“Feel the fear and do it anyway”




My dearest friend, my oldest nemesis.

Always there for me, never leaving my side, forever ready to jump to effect.

I’m making the biggest change in my life up to date, one that I had wanted to make for about 5 years now but was too afraid to even properly consider the possibility of due to the intently high risk.

I’ve decided to start working as a freelance web designer/developer as opposed to an employee in a regular company.

And I am absolutely shitting myself in fear, the only reason why I’m even going ahead with this plan being my mental state – I legitimately experienced a mental breakdown at work which forced me to take emergency time off for almost a week.

I’ve officially worked at 4 companies now as a full-time employee, the first three in Japan, the last one here in the UK. 

The very first job I got after having graduated design school caused me extreme PTSD and you can read about the whole experience here, in this lovely post about the possibly worst few months of my life. So I ended up running away from that job at the 4-month mark. 

Then came the 2nd job in which I stayed for a record of 16 months! That’s over a year! But after a while I got so overwhelmed, tired and completely burnt out that I started crying on the job, falling into a depressive state and barely forcing myself to go to work. I also figured that that job had nothing new to teach me due to the company being very numbers-driven as opposed to quality, the majority of my work so unpolished my heart practically ached.

After which I joined my 3rd company, the best one I had been at so far. The work was pretty great, my manager was the most amazing person I had ever worked with although unfortunately the company CEO and the group company CEO making my time there pretty miserable at times. Regardless, once I decided to leave Japan the job had to go as well. I would’ve probably stayed there for a while longer than my short 14 months if I hadn’t been planning on moving away across the world. 

In August of last year, I got hired in my latest company and well, the corporate side of things got under my skin in record speed. 2 months into the job, I was walking around town with my friend telling her how I knew that I will face another mental breakdown there as well as it was only a matter of time. Well, it came about 2 months later, so much sooner than I had initially anticipated. 

The thing is, I’ve experienced mental breakdowns in all of my jobs, sooner or later it always came to visit me thus me jumping into a new job in order to run away as soon as possible. 

I hate corporate jobs; the only upside I see is the stability of a pay-check but even then, was it ever worth it?

I can’t stand the need to request time off, the limited days that you have to save and savour. I can’t stand having to wonder whether your sickness is worth about 100 pounds in monetary value before excusing yourself for the day. I hate having to start working at a set-time yet having to work unpaid overtime near every single day. I hate that my highly technical job’s hourly pay makes out for 12 pounds an hour. I hate working with clearly incompetent people as my higher-ups, all the responsibility and none of the fun falling straight into my hands. 

And at my latest job, I hated having to log every single minute of my 8 hours every single day. And I mean detailed logging – logging time according to projects and tasks and every single call, meeting and email ever.

God I hate corporate rules.

It only makes sense for me to move onto freelance work.

But I am weak and I am terrified.

Some people stay in the same job for 10 years despite absolutely hating it and wanting to quit yet never having the guts to do so.

Well in my case I stayed in the corporate system for over 3 years now despite absolutely despising it and wanting to quit but never having the guts to do so. So I did the next best thing – changed my jobs as soon as a mental breakdown came to town.

Back in Japan, I wasn’t really willing to become self-employed as having to fill out tax returns and dealing with self-employment visa all in Japanese didn’t seem like something I would’ve liked to do.

But here I am in the UK, everything’s in English and the English government does seem quite supportive of new businesses, the official government website full of how-tos and step-by-step guides to every business venture imaginable.

So I did the only thing that made sense – I resigned from my first job in the UK that I had only been holding for 5 months in the middle of a pandemic and decided to become self-employed.

Now if that doesn’t sound like a grand idea, I don’t know what does!

But the matter of the fact is that I wanted to stay in my full-time position and under the safety blanket even if I hated everything about the corporate side of it. The only reason I made the decision I did was because I had no other options left – my decision-making skills are as good as Boris Johnson’s – delaying making a decision until only one option remained.

I mentally couldn’t do it anymore, I had to change things, I had to start working for myself otherwise I would’ve just suffered through anxiety and panic attacks every single day while I tried to force the 8 hours of work out of myself to log into their neat little system. And I am not the one to work overtime if it’s unpaid unless looming deadlines require me to do so.

So going back to the beginning – I am afraid, I am petrified, I am absolutely terrified of what this means for me.

It scares me more than the act of moving across the world and starting a new life in a new country, hell that was pretty easy.

I guess I’m so fearful because of how much this matters to me, it’s a big step and I know that it’s a step in the right direction.

I’ll be able to charge more for less of my time, hopefully leaving me with more time to work on personal projects that matter and that I barely had the energy left to touch after the gruelling 8+ hours every single day.

The routine of sleep, work, eat, sleep, work, eat, sleep, work… it was killing me and my creativity, drove me into panic attacks – is this how the rest of my life is going to be? Is this all there is? Making up for the exhaustion on the weekends watching Netflix and once again feeling the lump in my stomach when Sunday afternoon rolled around. Ugh no, not this again… 

And so I am extremely scared to make what seems like the most important decision in my life, a decision that could save me as well as completely destroy me.

I’m terrified of totally failing and having to look for another full-time job in an alarmingly short amount of time, I’m terrified of having to ask my sister to let me move into her place once my savings run dry, I’m petrified of having my core beliefs of not being good enough, of being a waste of space and of being unwanted, reinforced. As if I need more evidence to why I suck completely…

I know that fear isn’t going anywhere, I wrote another post where I tried to tackle the paranoia of my time running out only to end up shrivelled up, no goals achieved all dreams frozen in time as mere dreams.

I’m afraid that I’m not good enough of a designer, of a front-end developer to be able to make it as a freelancer.

I’m afraid of people thinking that I charge too much for something so crap, I’m afraid of people who know me in real-life seeing my works and cringing in their minds like “wow, she really thinks she’s something, huh…”

I could go on and on about the things I fear, there’s countless, I assure you.

I suppose that me making this move with my life does mean that I can cross something off of my bucket list no matter how badly it goes. It was something that I had been wanting to do since the very first few days of being out of school and officially employed. I have so many projects in my head that I desperately want to work on and my Goodread’s want-to-read list has over 240 books eagerly awaiting my time.

Maybe I was never meant to be an employee or maybe I just never found a corporation I would have liked working at.

Maybe being or not being “meant” to do something doesn’t matter at all, it’s all but an attempt at bringing myself some comfort when there is none.

I’m a recovering perfectionist with an anxiety disorder.

I need to know what’s about to happen in order to feel safe and to stay in control.

“The unknown” terrifies me, it gives me anxiety, it drives me insane.

Deep inside I know that I’m doing the right thing for me. Something deep down isn’t even a tiny bit afraid because it feels I’m moving in the right direction, making the sacrifices that need making, taking the risks that need taking.

But then there’s that unrelenting anxiety at the very surface that’s just screaming and whimpering at me 24/7, preventing me from sleeping and revving up my survival instinct to stay safe – meaning rethinking the decisions that I’ve made even though there’s no turning back now.

I’m well aware that the only way now is forward.

I know that even if I fail miserably I will have at least tried, I will have learned something and I will know that I gave my poor head a chance at a life with at least one less reason to have a mental breakdown about.

I want to be free.

And so I choose to be free.

Tune in next week while I type in tears about how this has been the worst decision of my life!

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