Unemployment: Week 1, Day 2
I really had all good intentions to write this post yesterday, but for some strange reason I just couldn’t get my thoughts together long enough to sit and write. Who would have thought that after becoming unemployed the ability to focus would become so difficult? Focusing should be a simple task, I have all this extra time that was once compelled by an 8-10 hour work day to do just that. But no, the ability to just focus is suddenly strenuous.
I used to think that not having to go to work would be great, and then I suddenly did not have to go to work. Yeah that is not so great. Well at least when you don’t know when your next paycheck is coming, not great at all. Unemployment is never easy, and never fun. Especially in the winter in Washington DC, I feel like the winter makes it worse. It is cold, dark, and gloomy outside, and I am trying hard to avoid using the weather as a representation of my life. But, at times it is hard. I am realizing that losing a job is similar to any loss that we experience in life. Loss is never easy, but I do feel myself going through the five stages of grief as described by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. In case you never heard of the five stages of grief that can be attributed to a loss they are: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.
I am currently in my state of acceptance, which is why I have enough clarity to actually write about it. Trust me, getting to my current state was no easy process, it really did encompass the last six weeks of my life. But yet I am here. When I was initially told that our program was coming to a close due to lack of funding I hit a state of denial. I knew it really wasn’t going to happen, money would come, another agency would take over the program, of course they would because it was a really good program changing lives of youth in the District of Columbia. Yet, that never happened.
My anger was not about my own personal anger, it was the anger I felt toward the state of my clients and what would happen to them. As a psychotherapist, clients became attached and built relationships with me, then one day when I had to tell them that I am no longer going to be available as a therapist, that can be a devastating process. I did my best to end the client relationships in the best way possible, yet something still seemed unfinished. I wasn’t able to take them to the finish line of meeting their goals. I could just pass them on to someone else with the hope that the next person would have just as much compassion and empathy as I showed to help them get through. It was not easy, but it was done.
Now the bargaining was a quick stage to get through, although I am constantly bargaining with God for something, in this case it was different. There was a small hope that our program would survive or another agency would take it over. Sadly that did not happen. I just knew that maybe there were things that the team could do differently as a whole if given a second chance. Maybe we could be better at engaging clients or work harder for more positive outcomes. However, I soon realized that there was nothing else we could do, nothing we could change, the program was ending.
Depression is a rough stage, because I flip back to it every once in a while despite my best efforts to move away from it. Depression is difficult, depression is the realization that my job is gone, and until I get another I have to plan out every financial decision a lot more carefully. Depression is not having the motivation to look for a job, wanting to sleep the day away, hoping it is just a dream that I will wake up from, and wondering when is this state of constant anxiety going to come to an end. Depression is the inability to focus, and the inability to sleep through the night, the feeling to knots in the stomach, and wanting to avoid people because you know they will ask about the job search. What helps to stay away from depression? Well a whole lot of faith, mixed with positive thoughts, and knowing that this is a temporary situation. I love the saying “When you have a setback, God is already planning your comeback, and your comeback is going to be better than you ever imagined”. God has never failed me before so why would now be any different? I managed to survive 4 years in Hawaii while standing on faith, I can manage a period of unemployment knowing that God has my back.
Which leads me back to my acceptance, automatically the Serenity Prayer comes to mind; “Accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”. I felt a period of relief knowing that my job was ending, something was telling me it was time to move on to another aspect of therapy. I cannot change the final outcome of the program, heck, it already occurred, but I can change where I work next, the salary that I want, and what type of work will make me happy. Life is great, it is unexpected, but it works. Life always works out exactly the way it was supposed to, at the exact time that it was supposed to. So no matter what happens keep living your best life. Stay positive, and stay true to yourself. God may not give us what we want when we want it, but He gives it to us RIGHT ON TIME!
Lucky for me, the US unemployment rate is now under six percent so I should have no problems finding a job, right? Keep the prayers going!
Positive energy, positive thoughts, positive experiences