Days 67 & 68: Unemployment Anxiety and Depression

I had a panic attack on Sunday and broke down in sobs for a while. I was rendered incoherent while taken over by the kind of huge, choking sobs that don’t allow you to breathe normally until they pass. Each gulp of air is taken in with a huge gasp, and it’s only purpose is to fuel the sobbing that continues unabated until oxygen is needed yet again.

There are several factors that combined to bring on this release. Only one is relevant to this post.

Anxiety.

It’s been hovering in the background since the moment I was laid off from my job. It began gaining ground as I started applying to new jobs. Ultimately, it took over.

Likely enough, it’s a good thing that it happened. When one is let go without warning or cause from a job they’ve held for 14 years it makes sense to indulge in some tears. I hadn’t done that yet.

Until Sunday, I think I was still too paralyzed by shock and adrenaline to allow real feelings through.

During the course of the three weeks since I was let go (has it really only been three weeks?) I’ve become increasingly secluded. I force myself to socialize in small, trusted, emotionally safe ways at least once a week. Otherwise, except for a trip to the supermarket or an excursion across my parking lot to take out the recycling, I’m really not leaving the house. Not at all.

And I don’t want to go out. I want to want to; I know on some theoretical level that being at home and shutting myself away like this likely isn’t what’s best for me right now. But the idea of conversing, socializing, being around people, sounds utterly exhausting.

There’s also a, perhaps unrealistic but nevertheless present, fear of getting sick. The coronavirus is, from what I understand, known to hit lungs hard. I have asthma and a long history of recurring lung infections and, at present, very poor health insurance. I also do not have reasons I absolutely have to leave the house and go to public settings.

Between depression and anxiety there seems to me to be very good reasons to stay home, under seclusion, indulging in my daily routines.

I do have achievements I can think of for Sunday and yesterday, though.

On Sunday, I did some housework. I was about a month behind, and feeling as though my home was cluttered and dirty was doing nothing to improve my spirits. On Sunday, I got a bunch of chores done, and it was very satisfying.

Yesterday, I finished a rewrite of my resume to include more searchable keywords that companies look for. It was emotionally painful to edit it only because algorithms require I include jargon, but I got it done and only mildly felt like barfing at the result.

I also left the house, though. I ran some errands. One of them brought me to the local library branch, which I had not been to previously. The central branch is right by my old office, so I had always gone there.

I learned my local branch is small, clean and adorable. It is intimate and delightful. I am glad to know this now.

I’m doing my best to manage this downturn. I imagine there will be many emotional ups and downs during my unemployment, as there always are for me anyway.

Leaving the house again anytime soon seems unlikely and rather undesirable, though.

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