot bath, but it’s simpler than this and is tailored to you. Also, journaling or some type of record keeping of your days may be a good idea, so you can look back and see the progress or lack of instead of guessing if things are getting better or not. Recording your mood, something you enjoyed from your day, a scale of 1-10 on how much you hated it, or how much liked it to try and remain positive. It’s also something your psychiatrist might be keen on you doing so you’re taking some control of your healing.

Finding out the loopholes to our thriving through each day is a trait we all seek out when we know we’re in a position we cannot escape. You have control here. Weigh out your psychiatrist’s advice and do everything you can to make it work. If it’s not, go to them with a new plan—Yes, create your own—and see what they think of it BEFORE you execute it so they can judge if your plan was designed to avoid some issues you should be facing or if it’s truly a crap job you need to move on from.

You’ve got this.

If anyone has any further advice to give, remember your manners and add something in the comments.

Original Question:

Sami-Jo, I have a friend I dated several months ago who I know didn’t experience a “lightning bolt” of attraction when we went out. But, I also know that I check just about every box, except maybe the “IS HE CHRIS HEMSWORTH?” box, on her partner checklist. There are times where I’ve been available to her or made her laugh where I get the feeling the thought crosses her brain that I might be worth a second shot, but it’s momentary and so I’ve never acted on it. So, my question is: I like her a lot, but should I even be wasting energy thinking about the opportunity of a second chance, or pursuing her, since I’d clearly be more of a compromise on her part?

Photo by Emma Frances Logan on Unsplash

Slice of Advice:

You started off by calling this person a “friend”, so I’m interested to know if they began a friend or if you’ve been calling them a friend after the initial date. Does this make a difference? Hell yeah it does!

If you were friends first, then the person could be afraid of taking the next step and losing you to a failed romantic experiment. If they’ve become a friend after an initial date, then you may have been slid into the friend-zone (trendy term, yet accurate).

Either means you’re in a holding pattern. Relationship limbo is as sweat-inducing as breaking your back in a drunkin’ moment of thinking it’s smart to get down and limber beneath a mop handle for the sake of impressing the audience or entertaining them by falling and knocking the wind out of yourself. When love is on the line, no one wants to fall and fail, they want to skirt under that filthy mop handle and come out the other side with a heart full of future promises and frat-boy applause.

As with anyone over 25 years old, you don’t have time to waste on games and aren’t holding out for the greatest love since Ryan and Blake and sometimes a slow burn is worth the wait. What isn’t worth it, is being someone’s back-up plan. Don’t put yourself in the position of waiting for this person to decide you’re the one. You either are or you’re not. Life isn’t a long-running sitcom where the lead characters have a will-they-won’t-they romance where the audience knows they’re perfect for each other and the season ender highlights the long-anticipated kiss.

My advice would be to move on. If you want to be friends with this person, then retain causal contact and if a romantic relationship develops then great. Maybe once they see you take a step back they will re-evaluate how close they would prefer you and take steps to close the gap. Though I would also question why they’re waiting for you to step away to decide they suddenly want you in their life.

Relationship baggage can stop those from taking the jump into a good thing, this is understandable, but don’t let you’re understanding of their situation prevent them being held accountable for their actions.

Keep looking. Keep your options and heart open to others. Don’t allow yourself to be anyone’s compromise. You don’t have to look like Thor to be someone’s hero.

If anyone has any further advice to give, remember your manners and add something in the comments.

Original Question:

I have chronic insomnia. Over the past eight years, I have tried every possible remedy, home-cooked or prescribed. After a visit to my doctor this week to follow up on my progress, or lack thereof, I asked her if she thought cannabis would be a realistic option. I have a friend who has had great success with it and figured it’s the one thing I haven’t tried yet and I’m at the point where I’ll fucking try anything. My wife was skeptical about it when I mentioned it to her and my 16-year-old daughter furrowed her brow when she found out. Even with legalized marijuana coming to Canada in a month, there’s still a stigma attached to it, not to mention the potential for troubles crossing the border into the U.S. My question is this: how open should I be with this, particularly with regards to my social media posts and discussions with co-workers? I’d love to reduce the stigma (I’m a firm supporter of the legalization of marijuana) and be transparent with respect to its benefits (assuming I see any) but living a public life as a writer and a private life as a corporate 9-5er has me hesitant to share too much.

Thanks,
Sleepless in Canada

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

Slice of Advice:

Good for you for taking the step in asking your doctor! While cannabis use is becoming a more popular alternative to traditional pills, most doctors won’t broach the subject first. We are our best advocates and you found it in you to take control of your health. It’s a big deal.

My first instinct is to say “Fuck yeah! Tell the world!” but I understand not everyone understands how cannabis can alter someone’s life for the better, so you’re right to wait a tick and give it some serious thought. I can’t tell you what’s right for your life, but I think you would benefit from listing each area of your life and figure out realistic worst-case scenarios.

Could you lose your job? If so, would it be a legal dismissal? If your work doesn’t suffer, and you don’t appear under the influence, what’s the difference between your prescribed cannabis and a co-worker’s prescribed Ativan? I would find a copy of your works policy and procedures and see if there’s something in there first before speaking to them about it, but ultimately, it’s none of their business. Chances are they won’t know otherwise, so maybe wait and see if cannabis works for you first.

Genuine familial support is key in anyone’s life. You’ve taken the steps to see the doctor already, so you’ve made the decision this is worth trying. Everyone is skeptical of what they have no evidence of, so hopefully your trials with cannabis are successful and they see the difference firsthand. Depending on the 16-year-old, their experience with cannabis may be them or their classmates sneaking out back of the school and getting high with their friends before a boring Calculus class. You have the opportunity to show cannabis has a multitude of uses without ending up in binge-eating Cheetos as stigma dictates. What a great position to be in.

As with your doctor, you need to advocate for your needs in all aspects of your life. Weigh out the negative and positives and if they’re not catastrophic, go for it. And if they have the potential to be life-altering, maybe question why this is and how you can change that or if you care to. Lack of sleep dysregulates all parts of our lives. If you have a chance to create some routine and get to a point of restfulness, there’s nothing but positives.

With the countless testimonials of people who have benefited from cannabis, I wish you the greatest of luck with your insomnia.

If anyone has any further advice to give, remember your manners and add something in the comments.

Original Question:

While I have to sort of laugh at myself for starting the advice question with “I have a friend” but:

I have a friend who is a fellow author. She asked me to read a work in progress ages ago and asked for constructive criticism. I gave her my thoughts. She recently self published the work and asked for reviews. I asked her if she had changed anything from last time. She said yes but from what I can see from my former notes as well as comparing the two files, there weren’t any changes. I had loads of notes and feel like I couldn’t give an honest review because it feels like she is expecting a friendly positive review…it’s not bad it’s just that I guess it’s really not my cup of tea. Do I write a review or do I simply shrug off the review by telling the friend/author that the book genre really isn’t my style (although it is)? If I write a review, should I be honest or should I give her what she wants? Thanks for the advice.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Slice of Advice:

When someone asks for our help and then doesn’t take it, it can be frustrating because you ask yourself why they bothered to ask in the first place. The problem in that thinking is that they didn’t promise to use every piece of your advice, they just asked you what you thought. Helping others out is noble, but expectations they’ll follow any advice needs to remain low. You don’t know that they didn’t take your constructive criticism to heart, all you know is that they didn’t use every change you suggested.

As an author, I know the value of reviews is sometimes in the amount of reviews you get and not necessarily the average they create. You can still make an honest review without making it scathing in any way. Telling them the genre isn’t your style would sound like a blatant lie if they know you at all and will only complicate the situation, so I would stay clear of that option.

Remember, the review is for other readers not the author. Readers want to know if the story is worth their time so pick out something about the book you enjoyed and highlight that—without spoilers—or a character or scene you think that readers would want to know about in order to make a decision about buying the book.

Next time someone asks you to go over their book and to give advice, ask yourself if you’re prepared for them to completely ignore your advice. If you are, then proceed and have fun.

Good luck. It’s no easy position to be in.

If anyone has any further advice to give, remember your manners and add something in the comments.