September 22, 2012


My last few posts have been deceiving, to put it lightly. I have loved my walking adventures with Matt, don't get me wrong. But there is an awful lot more I'm not sharing.

Namely, my intensely private struggle with depression.

Part of it has been related to my employment situation, part due to a health issue that has me not only temporarily unable to run but slowly yet steadily gaining weight. It's been a tough year, and it hasn't entirely eased up since returning to Chicago. Things are infinitely better, and there's no doubt in my mind that I made the right choice. But still, there are challenges, and some days, the pressure feels like it could break me.

I try so hard to always wear a brave face and a smile, even when the pain is overwhelming. No one has any clue how much I'm hurting, because I keep it all to myself.

A friend from grad school asked why I left California since things seemed to be going so well for me there. And I don't blame him - they did seem okay when you look at what I put forth, particularly on Facebook: long bike rides, teaching victories, scenic pictures.

What I hid was considerably darker.

"Wow," he said. "I would have never guessed."

And that's how I've wanted it to be, for years, not just limited to California. Fiercely independent, I've always felt the burden of my struggles is mine to carry and mine alone.

The independence extends to my job search. As my savings account begins to slim down, I feel a bit of a panic and wonder when I'll finally get a call back from anyone - even retail applications have gone unanswered. But the thought of letting anyone know how deeply, truly terrified I am is gut wrenching. Almost scarier than the fear itself. I know that even if things were to become desperate, I have people to count on - the promise of financial support from my father, for example. But again, the need to be independent kicks in, and I feel terrible even thinking I might have to borrow money temporarily.

This stuff keeps me up at night. I lay there, staring at the walls, trying to think of what measures I could go to in order to ensure that I (a) don't need to be dependent on anyone else and (b) don't let anyone find out how truly stressed out I am.

Something I firmly believe, though, is that the universe is a wonderful place, and mysterious things happen all the time. At the right time, when you're feeling down on your luck and about ready to throw in the towel, that's when things tend to surprise you and turn around.

I got a phone call the other day for a job interview.

And the next day: another.

I went to both, and after a series of interviews, I was offered both positions. Since the schedules conflicted, I took the one that offered a better salary and more hours. As soon as my background check clears, I'm set to begin training and jump right into working again.

The positions were both in retail/customer service - not ideal, not teaching, but it's work, and I'm intensely grateful. I'm grateful to have an income again, even if it's a wage and not a salary. I'm grateful to have something to do all day besides wander the city and wonder what I'll do when the money runs out. And I'm grateful to have one of my major worries taken care of. I'm still actively searching for teaching jobs, but in the meantime, I'll be busy and making enough money to afford the roof over my head, the food on my plate, the clothes on my body, and even a few little extras.

It feels so, so good to smile genuinely again, and to exhale deeply and let go of this one stressor.


Five Arrows Farm said...

I'm so glad you shared! It's hard struggling with depression, especially when you feel like you're the only one that does.

Good for you finding a job, too - two actually - it's a super difficult time to get one, so awesomeness abounds for you! :) I'm excited for you!!

Unknown said...

Mary - I'm sorry to hear how tough things have been. Congrats on the position and I hope things continue to get better for you.

timothy said...

darlin there is no shame in fear or in needing help. do NOT hide away those who follow you and those who love you, love YOU! not a projected happy image, we all have fears and doubt that's what makes us human. if you feel it i suggest you say/vent it otherwise that stuff will eat you alive and cause you to stress eat everything else in the world. end of lecture! lolol congrats on the job, bright blessings and it's appropo you're having prosperity as today is mabon!

Bailey @ Onederland or Bust! said...

Congrats on finding a job!
I'm the same way in the fact that I have a hard time admitting to people when things are bad. I'm very good at putting up a front and hiding my true emotions. I'm learning that it's ok and everyone goes through rough times. Hang in there Mary! :)

Leigh said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your struggles of late. Thanks for sharing. Congratulations on the job. I just know that what you're truly looking for will come your way soon:-)

Caron said...

You are sweet to share your struggles with us. My oldest daughter struggles with depression and has been going through a lot too.

I'm glad you got a job. In this economy, a job is a precious thing. Chin up. You're stronger than you realize, I'm thinking. :)

Anonymous said...

Hooray - that's fantastic news about the job:)

It's hard to keep things together when there are so many worries swirling about your head. Days alone seem long and nights never-ending.

I never understood why people say 'it's all in your head' as a way of dismissing worries. That's the worst place for something to be - saying your fears and worries out loud, talking them over, helps diminish them.

Best of luck with the new job and I hope you can run again soon.

Weight Wars said...

I'm so sad that you've been feeling this sad :( You deserve the very best in life. Your struggles are our struggles but not in a dependant way, but I want to see the best for you.

Congratulations and don't let customer service destroy your soul smile and remember it's rarely your fault ;)

Frickin' Fabulous at 40 said...

I'm glad to hear you've found a job, even it isn't your ideal. I'm still waiting to hear back from the place I interviewed at, wndering if there was something I said or did to make them think twice... I can commiserate with the frustration you felt!

Christie Farrar said...

YAY for getting a job!! That is a huge relief.

Also congrats on sharing about your depression. You need to talk about it. Coming from someone who suffers from it as well, it really is the thing that helps. And guess what? EVERYONE goes through depression sometimes and you would be surprised to know just how great it feels to get it off your chest.

So talk to someone who really understands you about it- and be honest. Cry even. It will help so much.

Sarah said...

I am SO relieved! Congrats on the job, even if it isn't in teaching.

I was super nervous for you all the way through this entry. I remember going through the exact same thing in 2005, only I didn't have any savings. I remember how relieved I felt to get a job, any job, because it meant I could relax a little while I focused on getting something more permanent.

I hope something turns up soon. It's good to know you have something in the meantime, though. :)

Poison said...

I am glad you shared this with us too, hon. I have known depression off and on all throughout my life. Probably the worst of it was just a few years back. It's taken a lot of time and growing up to realize that everyone struggles and while its not exactly socially acceptable to pile all your problems on other people, it's also not okay to keep them all bottled up inside tearing yourself apart from the core. This is why we have friends and family, to help us and relate to things even if they can't help and can just empathize you'll still feel better than trying to handle everything all on your own. It might seem like the best idea at first to just take care of yourself and not want to worry those who care about us, but in the long run you'll always feel better if you reach out to others. Even just strangers online, that's actually what I prefer usually. lol.

Love you, Mary. Everything happens for a reason and all will work itself out eventually. <3

DJ said...

I just found your blog and you are an inspiration! I'm so glad you were able to find a job, but so sorry to hear about your recent struggles.

Ann said...

Mary - I'm so sorry that you've been struggling. But I honestly think that A LOT of people go through A LOT of those same feelings - worry, anxiety, stress, distress - about asking for help or admitting those feelings to others. Please know - you are loved, you are supported, and you are wonderful! Congrats on the new job. :)

Maren said...

Congratulations on getting a job, that is fantastic! I know what it's like to worry, and like you described - that worry often comes out at night. Everything that's wrong in our lives comes to the surface when we're alone in our own minds in the dark. I am so happy for you!

Tim said...

Very pleased for you to read that you've been offered a job! It'll be a great way to meet new people too now you're back in Chicago :)

Anonymous said...

I understand keeping it in. I don't like to disappoint people. I am afraid people will disappear because... who wants to be around Debbie Downer, but somethings godda give right? In the end people usually want to share your burden. But trusting it to be so...

Getting that job is going to set you on the right path. It WILL. it is like when the shit hits the fan diarrhea ALWAYS sets in right? Well it also works the other way. Once you turn off the fan things get better. The job is the on/off switch.

ps - men (or boys if you prefer) in CA, I have found them to largely prickish. Yep. Just my long tested opinion. Not sure if that was part of the calidisgust, but - how could it not be.

That Loud Redhead said...

Congratulations on getting a job!! Take it one day at a time and I KNOW things will get better for you each day. {{hugs}}

Unknown said...

I'm so relieved to hear that you have a reason to take that big exhale, Mary. Losing a job, especially when another one isn't there to take its place can leave one feeling debilitated. I know it did me. I still panic late at night when I'm too scared to look at my savings account (not a good time to begin a business) but you are absolutely right. At the worst possible moment, some light shines from some where and its truly comforting. Best of luck at your new job!

Tammy said...

You are an amazing person!! I'm sooo sorry that you have to go thru depression...believe me, I totally understand. I don't hide it as well as you. When I'm down, I'm down. Can barely get out of bed, have trouble dealing with everything. I'm very happy that you have found a job.:) Know that I'm here if you ever need to talk.