After I was laid off in March I went on an emotional roller coaster ride. I was happy to be out of a job that I hated and excited to spend the summer with my daughter. But I was also worried about how I was going to make ends meet and find another job. But then a miracle happened. The week my severance ended and unemployment kicked in, I started getting regular child support. It was coming every week at the same time and it lasted for about three months. This really was the strangest thing since in the nine years that child support has been in place, I have never, ever received anything on any kind of regular basis. Add that little bit of help to my amazing budgeting abilities and I was ok on the financial front. But once the beginning of school started to get closer, I found myself having zero motivation to do anything. After she went back to school, my day consisted of two-three hours of job searching and then the rest of the day sitting on the couch in front of the TV. I’m not even sure of how long this was going on before I realized it but it was too long. One day I just took a look at myself and was scared of what I say.
Because I was out of work I no longer had insurance. I applied for Medicare through the state of New Hampshire but I qualified for a plan that had a $2,000 deductible per month (yes that’s three zeros, but no we don’t need to fix the health care system). I was making about $10 an hour on unemployment and that’s what I qualified for (the child support had stopped by then). There was no way I could afford a therapist without health insurance so I was stuck trying to figure out what was going on all on my own. In May, my closest friend in the area didn’t come to my graduation party and I told her that I was hurt that she didn’t come but that I would get over it because it helped me to see that we weren’t as close as I thought we were. She then told me that we were only friends for so long because we sat next to each other at work (that’s the short version). Needless to say, that really stung. I let so few people get past my wall because I want to avoid being hurt like this. I had also cut off contact with my best friend in Maryland after an incident that was fueled on by my now ex-friend so I didn’t have him to talk to either. I’m very bad at crawling back with my tail between my legs and my emotional state could not handle anymore rejection so I didn’t even try to reconcile with him (I have since gotten over myself and we are now working to get back our friendship). So, that really left me to kind of wallow in my own self pity and that I did. The only thing getting me up and out of bed was that I had to get my daughter to school. The only thing getting me to take a shower and get dressed was that I had to get her off the bus and get her to dance lessons. The only thing keeping me from sinking into a very big hole was my daughter (yet another time in my life that she has saved me from myself!!). She is why I figured out what was going on with me.
Then one day while sitting at the dinner table with my daughter, it dawned on me. I had no more sense of self. I defined myself as a single mom who worked full-time and was in school. I supported my family and was working towards a better future for us, but now I wasn’t. I had finished school and it didn’t seem to be helping me get a job and I was no longer supporting my family. So then who was I? That, I didn’t know. It all goes back to my childhood (again!). My mother always judged everyone on their jobs and material possessions or anything superficial so that was how I judged myself. So now I was no one. I had never dealt with self-pity before. Before motherhood I got drunk and did drugs to forget about it. And after motherhood, there just was not time for self-pity. There was always something that needed to be done. Now, I had neither of those defenses to fall back on so I had to face it.
I started by making a list of who I thought I was. Then I stop turning the tv on. I sat down and read those books on spirituality that I had just been flipping through before. I knew there was still a hole in my spirituality but I hadn’t figured out what it was. I now think I have figured it out (that is something for my next blog post). I started working on that list of things that I wanted to get done around the house. And I just went outside again. I think that I may have a reverse version of that seasonal condition (I can’t remember what it’s called) but I am more happy in the fall and winter than I am in the spring and summer so I think that may have had an effect on my emotional state as well. I went outside and gathered beautiful leaves with my daughter. I started researching different organizations that are working towards helping the earth that I could get involved in. I started experimenting with my lotions and stuff again and came up with a new idea for that. I played with my poor dogs who had not been getting much attention. I had a conversation with a friend who I had never really let see my soft, inner, wounded side. She made me see that others saw me as more than I had been seing myself and that helped push me forward.
I think that going through that funk, as I like to call it, actually helped me to see ME better. It really started me looking at who I am and see myself as the many faceted person that I have always been.