If you follow me on social media, you’ll know recently I posted on Instagram about leaving my job due to being made redundant, which considering the terrible state of the arts sector in Northern Ireland is in at the minute, was still a shock to me even though I should have seen it coming. Today’s blog post is about my initial feelings about the situation.
First and foremost, I understand that being made redundant is nothing to be embarrassed about and while many people around me told me this; until you’re in the situation yourself, nothing anyone can say will make you feel better right away. Redundancy happens to many people through no fault of their own and that’s part of the reason I was able to hold it together the latter part of my last few weeks in the job. Ironically, the afternoon I was told was the same afternoon I was heading to see my counsellor, so it couldn’t have happened at a better time.
Within the first week I can only remember not crying two of those days, I felt like I was a mess. I struggled to get out of bed that first week to go to work after I found out. I couldn’t be angry at anyone and I think that was the most frustrating part. I couldn’t take it out on anyone because it was no-one’s fault so normally when that happens, I take it out on myself which ends up being worse. I cried in front of work colleagues and if you know me in real life, you’ll know I’m very sensitive so one little remark can set me off at the best of times. Crying in work wasn’t something I wanted to do but when you’re put in a situation that you can’t control and your emotions can’t control, then at that point, you have to let your body do what it needs.
What was I worried about? When you put the situation into perspective; I don’t have children to look after, I don’t care for anyone and I have people around me who can support me. No-one had told me “how lucky I was that I didn’t have all these other problems” but that was all I could concentrate on leading to me feeling even worse for feeling like I was slowly crumbling. However, I live on my own and have done for the last year and a half and it’s something I’m very proud of. That’s what I was afraid of; I was afraid of losing the one thing that had given me such a wealth of independence and no matter how much everyone kept telling me “you’ll be fine”, I wasn’t able to believe them.
Thankfully for me, I had six weeks’ notice which I know that not many people get that lucky. I’m not sure if it was a help or a hindrance because I knew that I had no job in less than two months but I still had to try my best. For me it was important not to step completely back from the job during this time because as upset as I was, it wasn’t in my control. During my time in that job, I had taken on more than I needed to most of the time and it had taken its toll in more ways than one. However, I knew that my depression and anxiety symptoms were at their high points so stepping away from tasks that weren’t absolutely essential, was the best decision for me. Don’t get me wrong, I still tried my damn best and I’m proud of the work that I done up until the end but seeing it from the other side now, the stress was not worth it.
As I write this, I’m in my first week of unemployment and it’s been hard. I thought I was prepared and I hadn’t expected to feel the way I do. I wanted to do so many things during this time while I look for a job and my plans haven’t went as well as I had hoped. It’s still hard getting out of bed in the morning, it’s hard holding a conversation with anyone and unfortunately for me, my tiredness hasn’t changed. When you wake up in the morning and feel exhausted, it doesn’t give you much hope for the rest of the day.
I’m not writing this for sympathy and I’m not writing this to tell you how hard I have it because I know that so many other people have it much harder than me but this has been a very challenging part of my life that I thought would be important to document for the simple reason that I know this will be okay in the end. This won’t last forever and I have come to terms with the fact that I have to ask for help when I need it. I’m not good at asking for help, it’s one of my worst traits in fact but sometimes help is all you need.