Depression: Making a room with a view, part one

Four years ago I hired a life coach. It took me another year to use what I learned. I was trying to make it to 55—maximum retirement payout. It was clear that wasn’t going to happen. I was determined to find a way out of my job without losing everything my husband and I had worked for. I was still working in my safe, government position as a graphic designer. It was a dream job that, after the honeymoon phase, turned into a bad dream where I’m tumbling down a well, never to see the light again.

the very large room
the very large room

At first, I worked in a tiny closeted area right in the midst of the hubbub and traffic (the central printer was actually in my office, so people came and went all day long). Who knew I would eventually come to miss that room? Within a year I was transferred to a department higher on the food chain and received my own spacious graphic design studio! I awaited the others who were to join the staff there. A couple of high school interns later, it was clear I had the room all to myself from then on. To understand how this could be at all a bad thing, I should describe my working area. I am in a large room, clearly meant for three, with three large windows overlooking the photocopy/shipping area—a very large room (see photo) full of noisy machines and the employee(s) I now supervise. Both my room and the very large room are in the back of an even larger addition to the building.

My studio became somewhat of a fish tank, as I was contained, alone at a computer from 8 to 5, in a room with windows facing only the very large room inhabited by those who, because of my supervisory duties, no longer wished me well. No natural light ever filtered into either space. All those years I suffered from light deprivation (SAD). I do remember being desperate to see the sky, know the season (!) and talk to someone, anyone. Many days it felt like a gray, rainy day, only to find the sun shining and the sky blue when leaving for lunch.

I was also situated right alongside the building’s POWER supply. After insisting on an evaluation of the risk from EMF after I became ill with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia shortly after moving to this room, the power company’s appraisal was that: a) the readings were VERY HIGH and b) though there is no proven risk from EMF, they would advise that I move my desk as far away from the POWER supply as possible. I did move and my EMF exposure fell to that of someone sitting with their face directly attached to a large flourescent lightbulb! And here I remained for the remainder of my sentence.

  • 17.9 years
  • 2,148 months
  • 877.1 weeks
  • 4,385 1/2 days
  • 35,084 hours
  • (and no merit increase for 11 years, just tiny cost of living increases that don’t cover inflation)

Thirty-five thousand and eighty-four hours! How many of those hours was I thinking about how unhappy I was and wanting to leave? Did I mention that the last seven years involved harassment by a superior that was never resolved?

Four thousand, three hundred and eighty-five days!! How many of those days did I not want to be there any more? How many of those days were lonely? Did I mention that everyone I’d ever gotten close to at work had already retired, moved away, or died?

I wrote this in my journal on 8.29.05…
“Well, there was no response to my resignation today from management. I guess I’m too small a matter to deal with. So funny. Thank God there are no staff meetings before I leave!” I received a memo, mailed to my home later that week. It said “Your resignation has been accepted.”

To be continued…

7 thoughts on “Depression: Making a room with a view, part one

  1. poor baby….I hate that you’ve had such an upsetting work life…but that’s all past…and you are going to be happy….yes, I promise….just keep on truckin’

  2. Hi Lauren, Love, Anger, Euphoria, Depression are the theme of this blog. I had to put something in Depression for its first post. Decided to burn this one in the fireplace by getting rid of it early! Very catharctic!

    But honestly, 35,000 hours! Insanity.

  3. I only kept going to support myself and my two girls. Steady pay and health insurance are no small things in a small town with no other jobs for me in my field. But eventually I was just there for the carrot at the end of the stick. My kids were grown and I just wanted that maximum retirement payout! Alas I didn’t make it there but did get a smaller pension out of it. I’m too young to have retired, so now on to my next attempt at supporting myself. Looking around where I live, I think fast food might be the answer!

    I desperately want to move away from here and I know now that when I desperately want something, I can usually get it. With a little patience. Moving sounds hard though—jobs, change, expenses!

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