Thursday, June 6, 2013

Jobless and sleepless

Do you know those nights when you look at the clock and think, "if I fall asleep now, I can still get (insert number) hours of sleep"?  That's what unemployment is like for me -- both in sleep quality and in the sense of impending doom as time continues to march on.

Being jobless stresses me out. I make jokes by using the hashtag "#funemployment" and exclaiming "I have every day off!" whenever I'm around people talking about impending vacation time.  But it's all a show, a way of protecting myself and guarding my real feelings, which are fear, disappointment and declining confidence.

It's been five weeks now, and my anxiety about it all grows with each passing week.  I keep myself pretty busy during the day -- working out, job searching, reading, losing myself in another TV series on Netflix/Hulu, etc.  But when I go to bed at night, my mind takes a direct route to the current state of my life and, naturally, my finances.

Unemployment pay is crap.  I currently bring in about half of what I was earning when I was working at my most recent job.  And that's barely enough to pay my basic bills.  When I started my most recent job, I was able to build up a little bit of a cushion, but that cushion is starting to disappear.  And I'm starting to panic.

The anxiety usually hits at night when I'm trying to sleep.  I worry about how I'm going to continue to pay my bills if I don't find a job soon.  As I go over the numbers in my head, my stomach starts to knot up and I feel nauseous.  And then I can't sleep.  There have been many nights I stayed up until almost 4 a.m., tossing, turning, pushing the covers off, pulling them back on, changing pillows, etc., until I somehow doze off. 

A few nights ago, I was waging this battle again, I decided to turn to that faith I wrote about a few weeks ago.  Through all of this, I trust that there is a grander plan and I will survive this, so I just started softly repeating, "God will take care of this."  When that got tiresome, I remembered the eulogy at my great-aunt's recent memorial service, where I learned that she recited Psalm 23 every night before bed. It's one of the first Bible verses I remember learning (after John 3:16), and I've always found it very peaceful and comforting. I think I may need to make it a regular part of my bedtime routine.

I know this period in my life is only temporary even though it feels interminable. And someday, I might even understand why I had to endure long periods of unemployment. Until then, I just need to find ways to keep peace in my heart and head. 

Do you have any advice? What helps you cope with stress and anxiety that keep you awake?

5 comments:

  1. Aw, I don't know that I have advice other than keep sharing your anxiety here, get it out or it will keep you up at night. I do think you have to keep thinking positive thoughts that this is only temporary and soon you will be working hard at a job and wishing you could sleep in, stay up late, etc. :)

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  2. Have you tried a temp agency? they may be able to place you at least temporarily to make some money until you find a real permanent job.

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  3. Wow. I wrote a very similar blog that I am posting later tonight. The Stress blog. I wish I had some amazing advice for you. Without Ambien I haven't slept in months. Prayers.

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  4. Oh man, I have struggled with nighttime anxiety A LOT. Melatonin actually helps me a lot, and I've found some nighttime breathing techniques that help calm my mind and sometimes even helps me fall asleep. Anxiety sucks, I feel your pain.

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  5. I'm so sorry you're going through this unemployment period AGAIN. I know how frustrating it is. I will pray for you to have peace and, of course, that God will provide you with what you need.

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