I read an article that someone posted on Facebook recently that talked about the evidence that writing helps people to recover emotionally from difficult experiences. My mom learned the same thing in her psychology classes.
I was struck by that because I realized that I never blogged about my experience being unemployed (or rather underemployed) last year. I mentioned on my blog (briefly) that I had been laid off but I never really blogged about it in great detail.
There were a number of reasons for this omission.
I was ashamed. I had never been laid off before. Even though I was not terminated for cause (I got letters to that effect from my boss before I left), I was still ashamed. It was false shame in the sense that I had done nothing wrong, but it was real in the sense that I felt it deeply. (“Of course this is all in your head Harry. But why on earth should that mean it is not real? “?)
I was relieved. The situation I was in was a terrible one. I was part of a terribly dysfunctional organization. I am friends with co-worker who still works there, and she is miserable. When I first found out that I was being laid off, it seemed like a release. I felt that I had been spared. That was a difficult feeling.
I was conflicted. I did not want to share too many details about my place of former employment. I did not want to burn any bridges, even though I would never work there again, and I would actively discourage any family member, friend, or mortal enemy from working there. Even so, I am reluctant to burn bridges. More importantly, I still blog anonymously, and I did not want anyone to be able to tell who I was or where I was living. That made it difficult to share details.
I was depressed. I was very, very, depressed. For a time, blogging was an escape. I could post about a variety of subjects from music to movies. It was a motivation. It gave me a reason to go to the library; an occupation on days when I was not working.
Still, I think I made a mistake. I think that I should have published more details about my time as I was laid off. After all, I published a tremendous amount of details about my experience with thyroid cancer. I wanted to record them to help others who found themselves in my experience. I do not know exactly why I chose a different tactic with my time in unemployment, but I think I should have handled it differently.
In order to rectify this situation, I am going to write more posts about the month I spent teaching, how I was laid off, my time as a substitute, and my life now.
After all, I always liked the line from an old song called Breathe (2 AM). The singer says, “Two AM and I’m still awake writing a song, If I get it all down on paper it’s no longer inside of me, threatening the life it belongs to.”