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I did something I've never done before: I put ME first!

Monday, August 27, 2012

The local food cooperative had a board meeting last Wednesday, and things got heated. As in, I was being yelled at, and have been heckled by an angry board member who didn't get his way ever since.

And when I got home from the board meeting Wednesday night, I threw up. At the time, I blamed it on the food and beer I had just consumed at the meeting...maybe they messed up and there was meat in it? Maybe it was too much cheese (I had a veggie wrap with cheese AND cottage cheese, not always the best idea for my digestion). But it didn't go away. My stomach hurt and cramped, and I felt nauseated every time I saw another email from him in my inbox.

These are the exact symptoms I had all the way through March. A urinalysis, blood work, ultrasound, MRI, and HYDA scan (nuclear medicine scan) all revealed that there was nothing physically wrong with me. It was stress literally making me sick to my stomach.

So when I started to have the same symptoms again, I went to talk to my parents and a couple of good friends. I just wanted to get it off my chest. And when my dad started getting offended on my behalf, I started feeling sick again. So I held up a hand, and when he stopped talking I told my parents that I had been down this road in March, and that I was going to put my health first. I told them I was going to go to the board president (who knows all about my health issues) and explain what was happening. And if she can't resolve the drama, if this board member continues to hassle me and cause problems, then I will resign.

I've felt much better since making that decision. Because the truth is, I'm a volunteer. I put in about 20 hours a week because I care about the cause, and I like what I'm doing. And the other board members put in a lot fewer hours than I do, and THAT is another issue. I always have tended to take on too much, because I CARE too much. But it's not worth my health OR my peace of mind.

If the stress gets worse, or even just doesn't go away, I'm done. I'm sorry, board, but I need to be okay! Nothing is worth making myself sick, not work...and not a volunteer commitment.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Take care of yourself emoticon
    2026 days ago
    Dammright girl! Their loss in any case...
    2027 days ago
    Some times it tough taking care of yourself, but I learned the hard way that you have to be good to yourself fefore you can be truely good to anyone else. When I removed myslef from situations that caused me a lot of stress, I greatly decreased the number of headaches I was getting and my blood pressure dropped from around 150/90 to about 130/80 , not bad for my age and family history. So take care of yourself, find ways to remove some of the worst stressers from you life and you will find not only do you feel a lot better, but you wll have a better attitude toward life and feel like doing more things.
    2027 days ago
    Not an easy decision, but it certainly sounds like the right one! WTG!
    2027 days ago
    I hate how some people bully others until they get their own way. You are proof that it's sickening behavior. I know I have no stomach for working this way (pun intended). Good for you for standing up for yourself. There are plenty of other worthy causes out there that would be thrilled to have you as a volunteer. I suspect the other board members will get sick of this person you describe as well, and his days as a bully on that board are numbered.

    2028 days ago
    I'm sorry your life is so stressful right now, but I'm glad you have the strength to speak up for yourself and take the initiative to protect your health.

    2028 days ago
    That sounds like an excellent decision to me! emoticon
    2028 days ago
    That is absolutely the best decision you could make! You sound so much better already! Your health cannot be worth a few hours of volunteering. There are other things you can do that would be worthwhile and time better spent in this case!
    2028 days ago
    Love it! Stand your ground. You're worth it. emoticon
    2028 days ago
    Yay You! I know exactly where you are coming from about 2 years ago I had to do the same thing because of stress from volunteering so much! I am now concentrating on me and my health and I am starting to feel so much better!
    2028 days ago
    Stress DOES make one physically ill. I have also vomited because of stress from unreasonable demands made on me. It kept me from conceiving for nearly a year.

    Once I, in effect, resigned, I felt worlds better and we conceived our daughter within the week.

    You're doing the right thing. Take care of yourself. There are loads of good causes out there that would LOVE to have a hard-working volunteer like you. If this group doesn't appreciate you, find one that does.

    2028 days ago
    I like that you are putting yourself first. emoticon
    2028 days ago
    Ugh, people like that drive me CRAZY. You're a volunteer doing the absolute best you possibly can and putting WAY more into it than angry heckler dude. WTF ever!

    You have to take care of yourself first, and maybe you can find another organization that you believe in to donate time to, one that doesn't think it's reasonable to heckle and stress out wonderful, productive volunteers.


    ut GREAT for you for recognizing this and taking care of yourself like you should!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2028 days ago
    Great job putting your well-being first. You deserve it! emoticon
    2028 days ago
    Good for you!
    2028 days ago
    Very strong of you to put your health first!

    Best wishes!

    2028 days ago
    So sorry you are going through this stress. I think you are making a great decision. I have similarly served on Boards as a volunteer. Most are very good. But in a few, a divisive or attacking member can undermine all the others. Perhaps everyone else can ask the disruptive/aggressive member to step down; or perhaps the Chair can control him. But you are ABSOLUTELY making the right decision. emoticon
    2028 days ago
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