Picking back up again. Fighting the pull toward despair and depression.
In my town, there is currently a “Now Hiring” or “Help Wanted” sign in nearly every window. I have been out of work for many years. I thought this summer might be my time to get back out there and prove that I can do it, and feel accomplished, and earn my own means…
It wasn’t always like this. I used to not only hold onto a job, I used to excel. A lot of my value of myself I took from my ability to do things well. Always building up that resume. Always gaining experience and making connections.
Then I had to step away from it all for what I thought would be a temporary phase.
And now, it doesn’t seem like anything I worked to build up, or any of the skills, or any of the school, makes a drop of difference anymore. It all expired.
Or it’s all hidden underneath the blanket of confusion and social awkwardness of someone whose universe turned inside out some years ago and who now walks around with a nervous smile trying to pretend to be normal. If I had several applicants to choose from, I can’t say I’d hire me either.
So I cried today after yet another rejection, on a pile of rejections. And the gravity started pulling to despair.
“You’re never going to get a job again.”
“What can you even do?”
“Nothing with people. It doesn’t matter if you could do it, you can’t handle working with people.”
“That’s everything. You can’t do anything.”
“You’re never going to do anything you can be proud of in your adult life. You failed.”
Little hopeful glimmers try to fight against the despair, pulling for that chance that it all works out… like in a movie when all feels lost but then everything turns out fine because they never give up…
“Maybe these aren’t working out because I’m not meant to go back into the workforce right now. Maybe I’m about to find my true purpose”
“I’ll write a book”
“I’ll make candles”
But these are quickly squashed in the gravity. They are quickly painted as long-term pipe dreams or desperate wishes, seen as having almost no chance of panning out into something worth the time. And certainly not a replacement for an actual job with an immediate income.
Then comes the next phase of the despair.
“Oh look, now you’re wasting the whole day because you’re too sad.”
“Can’t get a job and now you can’t even clean up after yourself. Going to do nothing today?”
“You were already supposed to have all of these things done and you haven’t even started.”
“Another wasted day. Look how absolutely useless you are.”
And so goes the downward spiral.
But I am determined not to be pulled in this time. Usually it is a fight between hopeful dreams and crushing self-loathing. Today a new force enters the field. Let’s see how this goes.
“It’s not a wasted day if we do something toward solving this.”
“We are going to get a job. There are just going to be some steps first. Get rid of the ego. Clean slate here. We need to be objective about this.”
Step 1. Working on a few lists today:
– Skills (that aren’t, by the way, expired)
– Weaknesses (easy to think of while in despair)
– Jobs (the kind we’d get if we could just wave a wand… like what are we shooting for as the life goal)
If emotion starts to take over making these lists, we’ll take that as info and re-adjust the plan. Objectivity fights despair like a star ship captain shouting orders under red alert. The ship is shaking from the blasts. Shields are down. He doesn’t pretend it’s all fine and he doesn’t curl up and give up. He puts a laser focus on what needs to happen right now. What does this ship have to work with right now? We’re using that.
Objectivity to fight despair. It’s new, but I think I might like it.
So those lists are now on my to-do… list. Just that much has quieted the red alert. It’s feeling a little more possible again. We’re going to work on this. There’s a plan. It’s going to be ok.
And when despair inevitably flares up here and there through the process, we’ll take care of it again as we go. Never saw an episode where the star ship captain said, “Klingons again?! But I already fought those! I’m such a failure…” *runs to quarters sobbing*
No no, fought it once, will fight it again. Defeated it once, will defeat it again. And gain experience in the process.
Now to keep these good feelings rolling, let’s get a few easy wins on the chores. Look at that. Today isn’t wasted.Published in