Small Victories

As of the end of the day today, I’ll have been working full time for four straight months. That’s getting up, working a 9 to 5, going home, doing what I need to do, et cetera. That might not seem like a lot, but it’s the longest period of time I’ve ever worked. Now, I’m going back to school to start my Master’s program next week, so I’m not working full time anymore, and I’ll need to get a new, part time job if I can. But working for so long, even though it’s not really that long at all, is a personal victory for me.

Up until now, the longest I had worked full time had been three months. That was August, September, and October of 2014 – my first full time job. (I had worked June, July, August of various summers with summer jobs/internships in the past, but I don’t count that as it was just summer jobs). The problem was I was in the midst of a critical period of my depression. I woke up every day and wanted to die. Going to work was no help, as I had nothing to do because of some shenanigans involving my boss and upper management. So I just sat at work all day, wanting to die. I almost drove my car off the road more than one time on the way to or from work, just hoping to end it all. I wasn’t going to last much longer at that job, I knew it. But then my boyfriend broke up with me, and I cracked completely. I wasn’t able to eat or drink anything, let alone get myself to work. I was hospitalized, and took medical leave from my job. They still kept me on, but I was out on medical leave for almost three months.

When I returned to the office, I only was able to work another month before I crashed again. I walked in one morning, went “I can’t do this,” and went to my boss and started crying. I kept crying about how I couldn’t do this, but I didn’t want to lose my job, and I felt so awful and wanted to die. We talked with HR and I went to the hospital again. Now, this was a different boss than previously, because my old boss had quit (part of the shenanigans from earlier) while I was on medical leave. But my new boss didn’t really need me. So when I was in the hospital for the second time, I got laid off. It made sense, they really /didn’t/ need me, and I know it wasn’t because of my depression, but I think if I hadn’t been in and out of the hospital they would have tried harder to keep me, because I know they really liked me, and thought I was a good worker. But I don’t know that for certain.

I was unemployed for about a month before I got another full time job. But my depression still wasn’t managed, and I was still in a critical position. I only lasted a month or so there as well. I once again came into work crying, I had walked into the street that morning hoping a car would hit me (none did, I crossed the street, everything was “okay”).  But I ended up in the hospital again. When I got out of there I was unemployed for a while – then I applied to a temp agency, and here I am.

The temp agency kept me in full time jobs for four straight months. And I know I could go longer if I needed to – I’m just going back to school full time, so I can’t work full time as well.

Part of me is saying this doesn’t count – it isn’t four months straight because (1) I work for a temp agency, thus it’s been different jobs (I worked for one month at one place and I’m finishing up my third month at a second place) and (2) it doesn’t count because I knew there was an end date because I was going back to school. That all adds up to it not counting as a real full time job. And maybe that’s true. Maybe I could only work for this long because it was varied at different places, or because I knew I wouldn’t have to do it forever. Maybe I could only work this long because I had an out – and that was grad school. I don’t know. There’s no real way to know that.

The only things I do know is that I don’t want to die when I wake up in the morning, and a crash is not imminent. I know that, even though my job is boring, I could get up and face every day. I could look forward to the end of the day and be fine – I wasn’t looking towards the end of my life.

So that’s a victory. I’m stable for the most part mentally at the moment, with exceptions like I wrote about HERE the other week being very rare. I’m proud of myself.

You have to take the small victories as they come. When I was critical, it was a victory to get out of bed in the morning. It was a victory to shower. It was a victory to feed myself. If I managed to be a “functioning human being” for the day – that was a really good day.

Look at how far I’ve come. I still have troubles cooking for myself and showering every day, but I think that’s more of a habit than a depressive symptom at the moment. But getting up in the morning is just the start of my day now, not my only success. I can say I’m improving, and I can tell based on my small victories.

If it’s all you can do to get out of bed in the morning, that’s a victory. You don’t need to do more than that if you can’t right now. Someday, you’ll be able to do more, trust me.

So even if working for four months full time at temp jobs isn’t a great thing to some, it’s important to me.

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