My Biggest Critic

 
(Images not mine, found on Google)

These gifs were from an episode I saw of Maron, a show about self proclaimed asshole and pod cast host Marc Maron. This exchange made me laugh when I saw it, so you can see there’s a little bit of ‘dark’ humor. I enjoyed this bit mostly because it’s exactly how I’ve felt at times throughout my life.

I’ve dealt with insecurity, doubt, anxiety, depression, throughout my life but with each encounter being different. In middle school and high school I experienced many high and lows as I navigated through my adolescence: puberty, hormones, pre teen girls being mean to each other, teenagers being general assholes to each other, BOYS, (because what else do teen girls obsess over?!? its the hormones…) and not feeling like I fit in at home or at school. Just a loner in life.

Depression came in the form of being very emotional and feeling that life was so hard when in reality it wasn’t. The emotions ranged from the sadness of why do I have to be different to self loathing. They tried teaching us in middle school to “Just be yourself” but that logic seemed impossible. I just didn’t know how to be myself when I felt attacked for doing just so. Insecurity would tell me “You are weird and no one will like you” or “you are pathetic because you don’t have friends!” A couple of times in middle school I would hide in the girls bathroom at lunch because I had no one to sit with after a group of so called ‘friends’ began to bully me with notes, destroying my locker or shoving me into it. I eventually moved into adulthood and out of my teenage angst and the extension of teenage angst you get in college and after graduation. When wondering if you just wasted four years and will end up working a minimal paying job for the rest of your life. I was lucky and got an entry level job a year after graduating so life seemed to be go in the right direction.

Three months before I turned 25, while working at said entry level job (my first) I became one of five employees whom were laid off due to budget cuts that year. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to live through, like the rug just got pulled out from underneath me. The two months that followed as I job searched, I felt my mental health slowly began to deteriorate. I didn’t feel as emotional as I did as a teenager but some feelings of sadness were present as I mostly felt worthless. When you have no job to get up for in morning you begin to wonder what your purpose in life is? Why am I here if I’m not doing anything? The insecurity kicks in and you think, “I am not enough”. After three months of not working, I finally was able to get hired for a part time job at the local Pizza Hut (when it was still open). I was still considered ‘unemployed’ as I worked there and continued to find something full time. I had less than a year before I turned 26 and would be kicked off my Mom’s health insurance. Working at Pizza Hut, though it was a job, you got to see the true attitudes of people, including the ones still at the organization who laid you off. I felt very looked down upon, like I was nothing. Whenever I had to serve people from my old job, I had to smile and be polite even when they treated me like like I was below them. It was so hard not to tell them, “You could be me right now!”. That year of being unemployed and going through part time jobs before I finally found a full time position one year after the layoff was one my low points in life. I felt worthless and just dead weight as I worked to bring in money to support myself in my apartment. The insecurity went hand in hand with the doubt and uncertainty if I was going to be good enough to work full time again.

Fast forward five years later to me in present day. I have learned that depression can come in a new form I haven’t ever experienced before: with no emotions at all. I have been at my job for over two years, I was very happy to get hired when I did and things were going great. No job is perfect and I’ve had my bad days but they always ended and I carried on by just coming to work and doing my work. When my boss was placed on military leave coming up on two years ago, it hasn’t been the same since. We were appointed an interim director a year ago and thing have been going downhill since then. He truly is the worst I have ever had. It wasn’t until early this year when I realized I could be mentally depressed. I have flash backs to the year I went through a layoff and my anxiety is flaring up as I fear for the worst even when it may not come.

In our culture when we meet someone, one of the first questions asked is, “So what do you do for a living?” What we do defines who we are essentially. Or our worth is tied to what we do for a living. With the changes our new boss is making, the daily works and tasks are being shifted and when I come into work now I feel like there is no point to me being here. Each day gets harder to get out of bed when I feel worthless and no point to me doing what I do. Insecurity pops its head in and I begin to think “I’m not enough” or “I’m not smart or talented enough to do anything worthwhile”. The most frustrating aspect of all of this is I don’t want to leave my organization where I work: I love it and feel like I belong. I want to retire from here someday like everyone I see recognized at our annual employee dinner. I want to be one of those that have done 30-35 years here. It’s a struggle because I feel like I could just not show up to work and it wouldn’t really matter because after the organizational changes, there is no point to me being here anymore. I feel numb and emotionless throughout my work week and it continues to increase with every passing day as there’s no hope of any other openings in another department. My insecurity and lack of confidence will jeopardize my changes of passing an interview. It’s really hard to care about your job or work when the person in charge above you doesn’t give a shit about anyone or anything. I really do feel like I’m stuck with no way out and in the last month after a co worker left, it’s become more clear that I am mentally depressed even when I have so much going for me now. I had to realize that even when I don’t think of death or suicide, the zombie like state isn’t any healthier. I am so scared and sad about those feelings of worthlessness take over my life. I don’t want to end up unemployed in this area like I was five years ago. It really was a struggle to get where I am today and I don’t want to go through that again where I have the rug pulled out from me and I have to start from rock bottom.

This post isn’t to get sympathy or to hear people say, “I’m so sorry” but more of a notice that depression can come and strike in ways you didn’t know it could. You see many sad cases of famous people who struggle with depression or mental illness even with fame, money and success. I hope this post can help connect with others who are in my shoes and are experiencing depression in their adulthood. I also have hope that I’ll figure something else out to feel like my existence has a purpose again. Until then, I know I can’t go on with the feelings I’ve had everyday for a month: “I hate myself”, “I’m not good enough”, “I’m worthless”, etc

Today I was very close to not coming in and just snuggle with my dog Nikki on the sofa. Puppy therapy is very life saving!!

 

When you’re, the only way to put it, STUCK!!!!

One of the most inspirational things I’ve heard someone say to me within the last year came from a drag queen named Violet Femme. Myself and three gal pals from work went up to Minneapolis last November for a two day shopping event with an overnight in downtown so we could go to a show at Gay 90s. That Friday night was just a couple of days after the 2016 election so the mood was a little grim and it seemed everyone around us was just trying to forget what had happened and have fun. Violet Femme, the MC for the evening, started to speak after the opening dance number and stated, ” I just want all ya to know, this is the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done! I really mean that, I was once in a rock band called Faggidy Ann! Anyways I just want all of you to know if there’s something that you want to do, any dreams you have, just go on and do it!!” I can’t say enough how much I loved those words and how much they meant to me that night.

I have been lucky to work with two very amazing women who have inspired me so much and will continue on to do so. One of them is the picture of what happens when you work hard: your dreams really can come true. The other is just starting to live her dreams by spending a summer in Europe before attending law school in the fall.

I met up with someone in Vegas who was a part of my Girls Love Travel community on facebook, a local who has done work with her own marketing firm but now is pursuing a makeup and skin company she is passionate about. Living in a huge area like Vegas, it’s easier to be an entrepreneur and make a living that way than it is here in North Iowa where I live. Not impossible to do but a little more difficult. I hope that with more younger people populating the area, much needed change and growth can happen in our region. When I see new businesses and attractions pop up, it excites me and gives me hope for the future.

It’s a love and hate relationship with the area I reside: I love living here in the summer but not so much in the winter. I HATE THE COLD AND SNOW!! It’s an affordable area with two bigger cities a couple hours away with airports that can get me to anywhere in the world. I feel fortunate to have a job, it’s really hard to find employment especially in the town I live in. Its nice to have benefits and access to education, a discounted Y membership and vacation time. As a person who is passionate about anything travel, I love that vacation time.

I still have to work on my dream, I don’t know exactly what it is yet. Well maybe I do, I just don’t believe in saying I’m going to do this or dream of this, I just want to work hard and ‘just go do it!’ I have many more places to travel to, food to eat, even more writing to do. Maybe someday I can have the Carrie Bradshaw life, but more realistically. No one in real life who is a weekly column writer lives in that big of an apartment in NYC and has 40 pairs of Manolo Blahniks that run $500.00 +. Maybe I can travel to places and make a living writing about it and sharing it with everyone. If not make a living, I can just save like I usually do. The extravagant plan I had for this fall will not pan out as plan but maybe I can still plan a smaller trip anyway!

I feel like I’m stuck between what I’m doing and what I could be doing. I don’t want to (can’t either) quit my job but when it’s just not going well, how do you know when it is time to move on? Until then hopefully I can hop on a plane one more time across an ocean before the year is over.