Concurrently, David was trying to find a new job and not having much luck. The public transit system in Boston isn't as far reaching or convenient as New York. The people here also have been much colder toward us and harder to get to know. We've felt both overt racism and homophobia where we least expected it.
Fortunately, after six weeks, David found a job in our building renting out apartments. This helped David try a new profession and helped us with a rent discount, health insurance, and an easy commute. Six weeks after he got his job, I ended up leaving mine. There was no way I could make the job work and still be happy.
The entire thing gave me great pause to evaluate myself and my life. I became very depressed about my future, my ability to take care of my family, my ability to do my job or work in my profession.
Not one to give up easily, I began looking for work again within one week of starting the job that was a bad fit. One week after leaving my job, I was offered a new one. The new job is at a college directing alumni relations. I love alumni relations and know that this is good work in my field. I will miss the fundraising aspect of my work certainly, but know I can impact fundraising daily at the new job.
photo from C. Estes-Schwartz
Even with this job lined up and the paperwork signed, I still could not motivate myself to dig out of this depression. I took five weeks before starting the new job hoping that I could use the time to do things to elevate my spirit. Unfortunately, my body and mind did not cooperate. David and I went camping, I visited my family, and I read some books. Still, all I wanted to do was sleep in a dark room all day and night. I tried to smile and have fun through all the travel and social time while I was screaming in agony inside pretending to everyone that it was ok.
My dog kept me company in bed, but also made me get out of bed to go for a walk on a regular basis. This is my first dog and I think he was one of the main reasons I never sank too far. He just wouldn't let me. He greeted me at the door with a smile and licks every time I came back even if I just went to toss the garbage in the garbage shoot across the hall.
If you don't let yourself feel bad once in a while, those negative emotions haunt you and never let you truly experience the height of goodness and joy.I'm glad to have let myself experience this down energy, but enough is enough. I know what I need to do to get out of it, and I refuse to let the demons of depression become the dominate chords in my life.
I am fortunate to have so many people that love me in addition to Casper (my dog). I have been speaking about this with them and that is one big reason I can say things are getting better. My husband, mom, brother, college friends, Brooklyn friends, Hartwick friends, and people in my life have given me hope that I'm not alone in going through this and that there is a way out.
I'm also doing what I can to be social. Just because New Englanders seem to give their cold shoulder at first doesn't mean I should give up. Between making sure to spend time with my friends, David and I are trying to meet new ones. I visited my alma mater for homecoming.
I also went to see my sister who now lives an hour away. Even just walking on the beach with her sometimes gave me the peace, time to think, and conversation that lifted me a little beyond where I was.
David and I also went on to meetup.com and joined some groups. We don't know that we've found the ones that are a good fit yet, but we keep trying and going to events.
Things are better. I am blessed. I'm not feeling down every day any more. This took time though, and energy, thought, and lots of talking, texting, Facebook chatting, crying, sleeping, running, cooking, and not always being my best self to the world around me.
Through it all, I've had my friends and family listening, supporting, and usually understanding. I'm grateful that David, in spite of his own challenges here, has been my rock.
With my current state of being, I'm limited in my wardrobe. I cleaned out my closet yesterday to get rid of things that I can't wear any more and found that I needed one or two more pairs of pants that fit around my belly for work. This was part of doing what I need to to dig out of my depression, find clothes that fit and I like as well as donating still awesome clothes to people who need them. While there, I spent quite some time waiting for a dressing room. The woman at the counter scowled at everyone and was anything but polite. I tried to be overly kind, but let my snarky self get the best of me when I walked away saying "thanks for smiling." As I drove back to our apartment, I started wondering what her day and life is like and that maybe she was struggling. I wonder how often I gave my jerk self to people during the past six months.
I like to smile even when things are down. I try hard. This has helped me a lot in life and in my work. I'm not always successful at it, but when I am, the world feels like they are getting the attitude they should from me. It also helps people treat me better which in turn lifts my mood. May I always find a way and a reason to smile.
I hope you find reason to smile today, lift yourself away from the bad feelings, even just for a bit.