Today has been One Of Those Days™
On the plus side, I now have many more good days than not-so-good, but today had the potential to send me spiralling.
I woke up to a text message from my bank saying I’d gone overdrawn (I don’t have an overdraft) and needed to rectify it by 15:30 to avoid charges. I couldn’t think why, so I logged on to my account and saw that an app subscription had gone through (ironically, an app for meditation!) which I was sure I had put on hold when I left my job. Turns out I hadn’t, so I ended up having to do a lot of financial jiggery-pokery to resolve that. It’s just one of those things you can really do without when you’re brassic.
Next, the post arrived. It included a snarky letter from the Student Loans Company saying they had been informed that I wasn’t in employment or receiving benefits, and that by not informing them I was in breach of the terms of our agreement. This was news to me, as I’m currently on the payroll of a company for which I’ve been doing copywriting work from home since January. I’m a “worker” rather than an employee, so while I don’t have a contract of employment with them, I’m on their payroll so that I can be taxed etc. accordingly. There was a hiccup last month whereby the payroll people said they hadn’t received my P45 (which I’d given to the company) and it turned out it hadn’t been passed on, but has been since so there’s no issue. I queried it with the company I’m working for and they said it’s been rectified so SLC should soon catch up, but it’s just another issue to be sorted out. Honestly, the letter was SO rude – it basically said if I wasn’t in employment I had to prove how I was supporting myself, so send them 3 months’ worth of bank statements! I know it’s just a standard letter and I haven’t done anything wrong, but it was just another reminder of how much easier it is to be part of society when you’re full-time employed. Cue feelings of inadequacy and failure because I haven’t felt strong enough mentally to work, along with panic about my future state pension etc. etc. I gave myself a talking to and put it to the back of my mind.
Later, I was chatting to a dear friend and she shared with me that she’s pregnant and due in September. I felt this overwhelming excitement for her and her partner, as they’ll make absolutely wonderful parents and I know having children will add to their happiness. A few minutes later, however, I was struck down by the dreaded comparison syndrome and could feel the beginnings of an anxiety attack. “Why do I not feel like a grown up? Why am I not doing grown up things like having children, buying a house, paying a mortgage? Why am I sitting on my parents’ couch still wearing my pyjamas? WHY CAN’T I COPE WITH THINGS OTHER PEOPLE CAN MANAGE?!” I hated myself for this; I was so happy for my friend and yet my selfish, ugly mind could only obsess about myself. I set about busying myself with cooking up a batch of soup as cooking helps me focus, but on Radio 2 someone had emailed the Steve Wright show with their selection of “oldies”, which included songs which were popular when I was at school (nice!) and felt the need to inform everyone that they graduated in 2012, had super duper degrees coming out of their ears and were writing their first novel. I always find it slightly pretentious when people say that – yes, they’re writing a novel, but are they guaranteed to write several hundred more and be the next JK Rowling? So anyhow, this left me feeling even more inadequate, not to mention old! I know this sounds like perpetual doom and gloom, but I want to give you a snapshot of how my mind works, and equally how hard I try to counteract these negative thoughts. The radio thing in particular made me realise how confidently most people come across (yes, I know this can just be down to good acting) and how it just has to be done to get ahead in life. The problem is, I’ve never been about self-promotion, I’ve always just believed in being a good, kind person who works hard. It’s only now dawning on me that you have to blow your own trumpet on a daily basis, and although I’m working to build my confidence, I’m just not programmed that way.
However! Once I’d made my soup (which is really bloody tasty, and in the interests of balance I’m reminding myself that the only thing some people can create in the kitchen is a mess) I went upstairs and decided to clear out my inbox. I have a habit of leaving job/recruitment digests unread until “later”. I suppose the irrational part of my brain convinces me that either a) the email will contain jobs like the one I left, where I’ll be miserable, or b) will contain great jobs suited to me, but that I automatically won’t get because I don’t deserve them. Even writing this I can see how ridiculous that is, but it’s a toxic pattern I’ve allowed myself to fall into and one that I damn well have to break. In the spirit of doing so, I replied to an email from a recruiter who had sent me a job description for a role local to me, asking for more details. She called me soon afterwards and we had a good chat – I was even brave enough to share with her that I was thinking of working for myself, which is true. She was fantastic, and booked me a registration appointment for Friday morning, then sent me through another six or seven jobs. One in particular really appeals because it’s Wednesday to Friday each week, which would give me time to work on the side projects I’m doing with a view to being self-employed. This lady’s timing was perfect and she gave me the impression that she’s one of those rare recruitment agents who actually wants to get people into work. What’s more, she made me feel like I would be easy to place – it was the boost I needed today. It prompted me to read the job digests and I even applied for a few roles, then I ordered a new pair of smart trousers to wear when I go to register. Thank God for catalogue accounts!
All in all I’m ending today feeling a lot more positive than I was earlier, and I think this post illustrates the steps I’m taking (small though they may be) to get back on my feet again. Not that I need to justify them to anyone, but sometimes I myself need to be reminded!
Here are three things I’m grateful for today:
- The signs of Spring – birdsong, snowdrops and aconites
- The love and support of my family
Here are three positive things about me:
- I am a fantastic cook and made a delicious Slimming World-friendly hot pot for dinner
- Last night I won my Slimming World group’s “Greatest Loser” award for the second year running
- I love to solve problems, no matter how technical