December 18, 2012 1:47 PM   Subscribe

I'm unemployed, and probably depressed. Any help?

Apologies if this is a bit rambling and unfocused. It's reflective of my mood today.

I lost my long term job 2 years ago after the company I worked for shut down. I tried to work with some existing clients in the field for a year, but I didn't "go for it" 100% because I was burnt-out and ambivalent about my profession. I went back to school to pick up some new skills hoping to move laterally into another area. I have been looking (unsuccessfully) for work the last 6 months.

Making a transition doesn't seem to be in the cards with my current skills. Even entry level jobs, that I thought I could get easily, I simply get stock rejection letters from.

I can see how this has all happened. I'm naturally introverted and tend towards close relationships with a few people. I've avoided professional networking, social networking, and let my old skills slide. I've become unmotivated, confused, and full of shame. I relied on my old job as a stabilizing force in my life. Without the anchor of full time employment I've drifted and my worst tendencies towards procrastination and avoidance have blossomed.

I couldn't sleep last night and found myself pacing and crying alone at 3AM. That's not normal. This morning my wife blew up again (understandably) about the little things that I continue to slip on. That smallest things now point to my failure in life. She loves me, but she's done with the situation.

I feel fucked. I've ruined my life and my marriage (that feels like all I had/have going for me). I need to get my life and self together quick.

I've just started working with a career coach, but I don't feel like I did when I was younger; I don't feel hopeful and full of potential at this point in time.

Obviously, my current situation is all my responsibility. I know I've got to pull myself up by my bootstraps. But I feel like I can't find the handles right now. I'm worried about my mental health, and I am not sure where to turn, or if this is just situational.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
This method really did a lot for me (although in the long term, once you get a job, it's obviously important to supplement stuff like this with therapy).

Good luck - it sounds like a situation that would make anybody depressed, and you have my sympathies.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 1:52 PM on December 18, 2012

Forget bootstraps - if you are depressed, and it sounds like you might be, you can't just will it away or make it go away by trying harder. You need to get help with the depression itself.

I also want to add that if you are getting stock rejection letters for lots of jobs for which you are qualified, there might be a problem with your resume or cover letters that you arentp't noticing - have a fresh set of eyes look them over.
posted by mai at 1:54 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Deal with the depression first. Ask your wife for (another) 3 months of patience and forbearance while you work on that and trying to make it better. See a therapist and/or psychiatrist immediately - the first one you can get an appointment with - get meds and take them consistently and religiously if they're recommended. Move your body as much as possible, focusing on strength - pushups, pull ups etc - not aerobics.

Assuming things are getting better after 3 months, ask your wife for another 6 months of patience while you try to get a job. Focus on the process. Think of applications and cover letters as a zen practice. Like letters to Santa. Very well-written, articulate, proof-read letters, but without expectation of immediate returns. Same approach with the dreaded networking and phone calls. Get help from experts in how to find a job if that seems worthwhile. Keep moving and getting stronger, keep doing your therapy and/or meds, keep up your meditative/applications practice.

Its both harder and easier than it seems.

Caveats: IANAD, much less YD, this is just from similar personal experience, YMMV.
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 2:12 PM on December 18, 2012

First of all, see a doctor to see if you have clinical depression. There are drugs that can really, really help.

So you blew it. Big deal. We all do some time. Today is a new day. Work with your Career Coach to clean up your resume and get you back in the workforce.

Sign up to temp. At the beginning of the year, especially around tax time, there are tons of seasonal projects to get on-board with. You'll meet new people, gain new skills and get some dough coming in.

Your wife is frustrated with the situation, you haven't ruined your marriage. Once she sees that you're taking your situation seriously and that you're doing actual stuff to help yourself, I'm sure that she'll be happy to support you in whatever way she can.

Don't be so hard on yourself. You didn't have a lot of good coping skills when you became unemployed, but you can do better, and you will do better going forward.

So here are your steps:

1. Go to a doctor to discuss your depression.

2. Work with career coach to sort out your resume, cover letter and interviewing.

3. Start looking for medum term temp projects that will get you back into the swing of thing.

You're going to be fine. Just breathe deeply an don't freak out.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:15 PM on December 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

We're about the same age I think, with similar experiences, and I've been there.

First, if you can, try to figure out what will make your wife happy. Create a list that acts as a contract of sorts, and stick by it. Of course, your wife may not communicate in this way (she may not be able to play along for a variety of reasons) but it's worth a shot.

Get some help. A career coach not only helps you with your resume - a career coach should also try to work with you on developing "healthy mental habits". Many "successful" people like athletes or whatever actually "think right." It's more than just saccharine affirmations, it's a way of thinking and a way of approaching problems and obstacles.

A good career coach should be able to help with this.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:30 PM on December 18, 2012

Also, for people wanting to do the career change thing, applying to job openings may not be the best strategy. To whatever HR lackey is reviewing the submissions, you're a square peg in a round hole. Their glorious job in life is to screen you out. You need to totally avoid all contact with these petty gatekeepers.

Instead, you have to network. It's really your only chance to create meaningful change in your professional network.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:32 PM on December 18, 2012

here are a few things I would suggest:
- start exercising if you are not - even if it is something easy/minimal, just do it everyday.
- aside from your "job search," start doing something, no matter how small, that you control completely. a hobby, project, art, a group or something. Your wife has no say in any aspect of this. be mindful to talk/connect to people you will meet.
- this may sound strange, but try being still. turn off all extraneous crap in your life. (commercials, radio, sitcoms, movies, news, uncool people). carve out space where you can hear your "inner self". meditate.
- think of yourself as an anchor to any storms your wife (or life for that matter) may present. You say it's "understandable" she got angry with you... this mindset is bull. She should be supportive, or inspiring, not angry. If she is "done" with you, at a low-point, then let her fucking "be done" and let her go.
- all of this doesn't have to happen "quick" as you say. just start walking down the path. trying to make it all happen/change fast isn't going to help you, but only put on more pressure.

just my two cents -
- best to you
posted by mrmarley at 5:00 AM on December 19, 2012

OP, this is temporary. Remember that. Don't start thinking that where you are right is the final say on who you are. It's not.

Exercise is good.

And I second looking for temp work. Temping is great.
posted by bunderful at 8:08 AM on December 19, 2012

Again with the temping. I wouldn't says it always great but it is a way to make money and look for a permanent job at the same time.
posted by Jess the Mess at 11:05 AM on December 19, 2012

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