Mental office walls

Lately I’m wondering how I’ll ever be able to be “doing the life”, the working life, for the next 40 years, or even more. I’m an architect, working in one of the biggest offices in the Netherlands, with projects all around the world. I should be happy about this, but since I got my permanent contract about a year ago, it becomes harder and harder to get myself to the office each day.

I have always had problem with this. Especially when I was still in school ( at this time I did not discover yet I had ADHD, the diagnosis came when I was at university ). In between the holidays I would always have weeks I could not get up, I just didn’t want to go anymore. When I was younger I pretended to be sick in those week, stayed home in bed whole days, sometimes even multiple week, and while I was physically fine I needed these weeks to become mentally capable of going to school again. Later, when I got older and discovered the healing power of weed and alcohol I just skipped school very often, and this became a way to never have those weeks in bed anymore, I just skipped whatever I did not want to do, and in that way I had enough freedom to never get to the full mental exhaustion caused by doing the same thing day after day. Strangely I was smart enough to keep my grades up in these years, and because I did, the school kind of excepted me not being there. When I graduated from high school they told me I had not been in school for over 60 percent of the time.

Then university started, and I got the ADHD label, and the medication. In a way this made me feel I was capable of doing the life. But the good thing about being an architecture student was that courses never took more then 3 months, and projects never more then 6 months, plus I never actually had to be there besides the mandatory 1 hour a week. This was great for me, everything had an end that was kind of visible in my timeline, not too far away to loose my interest in them. And besides that 1 hour a week ( I have to admit that even those I skipped about 20 percent of the time) I was completely free in doing whatever I wanted to do. I also started with my medication, so whenever I choose to study, I was actually able to do it without getting distracted the way I’ve been distracted all my life. However I did notice that this pattern of things getting harder when they took too long was still present. I did have a lot of jobs besides my studies, but all of them became boring really quickly and I changed, I’ve been a tutor, I sold clothes, I sold shoes, I gave courses, I did some research for the university, I’ve been this person behind the fake girls you can chat with about sex. I did a lot of different things, most of them just for a few months, and then I started looking for something else. This even happened with my internship, I found an architectural office I really liked and for 6 months I could work there, just before I would start my graduation. In the end I managed to do five, because after 4 I just could not get out of bed to do it anymore.

Then I graduated, worked in a bar for a few months while having my own company and then I started to work in the office I work in now. In the beginning I was so motivated, all these new people in a new city with so much to learn. But I think after 6 months I started getting less motivated, I was at the end of a project, things where just the same every day and I was used to the city and the people, everything became a bit boring. Luckily the end of the project came, I started a new project, later I moved to a different studio, then I got more responsibilities in projects, so I could manage to go each day. Things where changing fast enough for me to not lose interest. But then I got my fixed contract, and projects became less new, less challenging. Slowly I started losing interest, things started to get boring, getting to the office became hard, and I started being fake sick again. Well fake sick might not be the proper word here, I mean, I am physically fake sick at this point but mentally I am far from ok, I am just not sure if I could call my boss and tell him ” I won’t be coming to the office today because I’m not able to do it”, he would think that I’m lazy, that I just don’t feel like working that day. But I’m not lazy, I’m the opposite of lazy. I mean, at that point for months a mental wall has been rising up between me and the office, and every day I manage to climb it, and every day I’m exhausted of climbing this wall but still I manage. Until one day it became too big, and still that day I tried to climb it, because I will always try to climb my walls, but that one day I tried and tried and kept falling down until the point that I’ve used all my energy, and this wall just became higher, and the floor I am on is sinking. I have to admit to myself that there will not be a way that I will climb this wall today, and it hurts me that I’m not able to do this even though there is nothing wrong with me physically. So I call my boss, come up with an excuse and stay in bed. But then I start feeling the exhaustion of climbing that wall every day and I can sleep for days.

The fact that at some point there will be walls rising up between me and everything I do scares me. Right now I’m working in one of the most interesting offices, but still I have to pass huge walls every day to get there, and sometimes I fail. But what am I supposed to do with this? If I change to a new office I know I’ll be fine for at least some months, but after a while new walls will rise up and I will never be sure when, or if I will be able to climb them. And what will be after that? Changing offices each 6 to 12 months, just to make sure I don’t have to climb impossible high walls, in more then 40 years this will mean 40 to 80 offices, and I’m pretty sure at some point I won’t find a new office anymore because who wants to hire a person that will not stay more then 6 to 12 months? Sometimes I also consider not being an architect anymore, that this would make life easier. But I wanted to become an architect since I was 3 years old and my grandpa thought me how to make walls out of bricks, I’ll never find anything to do that I can be this passionate about. So I think I should find a way to make it easier to keep climbing my walls, or preferably a way to stop creating these walls, especially since it will not be easy to find an office that will be more interesting that the one I work at now, so if I can’t manage my walls here I will not be able to manage them anywhere. I wonder if I should talk to my boss about this, explain to him how I need change and variety in the work I do, and how I’m struggling with getting to the office. Maybe he will understand, maybe he can help me, or maybe he starts seeing me as the girl with the mental problems that should just not be too involved in anything. I don’t know. I also don’t know what would work for me, right now I’m switching every minutes between, I’ll look for another job, and I have to find my motivation back in this office. I know that soon I’ll finish the project I’m working on now and move on to a new one, maybe this can help bringing some of the walls down, and this time I can try again to find a way to not make the walls come back up. But it will take 2 weeks before this happens, and 2 weeks of climbing extremely high walls seems almost impossible.

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