I’ve always been the kind of person whose motto is “expect the worst, but hope for the best.” I know, that’s totally not positive and seems counter to the general vibe of this blog.
But that’s me, in reality.
I really try to avoid getting my hopes up, because I would rather be joyful at an unexpectedly good outcome than bummed at an unexpectedly bad one. I believe this is what we call “self-preservation.” Here’s why:
“Same thing we do every day, Catherine. Try to take over the workforce.”
I like to be busy, and I hate monotony. When I got laid off in December, it was easy to stay busy because Christmas and Z’s birthday were just around the corner—so many little projects and tasks awaited me, I was actually kind of glad for the forced “time off.”
As the craziness of December becomes a distant memory, I find myself with fewer and fewer things to occupy my time. And, worse, I have no idea when I’ll earn a stable paycheck again, so spending money makes me feel sick to my stomach. I can’t just go out and spend the day in San Francisco, browse at the outlets, get a hobby (most of which are actually more expensive than you’d think), or whatever else I might do with my free time.
Ever since I was in fifth grade, I’ve suffered from moderate anxiety and depression. (Interestingly, the National Institute of Mental Health notes that the average age at which people begin to suffer from anxiety is eleven years old.) In my case, the depression usually follows an episode of high anxiety.
In this post, I’m going to delve into my own struggles and explain why I (and others) think it’s worthwhile to talk about them. I’ve noticed that there’s been a movement lately to get people talking about mental illnesses, to bring individual experiences out into the light in an effort to remove the stigma. I think that sharing our internal struggles with others is a kindness to ourselves, but is also a kindness to those who may feel alone.
We’ve all experienced setbacks. This is just a fact of life. It doesn’t matter how smoothly things appear to be going—something, at some point, will trip us up. How do we dust ourselves off when this happens? And, once we do, how easy is it to stay standing?
My exploration of self-kindness today is through the lens of my (not-so-recent-anymore) layoff. I had found my dream job for a really wonderful organization with a mission that I truly believed in. I was writing language arts curriculum with a social-emotional focus, and I was just beginning to feel like I was becoming competent.