Let The Guilt Go

If you’ve read the previous two postings, The Four Horsemen of the Mental Health Apocalypse and Darkly Dwelling Gravy, you’ve gotten the gist of it. Shit hasn’t been good. A combination of depression, anxiety, and unemployment prevented me from enjoying life. As a result, even with all the time in the world on my hands, I couldn’t focus on writing. As someone who didn’t believe in writer’s block previously, I can admit now there may be merit to it. While having an abundance of ideas, I still could not will myself to sit at the computer to write while knowing I should be searching the job boards. I felt guilty for watching television, reading a book, or hanging out with friends. Looking back at it now, it was genuinely unhealthy how much pressure I put onto myself.

After the physical and emotional breakdown of losing my second job in six months, I realized I couldn’t continue navigating through life in the same manner. Something had to give, or I’d continue suffering through the crippling emotional distress.

What it came down to was forgiveness. For months I’d punished myself unfairly for circumstances and situations beyond my control. Losing my job in January was through no fault of my own. Even the company admitted as much offering me a severance package (which no one else ever received at the company) and allowed me to collect unemployment without contesting the claim. I managed the business for close to seven years and was great at it. No one can tell me different.

With regards to the July job loss, the fact of the matter is I was doomed to failure from the start. Their reason for termination didn’t make any sense. Piecing the puzzle together afterward, I realized several telling moments which now jumped out at me. Mainly, the company hired another person and me to fill the same position. What happened, in the end, was they decided to go with the other guy. He was freshly out of college and more than likely the cheaper option with regards to salary and benefits.

Speaking with other supervisors and manager in my brief period of time working there, I realized I was more than likely the highest paid person among their management team. There was also the buzz about the ownership of the company wanting to downsize. In the end, once again, it was through no fault of my own this happened. Dwelling on it and punishing myself for this “failure” wasn’t going to help me moving forward.

During the whole process of searching for another job, I’d often beat myself up over the answers I’d given at interviews. Not in the self-evaluation form for improvement. It was over examination on trivial aspects. Job interviewing isn’t easy. It’s a skill which needs to be practiced and built upon. However, there are situations in which as a candidate, even if you are in the interview, you probably don’t have a chance. The company may already have someone in mind for the position and are merely keeping with the corporate policy to interview outsiders.

Competition is quite fierce out there as well. There are people out there with decades more experience, qualifications, skills, and certifications. There are also other factors like having a connection with someone who already works at the company, being an attractive person with an outgoing personality, or the job interviewer simply likes you better than anyone else they’ve spoken with about the position. There are an infinite amount of reasons why I didn’t get the job, and no one is ever going to tell me why. In the end, there is only one person position to fill the position, and if it isn’t me, I shouldn’t be kicking my own ass over it.

Obsessing over the past and continuously punishing myself over perceived failures. Stacking each one atop the other and carrying the burden like boulders on my back drove me to hopelessness, self-doubt, and depression.

Once I forgave myself and let go of the past, life seemed much more tolerable. While I still applied for jobs on a daily basis, I didn’t entirely obsess over it as much as I did. I allowed myself to enjoy once again watching television and movies, playing video games and killing an hour browsing through Reddit. If I got a call for an interview, I still felt extremely nervous, but none brought about the panic attacks I’d used to get in anticipation. The random bouts of anxiety continued fewer and further in between. Life, in general, got much better once I allowed myself the luxury of relaxing a bit.

As I said before, I finally found employment again. I’m about to complete my first week at the new job, and it seems to be going well so far. I cannot say I still don’t think about how I only lasted a total of three weeks at my previous job. However, I don’t allow it to affect me as much. There are many positives about this new job thus far. It’s much closer to where I live and has reduced my one hour commute to a mere twenty minutes through back roads. No tolls. Only ten miles from home. The pay is higher than both of my previous jobs, and the benefits are excellent. I’m in a much better place now, physically and mentally.

For now, life is better, and I feel like my luck is finally turning around. Over the last few days, I’ve written more words for this blog than in the past six months combined. Writing about my experience has been a step in the right direction toward getting into the habit of writing again as well as being cathartic.

Several folks online have reached out to me with kind words and support. You have no idea how much I appreciate it. Your kind words put a smile on my face and brought happy tears to my eyes.

Thanks for reading this and I promise I’ll get back to writing about scary shit again very soon.

4 thoughts on “Let The Guilt Go

  1. I’ve enjoyed each of your updates as its given me some real insight into self imposed depression. It seems so easy to see when you write it down like this, when it’s really not. I hope therapy or writing this all down helps you through this. I know it has helped me, if for nothing else than some insight & a better understanding of what’s going on in my “crazy” brain, lol!! Thanks & good luck!

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    1. Hey! Thanks for reading! I really appreciate it. Like you said, writing it down makes it seem so easy but even then it’s not because it’s hard to articulate months worth of misery into a few sentences which most likely don’t do it justice. Writing it helped to internalize it in a healthy way and it helps to understand when I’m feeling overwhelmed or anxious.

      And don’t call yourself crazy. That’s one thing I’ve come to understand through this whole process. Don’t feel ashamed or damaged or less than worthy for feeling how you feel. The stigma against mental health is unjust. More and more people are living with mental health issues and society needs to address this just as badly as medical treatment. At least in the U.S.

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  2. Gravy – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again here. I don’t know you IRL, but I’ve known you long enough through r/SSS and the book that I have IMMENSE respect for you. I’m sorry you went through this shitty time, but I’m glad you are emerging (hopefully intact) from the darkness. From your prior post, it sounds like friends and family were helpful (props to Mrs. G!).

    Thanks for sharing your story so publicly and I hope the road continues to wind upward for you and your family.

    I’m here if you ever want to talk, or whatever.

    But…get back to fucking writing stories, willya? You are good and the world needs more good.

    Best,

    Tony

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    1. Thanks Tony! I’m getting back on the writing train slowly. Recovering a part of a lost novel manuscript inspired me to finish the damned thing before I lost it permanently. It’s probably crap but I just want to say I finished a novel and then decide what to do with it later.

      I appreciate all the kind words and working on the book with you and everyone else has been one of the better parts of this year for me.

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