Self portrait from 2006
Timmy and I have been talking for the last few months about leaving Chicago and moving back home. Originally I was the one who brought up the idea. One of the main reasons we moved to Chicago four years ago was because I loved the idea of more job possibilities. What I wasn't aware of was just how difficult it is for someone without at least a bachelor's degree to find a "good" job in Chicago. The competition here is so tough that my associate's degree might as well just be a high school diploma. I plan to go back to college to obtain my bachelor's degree, but it just isn't in the cards for me right now.
A few months ago I made the decision to leave my job without another job lined up; someone at my workplace was falsifying time-clock records (removing time that employees actually worked), and the management did not think it was a serious matter. I realized that if I wanted to be happy, I could no longer work somewhere that did not have appropriate expectations of their employees. I also felt that if I stayed there, I would be signaling to the management that their lack of action was acceptable. It has made for a tough few months because I have been determined to not just accept the first (or even third) job that I was offered, but rather to take the time to find the job that is right for me. Being unemployed for so long is something I have really struggled with; several times I have questioned whether finding the right job for me is even possible in Chicago with my current education level. Not having the day-to-day interaction of work, or the funds to go out much had left me feeling depressed and lonely. As much as I love Chicago, I began to question why I was living so far away from some of the people I love the most if my job opportunities here were not greater than they were back home.
Normally I wouldn't share this much personal information on my blog, especially since my blog can easily be found by potential future employers through my Facebook profile, however, something today propelled me to write about this; perhaps it is because keeping some of these things to myself has left me feeling more isolated. I had even considered creating a separate, anonymous blog to share my more personal posts, but it seemed disingenuous; as if I wanted to publicly pretend that life is perfect.
I have struggled with depression for as long as I can remember. I do not recall many specific things from my childhood, however, one potent memory has stuck with me: When I was about five years old, I was at the park flying my kite with my family. At some point my kite was stuck in a tree and my parents tried to remove it. Eventually I told them I wanted to go home, so that I did not miss my favorite television show (Sharon, Lois, and Bram). After watching the show, we returned to the park to get my kite down, but it was gone. My mom offered to buy me a new one but I told her that I did not deserve one. The memory has stayed with me because it seems like such an unusual reaction for a child. I have always held myself to unfair standards.
Last November I had become so depressed from being unemployed that I could no longer function. I do not say that lightly. I often could not find enough energy to load the dishwasher, or walk two blocks to the grocery store. I would spend hours curled up under covers crying. I had to push myself to shower and get dressed. How was I supposed to find a job that would make me happy when I could barely get out of bed? I had been aware for a while that I could not feel better on my own, but it was difficult to find affordable medical help when I had negligible energy. Over several weeks I called numerous mental health facilities before I found one that I could afford that was accepting new patients.
The first medication I tried (something I had been on before), did not help at all. Fortunately the second medication I was prescribed has helped significantly. I have seen a huge change since I started the medication six weeks ago. I have been getting dressed, planning yummy meals, drawing on the computer, sewing, taking part in a Miss Chiff video shoot (!), and just all around being silly. The best part is that I now feel that I have control over my life. I am hopeful that I can obtain a "good" job, or at the very least, I can obtain a job that has the potential for advancement into a "good" job. Now I have the drive to put the work into building friendships in Chicago that are as wonderful as the ones I have back home. I do feel guilty though for not wanting to leave Chicago after getting my family and friends back home, and my boyfriend, hopeful that we would be moving back home.