Do you ever want to self destruct?

Have you ever written about how to stop yourself from you ruining your own life? Or how to turn it around mid-ruin? Because I’m almost 25, ruining my life, and I’ve gotten to the point of where I kind of hope that someone hits me with their car.

If you have an article about this, you can just say “yes” and I’ll go looking. Until then, I’m going to just eat everything that is bread or contains bread until I feel better.

I’m tired of working. I want to stay home and write

I am a 32-year-old single female INFJ UX writer. I work in an open office in a large corporation. I’ve worked there for about 6 years. I also identify as an HSP, as most INFJs would. I know you are going to freak out at me and tell me I need to get married and start a family, stat. And that since I’m unmarried and over 30, I’m probably autistic. I’m working on dating but haven’t met the guy I want to marry yet! I am trying to break the cycle of ending up with manipulative, emotionally abusive men.

Anyway, when I was 27-28 I became very sick and only when I went to a naturopath did I find out that I basically have a chronic illness and essentially, chronic fatigue syndrome. Because of this, I have to be very careful about managing my stress, diet and lifestyle. Any little tweak can send me into flareup mode, and I effectively have to take a few days “off.” I can’t be too social, push myself too hard or sometimes even go to work. This occasionally makes it hard to date, and I hate that I can’t be my best self.

I’ve found when I work from home a few days a week, I feel much better. Because of the collaborative nature of my job that often requires in-person interaction, it is hard to do that anymore — and everywhere I’ve interviewed, it has been the same sentiment (I haven’t asked but it’s been implied.) If I go on a relaxing vacation near salt water, I feel great. If I go home to Wisconsin, I feel pretty good as well. (Nature is good for your immune system, as I’m sure you already know.) There are times I really do feel vitality and health (and people even comment on it!) but just not when I am at work 5 days a week. (I hope this doesn’t sound entitled; I know few people like going to work 5 days a week, but for me it is extra draining, and I struggle with it a lot more than the average person due to illness and being an HSP. And you don’t have to remind me that I’m childless so I have even less stress to complain about.)

I like my job, and I’m good at it. I make a decent salary, more than I ever thought I’d make as a writer. I have a pension, which I know is nearly unheard of these days. I like that my job provides me somewhat of a built-in social network, as so many of my friends are disappearing by moving to other cities or getting married. Since I’ve been there 6 years, I keep looking to move on. I basically need to move jobs to get a promotion. I have a really great work-life balance: I only work 40 hours a week, I don’t check my email at home, I get 5 weeks of vacation, and if I need to leave a little early for whatever reason, no one bats an eye. Everywhere I’ve interviewed, this is not the case.

I consider myself very lucky. I used to work at a major PR firm which I think is where a lot of my chronic illness issues stemmed from — it was very toxic, stressful and combative, and I know now that I cannot handle that type of environment. But I’m unsure if even my current situation is the best thing for my health right now. I keep having flareups. I have to take time off to recover until it happens again. I often have to sneak off in the middle of the day to take naps. But I know that I’m lucky that I can even do that. We had a reorg recently, and I’m on too many projects and in too many meetings, which is making me more stressed and causing more frequent flareups. I work in tech, and sexism and sexual harassment takes a daily toll, especially in an open office where I feel like I have to constantly be protecting myself. This isn’t helping either. I know and do all the stress-management techniques, and I keep wondering if I should look for a remote job or part-time remote job. But I’m afraid I’d feel really isolated.

Oh and my real dream? To be a novelist. I have several side writing projects that I work on outside of work. I have hobbies that I like to do for fun. I love animals and would like to get a dog but can’t in my current apartment due to restrictions. I’m considering moving, but the stress of moving will likely set my stress back too.

Do you have any advice on what I should do about work? Without sounding like a gold-digger, getting married and being able to quit and work part-time would be ideal, but it just doesn’t seem to be in the cards at the moment. So what should I do?

You post about reporting harassment is offensive

I am a 14-year-old high school student, and I am very passionate about woman rights and respecting woman in general. I find that article to be horrible, it Is teaching girls that they can’t focus on a career and be mothers, my mother had me at 38 and my sister at 36 and she chose to do that even though she married fairly young. I find it saddening that you believe woman have to get pregnant in their 20s, and that you feel the need to shame women who don’t. 

However, most disturbing is that you are telling women to let men sexually harass them, at the age of 14 I have already been getting cat called for three years, harassed by grown men in public, and harassed and stalked by a high school student two years my senior, for an entire year. you saying that just because stuff like that happens every day, women shouldn’t report it, hurts my heart. I can’t believe a woman would say something like that, it sets us back so many years. I wish you had never said anything like this, but,  you did and all I can do is say something. I will always say something because boys will not be boys and women will not take it.

This is not a hate note of any kind I just need for you to hear from the people your effecting.

Penelope’s brothers want to know…

Penelope, do your readers know that your kids are gambling?

I know you told me to leave but I’m scared

Hey, Penelope. I’ve really been thinking about what you talked about. I guess I’m having a hard time knowing if I’m experiencing abuse because he’s never hit me, only broken things and screamed at me to the point I shake and get a migraine. He also says I instigate by bitching at him. Maybe I do. I don’t know.

I feel crazy, for sure, like I don’t know what’s happening. All I know is that I am very tense around him and have lost affection. I don’t want to go to a shelter. Even here in my small town in Tennessee there’s only 1 shelter and it has a 1 star rating. Would they even let me in the shelter if my life is not currently being threatened? After that, what would I do? I have no money or people I can stay with.

He does have a gun and he’s angry. I guess I just have a hard time believing he would kill me. He’s angry, but I can’t see him doing that. Unbeknownst to me, he heard our conversation and said I made him sound like a “monster.” He said if his friend described her spouse that way, he’d tell her to leave him, too. I felt so guilty because I thought, “Maybe I am to blame. Maybe I do make him, so angry he has to break doors and windows. Maybe I’m just that intolerable to be around. Maybe I really am a bitch.” I keep trying to get through the domestic violence hotline chat, but it never goes through. Also, I lost that number you gave me. Could I have that helpline number again?

Do you really think my situation is that dangerous? All I know is that I’m constantly stressed, have panic attacks, night terrors, etc. But I always think that maybe if I just change myself, I won’t feel this way. Maybe it is me. Everything was always my fault growing up.

Really, how does she do it?

Penelope, you write that if we want to know how someone is running their life, count the hours. So I count your hours, and I don’t see how you are homeschooling your kids and earning all the money you say you earn. Can you break down your hours for us?

His manager called him “the shy guy.”

My husband’s manager of almost 2 years today introduced him as ‘the shy guy’ in the team to a new senior manager. Anyone who knows my husband would at laugh at this.

The ‘shy guy’ was the only thing the manager could think of about him to introduce him, despite the fact that my husband has recently been involved in many key issue resolution and other projects. A variety of people in the organization interact with my husband, and anyone from his mom to his recent acquaintances would not call him shy.

What can make a manager say this of a person? Would you have any insight?

What companies make the best tools for homeschoolers?

I am developing a niche homeschooling social network. Our goal is to accelerate the advent of homeschooling by connecting students, parents, educators, and traveling families worldwide. What are roadblocks you see to this sort of company? I’d appreciate hearing any advice, concerns, or desired features.

I’m 16. Should I plan to go to college?

I stumbled upon your page because it came as the top result when I googled “random trash colleges”. I google this because one of my classes requires me to sign up for a college. In all honesty I don’t know whether college is the right choice for me, I have a 3.9 GPA and 1300 SAT which is considered good, but I don’t think going to college is worth having the crazy high tuition nowadays. My question to you is, if you have gone to college, was it worth the tuition?

What is the magic that makes people read a blog?

I’ve created a blog, but after 3 years it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. I started it to help others get through some of the tough stuff I went through, and I have interviews as well. But I’m still have no real following. How can I get a bigger following?