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I’ve finally arrived. End of the line. My last benefit check comes next week. The finality of it is chilling. With no job, my house teetering at the edge of foreclosure and with no prospects to speak of, I could easily fall into a white hot panic right now. But as an inspirational poster once told me: “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the control of it.” So I must have control. I’ve got to be the rock climber on that poster.

Between anxiety attacks, I’ve been thinking. Big questions. What am I doing with my life? Mentally and emotionally speaking, have I become a ward of the state? Is now the time to reinvent myself? Should I follow my passions? Do I have passions anymore? Has being unemployed for over two years diminished my self image and my capacity for hope so significantly that I’m just a zombie now? Partly, yes. Sadly, the fear and the anxiety have taken a toll. I’m chronically depressed. I second guess myself all the time. And in interviews, I feel like I’m asking for a handout. The list of side effects goes on. But is this psychological deformation reversible? I hope so. It has to be. I cannot let my worth and my identity be prescribed to me anymore. In a cruel way week 99 is helping me see that.

4 thoughts on “99

  1. This unemployment experience, losing my vocation, my house, my marriage, two or three part time jobs has helped to turn me into a Buddhist. Everything changes.

    All that is dear to me and everything I love is of the nature to change. I cannot escape being separated from them. You have to accept this and let go.

  2. I was hired on the day my last UI check arrived. It CAN happen. After nearly four weeks on the job, my skills are back stronger than ever. I’m a highly effective part of a team doing real and valuable work, and with this three-month gig on my new resume, I’m feeling optimistic for the next job. Only now do I realize how anxious and nearly despondent I was for two years.

    I know when I was unemployed, reading of others’ good fortune in finding a job did not give me hope but resentment. But here I am, 57, working for nearly the pay I was getting before the layoff. The chances of this happening were vanishingly small, but it CAN happen. I hope it happens for all the unemployed – I’m doing my best every day to prove that hiring the long-term unemployed is a great idea. I am so grateful, I am so happy, I am SOOOOO relieved.

    Hang in there.

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