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Mentally and physically, this last week has taken a huge toll on me.

I had a panic attack late last week that left me feeling pretty shaken for a couple of days.  Then I worked six days straight.  There was a point in my life when that wouldn’t have been a big deal–the job I had the summers after my senior year of high school and freshman year of college frequently scheduled me ten, eleven, or twelve days in a row, back when employers could schedule you 40+ hours a week without providing health insurance.  But I was younger then, and less easily worn out, I suppose.  It probably doesn’t help that my current job requires a lot of repetitive motion, moving massive carts loaded with merchandise around, climbing ladders, and generally being a human workhorse.  I enjoy it, but my back, neck, knees, and feet hurt a lot today.  The good news is that I’m going to get a really, really nice paycheck the week before my birthday, and after I pay a couple of bills and put some into savings, I might even be able to afford to go shopping!

I know it’s only going to get worse from here.  If you’ve ever worked retail, you know we’re well into the holiday season.  My store has been playing the same horrible Christmas playlist it used last year since November 4th.  I am obsessively checking the online scheduling page to find out our Thanksgiving/Black Friday schedules: so far, nothing’s up–a couple of my coworkers want to be there to open on Thanksgiving because everyone working on Thanksgiving Day gets double time, but crowds like that are one of the biggest triggers of panic attacks for me, so I hope my boss gives me the 1 am-6 am recovery shift on Black Friday morning.  (I told him I could be like an invisible little elf and clean up/replenish stock, and it did seem like he was considering it.)  Would I like to get double time?  Hell yes, but I’m not convinced it’s worth risking that much anxiety in a crowded store.  Last year I thought I was going to pass out at my register on Thanksgiving night because it was hot, there were so many people, everything started to look shimmery and wavy, and I spent my entire meal break trying not to throw up because I was so stressed out.

My big goal for the new year is to start seeing a therapist, which of course my current health insurance doesn’t cover (our new insurance probably won’t either, because of course it won’t), so I’m hoping to divert some of my big holiday paychecks towards that expense.  Dallas was skeptical about therapy but it seems to be helping him a lot, so I’m hopeful it could help me too.  It certainly can’t hurt to talk to a professional who’s trained to help people with mental health problems like mine.

I’m hoping this will be a relaxing and rejuvenating weekend–I’m off today and tomorrow(!) before heading back Monday, hopefully to help train a new member of our team.  Today we’ve got college football to watch at home and high school playoff football to watch in person, and hopefully tomorrow will be a nice day of catching up on laundry and housework, as well as cuddling cats and dogs at my in-laws’ house.

At any rate, I’m trying to enjoy this weekend and lower my stress level enough that hopefully next week will be a clean slate, and I won’t still be stressed out from this week.  I need to go into work with a positive mindset because there’s a lot to do before Christmas.

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