When Depression Strikes

Stress Meter by Stuart Miles_FreeDigitalPhotos dot net
Stress Meter
“Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

After watching a podcast that brought home a huge baggage that I never thought I’ve been carrying along for more than a year now, I wanted to be as candid with this post as I can. I mean, I’ve been writing this blog since 2012 and so far, I’ve shared and bared my soul naked for the world to see. So, this post (along with others in this blog), chronicles one of the darkest moments of my life.

Writing down my thoughts, opinions and what-nots have been a refreshing change in my outlook in life. It also helped me personally and brought about a resurgence of my passions and a holistic sense of self and life. It was more than I’ve expected when I experimentally created this blog.

Anyway, I thought once I’ve gone through the process of moving on from that devastating time in my life a year ago that I’m okay and everything’s forgotten. Then, after watching two surprisingly candid people rant about stepping out of your comfort zone, accepting yourself and making a dent in the universe definitely sparked some subliminal awareness that I’ve been denying what’s been hovering over my head for a year.

The Feeling of Uselessness and Weakness

January 2013. It’d been only 2 months after my dad died when I decided to go back to corporate. I thought I had it all to gun for something higher than my previous job as an OIC Training Manager and Chief Language Specialist. I certainly have the brains and the skills to become more in that corporate ladder. Luckily, the former company I worked with asked me take the position of marketing manager for a new product they’re launching. Knowing loads about marketing and advertising, I knew I could handle it. Everything should be easy-peasy.

That’s what I thought.

I’ve only been there for three days when the negotiations for compensation and stuff came to light. And boy was I shocked.

(Note to self: Do not start work without that piece of paper signed first.)

I was offered a totally low salary (lower than what I got when I worked with them before). I don’t really know the process they used to determine how much my skills and my knowledge is worth (how do you measure that anyway without putting the person to a test?).

Long story short, I was offended. The rate they offered was one that I can readily earn while doing freelance online jobs, something that I’ve been doing for more than year then. Considering the effort of travelling an hour to get to work plus all the other daily expenses, it wasn’t worth taking and staying for.

There were also countless promises like the use of a company car for my convenience, phone allowance, out-of-town holidays, etc.  — none of which eclipsed the feeling that these people thought I am not good enough to warrant the accepted salary for the position I’m going to work in.

Clearly, it wasn’t meant to be.

I went home like the walking dead. I was both emotionally and physically drained. Judging from the looks I got from the people in the bus, I guess my face was a reflection of what I felt. I was slightly oblivious though. Like an automaton, I endured the long commute while the only thing that kept my mind running was the thought that there are people who thought less of me. It was a weakening thought. 

I kept to myself for three days . . . three freakin’ useless days! All my insecurities came barreling down, emotionally crippling me and I cannot help but cry at times. Just remembering part of the conversation I had with those people devastated me, made me weak inside and out and get me started with the waterworks yet again. I felt — without a doubt — icky and awful.

Stressed Figure With Question Mark by Master isolated images_FreeDigitalPhotos dot net
Stressed Figure With Question Mark
“Image courtesy of Master isolated images / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

For someone who prided herself in being confident, mentally strong and has a high IQ and EQ, it was simply incredulous and unacceptable. Believe me when I tell you that thinking about it now makes me mad — at myself.

There’s no one else to blame. Like what they say, YOU are the only one who can let others put you down. Nobody else.

So . . . going back . . .

No one knew what really happened beyond the three people involved (including me) until a week or so had passed. I braved the odds by putting on another fake mask of confidence and answer inquiries with, “it was clearly not the best thing for me to pursue,” or “I decided not to take the job for confidential reasons.” Even then, I’ve been protecting others by making myself sound fickle and frivolous when it’s not the case. It’s lame, I know it now. I was lame.

I am Rose Min and I AM SOMEBODY

I had days to think long and hard . . . to analyze what went wrong. Then, I wrote down what I can offer in terms of experience and character — basically everything I know I can lay down on the table.

And to boost my wavered confidence, I wrote these down in a piece of newsprint paper lying about:

  • I’m the person who gets the job done in the most humane and masterful way possible.
  • I’m the person who is goal-oriented and makes working with a joy and an experience of a lifetime.
  • I’m the one that company executives wouldn’t be embarrassed to push in front of international clients because of my “presence“.
  • I’m the person who builds dynamic teams of equally goal-oriented people and make them thankful they met me.

Then, self-doubt reared its ugly head. So, if I am such and such, how come I let myself go through a 3-day funk?

Simple. I was let down by someone I professionally admire despite this person being a known reprobate. And the other person I thought was a “friend” was apparently held by the noose around her neck, and turned out to be a poor mimic of the higher up. 

You know that feeling of being “not good enough” eating your insides and makes you feel like a shadow of your former self? That happened to me, folks. It’s sickening to remember how I let myself go down that cesspool of self-doubt. 

I was a dumb-ass to allow to be affected like that in the first place. I had no choice but to decline the poor offer. If I did accept it, I’d be faking my way through it all and making myself miserable in the process.

Getting Out of the Funk

Woman On Road by nuttakit_FreeDigitalPhotos dot net
Woman On Road
“Image courtesy of nuttakit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

I started it all by writing quotable quotes or  words of encouragement from famous people on Post-Its littering all over my apartment . . . and a brand-spanking-new resume format.

Veering away from the traditional black and white resumes that made those reviewing it yawn (I’ve gone through a lot of resumes and interviewed applicants, too, during my corporate years and boy do I find it soooo tedious!), I decided to revamp mine. And what’d you know? I got a job three days later, working for an absolutely fantastic beauty guru and entrepreneur. If that’s not a good omen (c’mon, it’s all about beauty — inside and out), I don’t know what is!

Good things started rolling in after that: Rekindling old friendships and spending more time with “real” friends, hosting a radio show, having fun, management consultations on the side, food tripping, meeting new and interesting people, learning from people smarter than me, gradually getting myself out of debt and more . . . 2013 was better than the previous years I had. I began to reestablish myself as “someone” rather than “anyone”.

Looking back on those wasted time mourning something that I never really had makes me snort out in derision now. Remembering also made me feel ridiculous for even shedding my precious tears. It’s something I never wanted to feel ever again.

Of course, there will be times when something irritating happens. But, I’m not going to let it stand in my way in pushing forward to a life of contentment and happiness. I owe it to myself and the people who have emotionally and psychically supported and motivated me along the way.

Now, I can finally extinguish that ominous shadow from my life and start living 2014 with hope and good vibes.

P.S. I still keep those Post-It notes with anecdotes and motivational/inspirational quotes around — to remind me that I deserve good things and I can do great things.

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