Rambo: Last Blood

The past few years have been a struggle.

I had gotten stuck in an abusive job. I say "had gotten" because it was a gradual process. By the time I realized it was hurting me, I was unable to leave. It was endless, endless crunch, and there was never a point between projects where I could gracefully make my exit.

And because Tiffany worked there too, burning the place to the ground — a less graceful exit — was never an option.

I ate like shit. I drank too much. I didn't sleep. I worked double shifts, weekends, holidays. I developed an ulcer. I pushed through it. I developed another ulcer. I pushed through that.

That's the Midwest way, right? Fuck it. Something needs doing, do it, and rest when you're dead.

It always looked like there was going to be a break after this project, just gotta make it through this one and then I can escape…

Five years later, I finally quit.

Sort of.

I stopped accepting new development projects from this firm, and began phasing myself out of their old ones. Tiffany quit a year after that.

Slowly but surely, free time began to return.

I released a handful of plugins and developer tools. I joined the WordPress Core Media Team as a volunteer. I caught up on my GoodReads list.

Quality of life should have started ticking upward, but instead the newfound downtime created a space for vivid, stressful mental loops: "flashbacks" and, because sometimes I remember the future, "flashforwards".

So naturally I identified free time as the enemy and tried to bury myself in other — hopefully better! — work. And that strategy worked well, until it didn't.

Eventually things got bad enough I decided to see a therapist and, well, here we are.

It's a process…