It’s a good thing therapy costs so much, because otherwise I don’t know how my therapist would afford to replace her tissues after each one of my sessions. Depression is expensive for both therapist and thera-pee, and the costs just keep adding up. But therapy is a necessary evil right now. I’m teetering on almost suicidal, though not really, not quite. It’s one of those things I could never do. But I do want to get in a car, drive, change my identity, become a waitress in Santa Fe or something, and never be heard from again. I get myself into this negative thinking spiral down into oblivion and it takes a certified professional to dig me out.
I’ve realized that I get most depressed when I feel stuck. The older I get, the more stuck I feel. Once you get yourself on a professional path it’s hard to halt and change face. The thought of going from a six-figure income back to under $50k to build up a new career, or even spend $100k to get a graduate degree, makes me physically ill. And yet I know I want to shift directions and the only way to do this is to backtrack a bit before moving ahead. Now is the time to do that… BEFORE I get married and have kids. But do I really have it in me to make the change? How do I know that shifting direction won’t just have me walking off a different, distant cliff?
There’s also the great possibility that maybe I’m just not meant to find fulfillment in my daily job. Then again, a job takes up most of our lives, so I want it to be somewhat fulfilling. Marketing is not fulfilling at all, with the exception of launching a new company. It is one of those thankless professions. If you do your job well, sales signs huge contracts and earns acclaim for their negotiating brilliance, while product gets to build something really cool that is potentially disrupting an industry. Marketing, well, marketing promotes what someone else built so someone else can sell it. That’s a useful skill to have, but fulfilling it is not.
There are aspects to marketing that are interesting, just none which fall under my specific job description. Understanding a market (i.e. features buyers want) and then ensuring product builds what the market wants is interesting at least. Figuring out the messaging that will help sell the product is also a bit strategic and rewarding. But writing the same thing over and over and over and over again about a product is just mind numbing. Even if the product is great. So maybe it’s silly, but when I think about doing that for the rest of my life… I find myself in my therapist’s office, balling like a baby.
That is usually quickly followed up with a “I’m terribly spoiled / privileged / selfish to even have the time to cry about having a job and one where i’m in no imminent danger of losing life or limb.” Because that’s true. I’m lucky. That doesn’t change that I’m unhappy, and I have been since embarking on my professional career. Bits and pieces, weeks even, have inspired me, but I still feel like I’m just a cog in a giant machine with no input on what the machine is accomplishing, or how it’s built.
So I paid my $135 for the session and walked out, drained, red nosed, and done crying for the night. My therapist gave me an assignment to think of three things I’m grateful for every night. And to pay attention to how they make me feel. Three things, I said, picking – having a job, my boyfriend, and my friend coming to visit this weekend as the selections of gratitude for the evening. And suddenly, I could breathe again. Being thankful washed away all of the narcissistic bullcrap that plagues my self-entitled millennial mind and beats it up with a heaping of good hippie vibes.
If I can stop being so negative and start being so grateful, perhaps I can eventually graduate from couch-crying therapy and move on to more important things, like saving the world, or giving up on finding some grander purpose to instead accept I’m just one in a bazillion with no rhyme or reason, and that’s ok too.