I am left to wonder what else can I do, what am I doing wrong, why is this happening to me? I had a long and established career in my field. My work has always been praised. I learn quickly and am always the first to volunteer for new projects that will expand my skills. Blah blah blah. Me and 12.5 million other people. I have friends and family who care about me but the topic has become off limits. Why bring it up? The wise ones know that hearing; “You’re going to find something soon, I just know it”, “You need to keep a positive attitude” or “Everything happens for a reason” is going to result in a stony-eyed stare and a fake smile. It doesn’t help and only makes the speaker seem that much more disconnected from the reality of my situation. What I need to hear is: “I know someone looking for someone like you. Here’s their number, call them.”
It matters not that I was once a valued employee, I earned respect from my colleagues, I was responsible with my finances and saving for retirement, living beneath my means. Now, the savings goes to pay for health care (which I am fortunate to have) and crazy fun things like the mortgage. So I write reviews, blog, write articles, volunteer, volunteer and volunteer come more but none of these count as a job. Oh, I put in the hours and I’m working (sometimes nights and weekends) but there is no remuneration and even more depressingly, no magical contacts or networks of people who DO know of jobs and are willing to hook me up. Until such a time as someone hands me a check this is all a hobby.
There is solitude which is pastoral and lovely- sitting in a green meadow under trees, being alone because you choose to be. Then there is loneliness, a condition imposed by self or situation. It can look and feel like this:
The thing is I’M. NOT. ALONE. There are millions of me out there and yet there is nothing about this experience to bring people together. If I watch the news and see the interviews of people in similar situations it makes me cry because they're doing what I'm doing and getting nowhere. Whoever said misery loves company was not unemployed. Much like hanging around people with MS, hanging around people like me right now would make me stabby and yet it is soul-suckingly painful to be this alone. I am beginning to feel less than, as if my self-worth is being depleted. To know that no one I know has experienced this; that they cannot commiserate but only silently thank the gods that it's not them. I am alone and want only to ask: Can you hear me?