Being unemployed is not good for your mental health. It's obvious, but I typed it anyway. I've been writing these blogs to help me through this tough time, and I am really trying to stay positive. At the same time I want the blogs to remain general enough so that my readers can apply the joy, the pain, and the quandaries to their own circumstances.
So, compared to those people in situations less fortunate than mine, where I am right now may not seem that bad. It's the same application as when I try and guilt my children into finishing their dinner because there are starving children in India who eat rice once a day and drink dirty water. But it's all relative isn't it?
I have been thinking about the expression: "Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off, and Start All Over Again". I think it might have been put through the broken telephone line a few times, but it originally comes from a song released in 1936. Click the link for the Nat King Cole version. Very apt for the great depression. But, in my opinion, a mediocre inspirational line that really requires much more thought.
First of all - it depends on how you fell in the first place. Did you trip? Did someone push you? Did you throw yourself on the ground in a hissy fit? Secondly - where did you fall? The hardwood floors in my apartment are quite dust free. If you fall on a gravel road, well there would be dust, but there would also be hard stones and the likli-hood that you would have to apply an ice-pack to your swollen knee and antibiotic cream and a band-aid to the cuts on your elbows is pretty high. And start all over again - what if you fell when you were lost? You can't start all over again if you didn't know where you were going in the first place. What if you got knocked down and lost your memory? Got a concussion? What if you were beat so bloody your eyes swelled up and you couldn't see where to go?
As dramatic as those images are, my point right now is that every once in a while, it would behoove us to examine the status of our beating, and that continuing on in blind optimism may not always be the best approach. I have been through 5 job interviews with no success; the government keeps messing up my EI payments and I continue to eat into my Dad's credit line; the cat I took on after her owner, the children's paternal great grandfather passed away, all of a sudden starting losing weight, is ill, and now I have vet bills up the yin yang. My son's OCD is in over-drive for whatever reason, my mum's recent heart treatment did not work, and I have had to lower my expectations in the love department. My list. not your list, but a list none-the-less.
I will say "my network" which I still refer to as family and friends, has been very helpful so far. Thank you. An acquaintance of mine recently blogged on how your network is the most valuable asset in your life. However, they can only do so much. They can't get in my head, can they? I have to do this myself. My list may not seem that bad, but this week I just want to walk slower, not wash my hair, stare at the wall, drink lots of wine, eat Nutella out of the jar, wear sweats, and take myself inside. I want my mental bruises to heal before I climb the next stairwell. I might need to leave myself on the ground to do this. The thing is you can pick yourself up, but you have got to be prepared to walk, then run and then jump the hurdles.
My friends and I often refer to these states of mind as "Mexicoma" as per the first Sex and the City Movie. After her fiancee neglects to show up for the wedding, Carrie and her friends decide to go on the honeymoon anyway. For the first part, Carrie holes herself up in the bedroom, in darkness, not eating anything but her thoughts. And nothing her friends could do would take her away from this period of silent anti-everything. The best part was when she did decide to come out of the "mexicoma", her friends were right there to help her.
So - I will get through this but know that I will wallow in my ashes - and not just once. And it will help me more than a fake smile and any "chin-up" punch I or anyone else gives me.
“Which came first, the phoenix or the flame?”
“Hmm . . . What do you think, Harry?” said Luna, looking thoughtful.
“What? Isn’t there just a password?”
“Oh no, you’ve got to answer a question,” said Luna.
“What if you get it wrong?”
“Well, you have to wait for somebody who gets it right,” said Luna. “That way you learn, you see?”
“Yeah . . . Trouble is, we can’t really afford to wait for anyone else, Luna.”
“No, I see what you mean,” said Luna seriously. “Well then, I think the answer is that a circle has no beginning.”
“Well reasoned,” said the voice, and the door swung open.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows