Clawing my way out of the hole...

Hi.  Howzit going?  I know it's been a while.  I had some shit to work through.  Still do.  I'm not back yet, but I might be soon.  But I'm not making any promises.

Remember last April, when on the same week I finished by IIN training AND lost my job all on the same fracken day?  Yeah...I was doing ok for a while after that, then I started to spiral, then I started circling the drain.  Then I quit.  Pretty much everything.  I almost quit life entirely.  Really.  I had no life left in me.  

I tried for a few months to keep this health coaching gig going, but I had been told by Service Canada (those who hold the purse strings for employment insurance payments) that they would not pay my EI benefits if I continued to pursue self employment.  In the words of the dude who was reviewing my claim, I had to find another soul sucking job just like the last one, or they would stop my EI benefits, and would request that I re-pay them whatever amount they deemed I was not eligible for.  They "allowed" me to work a maximum of 8 hours per week on my health coaching business, which I had to keep record of in case they wanted proof!  The rest of the time I had to look for that ever elusive soul sucking job just like the last one, and I had to document my search.  They did check up on me periodically, keeping me sufficiently paranoid as to cause me to have several melt downs, and to give up on pretty much everything, except searching for a job.

My first 2 clients each finished their programmes successfully. As far as I know, they're both living happy and healthy.  Sadly, due to my own mental health, I didn't keep up with them after November-ish, when I gave up on life in general. I had one client quit her programme in the spring after session 5, because I wouldn't let her keep rescheduling appointments willy-nilly and with no notice.  I had 2 potential clients actually sign up for programmes, then "forget", then they wouldn't respond to emails or messages.  So I stopped trying to get new clients...really...what was the point...?  

I gave up on eating "properly".  I gave up on exercising regularly, other than walking the dog.  I had no energy to bother to cook if Mum wasn't home to cook for.  I had no energy to exercise.  Sometimes when I tried, I just ended up lying on my face on the floor.  I've gained weight, lots of flab, and feel like a complete fraud and failure.  

Well, 10 months after being let go from my job, I have finally been offered a new job.  Yes, it took that long.  There are no jobs in my immediate vicinity, so I had to keep looking further and further away, hoping to find one that would pay at least a basic living wage.  I start my new job next Monday, and my commute is going to take me an hour and a half, each way by bus.  Which kind of sucks, that's a big chunk of day, just sitting on a bus.  I guess I will get lots of reading done!  

The plan is to move somewhere closer, to save time, and to save money.  The commute from here will cost me $12 each day in bus fares.  Buying a car won't save me any money, will actually cost more, and will only save me about an hour a day, so 6 of one...half dozen of another...

Moving will mean having to give up the house with the garden, and raspberries!  Which is a drag, but a house with a garden in the city will cost nearly double what it does here, and we just can't afford that.  My new job will pay me only slightly more than the last one, not enough to buy a house.  We're going to be looking at condos that will allow my big-ish dog.  He's "Little Dog" to me, but most condos don't allow dogs bigger than 25 pounds.  He's somewhere around 60 pounds of winterized pudge ;)

I had a really tough few months.  Honestly, I didn't think I was going to survive it.  At the end of November I took a minimum wage retail job, just to get me out of the house, I was hoping just for the holiday season, because a job that I really really wanted that I had applied was advertised to be starting beginning of January. I never did hear from them though.  I ended up working in a freezer for 6 to 8 hours a day, moving boxes around. It aggravated long dormant tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome.  The job didn't pay the same amount that I was getting from EI, so Service Canada continued to supplement my income.  Then after only 4 weeks, I had to quit, because I just couldn't work there any more, it became dangerous when I couldn't hold onto boxes while I was standing on ladder trying to lift them and my fingers had gone pins and needly from the carpal tunnel and the -15C temperature in the freezer.  So EI cut me off for 6 weeks while they "reviewed" my claim.  I had gone from my full time job that paid me barely enough to live off, to 45% less than that, to nothing.  I was devastated, humiliated, and couldn't afford to buy dog food.  And I was terrified of what would happen next.  

I didn't want to live like that.  I didn't want to live.  The only thing that got me out of bed every day was my dog.  He needed to go out to pee.  As best I could, I avoided all people whenever I went out.  If I happened to see anyone, I would usually cross the road to avoid having to talk to anyone.  If I felt the need to go out and be "social", the best I could manage was to go grocery shopping.  There were people there, but I didn't actually have to interact with anyone.  But then...nobody really interacted with me either...if someone had thought to show up at my house to check in with me, to visit, I wouldn't have told them to go away...but...nobody came.  Netflix and Hulu were my only friends.  Some days all I could do was curl up in a ball in my chair and stare at the TV.  I didn't even know what I was watching sometimes.  I didn't even have the brain power to read a comic book, and couldn't even afford to go buy any.   

I thought often about different ways that I could end my life.  One day while driving home from a particularly horrible job interview, I actually visualised myself driving into an on-coming bus.  It was very vivid, and very real.  I thought about suffocating myself in the car, but we don't have a garage.  I thought about overdosing, but too often that just results in vomiting and having your stomach pumped at the ER.  I always wonder why they revive suicides in the ER?  If they wanted to die, why do all that to save them?  I didn't want that.  And I couldn't figure out a way to make sure it would work.   Make sure that it would "stick".  And then there was my dog...what would happen to him?  He'd be sad.

I was still thinking about all of that, and getting closer and closer to when my EI benefits would have expired anyway (they cut my benefits eligibility by 2 weeks from the get-go to penalise me for trying to find programs to help me start my own business).  I only had until the first week of March to either find a job, or die.  They hadn't paid me anything since the middle of December, and my savings was gone months ago, I had to dip into my piddly "retirement fund" such as it is.  Was.  I had maybe one month left of that, then...I dunno...I hadn't figured it out yet.  I even thought about having myself committed, or committing a felony so that I'd be thrown in prison.  But then...they don't have celiac friendly meal plans in the local hospitals, nor in prisons...so...

Finally last week, Service Canada made a ruling on my claim, and decided to re-start my benefits, and to pay me in one lump sum everything they had withheld for the past 6 weeks.  Then I got a job offer!  And I won a free donut from Tim Horton's, so it turned out to be a pretty decent week.

Honestly, I'm still not sure "what next".  I have to figure out how this job is going to turn out, figure out how the 3 hours of commuting each day is going to work out.  Figure out how getting up at 5am every day and not getting home until 6:30 or 7pm is going to work out.  Take care of dog...take care of Mum...take care of me.  Still hanging by a frayed thread.  My psyche rubbed raw, bleeding and scarred.  Tired, scared, confused, bored, lonely, crushed, shattered...not quite sure who or what I am any more.  

I am alive...I guess I'll just leave it at that for now.  




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