I did something crazy this week. I went on a job interview.
Some may ask why something as simple as a job interview would be considered crazy. And that’s a fair question. A question that, 13 years ago, I never thought I’d have to answer. But this week I did, again.
To get fully acquainted with my situation, you may want to read Bipolar Disorder, Disability, & Stigma.
I didn’t expect to try for a “real” job again so soon after my last failed attempt, but I found myself in a financial situation that warranted the consideration. I thought, “Why not give it one more try? An interview won’t hurt anything.” But there was one thing I failed to consider, my esteem.
As soon as the interview changed from theory to reality, anxieties rose. Not only mine, but my husband’s and my mother’s as well. The thing is, neither of them spoke up. This is odd for my mother, who’s rarely shy about sharing her opinions. But my husband tends to patiently allow me to go through all the motions myself. I’m sure that he hopes I’ll eventually reach a conclusion he’s comfortable with, but if I don’t he lovingly finds a way to adapt and support me. Why? Because he wants happiness for me. I appreciate him dearly. But sometimes, like this time, I wish he would just tell me the way things are as to save me from myself.
Through the motions I began, with the interview less than 24 hours away! As always, I researched the company, researched and formulated responses to common interview questions, freshened-up and printed-off my resume, and laid-out “business professional” attire! And as usual, I neglected all the cons and glorified potential pros.
Then I crunched numbers. My asking salary would be equal to → What rate of pay would compensate for the risks of losing my disability, my sanity, and ultimately my family?
I assigned the “what ifs” a monetary value as I neatly stored them away in a dark corner of my mind. What if working turns out to be too much for me but I’ve already lost my disability? What if working exacerbates my bipolar disorder? What if working exacerbates my alcoholism? What if I miss the red flags and my illnesses become destructive, again? What if working ultimately leads to me losing my family, again?
But the only “what if” I truly focused on was, what if this turns out to be an opportunity of a lifetime… the perfect job that I love, that doesn’t exacerbate my illnesses and pays a lot of money.
I killed the interview. I always prepare and fake it until I make it, a skill I first learned in A.A. The interview was not my concern.
But once I got home, the realities of what working really meant began to settle in. I realized that my thinking had been delusional. There was no possible way I could work, take care of my two daughters, my mother, and myself! Especially considering that there are times when I fail to take care of myself at all!
When I initially started my job search, I could sense my husband’s concerns. To ease his anxiety I told him, “I’m more educated and aware now, so I’ll notice red flags sooner. I won’t allow things to get out of control.” HA! It must have been so difficult for him to bite his tongue as he watched me ignoring the huge red flags bouncing off my forehead.
Even though me working would have greatly impacted our entire family, my husband completely left the decision up to me. When I finally decided that working wasn’t a reality, I had mixed feelings. Initially I felt like a failure. I admit it, there was a minute when I even felt sorry for myself and cried. I thought, “damn you bipolar!” I see other people who live with bipolar and work and do all kinds of things. But that only lasted for a minute.
Soon I felt relieved. And though part of me feels that I’ve wasted everyone’s time and energy with this whole job thing, I know that there’s a lesson to be learned from every situation. I realized that I was building it up to be something it wasn’t. I remembered that I don’t want to be like anyone else. I remembered that success is what we make it out to be, and that I’m already successful. Just look at my loving family and YOU, the supportive readers of this blog.
It’s up to us to create our own versions of success. Mine looks different from the way I once thought it would – and that’s okay. If I would have followed the path I’d originally laid out for myself, my life would lack meaning. And I wouldn’t be fulfilled in the way I am now. Money is not everything.
If my old therapist was here she may be disappointed. We worked so hard on me recognizing my red flags. So I’d say that I need to work on increasing self-awareness and acceptance. It makes sense that I’m not as in-tune with myself right now. I’ve gotten away from my Morning Routine and I’ve been under a lot of stress. And stressful times are when we need grounding and centering activities the most. Some more grounding/centering activities that increase self-awareness are deep breathing, journaling, meditation, mindfulness, and yoga.
Have you done anything “crazy” lately? What lesson did it teach you?