Sunny Days

CSUF graduation 2015

I’ve had some pretty wonderful life-events go down within the last week.  First, I started working as an Early Intervention Specialist (more description below) for a great company, making more than I’ve made before, Mad Men came to a beautiful conclusion, and as you can see in the image above, I finally graduated from college.  So, new job right out of college graduation and good TV?   Sounds wonderful 🙂 .

Well, except for the fact that for the last week-and-a-half I’ve been spiraled down into a very dark depression.

Yay!  Sunny days!

I wrote about my issues with depression a little while ago, and this one certainly crept in unannounced and without obvious cause as it usually does, but it was also extremely agitated by the aforementioned new job.  In fact, that’s what took the brunt of my depression this last week — worry about and hating this job.  Now, it’s a curious thing, because logically it’s a great gig.  Besides the welcome income, early intervention services are for young children (up to age 4) who have been diagnosed with autism or are considered as potentially on the autism spectrum.  We visit the children at home, and for a couple of hours at a time we work through improving communication skills: eye contact, pointing, simple sentence requests, etc..  It’s a great social service, it’s a job with definite career potential, and the position really seems like a perfect fit for me (one-on-one interaction, playing with little kids, a broken-up workday), but it’s also a job with a really steep learning curve.  Nailing down how to run the various programs and record the data properly is, even by my trainers’ admissions, overwhelming.  With my prior issues with perfectionism, it should be no surprise that I don’t exactly do well when I’m struggling at a job, and everything inside of my fell apart.  So, here I was, training at this new job, trying to wrap up my final projects for school, and I could barely function.  In fact, I actually reached such a low point that, for the first time of my own volition, I decided to seek out therapy.  I’ve lived with this emotionally unstable for too long, and it really does ruin little chunks of my life, so I have a few insurance-referred numbers to contact and set up my appointment; these therapists specialize in depression, which the insurance’s over-the-phone interview agreed I could benefit from.

Sunday was my commencement ceremony at CSUF, but what should’ve been a great, joyous experience was hindered by my hollow interior.  I’d spent Saturday doing absolutely nothing but laying on my floor watching the Mad Men marathon that was leading up to Sunday night’s finale.  I won’t delve into the many issues I mulled over (and over and over and over) during this particular dark period, but I was certainly downright ticked/guilty/sad about how this depression robbed me of joyous experiences.  I actually did have fun during graduation, and it was a great farewell to a lot of my gal-pals and the school itself, and a time I was able to enjoy with my family, but in the back of my head was this absolute terror and horrified angst about having to go back to work the next day.  My incompetence at this job was forefront in how my depression was kicking my butt, and in-the-moment it tainted anything I tried to do.

Today, though, I woke up feeling a twinge of calm that hadn’t been present at all in the last week.  I prayed, as I had asked my friends to do, for peace and courage, and I spent my morning redirecting my attention towards God.  The breaking-apart of these long depressed periods tends to act like the breaking-apart of an iceberg; it happens in waves until it is finally all dissipated.  I went into my first session this morning feeling more confident about these programs and their correct steps than I have during the whole first half of training, and it all came together to make for a great first meeting.  On my way to my second meeting of the day, an old Christian song that I’ve had a long history with came to mind and I listened to it during my drive.  I got a little teary at the notion of God always loving me, no matter what, because a big part of my trouble during this bout was a strong disdain for being who I am… this emotionally unstable fella who falls apart from time to time and has plenty of issues.  My second session went great, too, as it was a very relaxed time with a cute little gal who is the youngest I’ve worked with so far and is still pretty new to the program, but it wasn’t until the drive home that the final shards of ice melted away.  I thought about the beautiful Mad Men finale and chose a couple of great songs from that show (both the final song of the finale and from another episode) to listen to, and I ended up bawling my eyes out like a nut the whole drive home.  I laughed at myself, saying, “You’re nuts,” as I wiped tears off of my cheeks and uncontrollably cried my little heart out, but that was the nail in the coffin — the final emotional release that puts this period of depression behind me.

I’m still planning on contacting the therapists and starting up on that path, but I feel like me again.  I can look back at my graduation with fond memory and see how I have already progressed at this new job, without the clouded vision I had before, and I can smile and see it for what it all is.

The sun is always there, it just takes the clouds parting to make for a sunny day 🙂 .

P.S. – That Mad Men finale really was wonderful, wasn’t it?  Series review coming soon…

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About Mark Mushakian

Just a man who loves God, women, kids, dogs, movies, and every other lovely thing in life :)
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