Depression, fox hole, Global Financial Crisis, life lessons, Meditation, PTSD, Service, three times, unemployment, Yoga, yoga teacher training
I’ve temporarily re-entered the world of joblessness and I’ve been waiting for the crash. So much so, that I’ve been hiding out in my fox hole (hat tip, Nadine!) while I wait.
Although I was doing all sorts of yoga and meditation things last Saturday (including, it seems, being all teacher-ish without meaning to – by which I mean people seeking me out to ask me questions – and BOY is that a weird realisation! *more on this in another post*), on Sunday I spent almost the entire day reading in bed. I don’t think it was depression – more, taking advantage of having nothing to do on a VERY wintery and cold day. I didn’t have to be at work the next day so I felt entitled…
Well, sort of. I mean, I think I was possibly just waiting for things to turn ugly, and assumed crash position just in case.
Didn’t do much on Monday except for some yoga, and yesterday did a bit of temp work. There might be more coming next week. Also, had a pre-interview with a recruiter for a job that would be PERFECT for me, as I would be for it. Still… it’s a waiting game with multiple players and no definites. I do feel quite positive however, as though I’ve got a very good shot!
While I’ve had some moments of panic and fear, right now I’m just not in that space. This time around it simply doesn’t feel the same. Or more accurately, I don’t feel the same.
Although I’m without an income and within weeks, will have very little in my bank account (until things turn around!), somehow I’m not immersed in soul-crushing anxiety, panic attacks or the temptation to let my old companion Depression back in. Not just yet anyway.
That’s not to say that the big D hasn’t tried already.
Fortunately for me, I have other people to think about – my yoga students to-be! For whatever reason, I find it easier to be motivated if I’m doing something for others than myself. I know, it’s self-neglect, lack of self-worth etc. Still, it’s kind of helpful for me right now.
Also, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this whole lack of work thing. In the last three years, I’ve now had three episodes of unemployment.
The first was when I quit my job working for a large corporate – somehow my PTSD and my job had become deeply enmeshed. I’d just begun therapy and I also needed to go to Thailand to continue my yoga studies. But my boss was playing hardball about giving me (unpaid!) leave.
So with the confluence of healing and change in my life, it felt like the right thing to do, and I jumped. Which REALLY upset my parents, despite my being old enough to decide what I’m doing with my life (hello, I’m in my 30’s!). Also, only a few friends outside my yoga community understood my actions. But that decision lit the (very healing) fires of change BIG TIME. It was vitally important.
When I came back from Thailand, the economic situation had changed drastically and it was suddenly not that easy to find a job. It took me two months and in the end, I accepted the first job offered to me (never a wise decision unless you’re sure you want it!).
That job was particularly terrible because of the people who worked there and the lies told about the job during the interview. Also, I’d only been there a month or so when a suppressed memory re-emerged and brought my PTSD symptoms back with a fury. I was already looking for another job in March of last year when the Global Financial Crisis caused my employers to make my role redundant. Ba-boom!
There began four months of desperately looking for another job. Any job. But with the GFC, it was hard to find even the odd bit of temp or freelance work. Luckily, I had a decent enough stash of money – thanks to three years of tax returns filed just a day before I learned I no longer had a job. Until I lost my job, I’d intended to use that money to pay off my debts, but that was not to be! *sigh*
Throughout all of this, I was battling my PTSD (and winning, I might add!), coping with a very nasty case of depression (which I eventually freed myself from) AND doing yoga teacher training. How weird is my life?!
Around mid-last year, I finally got some work , and have had two contract roles since then. But the company I’ve been working for is undergoing a merger, with redundancies to be made and all sorts of confusion. There was no room for thinking about re-engaging contractors right now. Which is really a shame because I enjoyed working there very much, and they liked me too.
So – three episodes of unemployment in three years. What’s with that? Especially in conjunction with all the healing work I’ve been doing and my ever-growing love affair with all things yoga. I’ve a few ideas…
First up – I think its part of the path I’m on, whatever my life is changing into. Years ago I remember writing an email to my Guru. I was desperate to know how I could really be of service to other people, but had no idea what that would look like. And I think all of the hardships, the physical and mental health issues, the lack of money and everything else… well, it allows me to empathise with others in a very real way. And I’ve already begun to experience just how powerful that can be when trying to reach someone…
One of the things I learned the first time I was jobless was that who I am as a person has nothing to do with the sort of job I have, how much money I make, or whether I even have a job. Whether I’m a yoga teacher, an accountant, an artist, a hairdresser, a receptionist or a garbage collector – is completely irrelevant. My job doesn’t make me a better or worse person. It is simply unimportant to the essence of what it is to be a human being, and yet so many people rely on their job for self-identification.
I’ve never been particularly attached to owning physical things, nor have I ever been a very consumer-focused type of person. I don’t own a house, a car, much money, many nice things and I kinda like it like that.
And yet, not having anything at all is SCARY. I haven’t been homeless (yet) but I’ve been very near penniless a couple of times now. And being without money makes it very clear how much power we’ve afforded the dollar in our world. It’s become a tool for building on our ego and delusions, and everything that separates us from who we really are. That said, it doesn’t have to be that way and a damn good way to learn that lesson is to have little or no money. 😉
There are more lessons and realisations than this. Lots more, and I’ll write about them soon. For now, I’ll just say what I wrote in an email to Nadine:
Somehow I have the feeling that everything is going to work out. I have no idea how, but just know that it will. Which makes no sense and I might be eating my words in a couple of weeks, but who knows? I have to stay open and just be with how things are. That was my biggest lesson from the hash I made of being unemployed last year. 🙂
Lots of love to you all out there!