Depression, You’re Fired!

I realize that I have not posted to my blog in some time.  Although I do not like to make excuses, the reason for this lull in posts is due to the worsening of my feelings of sadness as mentioned in my post From Frivolous to Significant.  It has been getting to the point where more days than not I struggle to get myself out of bed in the morning, I cry to the point of hyperventilation over petty problems and I lack the energy and motivation to keep up with my usual exercise routines.  At this point, I knew it was more than just moderate sadness, it was depression.   I sought the help of a behavioral therapist, but the sessions did not seem to be helping.  If anything, I only felt worse after each session because I was afraid my therapist thought I was boring or thought I didn’t have a problem severe enough to be seeking her help.  But, I still had my determination, despite all of the negative feelings I was constantly having and I refused to just quit and let depression get the best of me.  I knew the source of my depression was my feeling of disappointment in my current job – not feeling challenged and thus not feeling like I can make a positive impact.  Up until now, I have been trying to fight the depression by choosing a new career path.  I seriously researched information on the steps needed to become a Registered Dietitian, a Journalist and an Electrician.  I also considered, albeit less earnestly, a career as a Forensic Accountant, a Landscape Designer, a Librarian and a Paralegal.  I thought that starting a completely new career would recharge me and give me the energy and motivation to start looking at life with more positivity.  However, I think these constant new career ideas just made the depression worse.  After spending many hours researching some of these careers and even reaching out to contacts with more information about the career, I would soon sink into a feeling of failure and hopelessness.  Whether I realized that the class times made it impossible for me to maintain a full-time paying job or that I could not overcome the fear of being unable to adapt to the extreme change in working environment, I would always decide that the new career just was not right for me.  It was like I was riding the amusement ride I despise most, the Superman Roller Coaster at Six Flags, over and over again – the anticipation of riding the coaster while waiting in line, the building excitement while chugging up the steep hill and then the terrible plunge that never ends and the impossibility of stopping it.  First, I would feel anticipation at starting to research information about this new career, then I would feel excitement as I pictured myself working in the field.  Finally, it was always followed by steep plunge into self-disgust as I realized that the career path was not realistic for me for various reasons including finances and work culture.

Recently, I reached out to a former boss about his ideas on yet another idea I cooked up, pursuing another master’s degree in Economics.  His response struck me as harsh at first, but it was advice that I desperately needed to hear from someone who was not family.  He basically told me to stop with all these new ideas.  To further support his advice, he told me that in his experience, he does better when he makes a solid plan for the near future and sticks to it.  Although the final result does not always end as he intended, it creates a goal, it creates stability and purpose.  I haven’t yet decided on what that plan will be, but I am certain that I will stop the endless cycles of starting a new career and a new life because it obviously is not doing me any good.  Since this conversation with my former boss, I have still had some sad days.  These days may never stop completely, but if I don’t put in any effort, it is certain they will never stop.  At the very least, I can fight to reduce them.  I need to focus on my strengths and do what makes me happy than constantly waste my time and energy feeling sorry for myself.  There are plenty of things I can do that make me happy, like exercising, trying new recipes and reading.  Like my former boss said, if I take some time to relax and stop worrying about every fine detail of my career, the next chapter of my life may come naturally.