My husband is incredibly talented. In fact, that’s part of the reason I married him (in addition to his devastating good looks!). However, I’m currently wishing he was slightly less talented. See, he has been given this amazing opportunity to open his own consulting firm, partnering with a mentor of his. And his first project is already set, and it’s with BP—yes the gas company. No big deal. OR, he can stay with his corporate job and pursue any number of the other opportunities recruiters regularly call him about.
I’m trying to remain thankful that we are blessed with such an amazing opportunity—but I’m anxious.
There’s a lot of risk involved with starting your own business. A consulting firm in particular. You are always looking for that “next job”. You often do not build a regular clientele because you are brought in to solve a unique “one time” problem. Sounds like the perfect job for someone with anxiety issues right?
But it turns out that my husband has always had a dream about starting his own consulting firm. Well—crap. Apparently that’s what he wrote his entrance letter to MBA school about. UM WHERE WAS THIS WHEN WE WERE DATING? I had a firm rule against falling in love with military guys—too much instability there, and apparently forgot to add entrepreneur to the list.
So here I am, head over heels in love with and happily married to a man who wants to leave his stable corporate high paying job to start his own brand consulting firm.
What’s so ironic about the situation is that I am looking for new opportunities to leave my current consulting job for that very reason. The instability of always being on a new project (even with a stable paycheck since I am with a big corporation!) has dramatically increased my anxiety. At first, I hated myself for that. I was determined to NOT let my disease define my career goals. I had resigned myself to never becoming the CEO or even a managing partner, but I SHOULD be able to hold down just a staff job.
And I can. I’ve been successful, but I’m very unhappy. I have no energy left for my family, volunteering, or anything else I care about. So I began to realize it wasn’t a matter of can, but of preferences and yes, on some level limitations.
I’ve finally come to terms with that. It’s simply my reality that I am not made for competitive environments, instability, and high levels of anxiety. I don’t judge myself for not being able to be an Olympian, or Super Model, or Rocket Scientist. My limitations from my anxiety disorder are biological too—so that’s fine, and I’m looking for a job that makes me happy.
But what about when my illness affects or hinders my husband’s dreams? Or my kid’s dreams? What about when it’s not just my life that I’m holding back?
That is where I am at right now. I’m terribly afraid my husband is going to resent me for holding him back. We were both raised with amazing moms who went above and beyond to make their husband’s career goals possible. Am I going to make my husband’s goals die without a chance?
But fortunately, my husband is not just a top notch marketer, but also an amazing husband. He reminded me, “Your anxiety has to be a consideration. It’s not a detriment, but just a fact.”
So we’ve come to a compromise. I’m going to give it a shot and we’ve already started brainstorming ways to make it as easy as possible for me. But, he knows that it’s a trial period and has assured me that if it’s not working for our family we will make a change. We’ll take it “one wave at a time”.
But I’m still terrified. I’m terrified of the risk, but I’m also still feeling guilty that my husband has a wife who is so “crazy”. Believing that he could be “more successful without me”. Feeling bad that he married me.
So what can I do to remind myself that I am still the best thing that ever happened to Sidney?
1. Challenge the thoughts that I’m holding him back: Work to replace the false thoughts with true ones. List the things I have done in our relationship that have fostered his success. For example, reeling in the people he wants to talk to at networking events.
2. Remind myself of the “benefits” of bipolar: I wrote a post about why Mike is lucky I”m bipolar…it’s time to dust that post off and remind myself the good things that come with being bipolar.
3. Bring some elephants into peanut gallery: I’ve got a pretty loud, negative peanut gallery going on in my head. So it’s time to bring some elephants to “eat” them. My mom and sister are my favorite “elephants”. They come in and encourage me…scaring away those nasty peanuts!
This is alot of work when my brain kicks into anxiety mode though. I use these tools as long as I can…then I just start repeating “He’s a pain in my ass too…he’s a pain in my ass too….”
Having a mental illness is hard. It’s challenging enough to like myself as a person, let alone as a wife, friend, sister, daughter….but God just keeps giving me opportunities to learn how. So I’ll keep trying…