Things from my journal

I’m not okay, and I know it’s okay to not be okay, and I’m being patient and accepting of the not-okay. It’s been hard, though, as it has been for us all. And because my particular brand of “hard” is so not hard at all in comparison with what do many others are going through, it feels like I should just suck it up and make the best of the situation.

It feels like I should not talk about my version of hard and should focus on gratitude instead. That would be a lie, though. It would be emotionally dishonest to pretend I’m okay and only feeling gratitude.

The gratitude is there and I feel it all the time. It doesn’t make the things that are hard go away, though. That’s not how things work. I don’t have a finite level of emotion I’m able to feel, where being full of one emotion leaves no room for any other. My capacity for emotion is limitless and there is space in me for all of the huge and conflicting emotions I feel right now.

I’m not sure what more to say about any of it. This is true in a general sense, not just here. But I have been writing a bit in my journal whenever motivation strikes. Here are some of the things I’ve written lately.

Tuesday, April 14th: Job search hopelessness

The days go by and somehow I find ways to fill them. I’ve been unemployed for almost two months. I struggle to apply to jobs. At first it wasn’t so bad, but gradually it’s become harder and harder to focus on reading the job postings I come across. To focus at all, in fact, is a monumental challenge. My thoughts are scattered and I’m unable to collect them.

This is what being on ADHD meds is supposed to help with, but these circumstances are beyond what medication can address, and I’m not using the various tricks and strategies I know would help me. I can’t focus enough to do so.

I want to work. I do best under pressure, when I have a to-do list full of urgent items I am obligated to tackle. I’ve never done well with loads of free time. Somehow I find small things to fill the time with and the things I actually want to get done I put off.

I’m so frustrated by it. I know I am employable. I know my skill set would be a perfect fit for many of the roles I see posted. But I can’t seem to get my brain to work well enough to put that into words, and unless I can introduce myself well and show that I’m a step above the competition, no employer will have any way of knowing who I am.

Perhaps the problem is that I feel down. I don’t feel enthusiasm for any of these jobs. I feel scared about COVID-19 and everyone’s futures.

Under normal circumstances I know this job search would be a challenge for me. It always is. But right now, it’s even worse, and I’m definitely starting to feel some feelings of hopelessness and depression creeping in.

Saturday, April 25th: A lovely Saturday cuddle session

What a delightfully dreary Saturday morning this is. The skies are a deep silver grey and rain is hammering down onto the new baby leaves on the trees outside my windows.

Oliver is cuddled up against my chest under a cozy blanket while I stretch out on the recliner.

I have my coffee beside me and I even have a candle lit.

It is, as I said, a gloriously cozy dreary morning.

I’m still safe at home (stuck at home), though, still with no end in sight. Sometimes that’s fine, but sometimes it definitely wears on me.

Like today. I’m missing hanging out with people and wishing life were back in the “before” times. I’d love to go over to J’s house and help out in her garden, and see her and J and E so badly.

That’s what I’m thinking about this afternoon as I try to decide what to do with the rest of my day.

Most of the time, though, I’m just numb and tired.

Today my body feels as numb and tired as my brain. I want to nap but my mind is racing. I find ways to keep it occupied that aren’t at all stressful until it’s a reasonable time for bed, and then I wake the next day and start over again.

It’s tedious and frustrating. I look forward to being able to see my friends again someday.

Sunday, April 26th: Brain no worky

My brain doesn’t want to work and I wonder how much of that is because I’m not writing. Perhaps writing is an exercise that might help keep me a little sharp during this time when it feels like I’m not at all useful? I need to get better quality job applications out, and figure out how to network better. I’ve been dragging my heels for over two months, only doing the bare minimum when it comes to my submissions, and there’s no way I’ll ever find a job doing things this way. Yes there’s a pandemic and we’re probably already in a period dramatically worse than the Great Depression but there are jobs being listed and there’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to get one of them.

Except, of course, if the competition is better qualified than I am, and that’s where my anxiety lies. I’m not sure anyone would want to hire me, I’m not sure I would be any good at anything, and those thoughts and feelings are blocking me from being able to focus and execute on tasks that need to get done.

The number of people unemployed is at an all time record high. It’s hard to believe I would be better suited for any position than any of the other applicants.

I need to sell myself, though, and pretend I think I am. I need to set aside my fears of being laughed at for acting as though I see myself as worthy. I need to stop letting thoughts of my first few days in a job, when I don’t know what’s going on yet and may need to ask a lot of questions, be the determining factor in whether I think I’ll be okay at that place of employment.

I give myself this pep talk every Sunday. This is the week, starting tomorrow, when I’m going to succeed in applying to jobs in a way I am satisfied with. Every week I fail.

My mindset needs to change.

Saturday, May 2nd: Executive malfunction

Getting my brain to work still seems impossible most of the time. It’s numb and gelatinous and I hate it. I can’t wait to be working again and to have specific things to do and learn and stress out about.

Right now things are as awful as they can be and there isn’t much I can do about any of it, so I don’t have anxiety as a motivator.

Sunday, May 3rd: Anxiety/trauma

I know my brain freezing up the way it has been is a total anxiety/trauma response to everything going on and how awful and hopeless it all seems right now. I’m understanding and patient and not beating myself about it. That knowledge doesn’t make things any easier, though. I’m ready for it to be over, yet I know there is still a very long road ahead. Things are so very hard right now.

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