“Sometimes, I feel the fear of uncertainty stinging clear
And I can’t help but ask myself how much I’ll let the fear
Take the wheel and steer
It’s driven me before
And it seems to have a vague, haunting mass appeal
But lately I am beginning to find
That I should be the one behind the wheelWhatever tomorrow brings
I’ll be there with open arms and open eyesWhatever tomorrow brings
I’ll be there, I’ll be there…”-Drive by Incubus
I think it’s amazing how people can so easily tear you apart. A question. A tone of voice. An accusation. A look. People can just rip you to shreds until you are left feeling horrible about yourself.
I was so looking forward to this interview today! It seemed like the perfect job for me. It seemed like it was the answer I’ve been searching for. Maybe I let my hopes get too high, because the illusion of this job was quickly shattered when I sat down for my interview. The interviewers kept harping on the fact that I’ve never stayed at jobs very long, a year or two. They kept asking why. I answered that I was searching for the perfect job for me, and unfortunately those jobs were not the perfect fit.
I couldn’t tell the truth.
This is where those of us who suffer with mental illness struggle. What do you say when you can’t say the truth?
People won’t understand the real reason why I never lasted very long at jobs. And there’s reasons. Plenty of reasons.
Before I embraced living all-natural, my anxiety and depression were out of control. Holding down a job was extremely hard for me because my anxiety would get so bad that companies didn’t know how to handle me. It wasn’t that I wasn’t good at what I did. All my supervisors always said I was excellent at my jobs and responsibilities, it was my mental health that was the issue. I was never let go from a job. It was always my decision to leave. I needed to have that control to say that I felt it was over. It had to be my decision, and when I felt that I couldn’t fight anymore, I walked.
As my health has improved, I have gotten better at staying at jobs. My last job at the library I was at for three years! That was a record for me. But, things happened that were outside of my control, and eventually when I realized that I wasn’t being treated as I should, and wasn’t being appreciated for all I did, I knew I deserved better. Because I cared about myself. Because I knew I was worth more. And I wasn’t going to keep sacrificing my health for a job where I wasn’t being treated correctly.
But I can’t say all that on an interview. I can’t say that I suffer from depression and anxiety because people don’t understand. There was always reasons behind why I left jobs. Lots of reasons. And maybe that’s why I’m being so choosy now over the jobs I am applying for. Because I want to make sure that I’m making the right decision and doing something that I actually care about, that will make me feel good about me.
If by some chance I am offered this job that I interviewed for today, I’m going to turn it down. I don’t want to work for people who right off the bat don’t even give me a chance. Who don’t even already believe in me. Because I am worth more and I respect myself.
So as the song says, “Lately I am beginning to find that I should be the one behind the wheel.” I need to steer myself towards what is good for me. What feels right. Towards positive experiences. Not just take whatever comes my way. But each day brings something new. New possibilities. And I will embrace what comes my way with open arms.
And somehow, eventually, I will find my way.