A Year of Depression, Uncertainty and Overcoming
Maybe this is a unique story or maybe it’s just another path of a girl learning things in her 20s.
This time last year I felt like I was on top of the world. I was traveling with my best friend in China, just got a raise and a good review at work, and the relationship between the guy I was seeing was growing stronger. But 365 days later, none of those things would be relevant or prepare me for what was to come.
In May 2018, things seemed to be changing, but not for the good. My managers had left the company leaving me to manage myself for the next 8 months and the major media company I worked for got a new CEO. With this being my first job, I didn’t understand why so many people were leaving once the new CEO came. I had been really lucky and had gotten along with my bosses, but that lucky streak would end when my new boss joined the team. I was incredibly unhappy and noticed the change in myself so I decided to seek a therapist. The therapist I chose diagnosed me with minor depression and adjustment disorder, explaining that at such a young age I had to adapt to many adult changes in such a quick time. At the end of the session, the therapist said I did not need to seek therapy on a regular basis so I decided not to. That was probably a mistake.
As my time at my job increased, so did the harsh comments and ridiculous expectations from my boss. At the same time, the guy I was speaking too had moved back to Canada and through his lack of effort and communication I had to learn the hard way that he didn’t care for me even though one could say that I loved him. Later on, I would accept that he was emotionally abusive and manipulating. I promised myself I would not engage with any man that I didn’t think was worthy of my time. I kept my guard up for about 8 months until I met someone who I believed to be one of the sweetest people I had met. I thought he was a gift to bring a little bit of hope to my love life. We had chemistry from day one and he was definitely one of the most generous men I had ever dated. Our dates were so fun it seemed like something out of a movie. Until he unexpectedly ghosted me and blocked me on Instagram. A week prior, I got laid off from my job.
After months of tension, my boss had finally won. The company shocked the industry by laying off 10 percent of the staff. I knew that my boss did not need to lay me off (the numbers didn’t add up) but I knew this was her perfect chance. And if the Universe was not testing me enough, my aunt had just been diagnosed with kidney cancer. It seemed like I was being punished and I didn’t know why or how. I started loosing my faith and the past year I was uncertain of not only my future, but also who I was. Every day I would wake up questioning if this was the life I wanted to live, hoping I would wake up and just feel a tad better than how I felt yesterday. This went on for months and only became more intense when I was at home with my thoughts all day because I no longer had a consistent purpose to leave the house. Every day I would list in my head all the things that were going wrong. It was like a self destructive habit I could not seem to break. I became angry at God and asked him why he was doing this to me? At the time I couldn’t see this purpose or see the light at the end of the tunnel. Of course, you could never suspect any of this because only a handful of people knew about my entire situation. If you looked at my social media you would see a happy girl who had just returned from a vacation at Mardi Gras that most people could never imagine. But in the back of my mind during that vacation I always dealt with the uncertainty and anxiety of not knowing what was next to come.
The worse thing about being laid off was that I had actually tried to get ahead of that outcome before it happened. I started really thinking about the next steps in my career in April 2018 and started actively applying in June 2018. For some reason I believed it would be easier than landing my first job but I forgot that I was actually making a minor career change. I had a background in mostly Communications but knew I wanted to do either comedy production or comedy TV development. I knew these jobs were slim to begin with but I told myself I would do everything in my power to get there. I had just turned 24 and if I didn’t make the career change now, when would I make it? I had done personality tests, informational interviews and a deep self analysis to determine what I would pursue and knew in my heart this is what I wanted. I wanted to incorporate my love for media and comedy in my full time job and I knew I would excel at it with my passion, creative ideas and knowledge. I rarely heard back from any of the applications and would mostly get contacted about assistant roles I was overqualified for and communications roles I did not want to pursue. I vowed that even if I didn’t have a job I would not pursue the next steps in something I did not want. I even worked with four temp agencies and joined exclusive networking groups but nothing seemed to be working out. It seemed like the Universe was trying to pigeonhole me to Communications. I started to question if I could even make the switch or even if I should change to a more traditional career path.
In fall of 2018 I saw a posting for an assistant position at TruTV with the Development and Original Programming team in NYC. I gasped when I saw the posting because I knew many development jobs were in LA and this role was at a comedy network. I thought it was my dream role, that the stars had aligned! I did not have any contacts at TruTV but I knew I needed to get my resume in the right hands. So I stalked everyone from TruTv on LinkedIn and a fellow black woman whose first name was one letter off from mine, kindly sent my resume into the internal portal. I had thought God sent me an angel. I had gotten to the first round.. then second.. then third! I was told I was a finalist and I knew this was my time. Until I got the news that I was not selected. It seemed like a bad joke was being played on me. From then, I made it to the last round of almost every job I got an interview for. But ultimately they would end with “you were not selected,” “the position has been filled,” or just being ghosted from the other end. There was another comedy role in March that caught my eye. This time at Comedy Central. I knew this was my second chance! Until again I received that I was a finalist but was not selected. This led me to having a meltdown and crying out to God. I didn’t like how negative I was becoming and asked for help and guidance. When I returned from vacation I came across a new posting from TruTV for a Talent Assistant position. As tired as I was from applying and interviewing for the past 10 months, I knew I had to at least get the interview. I reached out to everyone I interviewed with at TruTv and to my surprise they were all so helpful and passed along my resume. At the end of March, I completed the first in person interview, leaving with a feeling like I hadn’t felt before. The feeling of being more calm and positive. A feeling I had been searching for for almost a year. When the first day of April hit I knew it was going to be my month. I told myself I was going to get an offer. Three years ago I had gotten my offer for my last job in April. After leaving the final interview I had a sense of security. A feeling that I did not need to worry because God had my back. Two days later, I got a call from the recruiter offering me the job I could have never imagined happening a few months before.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>APRIL IS MY MONTH 🗣🗣🗣</p>— Nakia🐼 (@kia_swinton) <a href=”https://twitter.com/kia_swinton/status/1112347374805008389?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 31, 2019</a></blockquote>
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I once came across a quote that went along the lines of, “the universe will keep putting you in the same situations until you learn the lesson.” When I saw this I was upset because I clearly didn’t learn the lesson. But I looked backed at my goals I had written down before 2018. I had said that I wanted to work on my patience. I know one of my bad qualities is that I am extremely impatient and I knew in order to better myself I had to change that. I had asked God to work on my patience and boy did he! If I would have gone through this experience a year or two prior, I do not know how I would have handled it. I was too stuck in my ways and my mind was functioning too much on the type A side. I knew this was my time to finally test and improve my patience whether I wanted to or not.
Even though the last year was definitely the hardest, I wanted to be thankful for all the lessons I learned for the future. Even though I was hurt by my past love interest’s actions, he did in fact help me think of the world in a different perspective and brought a calming energy that rubbed off on me. I’ve also learned how to spot red flags and keep my guard up more than before. With my aunt being diagnosed with cancer I was obviously heartbroken but thought about how lucky I was to spend 24 years with her when she was healthy. I was happy I got laid off at the time because I was able to be with her through her chemo. Something I could have never done if I was a full time employee. It also put into perspective of how much I love and value my family and how they matter so much more than a job. This tough time also made me appreciate the love and support I had from friends and family that really helped me persevere. For most of the year I will admit that I was playing victim and kept complaining about what was happening to me. Life was not going the way I planned but I started to realize life doesn’t line up for a lot of other people as well. I’m not the only one going through a hard time. Additionally, because I did not have to commute to work, I was less stressed by not going to a toxic environment and took the time to really focus on my future, accomplish my side projects, engage in hobbies I always wanted to pursue an spend more valuable time with family.
In the end I see the blessings that I have received. Going forward I will continue to be thankful for what I have experienced rather than feeling bad for myself. Even though, this was a tough time I know it is a life experience that makes me an even more relatable and empathetic person. I cannot thank my family, friends and God enough for the love and support during this roller coaster ride.
So if you’re going through a tough time and you’re not sure why things are not working out, whether it’s your relationship, friendship, job or finances, really look inward and process the situation. Turn to your love ones and faith. Try to change your way of thinking. Go to therapy. Invest in the hobby you love to clear your mind. But most of all if you’re not understanding why this is happening that is ok. It’s not your time to understand. It’s not your time to learn the lesson. But there will be the right time. And you will look back more grateful than ever.