Loopy, Lonely and Lost

Posts Tagged ‘job

I’ve had this problem before, more than once. I suppose everything is just a repetition.

This fucking job. My boss is so keen that I apply, keeps asking how the application is going, and I tell him I’m doing it, it’s going well, it just needs tidying up.

Sometimes I type up paragraphs. I read them back and feel sick with the arrogance and lies leaking out of those words. Highlight, and delete. Hope no-one can tell by looking at me what bullshit I’ve been writing. Positive words sit uncomfortably on my shoulders. I feel the need to clarify and negate them. I feel like a liar, even hinting at any sort of competence.

I don’t even feel depressed, not really. I just can’t bear to praise myself, can’t see any good in me. I can’t tell you why I deserve the job because I feel that I’m fundamentally unemployable, lucky to have the job I have, a dead weight. I can’t even tell you why I want the job because I don’t know. It sounds interesting and people tell me I’d be good at it and I suppose there is some indestructible kernel of pride in me that doesn’t want to be seen to be giving up.

My qualifications, my experience, my knowledge – none of it seems relevant. It all just crumbles away. How can I convince them I can do this when I don’t believe I can do anything? I want to advance but I’m fucking terrified of sticking my neck out and saying I want this job, I can do this job, and I can tell you why.

I don’t know how I’m supposed to convince anyone to employ me. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t employ myself. I’m useless. But the alternative to applying for other jobs is to stay where I am, doing what I’m doing, and stagnate. What am I supposed to do?

People say I’m quiet. I don’t know who I am any more, this meek, pathetic thing. I am so afraid – of movement, of staying still, of being completely lost. I don’t know how to cope.

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Plans

Posted on: August 27, 2013

Optimistic Laura

I’m going to move out. I can buy a house, or a flat. I’ve been looking on property websites, and there’s a flat for sale in almost the perfect location for me – a short walk or bike ride from work, close enough to home for me to visit occasionally, for Sunday dinner or DVD marathons, but too far for my mum to walk over and cry on me when she’s annoyed. I can afford it, or something like it. I could buy it, get a mortgage sorted, live at home for a few weeks and go round to decorate and move in furniture, then I could move in and be surrounded by my own peace and silence.

Then I can start studying again. I’ve been looking at Open University courses. I’m interested in so many things, I just want to find stuff out, I want to get new skills and knowledge. Start small, don’t make too big a commitment until I know I’ll be okay with it, but just do something, a few hours a week, to make me feel like my brain is still working, like I really can learn something new every day. I can do other things, too. Maybe relearn the musical instrument I used to play as a child, and join a gym, and learn to cook. Tentatively, I might try writing again, like I used to always want to, although I’ll do it with the knowledge that even if it doesn’t work out, it’s not the end of the world. I might learn a language. I might volunteer for a charity that helps people.

Every day, the not-getting-the-job thing gets easier. I can say it without the stabbed-in-the-heart feeling now. I didn’t really know if I wanted the job, so I can’t be surprised that I wasn’t really considered for it. But the whole incident has shed light on my life. I was right when I said it: everybody needs something. More than one thing is best, in case the one thing falls apart. I want to fill my life with activities, things that make me feel movement and progress. So even if work, or anything else, isn’t going particularly well, I can carry that with the strength I’ll gain by all the other things. I can build skills and knowledge and confidence and independence, and that’s happiness, for me.

I can write a timetable for every day and a budget for every month, and I’ll be happy. I don’t know what job I want to do, I don’t know where my future lies, but you build your future in the present, and that’s what I need to do. In the words of Malcolm Tucker, “life is just a succession of five minuteses”. If each five minutes is the same as the next, and they’re all dull and empty, then that’s my life. I need to stop worrying about the long-term, if I don’t have a plan for it, and focus on making now work.

 

Pessimistic Laura

The perfect opportunity is coming up. I need to take this time to withdraw money from my bank account. Small amounts, consistently, so I can build them up. Once I  go, that’s it. I don’t want to be traced by my card transactions.

I have an old friend, who lives in a different city. I can say I’m staying with her. I haven’t seen her for ages, but I used to go to visit her regularly. My parents don’t even know she’s moved, so I could say I’m going to stay with her in the city she used to live in, to cover the trail further. She wouldn’t have to lie for me, my parents don’t have her number, so they wouldn’t be able to contact her. She wouldn’t have to know. 

I’ll leave it open-ended, say, “a few days”, so they won’t be expecting me back at a particular time. I’ll take a bag and say we’re going to sight-see and have a few drinks and just hang out for a while and catch up. Then I’ll go to the train station, and get on a train in the opposite direction. I’ll head to the coast. My mind is full of sea and horizon and cliffs, and that’s where I want to be. I could stay for a day or two, get my head straight. Breathe fresh air and cushion myself in quiet, and think properly for a moment. I could send a postcard, maybe. Not a note in the traditional sense, just something to let them know where I am. Maybe an apology.

Jumping off a cliff seems a simple way to do it, but there’d be other methods available too, if for some reason that doesn’t work out. I will end it there, or else move on and find somewhere else to do it. No turning back. I want to be in a place where I’m a stranger. Somewhere calm. I will run until I can find it. No-one will mind, no-one will care, because no-one will know me.

 

The awful truth

I’ll probably do neither. Lately, I’ve been believing both of these things, pretty much at the same time. But this is me we’re talking about. I can’t change.

I’ll stay at home, doing nothing, and let my brain rot. Too scared to make my life better, too scared to end it. This is it, this is me – forever.

I wish I had the courage to do one thing or the other.

I was in two minds about whether or not to, but then, in a brief moment of care-free decisiveness, I thought fuck it. If I don’t apply, I’ll always wonder what might have happened.

I should have been able to predict it, really. Read the rest of this entry »

A vacancy has become available at work. A management position. More responsibility, more money, more interesting work. Everybody keeps telling me to apply for it.

I don’t know what to do.

Professionally, I’m probably not going to ever be in a better position. I do a lot of aspects of the job as a part of my current role anyway, and I’m surrounded by people, peers and bosses, who like me and want me to be a manager, so there’s a lot of good will, and I’m confident of a good reference.

But personally…I don’t know if I can do it. The application process. The interview. Sitting there, being asked about my strengths, having to explain my successes (all in the shadow of my fucked-up degree and my wasted opportunities and my empty, useless life). And then, if I don’t get it…I don’t know if I can handle the disappointment. It’s easier, I think, to be the person who everyone thinks should be better paid and have more influence, than to be the person who went for the promotion and failed.

I’m scared to want things. I’m afraid of being honest enough to say, “This is my job”. In my current role, I feel a bit like my brain is atrophying, like there’s nothing to do and nowhere to go and I’ve reached the pinnacle of what I can achieve. But if I apply for this, and don’t get it, I don’t know how I’ll recover. The possibility of doing something else keeps me going now, but what do I do when I’ve eliminated that possibility?

The job itself, I’m not really afraid of. I know that I could do it, even if I find it difficult to put into words why I’m the best person for it. I’m just so fucking scared of daring to want something, and making myself vulnerable. Because I’ll feel like such a dick when it all falls apart.

I get a text from a friend. We’re going for pizza. Want to come?

Simple question. Yes or no. But then I have a massive fucking debate in my head, because I like pizza but I really don’t feel like leaving the house, and obviously no-one will want me there anyway, they’re only asking to be polite, and maybe I should leave the house because my mother’s pissing me off and I’m not working this weekend but I’m not doing anything else either and time is just draining away. I really like this friend, and the other people who are going, but what will they talk about? What if it’s a subject-matter that makes me uncomfortable? What if it’s something I don’t know how to talk about? What if it’s silent and awkward? Maybe I should text back and say I can’t go, but what if they want to know why? I can’t say it’s because I just feel weird and I’m anxious about conversations I can’t predict, that sound stupid. Maybe I should just go? But fuck, I feel like I’ll cry if anyone looks too closely at me. Maybe I should just ignore the text, turn my phone off even, and then next time I see them I’ll pretend I didn’t get it until too late – but I feel uncomfortable about that, too, like they’ll see right through me and know I’m making it up. I start wondering if my friend gets delivery reports.

I agonise for 10, 15 minutes. I can’t go but I don’t know how to say no, and I turn my phone over and over in my hands, not knowing what to say. Eventually I text back, make an excuse about having family stuff to do (nobody knows that my family is fucked, that we don’t do stuff together, that there are few things I wouldn’t rather do than play happy families). I feel sure that my friends feel relieved, and – duty done – can now enjoy an afternoon with the people they actually want to spend time with.

I know it’s stupid. I’m just finding other people difficult right now.

Everyone seems kind of disappointed in me. Everywhere I go, people are telling me that I need to do something different with my life. Some of them have specific plans for me (there’s one person who insists, every time we bump into each other, that I’m born to be a librarian), but mostly they just say that I’m wasting my life and that I need to make plans and move on and do something better. I know they mean it well. They mean it as a compliment. They see me as intelligent, and they want me to succeed. They say, “come on, Laura, what are you going to do?” Whether it’s good friends or acquaintances or people I hardly know (at work, a manager from another department came and spent a couple of hours with me, getting to know what our department does. By the end of that short time, he was trying to inspire me to hope and dream and push forward, trying to work out my aspirations and encourage me to go for them) – everyone wants me to be ambitious.

It’s not that I lack ambition, as such – I like being good at things. But being ambitious involves thinking of the future, and that puts me on shaky ground. Everybody means well, but all I hear when they try to push me is that how I am now isn’t good enough, I’m worthless, stupid, useless. The people in my life see potential in me and they won’t stop talking about it, and it makes me feel like a fraud, like I’ve somehow lied to them or tricked them into thinking things that aren’t true. Their faith in me feels like a burden. People ask me what my plans are, what I’ll do with my life, and I shrug and look lost and stop being able to form sentences. They think they’re being helpful, but they’re not. They’re just reminding me how much I’ve ruined my life.

How can I think of the future? How can I plan or hope? I’m clinging to a sinking ship: whatever I do, I’m fucked, so I’m holding on to the familiar. 

I shut myself in my room. I try to find meaning where I can, but I struggle (I remember when I would listen to music, and memorise the lyrics that touched me. I remember when I would read books, and see myself reflected in certain characters. I remember when things meant something to me, when I could make a connection with something outside my life. It all seems so long ago). I avoid my friends and I avoid my family. I avoid thinking about the future, and the past. I take deep breaths and I lie in the dark and I don’t cry – too tired for that. I don’t even really think about anything. I’m just hyper-aware of time passing and nothing changing and I feel trapped.

(With all the melodrama I feel able to muster,) the only thing I hope for is death.

That’s it. A life, wasted. Even if I had the energy to get out of this, I don’t know what way to go.

Yeah, you read that right. I have a job. I start in three weeks.

It’s not necessarily ideal. Not particularly exciting.

But it seems interesting, challenging but not demoralisingly difficult, and it seems like a happy place to be, full of friendly, laid-back people. And there’s the money, of course – not brilliant, but it’s comfortably above minimum wage, with plenty of potential bonuses. And it seems like something I could do – a job where I could actually cope and learn and have ideas.

And, well, I’m not entirely sure what I want to do with the rest of my life, so I might as well fill the time while I’m deciding doing something that’ll look good on my CV (experience, and training, and proving that I am actually slightly employable). And if I never make a decision, at least I have a job.  Read the rest of this entry »

I’m going through yet another bad patch, sleep-wise. I seem to have a combination of long-term quite-bad insomnia, combined with intermittent very-bad insomnia.

When I try to sleep, I find I can’t stop moving. Last night I turned my computer on and off about ten times – I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew that I had to do something. There’s a little bit of anxiety in there, too. Every time I feel like I’m going to sleep, I feel scared of dying in my sleep. I just keep thinking, what if I don’t wake up? and then I have to get out of bed and tidy my room, as if the least I can do for whoever has to find my body is make sure they don’t trip over things on the floor when they do.

It’s silly, I know. I spend so long wanting to die, and then when I don’t want to die anymore, I’m terrified of dying. And I know there’s no real reason to it, I know that the likelihood of me dying in my sleep is very small, but every time I lie down in my bed, I start to panic. I feel my heart racing and my limbs twitching and I have to stay awake because if I go to sleep, I might not wake up.

So I didn’t sleep at all last night. And then this morning I got out of bed and I had to go to work. It was my first proper day – I know I did a day last week, but that mostly involved just being there, answering questions if need be and giving directions, etc. Today, I was in charge. Standing at the front of a classroom, running activities and holding discussions with a group of 13-14 year-olds. Trying to motivate them, and inform them, and make them enthusiastic. Trying not to cringe when they called me ‘Miss’. Holding little competitions and then calming them down when things got too competitive. Leading them from one place to another and trying not to lose anyone. Trying to be both honest and positive about my time at university, when I’ve spent so much of it in my own little world, despairing.

And they all had to do feedback sheets and I’m really quite worried that they didn’t enjoy themselves, or they didn’t learn anything, or that they realised that it was my first day and a bit shambolic and I was pretty much dead on my feet.

But I did it, and I know I should just be pleased with that. I’m sure the department will get in touch if all the feedback was terrible, and in the mean-time I should just be glad that I got through the day. There was one other person doing the same job I was doing today, in a different room, and he’s pretty much an expert, having done it loads of times before, and he was asking me how I felt about it…if I was nervous, if I felt I could handle the kids, and afterwards, if I’d been put off the job entirely. But I felt none of that. I suppose that, if there’s one thing depression’s good for (and that’s a big ‘if’), it’s, in its absence, making a lot of other things seem not at all daunting. Compared to some of the time I’ve spent in my own head lately, a roomful of distractible Year 9s and their rather disinterested teacher is nothing.

My course co-ordinator got back to me. I have an extra week to do my coursework, but if I need any more extensions in the future then I’ll have to provide more up-to-date evidence. So, after Christmas, I’ll have to go to the doctor. Or the counsellor. Or just anyone, really, who can back me up that all this shit is really going on. Because I don’t want to get to the end of next term and realise that I can’t do my work but that I can’t get any extra time to do it in.


Hello

My name is Laura. I was once told that I have cyclothymia. This blog is mostly where I write about living as a person with extremes and instability of mood, and the history of a life that led to the development of those symptoms.

I complain a lot, I'm very repetitive, unreliable, and I tend to contradict myself.

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