At this time last year, I was beginning to break down into what would turn out to be a three-month long manic episode with psychosis, and I was about two weeks away from my first of three psychiatric hospitalizations. I had just been fired, my father was really sick, and it was my birthday. I’ll never forget it, although I wish that I could.
I’ve spent the past year trying to recover my mental health. First and foremost was accepting the love and support from my family, without whom I probably wouldn’t be here today. Second was working with a psychiatrist to try and achieve stability through medication. And third was looking for a new job.
It hasn’t been easy trying to find the right medication. I’m still working with my doctor on this one. Most of them take a few weeks until you notice anything, and unfortunately many cause some pretty unpleasant side effects.
What has been even harder for me than dealing with the medication has been enduring long-term unemployment. Considering I’d been out of work for a year, I was sinking pretty damn low. Even people who don’t have mental illness tend to get depressed when out of work for a long period of time; in fact, those unemployed for half a year or more are more than three times as likely to suffer from depression as those who are employed (The Mental Health Consequences of Unemployment).
I spent every single day sending out resumes and cover letters. Most of the time I wouldn’t hear anything back, which was pretty disheartening. Even worse was getting an interview only to be told I didn’t actually get the job. The more time that went by, the less chance I thought I had of ever finding work again. Everyone knows a gap on the resume doesn’t look good, no matter the reason.
My days became long and unbearable. When you’re out of work, there’s only so much you can do to fill up your day. The boredom, the anxiety, and the depression all took an enormous toll on my psyche. It was all I could do to muster the strength to feign confidence in interviews; I was smiling and I was lying, but I forced myself to do it anyway. I had no choice.
I recently went on one of those marathon interviews where you meet with several people over the course of a few hours. I didn’t think I had any chance at getting this job; it was a great company, the people were incredibly nice, and it was downtown where I wanted to be. I walked away from it forcing myself not to get my hopes up, because I was so used to the misery of rejection.
About a week later I got the call – I GOT THE JOB! I couldn’t believe my luck. After an entire year of being unemployed, I finally have a job. And not just a job, but a really good one. I started last week and everything has been great so far.
In addition to putting in the work, never giving up hope, and having an incredibly supportive family, I also prayed for help every single day. Those prayers have been answered, and I am utterly grateful.
So that’s my update. I hadn’t written for awhile because I was so depressed I simply had nothing to say. Things are finally starting to look up. And I don’t want to sound trite, but I suppose the moral of this story is never lose hope. No matter how long it takes, things will get better.
Oh yeah, and next month I’ll be celebrating six years sober. 🎉