So much has changed in the last few months. I am a little overwhelmed by it all, but to be honest, I think it’s all very good change. Not all of it has been easy; some of it has been quite difficult, actually. However, I have this sense that I am doing the right thing and these things are going to turn out well.
One change that was not difficult at all was marrying my best friend. Ryan & I finally, finally, finally tied the knot on July 21 – our ten-year anniversary. It was beautiful, magical, everything I could have dreamed of and more. I couldn’t be more thankful for all of the love and support we got leading up to & on the wedding day.
With our marriage came a name change, and we decided that I would take Ryan’s last name. Changing my name with social security was honestly the easiest task. Now, I’m slowly going through my accounts, work, etc. to get my name changed everywhere else. Brandenburger will be my name on something forever, I’m sure. Slowly but surely, however, more places are using my married name, which honestly makes me a little giddy.
I can’t believe I’m married y’all!
Married life has been treating Ryan & I really well. We went to Portland, Oregon on our honeymoon for six days and it was incredible. We didn’t want to come back! The weather was lovely (even though everyone we met told us about how hot it was outside, HA), the natural scenery was incredible, the public transit was simple to use and could get you just about anywhere… We honestly can’t say enough about how much we just loved Portland & Oregon.
We came back from Portland and got right back to work. I only had two weeks left at the communications center before I left for a new job.
I’ll be honest, here: working at the communications center took an incredible toll on me. I always thought it was funny, because the work itself was fine – though I empathized with my callers, I was easily able to pick up the call, get the information, and move on to the next. I enjoyed training new call-takers and had a lot of ideas about how to improve the job itself, my workplace, and the field as a whole. But mentally, emotionally, and even physically, my health and happiness seriously deteriorated in the time when I worked at 911. The schedule was always unpredictable; in my last week, I had one of my supervisors cancel the morning overtime that I signed up for a few weeks ahead of time so that she could mandate me to stay over for the evening overtime. Too many times I had to miss things that were important to me because someone called out and I got mandated to take their place. And I can’t even blame my coworkers for calling out; we were all worked to our breaking points and if I didn’t get so much anxiety from calling out, I probably would have done it a few more times too.
It just got to be too much for me. I ate like crap because I didn’t have the time or energy to put any effort into preparing decent meals for myself while I was at work. My relationships suffered because I was always tired, and most days I left work feeling bitter and angry and I just wanted to be alone. I sunk into a depression more intense than I’ve felt in years; I had to stick to my exact routine or my entire mood would be thrown off. I felt completely numb, like I was living on auto pilot, like only the essential functions were being supported and nothing else. I increased my anti-depressant dosage earlier this year for the first time since 2014, though I’ve been planning to try to start decreasing it. It just wasn’t working.
And honestly, I’m heartbroken over it. I worked so hard to get that job. I had a dream to be a 911 operator, and god damn it, I accomplished it. I excelled in the pre-hiring tests and interviews. I went through six months of intense training. I was a great call-taker, and eventually I even got to train other call-takers, and I enjoyed that too. I really, honestly, truly enjoyed the work. I had so much anxiety over my last two weeks. I tried to see if I could still cover overtime here and there (I couldn’t) and I considered once or twice rescinding my resignation. And on my last day of work, when I turned in my badge and my uniforms and walked out of the communications center for the last time, I got into my car and I cried.
What I did there was special. What everyone in that center, in that field does is special. It gave me a certain sense of pride to be able to tell people that I was a 911 operator, to be in-the-know on local police activity, and to be able to serve my city.
And that’s why I only applied for city jobs when I finally finished my resume and started applying for a new job. I really enjoy public service. I love being able to help my community – just not at the expense of my own well-being.
Yesterday was my first day at my new job. I’m working in the clerk’s office as the board coordinator for our citizen advisory boards. I’m two days in, and I know this was the right decision. I’ve met some wonderful people and while I’m still feeling pretty lost on most things, I’m excited to keep learning and keep meeting people. I have my own desk, my own computer, a set schedule (Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm, and an hour for lunch), an office full of great people, and I’m so excited for this new chapter in my professional career. I’m also excited to occasionally have lunch with my husband, who works just a couple of blocks down the road from me now.
Overall, life is good. I’m still climbing out of my depression and trying to fix what’s been broken. I’m still coping with my feeling that my time in the comm center feels like it was cut short. But that’s ok. I feel a certain sense of peace with this new reality and I think that’s a good sign that it’s all going to be ok.