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[personal profile] percygranger
Unprecedented, me coming back without a promise of more soon...but here I am, weirdly motivated this week to do...things. Stuff. Write on my WiP Big Bang fic (much to my artist's delight, I'm sure), take a nap, take a break from pushing myself so hard, post here, prepare for a job interview thing tomorrow. 

Oh right, did I mention I have a job interview? Now, mind you, this is a contract position teaching crafting, hardly something that's going to support me full time...but this is the first job I've pursued in "real life" since...I got back from grad school three years ago. Everything else has been offered to me or online or more hypothetical than anything.

It's been a hard road, trying to navigate my own psyche in this realm. I've recently (this year) realized I have a job phobia. Like, actual, serious, irrational freak out, fear of, avoidance, all of that. And having acknowledged this (my therapist having brought it up a few times before), having looked it up and figured out what I can do about that, I can finally make progress. Before, I was pushing myself hard, expecting this to be a bubble that bursts the first time I did a thing and didn't explode or...die on the spot or something, which it honestly felt like I might, sometimes. That is not what happened, alas. Pushing myself to just "get over it" only made me hate the application process even more than the usual tedium of filling out forms might inspire, and the inevitable snap back of my rubber band of fear I was pushing against made me avoid the results of my efforts. It was a failing battle. I was outflanked, with all the wrong tactics and strategy. Each new attempt was like starting from the beginning again. Fighting up a greased hill after sliding back down again, and again. You can only do that so long before you get really tired, and frustrated, and not a little bruised.

So I realized this wasn't normal (haha, the theme of my life), and my therapist's words finally caught in the gears in my head. I looked up the definition of a phobia, and realized that was me! All over. I was and am afraid of this job stuff (irrationally, persistently avoiding it) mostly due to a terrible experience as a 16 year old. First times, man, they fuck you up. But phobias aren't just diagnosable problems, they're things people have learned to overcome, and the advice on doing so is pretty concrete: Mainly, take it in teeny, tiny steps. Exposure therapy. The first step? Think about what scares you. Don't force yourself to actually do it. Think about approaching it, and deal with that fear. Do it over and over again until that fear goes away. Then up it a level: get close to the object of your fear, however you do that. For me it was getting on a website where there was an application. And, once again, deal with the freakouts until they fade. And then just keep going.  

Persistence, patience, self care, all of these things are very important, I've found. I'm a lot more at peace with myself, having discovered and accepted this part of me. I have better strategies to manage my emotions. And weirdly, it's a global cure, so far. Dealing with my fear of getting on elance has bettered my feelings towards other job sites and applying in person. Every step I take towards self-sufficiency and a "cure" (does one ever really get better? I'm still expecting a snap-back...) feels like getting outside for the first time in ages. Sunlight, fresh air, a delight to senses no longer masked by overwhelming fear. Here's hoping it sticks. 
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