Well, it’s not really THAT high, but it’s getting there.
The past few nights, I’ve been lying awake staring at the ceiling till well past midnight, my brain awash in zillions of thoughts that have no beginning and no end. It’s nothing pathological, just a reaction to the fact that the stress in my life is ratcheting up, and my nerves are strung pretty tight as days go by without phone calls inviting me to job interviews, or good news about the interviews I’ve already done.
I’ve been here before, it’s familiar territory. I hate it, but at least I recognize it and I know it makes me a little crazy, so I’m not alarmed. Every time I’m out of work longer than a few weeks, I get scared and start catastrophizing (“Omigawd, we’re going to lose the house and end up homeless and have to live in our car”); and while it certainly is possible, something usually comes along and saves us.
However, I’ve done the math on this one and it doesn’t add up. Paying $1200 a month in rent when you’re getting only $2000 a month in unemployment and Social Security benefits is next to impossible, especially when you have utility bills, gas, and other expenses (MEDS). I even swallowed my pride and checked to see if we could get food stamps and Medicaid, but since there’s only two of us, we’re still (barely) above poverty level and thus don’t qualify for any form of assistance. That’s easier on my conscience, but it sure doesn’t do much for our situation.
So now I’m back to lying in bed wide-ass awake, long after I’ve taken my nighttime meds, and wondering what the hell to do. Do I totally give up on health care and go to work at Mickey D’s? Do I go back to Vocational Rehab and beg them to train me for something different? Do I keep searching the job boards daily at Craigslist and CareerBuilders and Jobungo, even though I have to wade through hundreds of sales, warehouse and assembly-line jobs to get to one or two real possibilities? And just what the fuck are we supposed to live on while I’m doing it?
Now, why my little pea-brain always has to go into overdrive when I’m trying to sleep is a mystery. I’ve also always wondered why this always happens to women and not men. I mean, Will can be worried sick about something, but the instant his head hits the pillow, he’s OUT—he’s snoring, just sleeping away, nothing bothers him—whilst I, who takes a handful of major tranquilizers, stare off into the dark and ask God for a sign as to what I should do next. What is UP with that??!
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not down on myself, and I’m not freaking out because I think I’m a terrible person who doesn’t deserve a good job. Like I told you, those days are over and there’s no going back. No, I’m freaking out because we can’t afford to live in this house anymore but we also can’t afford to move. I’m freaking out because I’m not getting the jobs that should be a slam-dunk. I’m freaking out because I honestly have NO idea of what I’m supposed to do or why the tactics I used so successfully in the past aren’t working anymore. I hate uncertainty, and my life is loaded with it.
Stay tuned for the next exciting episode of High Anxiety…..