There’s no doubt in my mind that this is a bad time of my life, easily as bad as late 2011 to early 2012 when I was anxious about having to find a new place to live, and feeling like there was no point carrying on anyway because my life was going nowhere. The rest of 2012, however, was very much a “phoenix” time, as living in a new house and a new area meant I could recover from depression (more or less), and thus make some real improvements to my life — climbing, working out and socialising (a real life-saver, something I’ll go into in another post).
Thus, even though I’ve hated the past couple of months and felt anxious, nauseous and (at times) hopeless, I now feel a certain optimism that, as soon as I find work in January, I’ll be on the mend. I’m not too bad now, staying at home with my folks (I came home without issue on the 20th and thus won’t have to face what I went through last year, or the year before), though I do still feel anxiety at times — “the horror” as I used to call it — and wonder how much of it is situational and how much biochemical.
It’s not impossible that I’ve got an ulcer that’s been growing and shrinking over the years: in 2011 I certainly faced a lot of stress thanks to that awful “third housemate” we had at Caledonian Road, and finding one morning that my computer appeared to have died certainly ushered in a long period of stomach difficulties for me! On the other hand, it could just as easily be SAD — not alone, but exacerbating my situational depression (if things were fine I’d probably only feel a little unhappy, or more likely put it down to “oh Gawd, gotta go to work before sunrise!”, like everyone else.
I’ve heard that one symptom of anxiety is to look back on times gone by through rose-tinted spectacles, and somehow believe that those times were much, much better than now. I’ve certainly been experiencing that lately: I don’t doubt that if I’d known back in mid-2013 how I’d be feeling in late 2014, I’d have run screaming from any notion of changing careers! However, while I was a lot more cheerful in my diary back then, it’s also clear that I wasn’t happy in my admin job at (ahem) Camden and that changing to IT was, and is, my best bet for a more satisfying work life, one in which I feel like I’m using my intelligence and not just going through the motions.
(The money was good, though… but what does that say about local government waste?)
I’m under no illusions: I don’t want to go back to 2013, except in the way a child would run home to mummy from a bully. Possibly I’d go back in time to the start of this year to do one or two things a bit differently, like finding a way to do my internship during a career break earlier in the year rather than waiting for unemployment (since at the time I didn’t know my redundancy would be in July, and expected to make the “leap of faith” after March!).
There were bad aspects in 2013, such as the Fridge That Would Not Die, some stupid periods of girl-related depression, and my conviction that my drummer housemate was turning the hot water off (it was actually the Turkish girl in the back room, who still doesn’t understand the controls). Even during the happiest time of my recent life, stretching from the summer of 2013 to the summer of this year (ooh, summers being happy times, what a concept!), I acknowledge that my life was, aside from my IT studies, pretty much at a standstill — I was doing what I enjoyed and living for “now”, and not facing up to the future except by passing some exams and making proclamations about what I’d do next.
Today I’ve got a better relationship with my drummer housemate (hence he hasn’t convinced the landlady to evict me as a liability), and a fully-working fridge-freezer in the London house. I’ve also successfully arranged Jobseeker’s Allowance and housing benefit, and thus can keep the wolf from the door for a few months, as long as I apply for plenty of jobs (which obviously isn’t much of an option in the week before Christmas, and hopefully they’ll realise that). Girls can wait until I’ve started my new career, as I don’t want to involve anyone I care about in my life as it is right now, only once it’s how I want it to be.
And, above all, now I’m in a better position to get IT work, thanks to my six weeks in Greenford (for which I’ve finally been paid my transport costs), and have a real understanding of what it is I want to do: troubleshoot IT users as part of a helpdesk team, both over the phone and face-to-face, during “normal working hours”. And thanks to the job I had after that, I have — perhaps even more importantly — an idea of what I really don’t want to do: solo 24/7 shift work helping members of the public with bespoke apps, and learning nothing that could possibly help me get a different job. And yes, that aspect is important: there was certainly nothing about that job in and of itself that I wanted to stay for, including the area.
(To think, I actually said during my interview there that if I liked the job enough, I might even buy a bike, for the commute — I don’t think I’d go back there if they paid for me to be chauffeur-driven!)
It’s very possible that my current malaise is a direct result of that shift job (or a word similar to “shift”) — I certainly felt a lot of anxiety working there, and it affected my day-to-day life, like that evening I couldn’t go climbing. I wasn’t eating right either, and lost several pounds, which (judging from my recent performance in personal training) may have been at least partially muscle, the stuff I actually want to keep! It’s certainly put me off commuting by bus ever again (much as January 2012 meant I got the heebie-jeebies when seeing certain houses on cold winter nights), and I must insist that all future work is commutable via Underground, so I can sit and read (or watch South Park).
Still, no sense fretting any more: that bad job’s over, and I’ve got my whole career in IT ahead of me — even if I have to work in admin on a temporary basis in January, the operative word there is temporary, and before too long I’ll be the newbie in an IT helpdesk team, getting all the lousy jobs (like changing printer cartridges and making the tea) until I’ve proven myself.
And thus from the ashes of 2014 will be born my new life, and this time the sky really will be the limit…