So I went to work yesterday. Had a bit of a nervous breakdown, and wound up leaving for the day. I did not, however, head directly home. Instead I went to Trinity Lutheran, and sat on the floor in the narthex, drinking a soda and just trying to think.
For the past several months, I’ve been struggling with depression again. On Monday, I went to Bert Nash, our local mental health center, and looked into getting into either individual or group therapy. The therapist I spoke to, a very nice lady, turned out to also attend Trinity, and diagnosed me with Major Recurrent Depression (duh), with anxiety troubles on the side.
Some of my depression stems from the fact that I expected my family’s situation to be rather different by this time. We were going to move to Salina. We had an apartment selected; I had a job lined up. We decided not to move at practically the last minute after reviewing our situation – my depression, our finances – and felt that now wasn’t the best time. That left me unemployed again.
So I turned to Vangent, where I had worked before, both in FSAIC (Federal Student Aid Information Center), and ERATE (another Department of Education program). I applied for a few different positions, including a CSR job with EFAST2 (Department of Labor). I got hired for EFAST2. It’s temporary – ends August 3.
I did not want to back to being a CSR. I dislike working in a call center, and that may be the understatement of the year for this blog. I like my coworkers and supervisors, but the actual job itself drives me crazy. Returning to this job, especially after looking forward to not doing it again, has not helped my depression or stress, leading to the breakdown yesterday morning.
Furthermore, part of the reason I wanted to move to Salina was that I want change. I’m…bored, to be honest. I feel awful saying that, but it’s the truth. I’m not tired or bored of my family – that’s not it. I’m bored of living in Lawrence, of our house, of doing the same thing day after day after day.
I have also been reading about sustainable living, minimalism, and getting back to basics. We have, in my opinion, too much stuff. We have movies we don’t watch, a large television, lots of cooking utensils and appliances, gizmos of various sorts, and just a lot of stuff in general. Even though we’ve tried going through our house to see what we don’t need or want, and then had a garage sale/given things away, it still seems to me like we’re overloaded. Frankly, I feel bad that we have so much stuff that doesn’t serve any purpose other than being fun to play with (once in a while), or “but we might need it later”, while others have less, little, or nothing.
Chris recently started a list on the computer titled “Purchase List” for keeping track of things we need/want to get in the future. Now, I’m not getting down on the list completely — it is helpful to have such a list when you have a tight budget, four people in the family, and not the greatest ability to remember. But lately, in the mood I’ve been in, it’s hard to see the file and not think, “Oh, no, MORE STUFF!”
Hence my reading material.
But it’s not easy even to consider developing and implementing a minimalist, sustainable living-oriented philosophy when you’ve got a spouse and two kids to consider. I can’t autocratically declare, “We are moving to a farm! I am getting rid of most of our useless stuff, and we are going to make do with less from now on!” (I could make such a declaration, but without anyone’s support, all I’m doing is spouting off.)
Since that option is out, I’ve been trying to sort out both what I’m reading, and what my reasons are for this not-quite-new desire. Also, I’m trying to come up with compelling arguments for adopting such a lifestyle. Amazingly, that’s been easier.
The first reason I’ve found for reducing our belongings, giving them away, living with less, etc., is that there’s Biblical precedent for doing so. (I knew this already, so it’s not really “found” per se.)
New International Version (NIV)
16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life ?”
17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
18 “Which ones?” he inquired.
Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’[c] and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’[d]”
20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
New International Version (NIV)
32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
I’ll post other reasons as I come up with them. So far, I have: “Because it would likely save us money,” and “Because I want to, darn it!”
I’ve still got my confusion and depression to deal with, see.
I pray tomorrow goes better at work (both for me, and for everyone blessed to have a job in this economy), and that everyone kept safe this Fourth of July.