Redundant Thoughts
Posted by dirkgently1066
18th Sep 2014

This week (the 20th to be exact) marks the one year anniversary of being made redundant from my job.

It is difficult to know what to feel. Should I feel anything? It was just a job, and one I hated at that. Yet for all that, it throws up a number of thoughts. There is no particular order to these, this is just what is on my mind.

...I am well rid of my old job. It made me miserable. It made me ill. It sent me to hospital. I remain angry at the way I was let go and the implication that had for my therapy.

...And yet I still miss it.

...Part of the problem is actually caused by the solution. By going to work for the competitor down the road, I eliminated an anxiety trigger by ensuring that I would be going into a role and sector that I knew well. I wouldn't have such a steep learning curve, I could concentrate on simply getting back to work. But, at the same time, it helps to highlight the similarities and the glaring differences.

...I am far more reserved in this company. Despite my anxieties, tenure gave me a swagger and confidence. I knew everybody and they knew me, good and bad. Now, I am the new guy. Everyone is a stranger. They have no concept of what I was before and what my skillset is. I have been there 9 months now but still I feel inhibited.

...It occurred to me this week that I had, in some respects, checked out of this job. But then I realised I had never really checked in. After 12 years in my last job, I knew all the systems, the processes, the workarounds, the shortcuts. Now, I don't even know the names of all the people who sit behind me. I need to learn it all again. It is like a marriage ending and then finding that you are back on the dating scene, having to once again go through all the rituals and awkwardness of courting, of getting to know someone. If I want to progress, I know I must do it. But part of me doesn't want to

...I am torn as to where and how to progress next. It has always been in my character to push myself and seek more. To that end, I often find myself bored and frustrated. I worry how I am perceived by those around me. It is not meant as arrogance or showing off but the simple fact is that my old role was infinitely more demanding, varied and complex. Yet, if I were offered more, would I take it? Would I want it? I don't know. Despite all I feel I have achieved in the last year, I still face a daily battle against anxiety. Sometimes the slightest of incidents can act as a trigger. I want more for myself but I am not convinced I am ready for it. In a way I still feel to delicate.

...I am pleased to have continued my writing. It had always been a dream to get something published. But I decided that I didn't want to dream because dreams are not reality. So instead I made it an ambition and I achieved it twice, once as a story in someone else's collection, once my own publication. It is self publishing, so in some respects not 'real' publishing but at the end of the day, people have paid money to buy something that I created. That is pretty special to me.

...Publishing brings its own issues. For the first time, I understand what I want to do with my life. I enjoy writing. I think I am good at it. I have experiences that I want to share with people. This is what I want to do for a living. But I have come to wonder why I bother, what is the point? When I break down my book sales, I have sold 20 units and I'm pretty sure I could name every person who has bought one. When I check the hits on this site, it is rarely out of single digits. I have a smattering of twitter followers. Simply put, I have no audience. Outside friends and family, no one is reading my stuff. I am grateful to everyone, whoever they are, who has taken the time to read something I have written but I want more. I want the exhilaration that comes from someone I don't know coming across my writing and thinking it is interesting enough to warrant paying for.

...It is not often that I censor myself, I have made a concerted effort to write these blogs as honestly as possible. I wrote a piece recently called Unsocial Media, where I queried the nature of my Facebook friends and their interaction with me in regards to mental illness. But I held back. I wrote it as a polite enquiry. What I left out was some of the resentment I felt. Outside of family (both immediate and extended) and some specific individuals, it feels as though I have been left to battle my illness alone. Perhaps people do not understand. I was in a mental hospital for three months. I experienced what the tabloids would probably (inaccurately) refer to as a 'nervous breakdown'. My life has been turned upside down, forcing me to fundamentally question who I am. It has been a life changing experience. I am not cured, I never will be. Maybe I have become too adept at hiding my true self. I can put on a mask with the best of them. But my triggers and insecurities remain.

...Two of the people who have been most supportive to me and us as a family are Karen's parents, Phil and Rachel. They are unswervingly generous and kind with their time and advice, assisting us on countless projects around the house and are always ready to help with the kids. And how have I repaid such generosity? With rudeness and ingratitude. It is tempting to blame my depression and anxiety but that is an easy cop out. I take responsibility for my actions. They have given us so much and I have taken them for granted. They deserve so much better. The last year has taught me that life is a journey. I am endeavouring to change. I apologise to them both unreservedly.

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