The past few weeks have been a whirlwind for me. That’s another column for another time, but about two months ago, I was off sick from work and handed in my notice. Leaving didn’t go smoothly, but it was for the best, and it was one of the most powerful experiences I’ve been through.
Being self-employed always has been my long-term goal. When I first started out in the working world, I was a freelancer. As time went on and I began working full-time, my reasons for going self-employed were influenced by endometriosis and how damn tired I was all the time. I just wanted to be in the safety of my home, or the coziness of a coffee shop when I chose, able to wear comfy clothes and able to take the day off when I needed to without having a complete anxiety meltdown about getting fired.
My plan for going self-employed had been to save enough to have a financial cushion in case I needed it, and to have enough work set up to keep me going for a few months. It didn’t work out like that, and yet it’s worked out better than I could have imagined. Having to leave my job was sudden, so I quickly had to learn to swim. I had been working on my own bits on the side anyway, so I knew I was capable of earning some money. But I had to turn this into a salary in less than a month.
For many women, endometriosis can cause anxiety and depression. A circumstance like this could cause real issues for women dealing with these conditions, yet making my own money was less scary than going to work every day, so the pros far outweighed the cons.
Before I handed in my notice, I worked out the minimum I needed to make monthly to survive. I included all my bills, plus a small amount for the weekends, so I could still see my friends for lunch, rather than feeling sorry for myself at home with no money. The amount was more reasonable than I had expected, and I then worked out what I had saved (it wasn’t a lot, really!) and how long I could last with the jobs I had set up already.
My next step was to create an action plan: Where could I expand on what I was doing already and what contacts did I have to whom I could reach out? I also looked at my skills: What skills did I have that could help me make extra money in the meantime, and what little ad-hoc jobs could I do for some extra pocket money?
I went through as many options as I had time for. I signed up on freelance sites, emailed and texted contacts, bought cheap courses to improve my skills and even signed up to a cat-sitting website.
I then went deep spiritually and emotionally. A friend gave me some incredible advice that has helped ease not only my anxiety, but also pushed me to excel: “Work out what your worst-case scenario is, and make peace with it.”
I thought about my fears. They include not being able to pay my rent, being evicted and becoming destitute. I sat down with these fears and thought about how realistic they were, and I worked out what I could do if I came close to them. Once I faced these fears, I found solutions, and I also realized that some of them were unrealistic and others weren’t actually as scary or as terrible as I thought.
The next step was taking a leap of faith — believing in myself enough to do what needed to be done for my health and well-being. For some, that might be getting really hyped up and motivated. For me, it was about doing lots of meditation, reading inspiring books, listening to podcasts and connecting to my inner voice – asking for guidance and direction.
Doing this while going through a very painful work experience and coping with endometriosis wasn’t easy. I admit, it was scary and risky, but it has been one of the best decisions I have made. My anxiety has eased dramatically, and I’m beginning to find joy in life again.
Mine is not a lifestyle that suits everyone. Full-time employment offers some securities and benefits that being self-employed can’t. Take some time to consider how you want to feel, and what the realities of both could be.
It’s not a decision to take lightly, and I had to rush into mine, but with the right planning it could be a wonderful and freeing experience.
Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.