In all the diary entries of my therapy sessions, it’s been fairly apparent to me that I haven’t given you any clue as to what my day is like. So, let’s have a bash, a life in the day of someone fighting the demons in their mind. Don’t worry, it will be cheery. In one sentence at least.
Wednesday 16 April 2014
Once again I prove the like to George Osborne’s demonisation of unemployed people. My curtains are opened way before 10am. And there’s no hint of Jeremy Kyle or any tv being turned on for that matter.
I always make my son a cooked breakfast. Mixing studies with job searching can leave a teenager famished pretty soon. I didn’t have enough money for milk with my muesli so I eat the birdseed dry. You have to make do.
Attention turns, after the cleaning up, to my own job search. Websites are scoured, vacancies are applied for, as is a wander around the local area, peering in shops, hopeful for an opening.
It’s easy to get into a daily habit and it does work. Twice in the last few months I’ve applied for, had interviews, and been offered jobs. For one reason or another, they haven’t worked out. Still, being angry about it won’t do me any good. Stop right now. And I have the confidence of knowing I’m talented enough to be offered jobs.
My son is off out, to job search further himself, and also to meet his friends enjoying their Easter break. It’s a tough time being a teenager these days, especially with money too tight to mention, so he’s earned that little time off to see them.
I get the train into town, my fortnightly appointment in the Jobcentre awaiting. It’s a depressing place. Dingy, next to the rail line, a lack of natural light, low ceilings. People of all ages sit around waiting for their turn to be seen, faces grim. Don’t believe the hype and spin. Unemployment is not a lifestyle choice for me, those waiting, and millions of others. It’s a daily nightmare.
I get seen as soon as I turn up. My adviser smiles. I’ve jumped the queue of five other people waiting. They look daggers at me when my name is immediately called out. I’m told, though “You’re always on time so you get seen on time.”
The adviser is kindly. She’s genuinely caring about my situation, and asks about my therapy, having being treated for depression and other mental issues herself before, and gets the heads-up on my latest health issues. She also makes a note of the last employer to screw around with me.
My job search is checked, ticked, signed off. My meagre allowance – and it is – will be paid on time. Oddly enough, I feel the need to justify myself here. I have been in full employment for decades before my spell on the job scrapheap so have paid in.
And even then have spent the vast majority of my time ‘unemployed’ actually employed on a voluntary basis for local causes. Doesn’t stop feeling a little shame every fortnight in the Jobcentre but still.
Anyway, I’m out, and have £12 in my pocket. With the right shops visited, that can feed my son for a fortnight. I’ll worry about my own meals another time. At this moment, however, I can’t face the shops. The sun is out so I wander back to the station. My train ticket allows me to the end of the line. There’s a beach to wander down for a few miles there.
As I start to wander, I ponder on the perceived wisdom of a good walk helping people with depression. All that’s in my head is my ex. Two months since I last saw her, or had any contact, and it’s still very very raw. I think about how I was to blame, or at least how much, and how I miss her. I keep saying again and again to myself but it’s of little use – “stop right now”. Sorry, Spice Girls, it ain’t working today.
The blazing sun tempered by the cool breeze is lovely but does little to lift my spirits or take my thoughts elsewhere. It still hurts as I pass the beach huts, with the happy sights and sounds of families and grandparents enjoying themselves, showing not a care in the world. The noise of fun being had irritates me. I’m in a bad place.
I keep wandering, persevering, and gradually, I’m distracted, my thoughts slowly disappearing. I can’t resist walking onto the incoming tide, remembering too late to take my shoes off. Still, it’s lovely to feel the sun on my back and the sand and sea beneath my feet. I even dip my hands in and collect some shells. I also do. I love the beach.
Where the beach meets the main road, I cross over. Behind the old Victorian houses is a huge park, with a duck pond and other pond for people young and old to sail their remote control boats. Everyone is so relaxed, even playing their games is done in a languid, leisurely style. Just great.
Eventually, time to go home. Via the shops. I spend five of that £12 and get a fair amount of that fortnight’s meals. I’ll get the rest tomorrow as I can only carry so much. Then it’s the train. Then home.
And that is what I’m about at the moment. Determined to get myself a job, to earn, to provide, to succeed. I suffer terribly from my own thoughts, they still cut me to the bone and screw me up. Yet, somehow, I am fighting back, I’m not going to let this beat me.
Oh happy day.