Posts Tagged ‘stress’

In bed and practically dead.
Still, insane thoughts creep through my head.
Why can’t my mind fall asleep with my body?
And why must I keep getting up to go potty?
I’m hot, I’m cold, can I pay all the bills?
Shoot, I was sweating and now I have chills.
It sucks to be menopausal and poor.
But I love and am loved so I don’t need much more.
Please, someone, hypnotize me to sleep.
I need the kind that is dreamy and deep.
I worry, I stress, and I reminisce
About paychecks and travel and people I miss.
About muscles and tendons and bones that worked well.
About ankles and knees that never would swell.
Still, I’m here and my kids make me smile and beam.
So all I need now is some sleep and a dream.

314799_4865839976057_1080256591_nYour resume must look sharp.  Your job search methods must be fresh, creative, powerful.  You need a prepared list of personal and professional references and a versatile cover letter that can be tweaked for every different type of potential interview.  And you need to network, network, network!  This was just some of the helpful advice doled out this morning by my Jersey Job Club leader, a lovely woman named Cynthia.

What is a Jersey Job Club?  It’s a helpful meeting place for unemployed people living in the Garden State, a “club” where job seekers can go to get ideas, get advice, get encouragement and, of course, network.  I sat through a 90-minute orientation this morning in a drab East Orange building staffed by cheerful and helpful Department of Labor workers and I left feeling better about my chances of winding up back in the workforce.  There were about a dozen other women in the room with me, ranging in age from mid-60s to early 30s and crossing a wide swath of the career and education spectrum.  We had all been downsized by companies looking to save money, stay afloat or just plain go belly up.  We were all frustrated and rather stunned by our current situations and while we may have been a bit depressed and discouraged upon entering the room at 10am, I believe we all left feeling positive and empowered.

Some of the unemployed women in the room had had clerical jobs in nearby schools.  Some had worked in collections.  A few had worked for lawyers or executives.  They had all been employed in what I would consider more “conventional” fields than mine.  For the better part of three decades I have worked as a freelance television stage manager.  It’s never been the kind of job for which you would see a help wanted ad in a newspaper (remember newspapers?), or on a typical electronic job-search bulletin board.  It’s not the sort of position that requires the help of a headhunter.  It’s the kind of job that you somehow manage to get in your 20s, hopefully right out of college, and then maintain and grow through internal networking.  The more you work, the more new job leads you hear.  The different and creative ways that people use to obtain their first jobs in the industry are about as varied and numerous as there are job titles in TV production, from following in a family member’s footsteps to interning or working as a page to DJ-ing a TV station’s Christmas party and asking everyone there to send over the person who hires crew members.  Yeah, that last one, that was my creative path into the land of television.  Smart, right?  Serendipitous, even.  It worked and I had a fabulous 30-year career.

But lately the jobs have been hard to come by.  I worked the Olympic games in London, Vancouver, Beijing and Torino but not earlier this year in Sochi, and I’m still not really sure why.  I’ve had a few freelance gigs here and there, but not enough to live on.  And at the start of this year I thought my troubles were over when I landed a position on the crew of an awesome new cable health and wellness show.  We were supposed to be on the air for at least a year, maybe get picked up for syndication and survive past that projection, but the show was hemorrhaging money and was canceled after eight short months.  So now I’m unemployed again and having a hard time with it.

At the Job Club today we were reminded to stay focused and stay positive.  I have a difficult time with that no matter how much I try.  I asked Alyson Charles, one of the hosts of the show I had most recently been working on, to suggest a few daily affirmations I could say to hopefully keep my mind filled with positive thoughts that would crowd out the feeling of doom and gloom I so often experience in stressful situations.  She happily obliged.  My favorite was, “I am a being of Divine light and love and my purpose here is to embody that through my words, thoughts and actions. And so it is!”  Thanks, Aly.  I have been repeating that every day along with, “Help me please, thank you,” to stay positive and grateful and attract the job I desire.  I have treated my search as a full-time job and I have been networking my butt off.  Friends and colleagues have chimed in with leads and ideas, for which I am so very grateful.  I have looked through old contact numbers and reached out to people I have not heard from in years.  And, meanwhile, I have remained open to the idea of a new career in a similar but different field.  I’m not exactly 21st-century-ready but I’m smart and I learn quickly.

One suggestion the Job Club leader made today was to create something called a visual board.  It’s supposed to be sort of like a poster that you place where you can see it daily and it should contain images that represent your goal.  I told Cynthia and the other women in the room that I have been continuously and frequently changing my profile photos on Facebook and LinkedIn and rotating through older and newer pictures of me working as a stage manager to remind myself, other people and the universe in general what it is that I have done, what it is that I DO, still.  Then I asked if that counted as a visual board.  It does.  But just to make sure, here are some more photos that I send out, with all good intentions, to affirm what it is that I am, what I do, what I want and deserve:

6957_10200696112517404_1626849086_n 46757_4865713052884_552950635_n 72906_4866683317140_901008294_n 314799_4865840056059_342252675_n 391338_4865743653649_1760130485_n 391338_4865743773652_1610833308_n 483583_4958403650091_1130525535_n 524862_10200557343888275_1831180130_n 528953_4865753653899_852285014_n 533617_4866654036408_1991725971_n 533694_4866680037058_1209042741_n 541442_4957569669242_339193294_n706070_4865789974807_572235894_o 775804_4878216205455_1152102562_o 775853_4873098117506_1099309597_o 819142_4865780134561_1652703379_o 842877_4865806495220_1674951587_o 843955_4873013195383_1597459236_o1167324_10202662079225343_1643912630_o 1891368_10202606155947296_787991434_o

Thanks for reading this blog post.  If you have any job leads, please let me know!


Posted: September 26, 2013 in Health
Tags: , , ,

     Image     How do I even write about stress without giving myself a heart attack?  Well, I’ll give it a shot, but if this post never gets published, it’s because I’m recovering in the hospital and don’t have access to the internet.  Or I’m dead.

My wonderful coaching group leader asked the members to focus on stress this week.  How does it affect you, what does it look like?  The first thing that popped into my head was a tightly-wound ball of string, about 15 feet high.  I don’t know if I can adequately describe how it is affecting me because it is just so huge.  And dense.  And heavy.  I know enough to realize that my problems are small compared to those of a lot of other people.  I don’t think I am terminally ill with cancer or ALS.  I have a roof over my head and even though I sleep on a couch in a friend’s house and my twins share a room with their 6th-grade friend upstairs, I’m warm and dry and relatively comfortable.  For the generosity of my friends I am full to the rafters with a most profound sense of gratitude.  I sold my house almost 4 months ago to avoid foreclosure, but I am not precisely homeless.  It just feels as if I am sometimes.  Homeless with twin 10 year old girls.  Way to go, Kim.

Which leads me to another source of my stress:  My 14-year-old.  She’s going to be a huge success any day now.  She’s incredibly smart and beautiful and talented and amazing.  And I haven’t seen her in almost two months.  The category of broken heart this causes me to feel is brand new in my life.  The pain is like nothing I have ever experienced and so I don’t know what to do with it, where to put it.  I come across photos of her as a toddler sometimes, or as a preschooler, and I just want to lie down and die because I can’t give her a hug.  Because I haven’t given her a hug since August 10th.  At approximately 6pm.  It was a warm and beautiful and sunny day until the moment that I had to let her go and drive away.  She’s with her other mom in LA chasing her dream and recording an album.  She’ll be wildly famous someday.  Probably wealthy.  I don’t want a cent of her hard-earned money.

What I want is a job.  Unemployment is my biggest source of stress.  I spent almost 30 years as a fairly successful worker in my field until the well suddenly ran dry.  It was a great run.  I traveled to amazing places and met incredible people.  Then it ended.  That was three years ago.  I have spent hours and hours and hours looking for a new job, both within my field and without.  No one wants or needs me, it seems, for anything.  Next week I will mark my 55th birthday.  Who gets hired for a great job at that age?  Almost nobody.  I am doing all I can to keep a positive attitude, but the statistics are against me.

Last Sunday I went to church.  I had let some friends know that I was searching for a new and meaningful experience at a different kind of house of worship than I remembered from my childhood, a place more open-minded and welcoming than the scary church I had attended years ago.  It was a lovely service and I did feel embraced.  It was great to be visiting a community of people who I felt had no interest in judging me.  I felt grateful that a friend had thought to invite me.  After the service there was a free blood pressure screening in one of the rooms off the main sanctuary.  I figured, might as well get checked, since I am already on a low dose of HBP medication, hypertension runs in my family and, because I haven’t had health insurance I haven’t been back to the doctor in a while to see if the little pill is still doing its job.  It isn’t.  The volunteer took my pressure twice and while it got a little better the second time, it clearly was not where it needed to be.  So, yet another source of stress.  A viscous circle of a source of stress.  A snake eating its tail.  I have high blood pressure but no health insurance and the old pills aren’t working and that stresses me out and I so have high blood pressure.  I have looked up natural remedies and I’m willing to try some.  And the volunteer at the nice church told me about a clinic at a nearby hospital.  Okay, I will check it out.  I sure do miss the days, though, when I could just make an appointment with my terrific doctor.

There are other things that are stressing me.  Like hot flashes, suddenly.  Small ones, not the sheet-drenching sweat parties I’ve heard about from a few of my friends.  But annoying enough.  And present enough to remind me that I’m no spring chicken anymore.  And arthritis pains.  Another viscous circle.  My joints hurt a lot when I try to go for fast and stress-reducing power walks.  I started to work out again, lightly, but stopped when I saw my new blood pressure numbers.  Can you just imagine how horrifying it would be for my twins to come downstairs one morning to find me stone cold with 8-pound weights still clutched in my stiff, pale fists?  No, clinic first.  Then curls and crunches.  Once I have the BP properly under control, the exercise will help keep it there.

Goodbye, Phil Hughes.  You won a grand total of 4 games with the Yankees this season and you stunk up the field worse than even Ed Whitson and Kenny Rogers did in the 80s.  You were another source, small of course, of stress for me this spring and summer and now they will take away your pinstripes and never give them back to you.  Yes, I even get stressed out about sports.  But then I remember how many times all my favorite teams have won their respective championships and I smile.  A little.  If the New York Giants don’t win a game soon, somebody better get Eli Manning to come to my funeral service to apologize.

And fleas.  My dog has had fleas on and off all summer long.  It’s driving me crazy.  I have tried everything.  We even got an exterminator to come in and spray.  I can’t stand having to put those chemicals between her shoulder blades every month!  It feels like I’m signing a pact with the devil.  He’ll keep the fleas away for a while.  And then he’ll send some horrible form of cancer to first lighten my wallet considerably and then take her away from me forever.  It’ll take a few years, of course.  Just long enough for me to stress about the choice I have made for her.  But when she glues herself to my side every night to fall asleep, I imagine her fleas popping off her skin, directly to mine, which keeps me awake and so I say pass those chemicals this way.  Still, they don’t always work.  And that stresses me out.

It’s the little things.  And the very big things.  The headlines these days.  The video games and the smart phones and the way we are headed to a world of total disconnect, where no one talks in person anymore.  The gadgets which force their way into our lives, only to become obsolete.   Texting instead of discussing in the flesh.  Emails at work instead of meeting at the water cooler.  LOL instead of a gut-wrenching guffaw.  Websites instead of magazines and newspapers.  (((HUGS))) instead of hugs.  Blogs instead of books.  I could go on and on.

Well, I didn’t die writing this.  I guess that’s a good sign.  New blood pressure medication, a job, a home, some power walks, a hug, or 500, from my pop star kid and a win by my favorite football team….  Not too much to ask for, right?  I wonder.