Thursday, September 11, 2008

Finally Able to Breath Again

They say that you never know how strong you are until your strength is put to the test. And I will admit that I never put much faith in my own strength when it comes to scary life situations. That's mostly due to my panic disorder and how I have learned to deal with the anxiety. I don't just prefer to run and hide because I don't want to face something difficult, but because there are a lot of times I physically can't face it. But over the last five weeks my strength was definitely put to the test and I found that I am quite a bit stronger than I ever thought I could be.

It was sitting at my desk when my husband called me and told me he had bad news. He had been laid off. I honestly had no idea what to think. I just sat there, cried a little, and then canceled any doctors appointments we had in the future since we no longer had insurance. After the initial shock wore off, I kind of calmed down because he was lining up some interviews. I was feeling a general anxiety, but he had a severance package and he was just so confident about finding another job.

I surprised myself the first week. I was just waiting for the panic attacks to start, but I was also trying to be strong. Now was the time for me to support my husband, not the other way around.

The second week was harder to get through. We were finding out that there were not many openings for media buyers and that everyone had hiring freezes in effect. I was trying to figure out what expenses we could cut and how we could save money. At the same time, we had the whole plumbing fiasco, which all had to go on credit cards just in case we needed to eat into our savings for day to day stuff. I was definitely feeling anxious, but I also knew that if I started having panic attacks I wouldn't be able to go to work and that wasn't a possibility.

The third week he was sure he was going to get an offer for some company he interviewed with, but the week wore on with no calls. We were also having problems with our COBRA payment and insurance, which is what almost put me over the edge.

By the end of the week, they finally finished the plumbing, so the price couldn't go up any more for that. We had paid for at least a month of insurance and could probably afford one more. And then I realized, we were pretty lucky. Both of us could be out of work. He might not have gotten a severance package. One of us could have been sick.

I tried to fill my husband with my new found optimism because he was starting to get frustrated. He had so many people on his side, but he never expected it to take this long. Unfortunately lay-offs are not a rare occurrence in advertising and he has been through this before, but was able to find a new job within a week. I kept telling him we were lucky to have each other, etc., and he would find a better job than he had before.

Almost a month to the day of the lay-off, he was offered a job and it was a really good job. A good company that takes care of it's employees, good benefits, and good people. He was so excited and I was so relieved. I didn't want it to come to a point where he had to accept a job he didn't want just because it was all that was out there.

We went out for dinner to celebrate and I started to overheat. I braced myself for the panic attack that was coming. That's my m.o. Things finally calm down and I lose it. So we walked away from the situation and I kept reminding myself to take deep breaths. The whole time I kept thinking about whether this was going to set me back or just be a one time thing. I was so worried about not being able to go to work the next day or go back to a crowded restaurant.

Luckily I woke up the next morning, went to work, and made it through the day. Each day is better and I realize that I made it through such a difficult situation without constant panic attacks. I am glad I was able to be there for my husband and that things all worked out, worked out for the better actually.

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