When we first moved to Madison, I got what I thought would be a great job. Pay was good, benefits were good, and for the most part, I enjoyed it. However, it became apparent after a few months that the job was not a good fit, and thus began a 6-month period of unemployment.
It was actually pretty nice for the first few weeks - after all, it was the longest "vacation" I'd had since I'd started working, period. Going to bed and waking up at the same time as my husband - and just being able to be together - was wonderful, as we'd been working opposite shifts for a while (including the better part of the year or so leading up to the move). And of course, just flat out not having to go to work was nice, too.
After a while though, it began to take its toll. I left that job a few days before the first anniversary of my Grandmother's death, which had hit me incredibly hard. The loss of the job itself finally hit me as well - the job had been wildly mis-represented to me, and despite them telling me I had progressed wonderfully, and as hard as this is for me to admit, I still wound up being told it wasn't good enough. Being good at my job is a giant factor in my sense of self-worth, and being told I wasn't good enough after being told I was great didn't do anything for my psyche. The fact that I would have been absolutely miserable had I stayed there much longer didn't help as much as one might think.
Add to that the fact that while Bryan and I knew Madison pretty well, it was our first time actually living here, the Golden City at the "end" of Highway 151, where we'd both wanted to be for quite some time, and we had no means to go out and explore it. So here we were, stuck in a new place, not knowing very many people, missing our friends and jobs in our old city - a woman who was quickly sinking into despair and the husband feeling out of sorts having to deal not only with missing the old place, but also his increasingly depressed, increasingly schlubby wife.
As though there's actually a good time for depression to happen, mine came at the worst possible time - the confluence of a time of having to care enough to look for a new job and a time with no health insurance or prescription coverage. I totally let myself go - I stopped caring how I looked, I wore the same clothes day in and day out, and I'm pretty sure there were a few period where I didn't leave the house for a few weeks at a time. I was so worried about money that the only reason I even got a haircut during that time was because my mother-in-law treated me to it for my birthday. It was to the point where when I started going on interviews again, Bryan remarked that it was so nice to see me dressed up, since he hadn't seen it in so long.
Even once I found a new job though, things didn't go so smoothly at first. Since being good at my job is so integral to my happiness, starting a new job is always rough for me. I wasn't taking home much more than I had on unemployment, so money was tight. We were in the middle of an historically dreary, snowy winter. I slipped and fell on some ice less than 4 weeks after I'd started the new job and had the stress of wondering whether the responsible party would cover my medical treatment (yes, they did), and then, of course, the first three months of the new job without health insurance (thus the worry of who was going to cover the medical bills from my fall and of course no treatment for the depression that lingered).
But over the last six months or so, things have gotten exponentially better. The snow melted, the sun came out, I've settled into the job quite well, my medical insurance finally kicked in, and I've been able to start taking care of my health again - mental and physical. While we're still working opposite shifts, Bryan and I have settled into a do-able routine and are making it work. Between us, we've gotten three raises in the last 6 months, and while it's still short of where we'd been, we're back on track as far as bills and budget.
And since all of that has come to pass, my regirlification has commenced. In the past two months, I've gotten a fabulous new haircut, some really good conditioner, treated myself to a great new purse, have started a skin care and makeup regimen that really seems to be working for me, and have started to care about how I look again. It feels fabulous.
And it couldn't have come at a better time. The snow is starting to fly again (there are flurries outside my window as I type), and "they" say this winter could be worse than last. But I'm not completely dreading it. I organized and am overseeing a 50-person Secret Santa exchange, 24/7 Christmas music will again be hitting the airwaves, and soon I'll be knee-deep in holiday crafting - I've got 100+ Christmas cards to make, as well as some cool ornaments for an ornament exchange (and possibly for gifting, as well). I look better ("good" will come after a year of faithful gym-ratting), I feel better, and I'm ready for it.