So here's another story for the daylogs. My own tale is a post-layoff number called:

Time Has Come Today: A Changing Life in Four Movements

October 2001: Hearts Go Their Way

Early in the month, I was laid off from my old technical writing job. So I took the severance check and some extra health coverage. Next stop: some sad feelings and the resume game. At least that's what I thought at first.

In retrospect, I was headed for trouble. That ol' "crushing bout of introspection," which traditionally comes with a layoff, had hit me harder than I had thought. My inner defenses, weakened by inner turmoil and little to no self-confidence, were crumbling under a surging tide of sorrow. That tide was gaining momentum and it was getting ready to crest.

Surprisingly enough, I was pretty damn oblivious to all these changes going on inside me. Instead, I remember lots of resumes and cover letters. Perhaps the truth is a little more complex, though--in mid-October, I made an appointment with a psychiatrist to talk about Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

Additionally, I ordered DSL from Verizon in October. It was a good deal for unemployed folks: a month-by-month contract with the first month free and the next two months for $29.95.

November 2001: Tears Have Come

When the new month rolled around, I was definitely depressed. It was hard to ignore: I started crying all the time for no particular reason. I could barely manage to talk to anyone without breaking down in tears. I didn't go out. Everything I had ever done or been seemed worthless.

Despite these obvious signs, I pretended that nothing was seriously wrong. Why? Depression is very unnerving, a self-sustaining emotional chain reaction that overwhelms your internal damper rods. So I pretended that I was still coping with the layoff. If I wasn't, I'd have to admit I was depressed and I didn't want to deal with that. No thanks, not me.

So while I'm handling an emotional avalanche, I go and talk with a psychiatrist about ADD instead. Hey, life doesn't always make sense, right? Even--or especially--when it's your life. After a considerable amout of discussion about my past history (and warnings), he gave me a prescription for Adderall (aka "customized medicinal speed"). For what it's worth, my DSL was also installed around the same time.

December 2001: Things to Realize

As the end of 2001 began, I had been taking Adderall for two or three weeks. Frankly, I found that the drug was very helpful. While I absolutely and totally despise being a psychopharmacological poster boy, that's how my story goes. Turns out that I am an ADHD kinda guy--H is for Hyperactive, don't ya know--and the hyperactive component was driving a lot of the depression. When the Adderall was there, most of the depression went away and life was a lot better.

Even better yet, the drug also allowed me to think about my personal problems without overreacting and turning into an emotional basket-case. Suddenly, ancient & evil problems that seemed herculean (Q: "why do I always freak women out?") began to become manageable (A: "turn it down a bit, tune into their vibes, and don't gawk, ya idjit!")

So I began to figure everything out and it was getting better all the time. Then the new job opportunity popped up and everything changed yet again.

January 2002: The Tumbling Tide

Thanks to a friend of mine, I ended up accepting a new job in late December. Even though my friend warned me that I would be heading into a difficult situation, the job market for tech writers has been insanely tough so I had no choice. I accepted the position.

Now I work at a big government contractor. I knew that I was headed for a troubled contract, but even worse, the team's project manager and the lead technical writer are feuding with each other! To get my job done, I have to work with both of them. If either one ever thinks that I'm taking their side over the other, I'm sunk. So I'm trying to balance both sides and play high-powered corporate politics with little or no experience. Yikes!

So guess what--my new job is pretty stressful. Surprise! Well, the stress is affecting my Adderall dosage. Since I started the new job, the old dosage isn't working too well, so I am forced to take more. Now I am maxed out. If the current dosage doesn't work, I will have to talk with the psychiatrist and find some other drug. Or work without any medication--that could be very bad. I must make superb decisions at work or else.

And finally, I can feel hints of depression sometimes, so I must get some help with all my age-old problems (mostly social stuff). But these problems have shaped my life since high school (or even earlier). Once my old problems are dealt with, I'll probably be a different person--one way or another. Will I like that new person? Of course, I can't know and that's disturbing.

But at the end of the day, I have no choice in the matter. Backward isn't really a viable or useful option, so I have to take some chances and see what happens next.

"The only way out is the way through."