Civil War

Imagine an epic battle. Two sides, both equally strong. Every time one makes any headway, the other kicks back with renewed strength bringing it back to a stalemate. Imagine this, and you might get a small sense of what I’m experiencing right now. The logical part of me and my depression are locked in a civil war which has left me devastated.

Around this time a year ago, my work US visa was denied and I had sixty days in which to leave the country.  Needless to say, it was a huge blow. I had to move back home to India while the lawyers appealed to USCIS to reconsider my visa application. These cases usually take a couple of months so I did my best to put out of my mind and focus on enjoying the time with my family and friends.

After three months, I still hadn’t heard back and the anxiety kicked in again. I was out of money and had to borrow money from a friend in order to pay my rent. Then in December, I got the call from one of the partners at the consulting firm saying that I had been laid off. Yes, I had a bad performance review for a project but considering that it ending with me in the ER with heart palpitations, I was just glad to no longer have to work in that toxic team. After that I had worked with a completely different team who was very appreciative of the effort I had put in. So, while I did not expect a great year end review, I didn’t expect to be laid off either. I remember feeling numb.

In a daze, I got a tourist visa, went back to Chicago, emptied out my apartment, bid adieu to my friends and moved back in with my mom.  The life that I had worked so had to build for myself was gone in a blink of an eye leaving me with just bittersweet memories. So, this is what rock bottom feels like.

The only silver lining to this very dark cloud was the severance package. Even after paying back all the money I owed, I was left with a decent sum. Combined with the fact that I was living rent free, it meant that I was in no hurry to find a new job. So, I decided to hit pause on life and just take some time off.

I caught up with the few friends who were still around. Spent time with family. Attended more weddings than I can keep track of, while trying not to think of how empty my life is. I traveled and lost myself in the beautiful locales of Mauritius and Greece. Slowly, I started to heal, to feel more like myself.

Unfortunately, that pause button had an expiry date and soon it was time to head back into the real world. When I had adjusted to the idea of living and working in India again, I found out my visa appeal was successful and I could go back if I wanted to. So, I redid my resume and applied for jobs. That’s when everything started going downhill again.

The endless waiting, rejections and stress of networking started eroding at my peace of mind. That’s when the war began. My logical part reminds me I am extremely smart and qualified. After all, I did get an MBA from a top university at the age of 26. As my friends remind me, I was also the only one in my batch to get that particular job which was highly coveted. My credentials are top notch. There is no reason why I shouldn’t get an amazing job offer, right?

‘Wrong,’ smirks depression.  Why would anyone want to hire you? You’ve already messed up one job. Plus, you haven’t worked in a year. Do you even know what to do any more? There are fresh MBA grads who can probably do the work better than you. Why should you get picked? Also, do you really want to return to US? Its probably better to just remain at home but then, you might miss out on an amazing opportunity.

This conflict has incapacitated me. I am not able to put my full effort into finding a job but at the same time, I can’t stop thinking about it either. I’m depressed, stressed and sleep deprived. If I don’t put an end to it soon, I’m going to lose my mind



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