Handling Unforeseen Change

“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.” -Mary Shelley

Last Thursday I was laid off, my position eliminated and for the first time in fifteen years I was standing in the center of my life wondering what next.  I was advised that my severance package, a very generous one, was so that I could follow my bliss.  To Ms. A, I thank you, because I know that was her and only her.

I had another post completely written, but I don’t want to talk about that place, what I want to address is the aftermath, because for people with a dinged up mental health, change like this can be devastating, freeing, or devastatingly freeing.  For me it was the latter.  I miss my true work friends. I miss Im’ing with the ones not in my office and I miss being needed. That was the hard part, not being needed.

I hadn’t realized how much my identity was tied into doing for others until I wasn’t there anymore. I had built this relationship with my work and as I was asked to step away, I didn’t know how to separate me from them.  This was my longest job, and I really truly “grew up” here.  I quietly watched and learned how to navigate my way through the office/corporate politics and I picked up a lot of life lessons that can be used in any industry really.  I was an adult when I started my job in 2004, but I was a grown up when I left.

The last week has been eye opening, heart wrenching, filled with the blues, some sad days, some crying mornings and today I caught myself slipping into a new event, which I promptly stopped when I realized I needed to come up with a new routine to keep me busy. I don’t have excuses anymore. I built patio furniture so I can write outside, and I realize that four months can go pretty quickly, so I need to get going now.

I took the last week to be angry and sad and while that doesn’t mean my dinged up mental health won’t get in the way, I allowed myself to feel these things, so that I can let them go.  In the past I used to hang onto things and that wasn’t working for me, because it festered and if something new came along to interfere, that just made it worse and entangled too much in a mental web.

I guess the point of this blog is that I am facing my fear of the unknown.  Even just a year ago this might have broken me into a million pieces, but by going through that year long event, which felt like wading through mud and shit (nope, just a metaphor, never experienced it), I grew mental muscles I never knew I had.  Despite the loss of my eliminated position, I trust that I truly am going to go from surviving to thriving, and not just saying I am and I hope my being able to write more, I will be able to help many more do the same.

Mental health doesn’t have to be a life sentence, it can be a beautiful, albeit dangerously beautiful, thing.  Our brains don’t function like others and we see the world differently, though just how differently is up to each individual. I have been given an opportunity many don’t get, and it’s time to put my purpose to good use.

Don’t give up on yourself, even when you feel others have given up on you.  Strength isn’t always physical, it’s also emotional, so hang in there and find your bliss.