After I left the office, after my bosses delivered that final, merciless blow, after I tried to pull myself back together and wasn’t able to, it felt as if there were several parts of me that ran on their separate tracks. There was no sense of wholeness, there was just a sense of pieces of me dying or falling apart.
There appeared an incredibly strong part of me that vigorously refused to accept the reality and the facts. It just wouldn’t believe it and fought against it with all its might. This part wouldn’t accept the truth for years to come and is still active today. These days, though, it only comes alive through dreams and nightmares.
This part was a created as a new, separate part of me because the horror of it all, the facts, when you added them up, were too much to bear:
- In a week, I would be left with no income whatsoever
- They were not giving me any compensation or notice, so I had nothing to help me get through this
- I had to keep paying the mortgage or lose my home
- I had to register at the unemployment agency ASAP
- I had to find a new job ASAP
- I had to shut down my so-called ‘freelance’ business ASAP
- I also had to pay the taxes, an accountant, and the cost of shutting it down
- I had only 30 days to file a lawsuit, build my case, and compile a huge pile of documents and evidence needed for that — all of which represented a further threat to my mental health, for it was so heavily charged with the loss and horror of what had happened
- I needed to find an attorney in the middle of the summer vacations when most of them were away
- I needed to find a way to pay this attorney’s fees
- In these same 30 days, I also needed to find witnesses, people who would be willing to testify and support my case in court
- As if that weren’t enough, I was in the middle of a university course and it was too late to withdraw
- Failing it would ruin my perfect GPA and everything I’ve worked for so hard
- This also meant that I had to keep paying the remaining installments of the tuition for this course in addition to all other costs
- I was in the senior year but was now left with no funds to complete the degree, and my employer stopped paying its share of the tuition
- I had no idea where to find the money for any of what I had to deal with
- I was betrayed by my bosses and many of my colleagues in the most cruel and ruthless way, people, including my friends, started to avoid me
- I was 45, too old for this, too old and too tired to start anew from scratch
- On the top of it all, my dog had a tumor, he was dying, my best friend and beloved pet was dying, and I had to find the way to pay the vet too
I was falling apart, totally and completely. I was unable to sleep and started to overeat as a way of coping. In a blink of an eye, my whole life, my wonderful career, everything I thought was solid and secure, turned into dust in the wind. Everything on that list was an urgent matter that had to be dealt with NOW, and most of it was a top priority with an absurdly tight deadline.
It was too much, way too much to handle for a person who was already exhausted and in the state of severe burnout.
No wonder a part of me simply refused to accept the reality. It just wouldn’t, period. It kept convincing me for years that the reality was not how things stood, that the company will take me back, that I will get my job back, that this was not really happening. It kept giving me dreams in which I still had my job, where I went to work like I normally would, and everything was great.
Until I woke up and the horror of the facts hit me even stronger and I ended up in tears, over and over again, because the truth was anything but great. The truth was that I didn’t have a job, that this was all gone now. For weeks and months after they cut me off so brutally, I was only able to fall asleep for a couple of hours a night when I collapsed due to exhaustion.
There was this second part of me that was fully aware of what was going on but was also unable to cope. This part broke down and cried and it kept crying publicly and in private. It cried at the psychiatrist’s office, at the attorney’s office, when I applied at the unemployment agency, while walking on the street…
The triggers for it could be completely unpredictable and it was totally out of control. This part of my personality also stayed with me up to this day and can still burst into tears quite unexpectedly.
And then, there was this last part of me that started to deal with it all, while, as an additional burden, dragging the other two along. This miraculous part of me kept pumping adrenaline through my veins, pushed me way over the boundaries of what I ever thought I was able of achieving, and made sure I stayed alive. Broken, yes, severely damaged, for sure, but nevertheless alive.