Losing my job brought up many strong feelings—fear, uncertainty, depression… Here’s how I learned to cope with them.
I was laid off from a job I loved in December. I started looking for a new employment opportunity right away. I did the usual things like freshen up my résumé, look for jobs, and meet with recruiters when they contacted me. But I started having all these different emotions and mixed feelings about not having a job, being unemployed. I was scared, lost, and depressed. I had to figure out how to cope with fear, uncertainty, and despair. Here is how I dealt with these emotions and overcame them.
I was scared—or maybe terrified is a better word to describe what I was feeling….
I was afraid of having no income going into the bank account on a biweekly basis anymore.
I was terrified that I wouldn’t find a job in time, and as the bills became due, the bank account would start shrinking.
I was scared because I wanted to find the “perfect” job.
Dealing with this fear
was so difficult; I didn’t want to experience an episode. That would have made
it worse. But my inner circle of friends and my partner were able to help me
deal with feeling this way.
They all reassured me that everything would be okay—I was well educated and had great experience, so there was no reason to feel scared, they told me. These words of encouragement helped me to overcome my sense of terror because I trusted them, and because, deep down, I knew they were right.
Feeling Lost and Unsure of Myself
My old routine was to get up at 5:40 every workday, make coffee, and get ready for work. I usually worked until 5:00 p.m. or until the work was completed. I am one of those people who always worked more than the standard 40 hours per week. I would go in early and stay late. I would push myself to a breaking point. I’ve done this with all my jobs. Waking up and having nothing to do and nowhere I needed to be was so unfamiliar and uncomfortable. I felt like I lost my identity when I lost my routine.
I decided after about
a week of just being lost that I would create my own routine until I found
another job. Each morning, I got up at a reasonable time, drank my coffee, and
got dressed. And not just in my favorite old t-shirt and a pair of old jeans. I
put on clothes I hadn’t worn in a while, or a cute outfit, and I would do my
makeup. I did this even if I had nowhere to go. This routine I created made me
feel like I was ready for the day. Then, in time, the sense of feeling lost
Depressed but Not in a Depressive Episode
I felt so depressed …
but it wasn’t depression. I was sad that I lost my job. I was sad that I
wouldn’t see one of my best friends every day at work. I was sad that I didn’t
know what the future would hold for me. And I was sad because I was sad.
This all led to feeling depressed. What was I going to do with my day? I honestly had only one thought: look for another job. I did start, and I applied to jobs that I felt qualified for, but you can only do that for so long before jobs start repeating themselves; and, honestly, I got bored after an hour or so of searching. I did this every day, and it just kind of sucked. I was bored, and it did nothing with the depressed state of mind I was experiencing.
So, I spoke to my wonderful and supportive partner, who suggested I start doing other things around the house. Simple things like washing the dishes in the sink and making the bed. These little tasks gave me the motivation I needed to try other, larger activities. Like clean the house, do laundry, go to the movies with my mom, and go have lunch with friends. This also led me to tackle larger projects around the house that I had been putting off—taking down a wood fence, decluttering the house, and so on. Building up from small steps, I worked toward larger goals. Then I felt like I had a purpose and something to look forward to. My spirits were uplifted, and I felt accomplished.
These emotions didn’t
go away overnight, and these words of wisdom and routines took time and effort.
I wasn’t perfect at them each and every day. There were days when I took off
the pajamas I had worn the night before, then put on clean pajamas and watched Dr.
Phil all day!
The point is, I was able to get a hold on my emotions and eventually enjoyed having a break from work. I was out of work for two months, and these emotions were a roller coaster. But I am happy to have the support of my friends, family, and loving partner. I am also pleased to report I did find a job, and I am working again. I’m grateful for that and for the lessons I learned while between jobs.
Jessica Taylor lives in the Tampa Bay area. She has an MBA from Western Governors University and a BS in accounting from the University of South Florida. She was diagnosed with bipolar II in 2016, at age 35. She has been with the love of her life for almost two decades. A corporate accountant who found her passion for this career in 2004, Jessica is also an avid outdoorsman. She loves Jesus and spending time with her family. Her hope is to shine a light on living with bipolar from what she has learned.
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