Friday, August 15, 2014

19 years and 11 months

Today I am officially 19 years and 11 months which means (drumroll) that in exactly 1 month I will no longer be a teenager. I am unsure how I feel about turning 20, I mean I should be exited or something right? Yet all I can think about is how the past couple years have been let downs, well not my actual birthday but a week or so after the day things begin to go haywire and never seem to pick back up.
My 18th birthday was fun and I enjoyed the week leading up to it as it was (meant to be) my last week of freedom before I started my first ever 'grownup job' 2 afters turning 18 of course my anxiety forced me to leave that job and I was diagnosed with severe anxiety attacks. Don't get me wrong I later found if I hadn't received treatment for the attacks when I did they would have been impossible to treat and I am much better off because of it but it was still a let down. My 19 birthday was quiet and rather low key as I had spent 3 weeks leading up to doing temp work full time but it was still fun, well a week after it I finished that temp work and I have been unemployed ever since. I am not complaining but I would like for this birthday to be different to have the actual day be perfect and then not a few days or a week later my life to fall apart.
I know that everything is in God's hands and there is a reason for everything but I can't help but wonder what the reason behind me waiting so long to get a job is about. I do know that when I eventually passed my drivers test it was that much sweeter and I don't take being able to drive for granted (yes I am still on my hours but in just over 3 months I will officially have my license!) so when I do eventually get a job it will be worth it.
For now I will be trying to enjoy my last month of being a teenager and praying that I get a job before my 20th birthday.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

100 Reasons to Smile

The actor Robin Williams (supposedly no official ruling has been made) committed suicide, Monday evening in America. It was sad to loose such an amazing actor but it has also brought Mental Illness out of the darkness.
I have always been honest on here about my battles with Anxiety because unlike some people I am
not  ashamed of consistently battling and seeking treatment for it. I was officially diagnosed with it when I was 12 at the beginning of high school, this may seem young for many people but my parents had no idea what to do and knew that if I didn't receive the correct diagnosis and treatment soon, I would continue being my own worst enemy and making both their lives and mine hell.
When I first started seeing my (amazing) doctor I was a mess and he later would tell me that he honestly didn't see me finishing year 10 and graduating high school seemed out of the question as my anxiety was so bad. I not only completed year 10 but graduated high school and went on to do a Cert. 3 in Business at TAFE, something which he honestly didn't believe I could do. Yes I had my struggles through that time including battling depression in my final year of high school but I made it.
Then when I was 18 I had to seek more help with severe anxiety attacks, I was fortunate enough that I got treatment at the right time (which I have no doubt was a God thing) as if I had left it any later it would've been almost impossible to break the cycle of the attacks. I was told that I wouldn't be able to do full time work for at least 2 years yet I was able to in under a year (yes it was only a month of temp work but it was full time and I coped really well).
I still battle with anxiety and mental illness on a regular basis and when you're unemployed you learn to be creative with how you cope. Yesterday I was at a low point and I just wanted to hit my head against the wall because I was feeling so helpless so I baked cookies instead as a distraction. The thing I have had days where I have wanted to give up and just want to end it all but I haven't. Yes at times its hard to keep going (I have been unemployed for almost a year here so I can sympathise) but one thing I have found that helps is to try and find reasons to smile. Some days its small things like a cuddle from Alfie, my sister calling me cute or reading something funny on the internet. Other days its big things like finding the perfect pair of silver hoops, getting a job interview or meeting a friend for coffee. I also plan things a few days in advance so I always have something to look forward to, I read about someone who did that so that if they were feeling suicidal they could remember that they had committed to doing something that they had to live for. I also write lists of things that suck then a list of things that don't suck the latter list always becomes the bigger one. They may seem like such trivial things but they really do help.
A while ago I entered a short story in a competition I didn't place, but it was good to write and it fits in with this post perfectly, its based slightly off the time when I was seeing my psychologist. Please let me know what you think by leaving a comment (I might post more short stories on here if I get a good response).

100 Reasons to Smile

A short story by Erin Maree

I have been told I have to find a 100 reasons to smile, ‘it will help you, I swear’ my psychologist said when I turned up for our fortnightly appointment and told her I haven’t been able to smile since my last anxiety attack 6 months ago. So here I am writing in this notebook which is meant to go everywhere with me so I can jot down each time I smile. I told her what if there is nothing to smile about and she said I have to look for the little things, the things that will mean something to me, the things that are just between me and the world.

 March 25th
Managed to get out of bed today willingly, ended up going to the garden store and buying 3 pots and 3 packets of seeds going to try and plant them and watch them grow. I managed to smile 3 times: twice at the gardening store when a little girl asked what I was doing and followed me around the store and again when I planted the seeds.

 March 26th
One of my friends dragged me out of for coffee today she insisted I couldn’t stay being unsocial forever, it was good to be social I managed to smile 5 times today maybe I am getting better?

 March 27th
I couldn’t smile today.

March 28th
Baked brownies and ate way too many but I managed to smile 3 times during the course of eating them.

 March 29th
Dug out my collection of nail polish and painted my nails with my younger cousin she asked if I was princess as I look like one, I smiled and wished I had childlike innocence like her. I managed to smile 5 times today.

 March 30th
My mood matched the sky today, grey, dark and raining. The tears wouldn’t stop falling today, silent and empty. I wonder if I will ever stop having down days?

 March 31st
I didn’t want to get out of bed today again but I did and blasted Taylor Swift and danced around the house. I smiled 3 times today though it took me forever for the first smile to happen but the other 2 followed soon after.

 April 1st
The seeds I planted are beginning to sprout, I can’t wait to see them grow more. I smiled 3 times today.

 April 2nd
My best friend came and made me get dressed up to go see a movie and have dinner, she also stayed the night and I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard. I am thankful to have a friend who will travel 2 hours just to see me when I am going through hard times. I smiled too many times to count today and even managed to laugh.

 April 3rd
My best friend went home today, she has work tomorrow and can’t afford to stay another night. It was good to see her though and we managed to fit in a few more bouts of laughter and a brief shopping trip, I wish she didn’t live 2 hours away!

 April 4th
 spent the day locked away and only ventured out to get food. How can I have such good days then such bad days?!

April 5th
Spent the day watching funny movies, trying to laugh, I couldn’t manage a laugh but I did smile a few times.

 April 6th
I have lost count on how much I have been smiling or if it outweighs the down parts of my days but I do know it’s an improvement. Today I snuggled with my cat and read a book, and felt content for one of the first times I can remember since the anxiety attack. I see my psychologist on the 9th of April so I will see what she thinks.

 April 7th
Went shopping today and bought a dress, one of the guys in the store commented saying ‘it’s the cute girl who was in the store the other day’ that gave me a big boost of confidence and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.

 April 8th
Slept in today followed by a long bubble bath I felt so relaxed, I really need to do these more! I then got a text from one of my friends asking me if I wanted to head into the city for a late lunch and that one of my favourite stores was having a sale and we could check that out too. So I did that and we had a girl’s day and picked up a few bargains, she then treated me to gelato! I am so thankful to have such great friends who treat me well.

April 9th
I saw my psychologist today, I told her I doubted I had found 100 reasons to smile but I was feeling a lot better and hadn’t been having so many down days. She nodded and told me that she could tell that I was feeling much more happier and that down days are going to happen it’s just that we have to get them spread more and more apart and that’s what is happening. I told her that eventually I lost count of how many times I was smiling as it was getting too hard to keep count she simply said ‘that was the idea, I gave you the target of 100 reasons to smile so that you could look for the small things and eventually it would become a habit and you wouldn’t be able to keep track of how many times you have been smiling.’ I know I will still have down days and moments but hopefully I won’t hit rock bottom again like I did, I just have to remember to find the things in each day, the things that no one notices the things that are just between me the world, the small things which will help me smile and eventually find a 100 reasons to smile.

If for whatever reason your or a friend needs help Buzzfeed has put together a list of 16 places where you can help from click here to see them all. Remember if you or a friend is seriously committing suicide do not hesitate to call 000 if its serious.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Any Less Harder

I didn't get the job I went for last Tuesday and it sucks, I also haven't heard anything from the first round interview I had last Wednesday either which also sucks. Being unemployed is never easy, its hard when you think you might finally have a chance at getting a job and you don't, its hard when people seem to get jobs easily when you're stuck still looking for work, its hard applying for job after job seeing no results, being unemployed is just hard.
I can't see an end to being unemployed and that's the hardest part. I want to wake up in the morning with a purpose and looking forward to working, I want to be able to dream of the future and set money aside for it, I want to come home exhausted after a hard day of work and most of all I just want a job.
Nothing has ever been easy for me, I mean I failed my drivers test 4 times! So why should this be any easier for me?! I guess maybe I just want for one thing to be easy for once in my life.
I keep wishing I could see into the future, because that way I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, instead I feel as though I am drowning and just when I think I am getting close to the surface I get pushed back under. I know I am going to have days when the cracks will really show and the tears will fall, I know God is in control of everything and that his timing is never wrong and I know one day I will eventually get a job, it just doesn't make what I am going through any less harder.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Finally a crazy busy week!

Well this past week has (so far) been crazy. I did a day of work on Sunday working for a photography company which is owned by a couple at my church this pretty much involved getting up at 5.15am (not a typo), taking payment and entering things into Excel. Then I came home for 2 hours before racing off again for a girls night with the (awesome) girls who go to my church, we ate fish and chips, watched Pitch Perfect and had chocolate fondue, this meant that I didn't go to bed until 11.00pm (it was worth it though). I spent Monday lounging around the house feeling like a zombie when I got a phone regarding a job interview for the next day.
The interview went really well and I could see myself working for the company long term so praying that I get it, then that afternoon I get another phone call regarding an interview for today. The interview was only a first round interview but I think I did ok, though I am unsure of the company. Then I got a phone call regarding yet another interview which after looking where it was located and just not seeing it possible to get there I had to cancel it (I wish companies would post their addresses on Seek!). So I went from having no interviews to having had 3 (I still count the one I had to cancel), which is unheard of in this job market.
I have no idea how I managed to land all these interviews when I have done nothing different than what I have done in the past. I guess it all comes down to trusting God and knowing that things do get better even if at times it doesn't feel like it.
In between all of the above I managed to read the latest Bloodlines book by Richelle Mead, Silver Shadows which was amazing (its the sister series to Vampire Academy and well worth a read if you loved the books) and I can't wait for the 6th and final instalment to come out in February next year. Started painting a (small) canvas and managed to get back on the cross trainer (I went ice skating last Tuesday I fell over on the ice and my right knee has been a nice shade of purple ever since, so given my history of bruising the actual knee bone I didn't want to risk making it worse by exercising for at least a week).
This past week may have been crazy but I wouldn't have it any other way, its good to be busy and feel needed/wanted :)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Just another job interview

So today I had an interview (yay!) after so many weeks of feeling like I'm not getting anywhere I get an interview. So I spend an hour getting ready, second guessing everything (because its normal to second guess black pants when you have 3 pairs pretty much the same!) and get there 15 minutes early (because arriving early gives a good impression). But here's the thing first impressions of the company? Its quiet I am used to working with noise whether its music, people doing things or chatter but there was none of that and it was strange. I hate silence, probably because my family makes a lot of noise and even during the day when I am home alone I have a bird who talks to himself, 3 cats who are always getting into trouble and I live near a railway so my house is never silent. The interview was pretty much them telling me an overview of what the job contains and quizzing my MYOB skills (which are high because spending a whole unit on MYOB at tafe doesn't leave you with low skills), then I was told that this only a first round interview and by this stage a part of me is feeling on edge and not at peace about the interview. Of course if I do advance into the second round I will accept, because even though the chances of me getting the job are slim its good experience, but I won't be surprised if I don't get a second round interview.
I think the main thing that stood out was that I wasn't going to be helping people (it was for a furniture wholesaler)  and I don't feel that I am the right fit for the company. Whenever I have an interview I always have in the back of my mind that at the same time they are interviewing me I am interviewing them, because as much as the company is looking for the right person to fit their company I am looking for the right company which fits me.
This interview wasn't for nothing though, it gave me guidance that I am on the right track still and that after many weeks (fine months) of not getting job interviews I am still what companies are after. I only hope that soon I will find a company that I fit them as much as they fit me, but of course that's in God's hands.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Being Unemployed is When . . .

Being unemployed is when your younger sister thinks you are home schooled as she can't figure out what you do all day.
Being unemployed is when you hear of someone who gets a job interview you feel happy for them on the outside but on the inside you are screaming WHEN WILL IT BE MY TURN!
Being unemployed is when you hear people complaining about their jobs and you want to tell them that they are lucky that they at least have a job (regardless of what they do).
Being unemployed is when you feel that you are worthless as a person as people in society judge you for what you do on a daily basis.
Being unemployed is when you never know the right answer for when someone asks you what you do for a living.
Being unemployed is when you want you hit your desk against the keyboard as you feel like life is staying the same in a bad way.
Being unemployed is when you check your emails and you see one from a company that says that unfortunately they can't offer you an interview though you do have an impressive resume so they will keep it on file and will contact you if anything else comes up (spoiler alert they never do!) and you want to email them back and say if they really thought your resume was impressive then they would offer you an interview!
Being unemployed is when you annoyed at people who are looking for work in the same area as you because you feel that they are your competition regardless if they are applying for the same jobs or not.
Being unemployed is when you spend most of your telepathically trying to get your phone to ring regarding an interview (it rarely works).
Being unemployed is when you feel helpless and that your not doing enough even when you are
Being unemployed is when you want to scream when you don't quite meet the criteria for a job advertisement (normally because you don't have drivers licence) by one point even though the rest of the job sounds perfect.
Being unemployed is when you feel that you are always at breaking point because you can't see a light at the end of the tunnel.

I am trying to stay positive but at the moment I can't see an end to this madness and everyday I feel more like I will crack and break into a thousand pieces.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Unemployment Life

Being unemployed is hard and its never been a walk in the park for me. I need some sort of routine and when you're unemployed you don't really have one, many people think that you spend everyday doing nothing or are purposely not looking for work. I thought I would do a breakdown of what a typical week looks for me and a breakdown of an average day, hopefully this will show to some people that not all unemployed people do nothing all the time.
My weekly overview:
Monday - I use this day for applying for jobs as a good number of companies post jobs on Monday (another day is Wednesday) this involves cover letters and maybe doing selection criteria (depending on the place). I also walk to the shops to get some exercise and buy some lunch.
Tuesday- This day is different every week and it depends on whether Dad is home or not. Today I drove him around and got some time up on my logbook. I hope to eventually do volunteer work on this day but its taking a while to get all the forms cleared by the hospital so it looks like it may be a while until I can do that.
Wednesday- This is Mum's day off so we go and visit my Grandma and run errands. Every second Wednesday I have an employment agency meeting in the afternoon which goes for half an hour.
Thursday- This day is similar to Tuesday in that it really has no routine and just depends on what's been happening. Currently I am meeting with a friend for one on one Bible reading in town in the afternoon.
Friday- I meet a friend for lunch at the local shopping centre but go there early to run errands and read in the library as something to do.
Saturday- Family day, sometimes we go to our favourite cafĂ© for lunch or shopping centre or markets or a local museum it depends on the weather and what we feel like, we also like to be tourists at times and explore new places :)
Sunday- Church :) I also sometimes go out to lunch with the other young adults.

Most days I apply for any jobs that come up and I meet the criteria for as its best to apply for jobs the day that they come up but on Monday it takes longer as its when the most jobs get advertised. I also do any chores such as vacuuming, sorting the washing and cooking dinner when required.

Breakdown of an average day:
My alarm goes off at 7.30am, I am trying to wake up at a decent time but I don't get out of bed until 8.30am as its been so cold lately (it was 0.5 degrees this morning!) so I tend to read and check for jobs on my iPod.
I get dressed and have breakfast then read the news to find out what's been happening in the world.
The main part of my day varies on what I have on and if I have a job interview or not. My life is ruled by job interviews at the moment so if I get one I drop all my plans and go (thankfully people are very flexible and understanding).
My sisters and parents begin to come home from 2.45pm and I also work out for 20 minutes on the cross trainer. Twice a week I cook dinner and once a week I do the dishes.

I do admit that there are times when I do nothing but I try not to sit at home and waste away (I go stir crazy pretty quickly!). I always get dressed and never stay in bed all day I believe that its bad for my mental health and even I feel like staying in bed that its important that I get up and make an effort. I am always applying for jobs and making sure I fulfil my youth allowance requirements.

Being unemployed is hard and I would give anything to get a job just so I could feel like I have a purpose with my life. I try to get out of the house most days because sitting at home achieves very little, even if its just walking to the shops to post a letter or buy some milk. Since I have started working out  I feel more focused and find that I am sleeping better which makes my whole outlook better and I am not so restless. The thing I find the hardest is that people just assume that I do nothing all week and am not trying to find employment, I hope that this puts an ends to that assumption.

I am currently praying that I will get an interview soon as I am beginning to get really stir crazy and I feel that I am doing everything I can in order to get a job, so hopefully I will have a good update soon.
Picture taken from Pinterest original source here