Like all aspects of life, blogging, or the desire to blog, is cyclical. Since mid-December, I suffered from depression which grew alarmingly intense as the days and weeks passed. Fortunately, I have some good friends, locally and online, who encouraged me to end a toxic relationship and to get medical help.
I'm better. So much better. I'm happy, I'm free and, finally, I have a job.
The day before my 41st birthday, I ended my writing partnership with my neighbor, C. After that date, as the days passed, the fog in my brain lifted. It became easier to get out of bed in the morning. Sunny, warm days were blessings again. I planted a garden which thrived and is now starting to bear vegetables. (I love my garden and I think its growth and abundance symbolize my life at this point.)
I've also started taking an anti-depressant, which I don't think I'll need always, now that C. is out of my life and I'm embarking on a new career. It's just a security net until things stabilize and my anxiety lessens. (After all, I still have to go through training and becoming accustomed to full-time employment for the first time in 7 1/2 years!)
One of the biggest challenges I've ever faced was terminating the collaboration with C. Even as I spoke with her on the phone and listed my reasons for wanting out, she tried to manipulate me into continuing to write with her. I told her:
I don't have time for my own writing. I am looking for employment. I've been stressed lately and can't focus. I'm not really interested in writing children's books. I write best alone. I don't think I'm an asset to the partnership (notice I didn't blame her in any way. I was very tactful, very, "It's not you, it's me.")
Though she had no idea this break-up was coming, she was prepared to tackle each excuse I offered. She was adamant that we write together on something. Anything. She was willing to sacrifice the 11 months of work on the children's book and even write romantic comedy, even though it isn't really "her thing." And when I told her I was looking for a job, she said, "Are you going to apply at McDonald's?" and then chuckled at her joke. I was insulted.
But I kept the phone call cordial and after thirty minutes of hashing it out, I was finally free. Immediately she pounded out an email to me, which re-stated everything she'd said on the phone. Except she said she'd probably continue writing the book we'd been working on and finish it.
I didn't respond to the email and didn't tell her, "You're more than welcome to finish that piece of crap." That book was pure garbage with not even a glimmer of my style, my writing or my inspiration in it.
She hasn't spoken to me since and my friend, Gail, who leads our writer's group, carefully extracted C. from the group, as well, bless her heart! I couldn't apologize enough to Gail for ever bringing C. to group in the first place. From the first meeting C. attended, she'd vigorously tried to change rules to fit her needs.
Gail and I spent hours dissecting C.'s personality. We've come to the simple conclusion that C. is a narcissistic, manipulative personality. Gail has nicknamed C. "The Spider."
Only after freeing myself from The Spider's web was I able to reflect on every conversation, every interaction with her and see her manipulation for what it was. It was easy for her because I was needy and lonely. I so desperately wanted a friend. The Spider intuitively targeted my needs, provided me with the companionship I wanted in order to satisfy her own desires - to suck the creative energy from someone else. Most of my depression stemmed from my toxic relationship with The Spider.
I've decided for the sanctity of my own mental health, I will not put myself in a situation where I'm ever alone with The Spider. If she invites me over (she's still licking her wounds, after nearly two months,) I will always have an excuse to bow out unless there will be a ton of other adults present.
The rest of my depression was caused by my unsuccessful job hunt (as well as our finances and the fact that I'd grown too comfortable being a stay-at-home mom.) I've never earned a college degree (making The Spider's "McDonald's" quip sting all the more painfully!) and the bulk of my work experience has been clerical/customer service in nature. And worse, my resume was a ragged patchwork of jobs, depicting an unstable work history because of relocating and staying home with my daughter.
I kept track of my job hunt: I applied for over fifty positions. I was only asked to interview for about 8 jobs. I only received about 10 rejection letters. The rest never bothered to contact me. My morale plummeted but I kept a firm grip on my determination. I never gave up.
Earlier this month I accepted a part-time position in a call-center for a very questionable company. To this day I still have many reservations about this particular company, which utilizes multi-level marketing to distribute their non-FDA-approved products. Luckily I'm not in the multi-level aspect of it. I just answer calls, take product orders. Very repetitive stuff. Also, the place is a fire-trap, a maze of dingy cubicles, tightly packed with equipment and employees. I feel fortunate that my cubicle is a straight, easy jog from one of the few available exits! So, I continued to search for The Perfect Job. One that would ease our financial burdens and allow us to remodel our home, to finally begin saving money for our daughter's college and to save for our retirement.
Then, two weeks ago, a major company in this area advertised a job fair for positions located in their headquarters. I attended the fair, interviewed and quickly made it to second-round interviews. I found out yesterday that I got the job, with a salary higher than they initially advertised and with the promise of rapid advancement over the next couple years. I start on August 6.
The facilities where I'll work are awesome - newly built in 2002, they have their own parking garage, Starbucks, cafeteria, a cafe, a convenience store (with dry cleaning, mailing and printing services) and the grounds are magnificent, with a reflecting pond and numerous areas for employees to sit, think and relax, indoors and outside. I'll have my own LARGE cubicle, complete with several easy-access fire exits.
I guess I could look at it like this: This job was the reason I wasn't hired elsewhere (not counting the Questionable Company, where I'll resign at the end of July.)
I'm back but I can't promise that I'll post regularly. I just wanted to share with you my recent good news, my improved mental health and my happiness. I've missed you!