I've spent the last 6 months unemployed.
This is unheard of for me.
I finished year 12 in 1989 and during those school years I worked at the local service station/corner store/produce store/takeaway shop on weekends while at school.
I finished school and started work two weeks later at a video store in Toowoomba.
I have never NOT worked.
In July I had a total mental breakdown.
Yes. I was not in a very good place at all. Even doing the most menial tasks would stress me out.
Luckily for me I have an incredibly supportive husband and a fantastic group of friends and family who all rallied around me.
"What in the name of shit have you been doing for the last 6 months?" I hear you wail.
For the first 2 months I applied for heaps of jobs with no response. I was interviewed 3 times but didn't get the jobs. This stress of looking for work and the slow pulverizing of any self confidence I may have had buried quickly turned my nerves to over load. It added to my negative thoughts that "there must be something wrong with me. I'm defective. I'm useless".
I started to sleep a lot and eat.... a lot.....
On one particular day I was a mess. I was shaking and crying and thinking some very dark thoughts.
I rang my doctor but he was away so I took an appointment with the temp doctor.
I will call him Dr Nick.
I went in. I was bawling and trembling and I told Dr Nick that I didn't think I wanted to live anymore. I told him that I needed help. He sat there looking at me sternly with his arms crossed.
Blowing my nose and sniffing I told that I really needed to apply to a temporary disability pension.
I explained that I just needed 3 months to get my head in order.
Still with arms crossed Dr Nick shakes his head. "No. No you don't qualify for that".
I burst into tears and stammered "Why?"
"Because your breakdown is related to your job experiences not directly related to your Bipolar".
I told him that I cannot deal with the stress of looking for another job and I need to be referred to a good psychiatrist.
"Would you say you are anxious?" He interrupted.
I looked at him incredulously and sobbed "Ummmm yes???!!".
He prints out a script and gives it to me and says "Just take these. There's a good psychologist upstairs just go see her".
I was just too drained and exhausted to retaliate so I muttered "..mmm.kay" and walked out.
I went to the chemist and put in the script.
The chemist came out to me and asked if I had used this medicine before.
I sighed that I didn't even know what it was.
"It's Diazepam. Valium. Sleeping Tablets." the chemist answered.
So let me get this straight. I went to a doctor and told him I was suicidal and his solution?
Give me a box of 50 sleeping tablets.
The people in the chemist must have thought I was mental. Here's this woman in an old stained t-shirt and shorts, hair everywhere, bright red puffy eyes and nose, dark circles under my eyes and I just start laughing in the shop. I mean cackling like a total loon. It was just so ridiculous.
I went home and had a big talk to hubby. aka My Big Hairy Angel.
We made calls to the bank and our My Budget people it was determined that we could afford for me to take some time off. Thank fuck for good budgeting. Yes it would be tight and we would go backwards a bit with our savings but ....................
The last 4 months I admit I have spent a LOT of time sleeping.
I gave myself permission for the first time ever......
TO DO NOTHING.
The anxiety ridden Vicki in my brain screamed at me that I was "wasting time" and I should be using this time to "declutter the whole house/paint the eaves/paint the walls/build a garden/sew 500 dresses" and on and on and on. You see, I am a "project" person.
I find it very hard to sit still and do nothing.
TIME TIME TIME TIME YOU ARE WASTING TIME WASTING TIME.
This goes around around in my head.
I had written myself crazy long lists of all the things I felt that I had to do and then I would get so upset with myself if I couldn't do it.
So each day I set myself ONE task to do.
Monday - Wash socks and jocks.
Tuesday - Vaccum
Wednesday - Clean Bathroom
etc etc etc
I told myself I only needed to do that ONE thing.
It was hard.
I felt like I was letting Mick down if I didn't have the whole house scrubbed each day.
After all..... I'm not working so it's not fair I sit around and watch Netflix all day is it?!!
I read a couple of great self help books, I binge watched TV shows, I sewed, I listened to podcasts, I napped, and I told myself "it's ok".
I also did a 14 week Certificate IV in Ageing Support with the view to becoming a Personal Support Worker/AIN. This was the best thing ever. I absolutely LOVED going to class 2 days a week. I LOVED learning new things and doing assignments. I LOVED meeting the incredible woman who did the course with me. My teacher Dianna was just so wonderful.
This class was so incredibly cathodic for me.
I start my 3 weeks of full-time on the job experience on Monday.
I'm nervous/anxious/scared but also excited.
I've had to remind myself that if I do the 3 weeks and decide that this kind of work isn't for me ...
It's okay. It's fine. I gave it a crack and I met some fab funny people.
Why Aged Care?
I realised that what makes me happy is making others happy.
Not in a martyrdom or self sacrificing way.
I put on my Fancy Dress Disco each year. Yes to raise money for beyondblue but because I just love to help bring a night of joy and happiness to people.
I organise luncheons to get frocked up and eat cake because I love to bring people together and make them smile.
I makes me feel good. I makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
So I figure, if I can work with people who are lonely, frail and unable to care for themselves then maybe I can bring a bit of light into their lives and make them feel good and there-fore make myself feel good too.
I realise it's not going to be all lavender sachets, Tabu perfume and Avon powder.
There will be poo, heart break and sadness too.
I'm not going in with rose coloured Ray-bans.
I expect to be exhausted.
I've worked for the last 20 years as a desk jockey and am now going to be doing a very physical job.
I've never had to shower anyone, toilet anyone, change a colostomy bag or feed someone before.
I have a good feeling about it though.
It feels good to be going to a CARE industry.
2018 is going to be a great year.
I feel it in me gutz.