Today is a bad day. I’ve had them before. I’ll have them again I suppose. I feel defeated, empty, sad, and that I’m a total failure. I have tears often. At times I’m sobbing. I forced myself to the gym for a spin class this morning, and I burst into tears during it on multiple occasions. It is extremely difficult to cry and bike as fast as you can. Twice in my attempts to breathe through my sobs I almost fell off of the stationary bike, which actually got me to smile and prove I can still do things besides feel horrible.
For months I’ve been strung along with the promise of a couple job offers while I’ve been collecting unemployment. All my intuitive and energy reading skills told me to hold tight, it will all work out. Looking back, I now realize I have only done such work for myself once this year.
In August of 2016 I was laid off. It was very much a surprise but I embraced the timing. My step-mother was dying, she’d told my wife and I that we’d be getting a nice inheritance and I was sure that would let me comfortably step into full-time entrepreneurship. I’d actually taken this step before. I quit my corporate job in September, 2013 and 18 months later, while depressed, suicidal and on brink of financial collapse – I was offered a contracting position at my old employer. It was perfect! I knew I wouldn’t be there forever, but I was glad to have it for a while. The while ended sooner than I expected, but I trusted the Universe. Now must be the time for me to leave since I was leaving. It gave me time to be with family and plan my next steps. My wife was the primary care giver for my stepmother for her final six months.
In September, 2016 my stepmother did pass away. One week later I joined a new coaching company that promised a new way to treat PTSD and claimed to have tens of thousands of clients waiting for coaches. I would be a subcontractor and they would feed me a full-time schedule of clients. Perfect! I completed their training and became certified. The timing seemed ideal. The new PTSD intervention I learned helped me throughout the process, especially in October when we discovered the long talked about inheritance did not exist. My wife and I were not part of any will or estate plans. We were devastated. The fact that my sense of shock, hurt, and betrayal didn’t have me immediately plotting my own death was a testament to my wife, my years of personal growth and the intervention I had been training with as part of the new coaching company.
For months, this new coaching venture kept moving the date for when the influx of clients would begin. I also kept hearing that the company that laid me off was working on bringing me back. I was sure one of these would come to light and laughed that both would probably happen at the same time allowing me to take my pick.
Jump cut to today. This week is my final week of unemployment. I had thought extensions were pretty common, but it seems that was a program that ended years ago. I’m about to have zero consistent income. I’m a coach without any current clients. I am an author who hasn’t published
a new book in over a year… I really am as low as I go. I trusted that someone else would be sending me clients so I stopped my own efforts because I thought I was going to be too busy. I want to vanish. I want to go to sleep and never wake up. I can’t wrap my mind around the joy I get from being of service, the volunteer work I’ve done recently, the investments I’ve made in myself despite not having a job – all on the belief and faith that it will all turn out great. I’m struggling to make sense of the powerful work I’ve done, and know I can do, and the fact that I keep failing at making it all work.
I don’t know what I’ve done wrong, but surely I’ve done something wrong. I don’t believe I’m just victimized by others. Can I be too naive and trusting for my own good? Possibly, but I don’t want to live in a world where I mistrust everyone I come across. I’ve done amazing, powerful work with clients. I just haven’t figured out how to have a steady stream of them.
I have lots of acquaintances, but in this moment I don’t feel I’ve got many friends. There are a few people I know I could call, but I don’t. Why? I deserve to suffer, to be punished, for I made this mess. Yet I don’t know what to do about it.
In my Real Men Feel podcast we often talk about the mask of masculinity, the act that guys think they need to carry on like they’ve got it all figured out, nothing bothers them, and everything is fine. I do not have it all figured out. I don’t know if I have any of it figured out. Things do bother me, sometimes a lot. Right now, everything does not feel fine, yet I also have a sense that it is.
I find myself again in that horrible statistical space of being at the highest risk of suicide. I’m a middle-aged white male with prior attempts in the midst of financial crisis. Oh, joy.
One thing I do know is that I’m not dying today. Wow, I sob writing that. So the thoughts and feelings swirling in me—defeat, given up, lost, scared, confused, deceived, lied to, not enough, failure, flop, loser—and at the end of all that, after being willing to acknowledge all of that, there is a sense of peace. There really is a sense that “all is well.” My fear is, can I get through whatever the “all” is before I am living the “well”?
I share all this in the hopes that by the end of it I feel better, which I do a little. The bigger driver for this is that I hope someone else might read this and truly get that they are not the only one feeling like shit. Perhaps some of my current circumstances are reminiscent of your own. Maybe your situation is worse. Despite past thoughts, despite past attempts, I know I’ll get through this. Because I’ve gotten through it in the past I know I’ll get through this round as well. Maybe this public level of surrender is what is needed next, or maybe I’m going to be 50 and living in someone’s basement. I’m open to anything.
Photo credit: Pixabay