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Last year I had to go on Centrelink payments as all my work fell through due to Covid-19. Before then, I had put up with being chronically underemployed and constantly broke than deal with C'link's punitive, unhelpful brand of bs.
Now I'm stuck in a small country town looking for 15 jobs a month (which will rise to 20 next month) where there aren't even 5 suitable jobs a month in this area that I could do. I have two volunteer jobs that I’m currently doing but as I’m under 55 this basically counts for nothing.
I have a roof over my head at the moment, but the mental grind of doing this
pointless Jobactive busywork, combined with constant job rejections, sleep issues,
anxiety, Covid anxiety, depression, menopause symptoms and the realisation that I'm likely to be
homeless in a decade is really making me wish that I wasn't here anymore.
I explained all of this to my new doctor and all she did was stick me on a low dose of anti-depressants (which are affecting my memory and making me blank out in the middle of conversations – really handy when you’re in the middle of a job interview) and send me off to a community counsellor who provided little practical help.
All the things that usually pull me out of a downward spiral are not working and I currently feel no hope for a future.
Hi LL is Worn Out
My heart goes out to you so much as you try to manage multiple conditions without the best support and guidance.
I wonder whether a break down of everything would begin to make some difference. Wondering whether it's worth starting with the impact of pure exhaustion. A lot of people can really start to beat themself up while in a state of pure exhaustion, without recognising the full impact of this mind altering state.
With anxiety, with both your mind and body in almost constant states of hyperactivity, do you find the anxiety leads you to feel like you're running marathons? Add to this the amount of hyperactivity that goes into reforming a woman's body during change of life and this ramps up to a whole new level. At 50, I find managing peri menopause leads me to feel like I'm stuck in an experiment when it comes to what works and what doesn't.
Having a couple of possible reasons for the pure exhaustion, add energy deprivation to this. While there are all the usual resources for energy restoration, sleep is possibly the biggest. Personally, hydration and sleep are my top 2. If I don't have enough of either, I'm stuffed. I wear an oral appliance for diagnosed sleep apnea and can feel the difference if I don't wear it. Can remember seeing GPs, based on me feeling thoroughly exhausted and feeling like I was going back into a depression. 'It's just a part of the life of a mum, feeling this way' blah blah. One doc even laughed. I wouldn't settle. Pays to be your own detective.
While you could have people say to you 'You just need to feel a little more positive', you could easily say 'I barely have enough energy to feel my own body, let alone feel positive'. By the way, a lot of the chemistry we need to feel certain feelings can be pretty low while in a state of exhaustion.
Do you feel the GP isn't acknowledging your exhaustion, the fact that you're possibly running on empty? Do you feel the medication is zapping what little energy you've got left? On top of everything, throw a government into the mix which doesn't support it's people on a case by case basis and it all feels like a recipe for depression. 20 jobs in rural Aus, what the heck?! The Aus government seriously triggers me at times.
Could addressing energy levels be a good start with your GP? Could living life with a lot more energy lead you to begin seeing and feeling things from a slightly different perspective regarding the way forward? Could this trigger other changes?
Hello LL is Worn Out,
I am so sorry to hear what you are going through. I can't imagine the frustration of dealing with some of the bureaucracy, as well as your health issues. Could I suggest that you call the Beyond Blue helpline on 1300 22 4636 to talk to someone who could talk this through with you further? You might find them more helpful than the community counsellor and they may be able to refer you to support services within your area.
Additionally, it might help to go back to the GP and, similar to the advice from therising, explain the gravity of the situation and the significant impact it is having on you. It also might be good to articulate that the negative side effects of the anti-depressants, and she may be able to switch you onto something different that will sit better with you. Alternatively, if the GP is not right for you, do you have any other doctors within the area who you could try instead?
I would urge to to contact the Beyond Blue number though - They might also be able to refer you to support services for refuge and employment support.
Please remember to try and practice some self-care. Allowing yourself to have a weekend without searching for roles or feeling over-stressed, might allow you the breathing space to reassess your next move - whether that be relocation, thinking about other roles or learning a skill that you've always wanted to.
Thinking of you,