Calming the crazy

I’m going to let you in on a couple of secrets:

  1. I’m an incredibly anxious person
  2. I mostly hide it well.

However, my body knows best when I’m holding on to stress and anxiety. Lately it’s manifested itself in new and interesting ways. This time around, it’s what appears to be “stress-induced eczema”. Sexy, right? (for the person who found my blog by searching for “fun socks” and “dating profile” you might want to reconsider trying to find me after that admission. haha!)

I thrive on stability and structure and plans because that helps calm the crazy in my head. I am not a gambling woman. I’m one who looks ahead and has a Plan A, B and C already in mind. So it should be surprising to hear that I have picked two separate careers – journalism and librarianship – that are plagued with change and instability and uncertainty. I am apparently what you would call “a glutton for punishment”.

As Liz Lemon said, “I’m going to go talk to some food about this”
image from:

For the most part, I outwardly handle these things well. I tend to play the optimistic glass-half-full card when things look most bleak. But secretly I’m shelve that anxiety and allow it to come out physically. My sleep patterns get disrupted. I have a persistent pit in my stomach. I develop dyshidrotic eczema (thank goodness it’s nowhere near the severity of pictures you find when Googling it. PRO TIP: when you are WebMDing your symptoms, never EVER Google image search them. You’ll thank me for that later).

I thought with changing jobs that a majority of my anxiety would subside. I thought I had pinpointed the source of my stress and actively sought options to avoid that in my new position. However, it turns out that being a librarian, regardless of location, is a stressful job. Those who think we read all day will scoff at this idea. But those of us in the field know what I’m talking about. For example, librarians at Harvard are facing massive layoff or at the very least having the degrading task of reapplying for a position they already have. I went through that in journalism. There’s nothing more demoralizing to your staff than to make them reapply for their current jobs.

That’s just one of a multitude of examples of stressful times for librarians. And in the last week or so, there have been a few things that have really set off my anxiety at my own job. I flippantly blame it on the end of the fiscal year or the full moon, but the truth of the matter is, there’s some real serious large-scale problems in libraries in general that I’m beginning to see on a local scale and it scares the crap out of me.

Right now I’m not in a position to divulge those details which is heartbreaking because what we’re experiencing is something I know others are too and none of us should tolerate it. We should all be standing up and demanding our voices be heard and refuse to be treated this way.

But until then, I’m going to invest in some melatonin, do some yoga and stock up on prescription steroid cremes.


About indie librarian

a recently MLS librarian's observations
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