This article first appeared here on 20 May 2010.
7 Ways To Move Out of Depression For The Unemployed
Written by: Gilbert Goh
This article is specially written for those who think that they have hit the end of the rope. They have done everything possible but they are still jobless and worse their finances are really down to the last few hundred dollars. They have no where to turn to and there is the feeling that the earth is sinking below them. So what can the unemployed do now? They have tried all government agencies, job search companies and even conscientiously apply for a hundred jobs a day but all to no avail.
They also have problem sleeping and relationship with the wife has reached rock bottom. The thoughts of ending it all keep coming back as it is really tough to hang in there. You have also given up on job searching as the situation seems hopeless. When will I ever get a job? You wondered for the hundredth time and you wish that you never wake up to another day of aimless wandering. Sounds familiar?
I understood how you feel as I have hit that wall before, several times in fact, during that 20 months of joblessness during the Sars period. I have introduced 7 quick steps here, successfully tried by me, to ease those anxiety and calm the jittery nerves:
Pysche yourself up
I psyched myself up by thinking that the situation now has no where to go but up. The bottom is breached and it could not go anymore worse. According to the laws of nature, what goes down must bounce up eventually. So be hopeful. Psychologists termed this cognitive behavourial theory – in simple terms – thinking differently on a similar situation often in positive language. The mind is wired to think how we want it even though the situation is the same. How we think often can change our perception and approach. For example, a car can pull out in front of you suddenly when you are driving causing you much displeasure. The natural instinct is to think about what a damn lousy driver he is and having no disregard for other road users. However, another way to think is that he may be having a bad day and may even be rushing off to see someone urgently in need of his assistance. The latter thinking will likely to soothe our emotions and even cause us to be more understanding of others.
Positive self talk
I keep talking to myself a lot during those times as positive self-talk really help me a lot especially during my daily jog. AS there is no one looking during my run round the track, I could talk to myself a lot as I sprung through the track without others thinking that I have gone cukoo. Stuff like “Things are going to get better for you so hang in there!” and “You are doing great despite the odds! Cheer up!”
Doing something that you like
Doing something that you like also helped to restore the positive mood. If you like to fish go for it as it will soothe your mind and bring peace to your heart. For me, my daily jogging regime activates a lot of positive vibes within and often I became energetic after that even though I have a pretty lousy day earlier. I was looking forward to my run daily and it kept me alert and active. So do something regularly that releases energy within you. The body is tie to the mind and vice versa. So go ahead and do something that you like whenever you feel like it. Being jobless does not mean that you have to daily coop up at home. Many I know feel guilty when they go out of the house. This is so wrong and may in fact contribute to your depression.
Sometimes it is good to go to some places where you can just be yourself without the kids and people round you. You need time on your own to sort things out. In bustling Singapore, this may seem an impossible task but I have found some places that I ventured to when I need some space. For example, the east coast park is virtually empty during those early afternoon hours and I like to go there and sat at the cliff and watch those waves crashing near the beach wall. It is so theraupatic and I have lost count of the number of times that I have took the long walk from my home to seek solitude in the beach. So go out and look for some quiet spot of your own where you can read or simply soothe your troubled spirit. Solitude should be a good friend of the jobless here.
Listening to music
Music has always being lauded to have a calming effect on a person’s mind and emotion. I like the Swedish pop group Abba and their music has been played countless times at home to soothe my nerves. Sometimes I sing along with them and my heart went gaga after that. During long MRT train journey, I brought along my ear phone and listened to soothing music on my handphone MP3 player. Never doubt the power of music on the mind. “Dancing Queen” still works magic when the times are down!
Talking it out
Pouring out my frustrations and fears to someone has always being a great relief for me. You can call your best friend out and I am sure he won’t deny you the chance to let you share with him all your burdens. We are all build not to be alone but to live our life in union with other people. Pouring out our woes and miseries to someone does work and we always feel that we can live on with our troubles after that. The unemployed can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will arrange someone to help you out. Never bear all your problems alone. Learn to be humble and share them out with someone.
During the night, I also talk to my God a lot who comforted me during those down time. After that, I felt assured that I am not alone. If you have a religion, learn to talk to your God. You be surprised the relief you can get after that. We need to feed the soul with a lot of positive stuff and affirmation.
During crisis times, the support system needs to be rekindled again as this is not the time to be all alone by yourself. We all need one another to survive and you have to learn to put the ego thing away and seek help. Who knows, the friend who gives you his shoulder to lean on may in turn need your assistance when he faces his own personal crisis in future. So it is a two-way thing.
Being jobless is bad enough but staying unemployed all on your own for a prolonged period can be devastating both to the mind and soul. You need to prepare yourself as though you are fighting a battle as it is like a war-zone and there are casualties. So stay prepared and sober and never underestimate unemployment’s destructive power.
Many people have overcome similar crises in their life and they have came out of the situation victorious and stronger. Many cancer survivors I knew are more battle-readied having gone through hell themselves fighting for the right to survive. Their adversity quotient rose a few notches and their outlook of life also change. They are more relational and learn to smell the roses along the way instead of rushing through life.
The same can happen to you if you do not give up on yourself. You will be more steady and matured and often could even, in future, provide a firm helping hand to those who are going through similar crises. Transitioning.org came about because someone went through a hard time when he was jobless for 18 months. He wanted to provide a helping help to those going through similar situation as he had. I am sure by now you know who that person is.
Also, guard the hope element within you well as if a person loses hope he loses everything. Above all else, life is still worth living. The storm will pass over one day and a rainbow will appear at the end of the storm. Many people have come out of this crisis alive and stronger and so can you. There is positive value in adversity. Of course, you can only benefit from it after going through the hard times and that can be bewildering for many.
So if you think that you have that end of the rope feeling, tie a knot and hang in there or simply email me at email@example.com. We are always here to help you out.
Self-discovery is the secret ingredient that fuels daring. Grace Lichtenstein