Bipolar Disorder and Unemployment

Why Me?

Friday, September 29, 2017. The date I was let go from a company I had worked for over the span of 22 years. I knew there were layoffs coming to the company, but I truly thought I was safe. Until, he came for me. “Grab your keys and come with me.” Seriously. After 22 years, you’d think the courtesy of cleaning up your area and gathering a few more personal items, other than my car keys, would be extend to me. Not so. The funny thing was that I knew the “hatchet man” for 15 or so years and I think I actually felt worse for him having to do this, than for me actually being let go.

I handled the “exit speech” fairly well. Well, in that I didn’t spew forth a number of thoughts and words which were bouncing back and forth in my head when I entered the small room and two of my higher level bosses sitting there, TRYING to act all sad. They were relatively new to the company and I know they didn’t care 2 cents about me. So please, don’t give me your pity looks. I didn’t give them the satisfaction of even acknowledging them as “hatchet man” explained what my severance would be. So, I was actually as polite as could be picking up my keys, grabbing the little folder of papers which explained what would happen next in my sudden and unexpected unemployment, and walked out.

It wasn’t until I reached my car at the back of the parking lot before it really hit me. I sat in the driver’s seat, wondering how I was going to tell my wife what happened. And finally it plowed through my head. Why me?

Feeling sad after getting laid off
What am I going to do now?

Glad I’m gone, but now what?

Well, a little over 5 months later, I’ve come to believe that I needed to get out of the situation I was in with my job. I’m a believer in God and I think he took me out of the long drive and stressful environment I was in. I DO believe I will find another job, but WHEN? It’s over 5 months now. I get some really good prospects going and then it seems the rug is pulled out from under me and the job opportunity just disappears.

Depression is setting in

It’s been a while since I felt TRULY depressed for any extended period of time. I’ve always embraced my Bipolar Disorder II diagnosis. I’m very open with people I come in contact with, and I’ve tried not to ever use it as a crutch. But, wow.. 5 months down the road and I’m going through some valleys each week which I haven’t felt in a long time. All day I send in applications to jobs I find online, only to mostly get little response. My ass hurts sitting in this chair for 8-10 hours Monday through Friday, and now through the weekends. My wife tells me we’re starting to run out of the severance pay and the unemployment won’t cover even half of what I used to bring in. We’re going without insurance because we couldn’t afford to eat if we paid for that. The weight and guilt on my shoulders is getting heavier and heavier.

How can I cope?

My way of dealing with my mental illness is by exercising, which typically means running. Getting out on the road in the morning, while it’s still dark, and running a few miles or more. Sweating. Sweating is my medicine. Well guess what? A freak BINGO accident has derailed the running. Yes, I said, “Bingo”! Well the game itself didn’t do it, but while at a Bingo night at church, my 15 year old son and I were “wrestling” after the games were over. He likes to see if he’s getting stronger by trying to pick me up etc. Well, he kind of got me in the air, but when I came down, I landed on the side of my foot, and I’m 99% sure broke my little toe. I’ve tried running a few times and it just gets worse, so I’ve given up for now. That was 5 or 6 weeks ago and it’s not better. I can walk around pretty normally with not really any pain, but try and run and it feels like my foot will fall off. So now my medicine is gone. I’m trying this 21 Day Fix thing. It gets me to sweat, but not like I want. So, the lack of actual RUNNING makes the Depression worse. Coping is getting more difficult with each day.

How do you cope?

So, how do you cope when life hits you between the eyes and your “medicine” isn’t working? Especially if you are or have been unemployed and your Bipolar or other mental illness is starting to get the best of you. What kinds of things do you do to get through until you find that job?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Let me know!

Silhouette of two men running
Running is my medicine


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