My grief

This is a long post, my friends. I guess when I don’t blog for a while it builds up.

Today I sat with my grief and it kicked my ass. I wondered if I had known a year ago what I’d go through this year would I have made different decisions? and the answer is…yes.

But hindsight is 20/20. And I made the best decisions for those particular times. But that doesn’t mean those decisions don’t hurt. They have caused me a lot of sorrow.

A year ago I quit my job because it had for the previous year been so toxic that it was making me physically ill. I had been thriving until they changed the performance standards, which were suddenly more quantitatively-based and I was expected to produce 60% more to keep the same pay.

Realizing this was unstainable for me, for 6 months I looked for other work, but it was difficult because I was unable to take the time off for interviews. See, I had used leave for physical and mental illness as a result of the job. I was granted what’s called Family Medical Leave (in which you can take up to 12 weeks unpaid leave if you meet the proper criteria), but I was denied my request for disability accommodations, which I believe would have allowed me to remain at the job.

So in my last performance review when I was told my pay would be cut by 20% (it was already pretty low) as I wasn’t meeting the new productivity standards, I decided to look into other positions within the company. I applied to several other positions that I was at minimum qualified for, but usually overqualified for, with glowing references. I was turned down for these positions. They hired from the outside.

I couldn’t take the stress anymore and I quit. Despite being bitter, I acting respectfully and gave my two weeks’ notice and left in what human resources told me was “in good standing.” They told me I was re-hirable, however, this I’ve found is not the case.

For the last two months, I’ve tried to get re-hired by the company, something I swore I would never, for the life of me, ever do.

Here is what I’ve done in an effort to obtain my old position or another position with the company:

  • I had lunch with a coworker I worked most closely with while employed there, who is now a supervisor. She put in a good word for me.
  • I asked a former co-worker to speak to her supervisor about a position that was open in her department. She did and gave me glowing reviews.
  • I spoke to the lead trainer, who is now in the recruiting department, who seemed excited I had applied.
  • I left two messages on her voicemail to get an update on the status of my application. She never called back.
  • I asked my coworkers if they knew what was up with my application and they said no.
  • I asked my coworker for the email to HR. She asked her supervisor who told her the email address.
  • I sent HR an email asking about the status of my application.

They replied that the positions had been filled and they’d keep me posted. This was an outright lie, as I continue to see all over the online employment sites that these positions are still being advertised for.

Of course, why would I want to work for a toxic chaotic company?

Well, it’s better than what I’m doing now, which is nothing. I want to work, and I want to be good at something.

And despite the fact I felt very strongly that I made the right decision a year ago, I now wish I would have stayed. And continued to job search, even if it took me another 6 months to a year to find something else.

I feel ashamed for quitting and it makes me question my resilience despite the fact that the turnover rate is high and I stayed longer than most. I feel ashamed that I couldn’t cut it.

After I quit my job shit hit the fan in my home life, resulting in several months not knowing if we’d have income, my husband seeking medical care out of state for a month, getting kicked out of our rental home, and just barely in the nick of time finding a new place. My kids having to go to new schools (which they are still upset about after 7 months).

I was unwell, having chest pain from all the anxiety, and unable to motivate myself to do anything to take care of myself much less my kids so I went to visit my mom for a week. Fortunately, we were in the position where we’d have income again and I decided the only thing that I could think of that brought me life and hope, and that would secure my future, would be to go back to school for a job I always wanted.

So I went back to school, which was very very difficult. But I was doing it and I found pleasure from using my brain and being social again. Then a series of events happened which made it difficult to cope. Death of loved ones, income instability, and what pushed me over the edge was that my daughter’s anxiety and depression became so bad she stopped being able to go to school and we were thinking about hospitalization.

So I withdrew from my program. And I regret that, very much. I wish I could go back, but I can’t commit to the 2 years it requires. I wish I would have finished out the semester, but at the time that was not feasible. But I still regret it. It’s been 5 months and I still feel the grief of it. When I quit I lost my hope.

And then I kept having these thoughts of ending it all and my psychiatrist and I thought it might be best that I stay with my mom for a while. So I stayed for two weeks, but that was the end of my stay. It helped not to have to worry about anybody but myself for a while and when I got back my daughter’s meds had kicked in and she was functional again.

Shortly after I got back (I think within 2 weeks) I was able to get a job. But the expectations on me were insane. It was a chaotic environment and they threw me out to the sharks all alone. I ended up quitting the job. At the time it was the best decision but now that it’s been nearly 2 months and I haven’t found another job I’m regretting the decision.

I’ve had only one interview and didn’t get the position. I’ve gotten a dozen rejection emails. It’s not personal and I’ve gotten so many rejection emails over the years it no longer stings, but it sinks my oh-so-fragile hope with each email. At least the emails are better than the no-calls or ghosting. Those make me feel crazy.

It’s been 5 months since I quit school and I have nothing to show for it. I believe about 80% of the time I will not get another job. This makes my motivation to apply almost nil. I should be looking full-time but I can barely manage to apply for 3 or 4 jobs a week. Out of the 20% of hope I have that I’ll obtain another job, most of that belief consists of thoughts that I’ll not be able to keep a job.

I feel like I need help with that but there is no help to be found.

It’s been a month since I started working with Vocational Rehabilitation to help me find/keep a job. It’s the government, so it’s really slow. And I have even less confidence that they can help me. So far they’ve determined that I’m eligible and developed a plan, but now I’m waiting on being able to meet with the person who can help me actually find work.

I’ve found work in the past so I can find it again, right? But the more I keep going through these cycles of trying these new things and quitting the harder I believe it will be to start over, and the lower my psychological resilience is. I need to be able to find something I can stick with for at least a few years and pay enough to allow me to not rely on my husband’s income.

One could say, why don’t you just find something, anything? And the reality is that 1. That’s easier said than done. It’s actually difficult to obtain work you are overqualified for and 2. I can’t take starting and stopping again.

Maybe I can and I just don’t think I can. But I really believe I can’t. I really, overall, don’t believe anything good will happen.

But I had a moment today where I felt angry. And that was a glorious feeling. I was able to throw all the stuff off my bed and wash my sheets and blankets. You should know how little I’ve been able to do recently so this was a big deal. I kicked my linens down the hall, saying “I hate you.” Anger can eat you up, but in my case I need it so I can be motivated to do something, anything.

Because I’m not taking care of myself or things I need to do. My primary emotion is shame. Shame makes you hide. Hiding leads to isolation, which increases depression. If that shame can turn to sorrow and sorrow can turn to anger and anger can turn to motivation that’s a good thing. I hope I can find the motivation again. I guess I’m motivated enough to write this post. That’s something.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading, my friends. I hope to start blogging more regularly again, but I can’t make any promises.


3 thoughts on “My grief

  1. A lot of this is because you’re having difficulty in several areas of your life at one time. In all that chaos it’s sometimes impossible to make the “right” decision in one area without compromising yourself in another area. This happens to all of us when shit really hits the fan…it’s hard to find your damn feet in a tornado.

    So: 1. You tried to do the right thing at the time with the information you had at hand 2. You ended up regretting it in hindsight.

    I don’t consider either of those scenarios a failure. I do understand the crippling shame, as I’ve tried and failed to go back to work multiple times despite a physical disability, and the crashing and burning is gut wrenching…I totally understand when you say it steals your hope. All that matters in a storm is that you continue to keep inching forward. It will be ugly and gritty and many people (including yourself) may laugh at you and mock you about making bad decisions…fuck ’em all. Paralysis is the enemy…keep clawing forward Quix. ❤

    I always have a fun blues song in my pocket about having a hard day….in this one even the dog left him (and took his bone).

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Violet; this is way better than anything I could have said. I agree, Quixie, that making the best decision you can in the moment isn’t “failure” if you reach a different conclusion later in hindsight.

      Liked by 3 people

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About Quixie

Hi! I go by "Quixie." Quixie is a shortened version of "quixotic," which means: "exceedingly idealistic; unrealistic and impractical." It's how I described my evangelical Christian faith when I started blogging 5 years ago. Now I'm an agnostic atheist who is trying to find a balance between idealism and reality. I write primarily about my mental health journey (I have bipolar disorder), and I also discuss my deconversion, mindfulness, exercise, music, reading, and other cultural topics.