Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Focus on My Mental Health - pt. 17 - Small Steps

     Shortly after I posted my last entry I received an email about a phone interview.  I wasn't quite sure what to make of it as it was the very first place I sent my resume to back in April, but it's also the last place that appears to still be hiring as the majority of the jobs I applied to have since been taken down.  I scheduled the appointment for this afternoon, the first opening I could get.
     Maybe it's my anxiety (I'm sure a large part of it) but I immediately felt they were pitying me, or perhaps humoring my friend who had told her boss about me multiple times until he finally said he'd look at my resume.  A week later I finally got the phone interview.  I was nervous the entire night after getting it scheduled, slept better the next day but was exhausted this morning.
     I hate having to schedule a meeting for the afternoon because it made the morning completely worthless to me (well, not completely, I did get some painting done which of course is now my side job) and when the time came for it, I had my notes in front of me, both phones (because I couldn't remember which number I'd given them) and finally had the first interview with the third place I'd actually heard back from.
     And after the half hour was over, I can't honestly tell you how it went.  Unlike my first place, I didn't hear back from them this evening for a face-to-face, but it is getting onto the 4th of July holiday, and he did mention I probably wouldn't hear right away... but it was how he reacted to every single answer I gave.  The canned response, over and over, "I love that answer... that's a great response..."  It felt (and it's possible he's not good at interviewing and it's also possible he wasn't actually listening, but I hope the typing on the other end was making notes and not responding to something completely different) sort of like I wasn't getting anywhere.

     Is it anxiety or depression that makes me feel this way? Am I just projecting these imaginations on these interviews?  Or am I right on the money?  I can harken back to the first interview back in April and how hopeful I was in almost getting that job, but I'd barely been looking for a few weeks, surely there would be a better option soon enough?  But then nothing for so long now until the second interview and I thought that had gone well enough too...but then that job didn't turn out either.  Now I'm on interview three and I just don't know.

     So, I'm taking little steps.  At least there's one last little light of hope, but depending on the next few weeks I'll probably have to start the process all over again.

    To address another thing in my life that I'm dealing with anxiety about is my painting crafting table.  It's a website too and I was hoping that by sharing it online on a regular basis I might get someone interested in something and buy something or anything actually... It's like when I was going to get married and everyone was so excited and promised they'd come celebrate with me and then we set up this huge party for all of these people...and no one showed.  So, it's like I'm setting up this big old party and I'm the only one celebrating.

     It's hard not to feel rejected isn't it?

     I keep trying to remind myself that a lot of my stock is related to Christmas and people just don't buy stuff until it gets, crossing my fingers?  I also had a failure this week with getting things up on Google (which mildly sucks after it seemed like things were going to work only to have them dragged down all of a sudden) but I'll keep trudging on.  I don't have the fan base that I used to have with some of my artwork.  Now I'm starting nearly from scratch.

     Then a bit of a blow to my feminism today.  So, obviously we're closely approaching the end of month three without a job, and I've been doing okay paying my own bills and helping with groceries and things with my savings.  That's why my savings exist - why I've pushed so hard over the years to have so much of it built up - forgoing vacations and fancy clothes or expensive trinkets (I have a lot of trinkets but they're usually less than $40 and I spend very little on things for myself) - so except when we go out to eat dinner, I don't expect my husband to buy anything for me.
     But then tonight at the craft store he whipped out his credit card and paid for my purchase.  I just didn't know what to do because I don't expect that of him, and I'm sure he didn't mean anything of it, but it was my purchase, for things I'm going to use... so it just felt like a bit of a punch in the gut.

     I'm making steps.  They're very small, but I'm trudging on.  I don't know what I'm doing since I have so much time booked up with other things - which I guess is good to keep me busy, but it's weird to feel so busy and not actually have a job that's keeping me busy.

    I just need to keep keeping on.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Focus on My Mental Health - pt. 16 - Finding More Purposes

    Skip forward a bit over a week from the last time I wrote here about my mental health, and I'm still having dreams about my old job.  I dream that I go in and am asked to help, to put something right again, and I do so very willingly as I'm needed, and it's about halfway through the dream that I realize, or rather, remember, that I no longer have that job and I just put it down and walk away.  Or sometimes I give the task to someone else (rather in a managerial way) and even in my dream I have to remind myself that I no longer have this job.  My purpose for so many years has gone, and I feel like I have no purpose.
     But, I shove on, and I put out those applications and I waited my turn for another purpose to come, because, maybe everyone has more than one purpose on this world.  God can't just give us a single purpose, He is too great for that, right?  I can't imagine making us in His image means that He gives us only a single purpose.  Some it's to work, be a wife/husband, mother/father, sister/brother, daughter/son, etc, and maybe for others it's to become famous or be a role-model or politician, or lawyer or judge or priest or some other thing.  And maybe you fulfil your purpose and maybe you screw it over royally but never know until you're standing at one of the gates (pearly or firey) and realize that you did good or fucked up.  But, you really don't know until that time, and if the people who don't believe in those things don't go anywhere, then I guess you'll never know because there's no heaven or hell waiting for you on the other side.  But it is what it is.
     So, me thinking about the depths of how many purposes I actually might have, leads me to think that Insurance is probably not one of them.  I applied to the first place and it just didn't fit with me, and then I applied with another (who, I'm told, I may still be under consideration with, even two months later, although it's rather hard to believe at this point), and then yet another (the one I told you about with the phone interview) I got a rather blunt letter saying that they had filled the position with someone else and that I didn't have what they were looking for.  'Nuff said, end of story, don't bother to apply for a different position.
     Trust me, it hurt.  But then I realized that just like I said last time, I didn't really want to work there and I guess Insurance really isn't my thang.

     But, what then, is my purpose?  I can go back to the very beginning, back to when I first could write, and I felt my purpose was to share the magic of unicorns and awesome stories and drawings with people.  My third grade self felt her purpose was to write books about unicorns and dragons and even though she had completely ripped off a story she had read to make this book her own (well, she did change a few things to make it unique, so it was her story now, right?) and Miss Williams was still the best 3rd Grade teacher a girl could ever have, encouraging her to write and then perhaps bring back stories to her younger students years later (and she did) to teach others about drawing and writing.

     That writing purpose was still strong when the 13 year old me learned how to type (slowly) on a typewriter she borrowed from her aunt in order to start her very first novel.  She wouldn't finish it until she became 17 year old me, but she plugged along at it for a very long time.  And not only that, wrote a bunch of other stories as well, and learned how to draw and paint, and painting was a really awesome thing.  And she painted on walls and she painted on doors and inside her closet and she painted on wood things and later on canvases, but she liked to paint, and her mom bought her ceramic things to paint and she got to paint at school and so painting and writing became her purpose.

     College me felt her hoped for purpose to write would actually mean being an author, but that didn't work out so well.  But college me also met a bunch of friends who taught her how to play games and paint miniatures and that was pretty cool for college me, so I worked really hard to paint up an army to use at my very first Origins and my friends and I never did play in a tournament, but we did play games together until they all moved away or stopped going to college together.

     After-College me learned to really like artwork and learned how to work retail and it was pretty cool, even if it was boring so she thought that maybe retail merchandising was my purpose.  Especially in art type situations and she still wrote and tried to re-write that book that she had finished at 17, but only got in a few chapters.  But she liked the retail world and really wanted to get into the framing world too because she liked being around art so much that she eventually got a job doing just that.

     Twenty-two year old me's purpose was to custom frame, but also draw manga, and paint.  Lots of painting was in order as she did a mural at the store and still painted at home and gave away paintings to her friends, and it was a lot of fun.  My purpose at that time was to make other's happy with her drawings and paintings and manga, and also, to a lesser extent, writing, because she had discovered fanfiction and had been writing that since her college years and it really made her friends happy when she wrote for them.
     But that was also around the time that she realized that might be the only reason her friends liked her and each time she would stop writing for her friends, those friends would go away.  And those friends would eventually disappear, every single time she stopped writing for them, and that made her sad on multiple occasions because it just kept happening... first with Highlander, and then with Trigun.

     Twenty-something me realized maybe her purpose might be as a wife, so when she married and settled down, she tried to be the best home-maker she could and budget-savvy and saved and scrimped at the retail job which wasn't as fun, but she still liked the framing purpose because that certainly seemed to make people happy.  And she wished she had never attempted to find a management purpose because that did not make her happy, and as she got older she wondered if maybe her purpose wasn't that at all but people kept telling her that maybe it was her purpose.

     Thirty-something me felt that everyone who told her that her purpose would be to run a store was full of bullshit and was miserable for literally years.  She couldn't make friends as a manager, couldn't write as a manager (she'll admit, she still felt her writing purpose was there since her manager used to leave her alone in the frame shop and she wrote things regularly when they had forgotten her) and couldn't really do much of anything except work and sleep and be a wife (and cat mom) and that was slowly taking the life out of her.  So...maybe the manager thing wasn't a good purpose?  But she knew that she did serve a purpose because people liked her and she knew the job and she was a good manager even if the woman above her made her purpose seem drab and worthless.

     But then thirty-eight something me discovered stories again.  She discovered painting again.  She discovered, of all things, Dungeons & Dragons, and then allowed her to be creative again.  It brought her friends again (to hell with that saying "managers shouldn't make friends with their staff") and she started writing and creating and painting those miniatures she'd felt her purpose had been as a college-her and she was still a wife, and she felt like all of those things were coming together nicely.

     She still....rather, I still, worry about my purpose as a dungeon master and whether or not I'll still be friends with these people if I ever stop my story, but it makes them happy and it makes me happy, and I'm a very big fan of being happy.  I know my few purposes at the moment are:
  • Painter
  • Writer
  • Dungeon Master
  • Friend
  • Wife
  • Cat-Mom
  • Daughter
  • Sister, Cousin, Niece
  • ????
     The problem that I have now, as I try to fulfill all of these purposes in my life, is to see if there's actually another one out there.  I used to think so before I was fired.  I used to think I'd be in retail my entire life and that would have been fine with me, but I don't think management was my purpose, and I think that's the reason I've always had such a tough time of it.  (Come to think of it, my first boss took months to promote me to assistant, dithering over a couple of us, and my last one did the exact same damn thing...which basically sums up my entire life with those two jobs, honestly.)  And this Insurance thing I keep trying to get into (come on, who doesn't want a 9-5 job with weekends off?) just doesn't seem to be working either.
     So am I just trying too hard to find the missing purpose?  Am I searching for something that just isn't there?  I really wish I lived in another country where healthcare actually helped people rather than hurting them, because I think all of those purposes above would be a lot less worrisome, not having to think about the fact that my birth control runs out in three months and if I don't get back on it I have no idea what might happen.  I'm 40-something me now and I really don't want to add "Mom" to the purpose list because it's hard enough being a cat-mom.

     I have a lot of thinking to do, a lot of painting, a lot of writing, and a lot of praying and working to do to find this last purpose.  And maybe it's not my very last purpose, I'm sure there will always be more.  But, as you can tell, the writing and the painting thing seem to be at least two purposes that are probably always going to stick.  So besides making people happy with them (and myself) on a rather small scale, is there a way to make these on a large scale where I can make life work for me?  I don't know.... but until another purpose rears its head, I guess that's all I've got.

     And maybe being one or two less purposes for awhile isn't such a bad thing.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Focus on My Mental Health - pt. 15 - Missing Purpose

     I changed the title of this series to "Focus on My Mental Health" as it doesn't really touch on mental health in general, but my own personal journey as I have gone from being a miserable human being in a job that was destroying my mental health - to a human being that is miserable from the inability to find a job that can bring me back to a healthy mental state once again.  I've been still doing the job of working on my stock for my craft booth, and now too my website, but the fact that I haven't actually sold anything means it's not an actual job yet.  If I had a following before this point, if someone had seen my paintings all of these years ago and said "you should sell these" and then started throwing money at me, maybe I could have already sold stuff by now.  So, it feels rather hollow, even though I had promised myself that I was merely starting on stocking the table first.

     My mental state is fairly low today, just as it has been since this last week.  I started off in this place of "I don't really want to get a job here, but I'll do it so I can have a job and maybe I'll like it eventually" a week ago today.  I'd just had a telephone interview that sounded really positive, except for a couple little hints that were dropped that sounded to me at the time like maybe I wouldn't hear right away because someone was out of the office.  But I was assured I'd hear by the end of the week.
     But I didn't hear by the end of the week.  And if I were in a better place, I think I would have called or emailed and said, "hey, what's the verdict?"  But when I start to open up that email to do so, I start to get anxious and remember that I really didn't want to work there.  I balance back and forth between feeling depressed that yet another job doesn't want me, but also feeling like it gives me a chance to find the right job.

     I know it's only been two months, but it feels like it's been so much longer.


    Took a quick break from writing and switched over to some more crafting instead.  To be completely honest with myself, and with whomever is actually reading this (the one or two people I notice have "viewed" this site from time to time) - I was really excited about my "business" when I started it a few weeks ago.  I've started pouring my time and effort into creating a profile, a website, an email address, a facebook page, and a store.  I started getting people interested in it, started getting likes and follows.  I started to get interest in things and that was pretty exciting for me.
     Then I got a "review" which was basically to say "copied but cute things" (to paraphrase) and even though someone was nice enough to recommend my page to someone else, the way they did it was kind of discouraging.  I pressed forward, told myself, that yes they are a bit "copied" but only in that when it starts getting harder to find things like it from China for this cheap (what with the tariffs) people will start buying things from me... right?  And maybe the kitschy retro stuff will be popular?
     But the review has stuck with me, and I guess in a way that's started to push me to start doing other unique things or at least learning new painting techniques.  But in the back of my mind I keep thinking "why would anyone want to buy something from me?  What makes these things unique?"

My answer is - they aren't.  There isn't a reason.  That's why they haven't bought anything yet.

     So, that's the reason why I'm depressed about this business endeavor.  But it's all I've got.  I keep telling myself that I need to work on my job applications, update my resume, do something to get a new job.  But then I pull up those job listings and tears spring to my eyes and this crushing anxiety just hits me.  I stare at the screen, I scroll the listings for a minute, then I close the browser because I can't look at it anymore.
     And I get these emails from the state because I had applied for unemployment, but I haven't gotten a dime and have absolutely no idea if I'm even going to get anything, so it feels rather worthless to be filling out the paperwork for no reason.

     If I had any leads at all, then maybe I'd feel better.  But instead, I sit here with no purpose, wondering why I'm here.  I'm miserable as the stupid neighbors bounce balls non-stop, drive stupid mini-bikes up and down the block for HOURS and I can't work in my garden because I can't have any fucking peace and quiet here.
      And I can't leave because I have no jobs to get away from it.

I just want to cry.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Focus on My Mental Health - pt. 14 - An Hour to Forty

     I have just a little over an hour before the day of my fortieth birthday.  Officially it was around 7:35pm, so I guess I have over twelve hours before I would be "officially" forty years old, but it doesn't really matter.  What matters is that in an hour and a few minutes, it will be June 8.  I will be a whole year older, and I'm just that bit further away from where I thought I'd be at this age.
     Not only have I reached this milestone, I also feel more worthless than ever this evening. I woke up feeling fairly good, got going and made some awesome blueberry pancakes, coffee, and then watched my email inbox.
     I had a phone interview on Monday morning.  She said, "you will definitely hear from us by the end of the week to set up an in-person interview...after I review it with the right people."  My friend who also interviewed for this company had heard back from them to set up an in-person interview within a day, and a week later she had the interview and a day later, a job.  I have heard absolutely nothing.  Four days, not a thing.
     What is wrong with me?  I thought I did a good job, sure, I didn't ask a ton of questions because I really thought that maybe they'd be honest with me and say, 'oh you aren't what we're looking for in this particular job but if you want to apply for another one....'  But not even that.  I feel worthless.  I feel like everything that I've done up until this point has lead up to this fortieth year and I have absolutely nothing to show for it.
     I don't have the ambition to go for another management job and even if I were to get one I think it would slowly kill my soul.  And apparently I can't find a job in another field, even a stinkin' part time one - and now I'm blaming myself for not doing my second round of interviews at the first place because I feel like that bridge is gone and why did I do that?  Why didn't I just take the damn job in the first place?  Why did I think I was better than $12/hr and having to deal with paying for parking forever??
     And no, I haven't been able to get unemployment and no one has bothered to notify me why - or even just a "nope, you can't get it, sorry."  NOPE.  Not a word.  Not a word from anyone.

     My mom is here this weekend and I slogged through the zoo thinking that maybe that would be enjoyable but because we had like three and a half hours we couldn't do it slowly and we didn't get to see everything and I really couldn't afford it, but we went anyway.

      And for a few minutes here and there I was happy.  I love the flying foxes...  Don't you just want to boop that snoot?  These things, without me realizing it, were what inspired the whatchers of my childhood.  Back when I was thirteen and having a hard time in my life, I had a lot of friends but I was also miserable when they were away - I think I realize now that while they were with me I felt good because I wasn't inside my own head, but when they left I was back there with a vengeance and life now is sort of the same in that regard - I came up with this invisible friend "Blacky" and he was basically a flying black fox except my critters had slightly exaggerated ears and a long fluffy fox tail too.  But, anyway, for those bits of time at the zoo yesterday when I took these photos, I realized that I was at piece, and I probably could have spent all of my time there just watching them.
     But then I was also miserable because I realized I hadn't received any messages and I'm just getting my business going and haven't sold anything (but I feel I need to get a lot more made and need to do more and that wasn't happening while I was wandering the zoo, so of course that made me feel worse).  And also no one was asking me a damn thing about the interview - had I heard anything?  What was I feeling about all of this?  No one had asked how I was holding up.  Now, a different friend had asked but honestly, I got no response at all back, so it was like...I guess, why ask at all if you don't feel like responding?  Some times all you want is a kind reply, some kind of recognition that you're going through a real hard time in your life and yes, we understand, it sucks.
     We got back from the zoo and I was miserable listening to the rotten children next door bouncing basketballs all night long.  I just wanted to go strangle them, but before 11:30 they were finally done.  But then I thought I'd make an online purchase to cheer me up but that only made me feel more miserable too because I have no money coming in and suddenly my entire life it dependent upon someone else and slowly my savings is starting to dwindle because of some damn woman wanting to 'set an example' with me or some stupid thing and I'm just sad all the time now because I don't know whether I should be putting all of my focus on this new project I'm doing or whether it's completely a fool's errand and I'm just going to drown myself in it.

     So, here I am, less then 45 minutes away from my birthday and realizing that all of the other years I've had these big plans for my birthday, but I'm also kind of stuck with only doing things that my mom can manage because the zoo nearly dropped her a few times and we were only walking for a few hours!  So my idea of going down to Hocking Hills is off, it was bad the last time we took her but it would be worse now if she was huffing after only a half hour at the zoo...and resting every fifteen minutes after that.  I really feel like I can't afford to do anything else and feel guilty even asking...  In the past we've done all sorts of things and every year I want to go somewhere I've never been before and see something I've never seen to make my birthday a remarkable one, one that I would remember.
     But this year it feels fake and sad.  And I was really waiting to get that email saying "here, schedule your in-person interview next week" but didn't get that so after waiting with anticipation and knowing I won't get anything the next two days, and oh yeah, my other plans for the weekend have already fallen through...I just feel lost.

     I tried to make up for some of it tonight by a really awesome D&D game and a pizza party and DQ ice cream cake too...but that somehow just felt off too, but probably because most of the day was a lot of hurry up and wait and I had that shadow of an interview that just won't be over me.  And no one asked...  So it feels like I'm suffering by myself.
     Then my husband found out my cat has been peeing on things in the basement again and it was probably a combination of him and I moving things so may have destroyed hundreds of dollars of items and I'm staying up to wait for the washer to finish in hopes that we can save the bags they came in... which will hopefully salvage it all... But he's miserable and found it in the middle of the game and I couldn't drop everything I was doing because there were a bunch of people over.  So he was distracted and I was distracted and trying to help because I feel miserable like it was my fault but also just wish I could get rid of this cat that every time we leave alone for awhile we start to feel bad for him but then he makes us get angry again too.

     I don't know what to do.  I think the kids have finally stopped dribbling the basketballs.  The washer sounds like it may be on its last spin or so.  I have a half hour left.  I wish I had an answer to all of this.  I wish I could say that I could just put on a happy face and move on.  I also wish I knew if I really had to apply for jobs twice a week for unemployment because it certainly doesn't feel like I'm doing any of it for anything...  THEY screwed ME over.  I didn't do anything on purpose - I worked there for 16 years!!  And now in almost two full months now I can't find a job, can't get on unemployment, and I just don't know what to do.  And here I am... 40 (or rather almost) and I feel like a lost teenager leaving High School back in 1997 with no plans for the future, no job, no colleges lined up because I have no goals in life...and I just want to make things better again.  I want them all to go back to the way they were when everything was RIGHT.  And nothing's right.

Why isn't anything right?


I really need to sleep...