I am so glad I am no longer a mental patient! That depression I had would have worsened and worsened if I were still in the system. I would have hyper-focused on it. I would have called it a symptom. I would have told my p-doc, as we used to call our psychiatrists when we spoke of them online. The upping of any of my “meds,” for me, and for most mental patients, meant that the doc had heard your complaint and had taken it seriously. The validation alone made us feel much, much better. That lasted about three weeks or a few months while we were totally convinced the drugs “worked.” Then we invariably decided they needed tweaking. Again.
That was my life as a nutcase. This time, I quickly pinpointed why I felt depressed, although there wasn’t one single reason. I had quit my terrible job in a call center where I was not paid very much and bossed around by my supervisor. I knew that quitting was a positive thing. So why did I immediately feel like crap?
Depression was screaming at me that something needed to change. I suddenly hated my other job, my work-at-home job, likely disproportionately. I hated it so much that the overwhelming feeling caused me to stop working before the shift was over.
Was change even possible? I thought I couldn’t possibly get hired in a job where I got to use my intelligence and creativity. Creativity is frowned upon in customer service. You even get reprimanded for suggesting that there’s a better or more efficient (or possibly more fun) way to get things done.
I felt stalled, stuck, and like I was hitting dead ends repeatedly. Then, my level of desperation drove my ambition even higher. Things must change. Being desperate is not very comfortable, but for me, it was necessary to make the change happen.
What were my real career goals? I decided that making a positive influence on the world was my main goal. Helping others. Being in either a leadership position or in a role where I could make my own decisions. I decided on teaching. But could I get hired at a job I liked?
I thought of VIPKID and the similar jobs with companies from China. They’re very similar and have their drawbacks. I didn’t like the idea of having a collection of stuffed animals to use as props. This would bring back traumatic memories of “therapy.” I didn’t think I was using my best skills talking baby-talk to little kids. Also, I didn’t like having to follow a formula. VIPKID and other platforms give you the lessons and you have to follow them. They are very strict about that. Did I really want to be so limited?
Out of the blue I applied for a teaching position in a location that does not require a teaching certificate. While I doubt I got very far in the hiring procedure, I was amazed that the school department called my reference! Say what?
This was the confidence booster I needed. I have been hired at a tutor position for college students, and also got a position on an ESL platform that encourages free-form teaching. I am actually earning money at it at this point! In a month I will be training for another teaching position. I have already been through the required fingerprinting and other “checks” that clear me to work with children. My schedule is going to be so full with teaching gigs that I can safely reduce my hours at my customer service position. Already! And I have not had to give up the freedom that independent contractor work gives me. Already, I’ve been able to make a positive influence on others in a way I never dreamed possible! I have brightened people’s days, enlightened them, given them food for thought, and made them laugh. When I see a smile on people’s faces, the joy of learning something new, it is a joy indeed.
I have also learned from my students. In helping a student learn English, I also learned a lot about the new, advanced computers on the horizon. I am validating again and again what I always knew was true, that what many believe about so-called foreigners, typically stereotyped in the US (thanks, Trump!), are bullshit assumptions. It’s almost laughable what some Americans have been led to believe. (And I have a lot to say about that!)
Had I medicated the depression, or even if I had called it a disease instead of seeing it for a vehicle for change, I would not have made these amazing steps forward with my career. For me, the depression paid off handsomely. It did what it was supposed to do, and now it is gone. Hey, Depression…thanks for stopping by! It’s been real!