I Must Too Much


It makes me angry that I could barely find the time to write today. The whole timing this past year of sickness has just been off. A year ago I had all the time to write and work on myself, and I believe I even was much better at connecting with my feelings back then, but due to waiting lists, secret contracts and money I had no idea about the problems I needed to start solving.

Now, a year later, I finally have the help I need to work on myself, but because of the year that has passed, I no longer have enough time to explore my own mind. Today, I am expected to be better, while at the same time the process of healing only just started. I feel like I’m pushed and pulled from in so many different directions that I’m starting to loose the right one again, or actually, I believe I have already lost it.

A couple of months ago I had to start working again, starting with two hours a week, but quickly these hours started to increase. On one hand I got pushed to increase my working hours, due to laws regarding sickness in the Netherlands. But on the other hand, I started to enjoy my work as an architect again. It didn’t take long until I started putting all my energy into my work, getting back into my old position in the company, attending every meeting, controlling the entire project and team and eventually working 12 hours days without breaks to make a deadline every week. Feeling great doing so…

Why was I feeling so good in these weeks of me doing much more than I actually could? I see now, that this was because I had fallen back into my old pattern of cooping, or avoiding even. Work has always been my way of hiding from myself, by doing my job I numb my feelings, I replace my real needs with the importance of my performance. I am needed, so I do what is good for me, and because I’m needed I don’t have to think about what it is I truly need.

I didn’t feel great because I was better, instead I felt great because work allowed me to pretend to feel better. However, we all know that pretending has never been a solution to anything, instead, if I keep allowing myself to keep hiding behind work, I will most probably very soon end up exactly where I was a year ago… But me realizing this is not enough, this problem I can not accept and fix, this problem is imposed on me and I can not do anything about it.

The Dutch laws force me to do something that is actually bad for me. I am currently forced to work 70 percent of my contracted hours, plus, I am obligated to keep increasing the hours I work each week. When I don’t follow these rules, I will be forced to start applying for different work in different sectors, not only putting myself at risk of loosing my dream job but even if I give up my job for something with less pressure, I will be forced to do more than is actually good for me, I will have to work 40 hours, no matter what. There is just no way out.

So why am I angry today? I am angry because I have to follow a law that is created for people that cut off a finger or survived a car crash. A law that assumes that physical illness is identical to mental suffering. A law that is so well protected by huge fines and such a complicated army of companies that can blame each other that fighting it results in a giant he-said she-said maze no one is able to get out of. A law purely based on economy in which there is no room for an individual approach, while it is about the most personal aspects of life.

I’m angry at a law that does not allow me the space I need to heal because according to this law, there is only ability and inability, there is nothing in between. If you’re able to work, you must, even if you shouldn’t, because shouldn’t can not be measured. And this leaves me without time to get better, because all my time must be spend on our precious economy.

I’m not saying that I shouldn’t work at all, I’m not saying it’s ok for me to just stay home and enjoy a nice salary while doing nothing for it, I am getting better so yes, I start work again. But all this pressure, and the anxiety that comes with the potential of loosing my job, is just not part of what I expect this process that is created to protect employee wellbeing to be. Shouldn’t there be an exception that when someone is diagnosed with depression, a personality and an anxiety disorder it is not allowed take this person away from his or her job? Do we really all have to be forced to spend all the energy we have on our economy instead of leaving a few hours for happiness? Shouldn’t true well being come first? It would probably make the laws too complicated…

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