Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Finding the right words

Exasperation would perhaps best describe my state of mind at the moment but really that is not the right word. It isn't enough to say what I feel. I can't be bothered to think of anything better or more eloquent to put in its place though.

The end of last week was a particularly bad time, not for any specific reason, I just felt shit every day. Not physically; emotionally and mentally drained, unwilling and distant. I am not even sure that I was here at the end of last week. Of course, physically I was here but otherwise it felt like I was living on auto-pilot. What prompted this sense of crisis is many things. Mostly that little voice in my head that keeps on and on about how things will never get any better. Everyone says that I should stay positive and that is sound advice. I try; it is becoming harder and harder though. I find disappointment everywhere, I look for positive signs and find them wanting. I also feel a lot of anger at the injustice of where I am. The trouble is I have no direction to vent my anger. I have no one to blame, no one who is culpable, only myself. So I end up dwelling on it, over and over again until it comes to a point when I just shut myself off and drift through the days like I did at the end of last week.

I can't explain what an immense mental effort it was to go my first Open University tutorial last Saturday. It sounds ridiculous and probably is as I only had to walk into Bletchley and it was only for a couple of hours. The night before and on the Saturday morning I kept going through whether I would go or not, running all the possibilities of why I should or shouldn't. More than that, I was running through all my insecurities, all my feelings of doubt and loathing, making it all seem like a Herculean effort rather than the simple task of turning up for a few hours and getting something valuable in terms of learning. On reflection, I wonder why I do it to myself. Why do I put so many of these ridiculous barriers in my way and then view them as being completely insurmountable, when in actual fact there is nothing to fear in the first place?

I am keenly aware of when I am doing this and I know it makes no sense. I am alert to the signs of when I am not coping and I suppose I should stop myself and do something about it. Like the mantra of 'staying positive' the words come easily, doing the same comes much less so.

Where am I now? Well, I feel better than I did. I go through these phases from time to time, there is nothing new in it. This was just a particularly bad experience.

I am immensely frustrated and disappointed that I am still unemployed. Every deadline that I have set myself for getting a job has come and gone. I have only had one interview this year! Is it any wonder that I feel so pissed off? I wish I could say that I am 'keeping positive' but you already know from the above that is a lie. Not that I am completely negative; I have moments, maybe days when I feel that things are finally coming together. Then that feeling passes and I am back to where I am now, wondering if things will ever change. I keep thinking to myself, this wasn't how it was supposed to be. Not that I ever had any grand plan for life although it certainly didn't involve being 32 and unemployed with nothing important achieved.

I keep looking for work although more often than not it feels like I am just going through the motions. All the agencies I have registered with seem unfeasibly positive at first and all have great jobs that will suit me just fine and then the reality strikes and they fail to deliver anything at all. Or they seem incapable of understanding my skills and experience and matching me to jobs that would suit my background, instead offering jobs in sales, which I have no experience of and is always required for these type of roles. I trawl the Internet job sites and the local papers, occassionally a job will appeal that matches my skills and experience but then it is either a case of the salary is too low or it is in some far distant place that would be difficult, if not impossible to get too.

Stay positive? Yeah, right. I've been out of work now for three months and I've had four interviews (and two of those were with the same company)! I can't help thinking that I will never find work. I don't know where I am going from here.


Carla said...

Mark, I'm so sorry you're going through this. To be honest, your situation fills me with dread. I have always, every single day (even when I was teaching and absolutely beeloathed my job) felt grateful for my employment. My fear of being out of work is so great that I tend to drag myself to work when I'm actually ill and my supervisors have to tell me to go home. The longest I have been out of work in my life since I finished university was the six weeks I spent in London looking for a teaching post before I got the job in Nuneaton. Your fortitude is tremendous. You are still going after three months and I know you are not going to give up.

Have you considered going back into the same field you came from? I know you have strong feelings about it, but is it a possibility? As much as I would hate to, I know if I lost my library job, I would probably take a job teaching if forced. Maybe you could get a post as maternity leave cover or a temporary post of some kind, so that you could use your skills but continue your job search for something more agreeable? Maybe you've already considered that. Sorry for making suggestions, it's in our nature as human beings to try to offer solutions when we don't know what to say to make things better. While always well meant, this tendency can be very annoying and sometimes hurtful...

I think the Open Uni classes are a good idea. Have you considered seeking some sort of counselling for depression? The NHS offers counselling and it can be useful. I had some counselling when I first moved here and was feeling a lot of anxiety and depression.

Derek and I would be happy to go to Milton Keynes for a visit if you think it would cheer you up a bit. Just say the word! We might even take some time off and come mid-week!


Morandia said...

staying positive is tough - and the people who usually tell you to do so aren't in a slump, so they don't necessarily get it. I've been there and I do understand. Usually when I get like that, it's time for a drastic change. I move across country or something like that. I think it's the "grass is always greener" syndrome. Actually it does tend to get me out of the slump for at least a while. Come to the US! That would be a change *GRIN*

Hang in there.