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job search

Well. Life is continuing very difficult. Another job interview today, for a job that doesn’t pay very well and so I’m not sure I want. And yet, it doesn’t seem to have gone well, and I am dejected. I found the interviewing manager surprisingly likeable and soft spoken. However, he didn’t really ask me questions. He discussed his ideas about communication, and told me all about what he’s looking for. I jumped in a few times trying to show how I’d be a fit for the role. But, while at the start of the interview he seemed very eager to talk to me, by the end, he was not encouraging at all. And I look back trying to think what I did, or didn’t do. And I never know. I don’t get feedback on what went wrong – I just don’t get an offer.

I have now been unemployed for four entire months. With the last job ending on a very bad note. I do worry that I just won’t find anything. Well, I’m finding things, but seem unable to get through an interview for some reason.

I am worried.

In addition, I’ve been reviewed by the tax people for my last three years returns. They’ve now sent me a bill for over ten thousand dollars which supposedly I owe. This is a complete shock to me. I have diligently sent them taxes every month – the full amount their calculator tells me to send. I have never knowingly not paid what I should.

I’ve spoken to my tax preparer. He says the agency is in the wrong, but cannot explain what’s gone wrong. I’m wondering if he prepared my taxes improperly in some way. Anyway. I can object, but would likely need to hire either an accountant or a lawyer, I don’t know which. Lawyers are so expensive, it might be hard to justify one for what is in tax terms not a large amount. If my objection were not successful, I could end up paying more, the amount plus thousands in legal fees.

I feel like Job at the moment. Shit. I’m not sure what to do. I can pay, but those are my savings I’m depleting anyway by not having work. That’s my emergency fund, and then I’m into really using up savings that were for my future.

I didn’t start working until I was forty. Due to having messed up my early life. OK. So there’s not much time to save anything for any kind of retirement. There’s just not much wriggle room.

Um. The topic of the blog is therapy, and I went on Thursday. I think the session was helpful. I told Ron I needed to not be overwhelmed because I had an interview the next day, and I can see now he takes that to heart.

First I moaned about my taxes. Which is a waste of therapy time but I have no one to talk to so it is tempting. Then my difficulties with interviews. He tried reframing some of the negative thoughts I’ve had about past contracts. I found it heartening to hear him describe some of my experience in positive terms, so it sounds like I prevailed and succeeded. We talked about self-confidence, having a lot to offer, shit like that.

There is a topic too that’s been a bit of a theme in our sessions. I find a child part jumps in and takes over, or comes up, in various social situations when I get the least bit anxious. I want to separate from the child part so I can function and present as a competent adult. It’s very hard for me. I know a lot of therapy clients are looking for their inner child, and cannot find it. My problem is more that I can’t separate from it enough.

When I’m in the middle of an interaction, I do not realize that I’ve switched, or that a child part has taken over for portions of the interaction. That child is overwhelmed, unsure, fearful and anxious. No wonder. Children are not equipped to deal with adult life. Or maybe it’s that it’s a hurt child, hurt by my past, so for her, everything is frightening.

This then makes a bad impression on people I’m interacting with. They of course don’t understand what’s happening with me, why should they. Then I simply seem somewhat mentally slow and very anxious. However, there’s actually an intelligent adult in here that wants to be part of the world. So I end up not making a good impression, and people I would like to get to know judge me and do not give me a chance.

At the beginning of the session, Ron said he thought I was in a bit of a kid place, although I wasn’t aware of it. I was just speaking a bit about my past week. I did feel anxious while I was speaking though. So maybe that’s a bit of a sign that I’m in that state – that vague anxiety. He said one thing I do is that my sentences start to go up at the end, so that every sentence is a question. It might be a clue for me when this happens.

I can get out of it if I realize it’s happening. It’s kind of like stepping aside – protecting the child part internally, and taking over as an adult. I don’t tell Ron this, but one thing I do to try and get the adult back is try to mentally feel the outline of my body – it reminds me that I’m a grown adult, and seems to help.

I am relieved that Ron finally gets that this is a problem for me. For the longest time he seemed to be saying that it’s fine to express that child part and that the issue was that I was ashamed of it. But the actual problems I’m having involve being too merged with that part. A term I’ve read recently that describes this is unblending – trying to let an adult function and take care of child parts, instead of becoming them.

I believe this is key for me, and having Ron on the same page is so great. It’s not about locking away child parts or being mean to them, but about protecting them by not sending them out into the adult world, and having an adult function out there as needed.

This is obviously not an issue for people with different responses to trauma than I had and is difficult to explain. But figuring out that this is a problem for me is huge. Sometimes I think the hardest thing is figuring out what it is that is going wrong. Once that’s pinned down a bit, you can actually try and think of what might help. Without knowing what the problem is, it’s hard to address it.

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Home alone on a Saturday night. Ugh.

I worry that I have offended my main friend that I spend time with. She has not called me, and when I call her, she’s very fast to get off the phone. We used to spend some time together weekends, but not for the last three weeks. Maybe my life has gotten too depressing for her to deal with. No job, no date, sick…She does disappear when things get difficult. I worry I’ve been too pathetic and clingy. I’ve decided to give her space and wait for her to call me at some point.

This is making me more lonely than usual. I’m also still recovering from this flu. Still coughing a bit, congested, and I have that post flu fatigue that is dragging me down. So I’ve not been going out to things I was going to, like the movie group or the 12 step group. I feel too tired when it’s time to leave for these, but then I feel lonely later.

I’m still going to therapy. I feel like I’m paying for a friend sometimes. Quite an expensive friend. I just have to have someone to listen and provide some caring, if only for fifty minutes a week.

I went for a job interview for a full time role Friday that didn’t go as well as I’d hoped. I guess I appeared sick, for one thing. My voice was very hoarse, and I did cough a few times. They remarked on it several times.

I was interviewed by three directors for a bank. It was technically the second interview, because I’d missed the first with the hiring manager because I was sick. They were bending over backwards to have me come in though, so I appreciate that. Just, it was very formal, and I got asked questions I wasn’t sure how to answer, though I did say things.

It would be great to move to full time from this contracting. I can’t keep interviewing every three months, looking and looking. So I’m disappointed the interview didn’t go better.

Therapy was Thursday, and I told Ron I didn’t want to be triggered as I sometimes am, because I needed to be able to pull myself together for the interview the next day. Ron was agreeable, though it’s hard to tell sometimes what is really going to hit me after a session.

The main topics Thursday were – mother, who called me, and how we ‘don’t get along’. She doesn’t speak really, and doesn’t listen or respond to things I say, so I’m reluctant to tell her anything much. My worries about my friend. How I must be pushing people away, to be alone like this, but I don’t know what I’m doing. And what it was that caused the last boss to fire me so fast, what I did to contribute. How I wished Ron could be present for some of these situations, because I can’t tell him what I don’t know. I don’t know what goes wrong.

On the boss question, Ron said that from his knowledge of human nature, sometimes people will be disturbed by and push away someone who is vulnerable. And in my case, she went beyond pushing me away, and also wanted to ensure she hurt me.

Could be. I really don’t know what it was. It’s kind of painful to think I appear in public as so very vulnerable.

We also talked about fear. Sometimes lately I’ve found myself full of fear. I started to feel this towards the end of this session, and remarked that it would be preferable not to have to leave feeling like that.

Ron asked what the fear was about. I didn’t know, but felt maybe it’s about being rejected by everyone in the world. He said he didn’t think he was rejecting me. Which was true enough, he wasn’t. He suggested maybe it’s an inner part that is afraid and that I’m punishing. I could let it be OK to be afraid. That actually seemed to be kind of true, true in the way that some things just resonate. A part of me that wasn’t being heard was afraid.

So I left. I felt upset about some of things discussed, but was better Friday. I can’t blame the unsuccessful interview on being too close to a therapy session.

 

Suffering from anxiety today.

I got a new contract last week, and it starts last week of August. I actually got two offers at the same time and picked the best paying one. I hope it was a good decision but can’t really know. I don’t know how to tell what the manager is like in a half hour interview. They always seem OK to me. It’s after that problems arise.

This morning, unexpectedly, I had to do a second telephone interview for the contract, which I’ve already signed. It was stressful for me. I cancelled a plan I’d had for the afternoon to be ready. Then at the appointed time the manager didn’t answer her phone. Eventually my recruiter let me know she’d be calling later in the afternoon.

So I did that interview. It was very project specific, with the person going on about the details of her project. Very hard to say anything to the point. She was looking for me having had the exact experience before, which I haven’t. Each contract is different, just like each job tends to be different. Well, different and the same. So it was a frustrating conversation, but in the end she said she’d look forward to meeting me in a few weeks, so I take that to mean it’s OK. She’s not the hiring manager, but some other manager who presumably I’ll work with also.

Anyway. That was anxiety inducing, bringing up my fear of being judged big time.

Yesterday I went for a massage. This was a good experience for me, but I suspect my anxiety today is related.

In contrast to previous massages, I told the RMT that I do have some issues with touch and some trauma issues, so I need her to proceed gently. She looked a bit shocked to tell the truth. Oh well. While I had a stiff neck and some lower back pain, I decided to ask her to focus just on massage for stress.

So she basically did that. She did gentles strokes on my back, hand massage and foot massage. Then she did a head thing where she held my head and kind of rocked it. I mostly felt good – I enjoy being gently stroked. At one point it felt like I wanted it to be over, but that soon passed. And I’d asked for only 30 minutes, which seemed a good length.

And after, I felt fine. I felt a bit glowy from being touched nicely and gently. And because of previous experiences, I kept expecting to be hit by waves of sadness and depression, but that didn’t happen. I continued feeling good and slept pretty well.

This has been my first massage that felt good after. So I think my plan of asking for gentle stress relief was a good one. Usually, I’ve only gone for massage when I had issues I wanted addressed. Maybe the more intense massage, trying to get kinks out and addressing aches and pains, is too much for me emotionally…..

I do have back pain that I’d like to get massage for. Maybe in a few days I’ll go back and get half and half – half stress, half back pain massage.

I was actually thinking that everything brings up trauma for me. It’s great to find something that doesn’t seem to, and actually helps me feel better.

I’ve been trying to address my lack of a social life by going on various meetups. So far this has not been a great success. I picked a walking group meetup because I do walk quite a bit, and I find it enjoyable to walk and talk. However, they walk much too far and fast for me. I can do it, but then I’m hit with a huge amount of trauma shut-down afterwards. Last time the walk was in the morning, and I spent the rest of the day and the next day completely shut down. It’s such an odd feeling – I feel like a robot. I feel like I am outside of my skin somehow – I can feel my skin, but can’t feel further in than that.

So also trying to be friendly with fellow walkers is difficult. I feel fake, I think because after a while I’m probably fending off various feelings, and it’s too much to talk much to anyone at the same time. I have a sort of fake person persona that can take over but that feels pointless. As well, I feel somewhat judged there, as being weak and somehow not as good as others. It’s too much of a complicated situation. Although I was enjoying seeing other parts of the city I’m not familiar with, I think I’ll drop this group for now. Anyway, once I’m working I could not afford to have two entire weekend days where I cannot function after one of these walks.

It makes me mad that I’m in this situation, and that it’s so hard to make progress.

Ron is on vacation. I’ve again contacted a trauma therapist who has not gotten back to me. Our last session was not much good without being terrible. I just kind of listed my complaints about things without getting into much depth. I think depth for me involves parts, and it’s hard to launch into them just like that. Ron doesn’t discourage it, but he doesn’t encourage it either. I think he doesn’t want to encourage the dissociation of parts. But – they already do exist no matter what he does. So in the end, I stay mostly adult. The adult is not terribly emotional, and the session feels shallow as a result.

I think Ron is a good therapist, but has not much understanding of trauma and dissociation. If only he had that, he’d be great. On the other hand, someone with the knowledge, but who isn’t good as a therapist, is basically more useless.

I have been finding I’ve been trusting him in my mind. It makes a big difference to have someone to trust as being on your side in your mind, and it seems like my choice, whether I trust him or not. I can think one way, and distrust him, or another, and trust that he likes me and cares. It feels better to trust.

I seem to have landed in anxiety land. After three full months of unemployment and fruitless job search, maybe it makes sense. Almost every action causes me intense anxiety, and mostly, I’m seamlessly anxious/afraid without needing to do anything much. Big sigh.

Despite the fact that yesterday, I went for yet another interview, and it seemed to go quite well. I had a bunch of memorized ‘examples’ of things going well at work and myself being a working superhero. The interview was at my favorite time, early afternoon, so I had no struggle getting there on time. And then, the interviewer didn’t use the standard behavioural interview questions at all. He was pretty off the wall in fact, and very ready to be pleased with me it seemed.

The interview was not with a big corporation. It is a small company that contracts out to large corporations. So, more informal. And in the old section of town, which makes me feel a bit better – a lot of buildings in that hundred year old orange brick that’s a little crumbly and narrower than modern brick.

At the end of the interview, the interviewer said he liked me a lot, and that most likely they’d ask me to join them for a three month upcoming project. So I know nothing for sure yet. As they are small, I’m a little uncertain about them. The project might fall through, for instance. However, the fact is, I did well in the interview, they liked me, and whether I get work or not, this is a good experience.

I also took a small dose of an anti-anxiety med before hand. This makes a big difference I think. I certainly feel better, and I believe I come across as more trustworthy and competent when I’m not trying to batten down mega doses of anxiety while fielding bizarre and useless questions.

So I should be feeling calmer. I’m not. This is anxiety like a sickness – I’m not aware of thinking anything in particular, and most everything is causing it.

The other thing that happened was I went on a short date. A coffee date, with someone from the internet. Men will stir up my anxieties and could be that this has contributed to my current state.

The man was quite nice. He wanted to talk about culture, so we talked books and movies, as well as jobs. He was more self-assured than I was, more outgoing, and I told him i don’t date much so am a bit shy at first. I did see a look of boredom flash on his face a few times, especially at first. After an hour, I said I wanted to get going. I wasn’t bored, but I was anxious, and so glad I had had the courage to meet someone, and relieved it could be over now.

I’m not sure what he thought. The situation made me too anxious to really evaluate how much I liked him. I think I did basically like him. He said maybe we’d talk again, I said sure, that would be great, and that was it. I haven’t heard from him since – we met three days ago. A friend advised a quick email after several days, so I’ve sent an email saying I enjoyed meeting him and hope he wants to meet again. Haven’t heard back. So could be, he’s actually not interested. Though he might still write back I suppose.

I have to learn to tolerate this kind of thing I suppose. But maybe the dating/ probable rejection plus the rejection inherent in a job search has been a bit much for me to cope with.

If I go to bed, and do nothing much, or try some light reading, the anxiety goes away. It’s like playing dead. Maybe I have to do that for a while now. I should be continuing to look for work but it’s too anxiety provoking at the moment.

Anxiety like this that’s around all the time is unusual for me. I’m much more likely to be felled by depression than by endless feelings of fear when there is actually no threat.

 

I just need to moan about yet another bad interview. I am so depressed and feel like I’ll never work again.

This time, again a different problem. Although this is guess work, in all three cases, because I don’t get feedback, just the absence of an offer. Sigh. This time, I was determined to stay calm and in one piece. I did do that, and it was hard. I determined to do nothing that might trigger emotions the morning of the interview, so I skipped my dance/shake routine. I also didn’t listen to music, but read in the subway on the way there instead. As well, I gave myself plenty of time to get ready and left very early, so I was not rushed at any point. That also helps with staying in one piece. I spoke to myself kindly, and located parts and asked them to sit this out, telling them that all was safe.

I also had a good enough suit and had polished my shoes. So. It might have been good to have had a haircut, but I have an appointment for next week, so there was nothing I could do on short notice.

I also talked about having an interview at a small church group I sometimes go to, and several people wished me luck, so I had that bit of support also, and the interview wasn’t a secret.

Those are all good things I need to do, and I am proud of myself for doing them.

I think the problem is I need to go back to what I was doing years ago, namely reading lists of interview questions from a library book, reading sample answers, and making up answers ready to go. When I try to be honest, it doesn’t work. I need readily constructed stories that make me look like a corporate superhero. It seems unjust that I have to do this. It seems stupid to me. But I think that’s how it is.

I have noticed before that when I have this sense of being truthful in interviews, it doesn’t help me get the job. These managers are looking for smart, packaged answers. I guess having the answers available does show you know how to play the game. I don’t think they greatly care what really happened. They want you to fit neatly into a prepared slot in their minds, by saying things they think show you are ‘good’.

I didn’t immediately think of my answers to their questions as problematic. I did notice that the main manager did not seem at ease with me walking me out. I suspected maybe it was my personality, because I caught him saying something under his breath to the other interviewer, something about one of those quiet ones – presumably he had wanted me to talk more. The recruiter had actually told me the manager prefers answers that are to the point and not rambling, but as it turned out, he rambled himself, so perhaps was looking for the same from me.

I was asked about what I felt was my greatest accomplishment in the last six month. I thought about it, had nothing prepared for this, and said I felt I did well adapting to such varied circumstances, situations and requirements in my last few contracts. When what I should have done is said I accomplished something they are specifically looking for – maybe something like that I became such a valued team player so quickly on a very diverse team in my last role. Which is somewhat of a lie, but they are looking specifically for a good team player. I’m stupid. I got a lot of low ball questions like that and didn’t take advantage of them at all.

Tell me about a situation where you dealt with conflict – that one is trickier. I should have had a story ready about how I was a miracle worker with a difficult person I suppose. Instead I said I’d had to interact with a manager who was very emotional and jumped to conclusions. I’d dealt with her by slowing things right down and figuring out what the problem actually was. They asked if our relationship had improved, and I should have said tremendously, and instead I said a bit, over time, but that people have their personalities and don’t change much! Which is perfectly true, but not what they’re looking for to fill in on their pre-printed interview sheets.

I suspect if they really liked me, if I had a shining personality that charmed them to bits, they might overlook these answers and give me the contract anyway. Since that’s not the case (even though I remained calm, even though I was adult the whole time 😦  ) , I won’t get a call back.

Trying to tell myself that I’ll get it right at some point. This time though, so many things that could go wrong were fine. I wasn’t triggered by therapy or by exercise at the time. The location was easy and so getting there didn’t stress me out. Next time, I might have to go when triggered, so emotional regulation becomes beyond my reach.

All I can do is proceed. I’ll get out a book of questions and answers, I’ll make some stuff up and memorize it, and hope for the best.

And these aren’t even great jobs. They’re short contracts, six months, no benefits. It’s hard not to feel like a loser, when I can’t even land one of these, but I musn’t. I have to keep trying, keep on top of it, hard as it is.

Argh. Chocolate and almonds for dinner. I have leftovers I could warm up for more nourishment, and I’m too down to do it. Too down to warm up leftovers. Seems pathetic.

I had another interview today for a short contract. I’d bought a new suit. I wore the necklace. I still feel all that inadequacy these new duds were supposed to ease.

I keep getting blindsided by intense emotions that interfere with these interviews. And it’s different every time. The one before Christmas, I was so sad I couldn’t really hide it. I knew I was putting out a really strange vibe, and despite initially being a shoe in for the contract, she went on to interview others and hire someone else. That sadness seemed to be triggered out by an acupuncture session I’d had the day before. I had not been expecting that reaction at all – I’d been hoping for calmness and balance.

This time, I don’t know what the cause was, though I feel like blaming my working out yesterday. I added another minute to my elliptical routine, and this seemed to wind me up so I couldn’t sleep properly and went right back to trauma sleep.

Today I didn’t feel depressed, but was anxious and uneasy. I did all kinds of things to calm down – dancing, breathing with bells, visualizing the interview going well. I got there, kind of in the nick of time, and found myself horribly anxious. Two young women interviewed, with another on the phone. This time, I was kind of too loud and speaking fast without thinking. Kind of like a know it all. Which isn’t really my personality. I didn’t establish rapport, which you have to do in interviews. When it comes down to it, if they like you, they hire you.

I actually don’t have a strong sense that they will not hire me. Or that they will. But I do wish I could be one personality at these things, instead of being hit with a whole new way of reacting each time. It feels insane. I can’t really plan any mitigation when it’s always a new problem.

Then I came home and fell asleep, so since then, I’ve had to try and struggle out of the blackness and confusion of one of these trauma naps.

As part of all this, I’ve started doubting my therapy and Ron’s competence again. All week, I’d felt that we do have a connection and that therapy is working. Maybe it’s related to my general uncertainty, but that’s gone, and I really miss it. It does seem I’m still in that place where emotional states seem to come out of nowhere and make my life extremely difficult.

I spoke too soon in my last post. This is the thing with dissociation – I have trouble knowing what I’m feeling. I continued to feel better about Ron and our relationship. But the pain I had gotten into at the end of the session came back with a vengeance the next day. I got up for breakfast, felt so bad I couldn’t manage to make any, and went  straight back to bed.

I suppose the exercise Saturday temporarily blocked the pain.

I don’t really know what it is. It’s not depression – it’s not a grey lifeless fog – it’s more like emotional pain – as if something has happened to me that’s really bad, but unfortunately, I can’t remember what it is.

Maybe it’s some kind of early childhood memory. Just the edge of something really bad happening. I have a sense of my mother rejecting me and shutting me down, presumably when I went to her with whatever it was that had happened to me.

Spent a lot of yesterday in bed, unable to deal. But did go out to see some friends later in the day. I almost cancelled, then went afterall. And I could separate from the pain. I had a self I could use to interact. Which was helpful, as I got a bit of companionship. Even if I’d wanted to talk about what I was going through, really, what could I have said? Some vague sliver of memory from therapy? Painful feelings? My friend would not have understood, and I didn’t have the slightest urge to tell her about it. I was just relieved I could function socially.

I am committed though to not shutting myself down if I can help it. That pain is still here, three days later. I don’t really know how to take care of it, but I acknowledge that it’s here. I try to be kind to myself.

Today I also bought a suit. Basically the first one I tried on. I knew I didn’t have the energy to shop around, and this one seemed good enough. I feel I need to look better for interviews. Black wool, single button blazer. Then wanted to buy a necklace to go with – just a business type necklace. I might return the one I got – is it junky? I don’t think it’s me. So now I’m hung up on this stupid necklace.

I’m getting worried about finances and I’ve spent a lot today. All in service of drumming up business though. I’m not cut out for having no money. I’d rather make it than endlessly scrimp and save.