Phase 6: A Short Reprieve 

During a solid year of my unemployment, Carrie worked constantly and made good money. Her wrist would hurt, her back would hurt. She was a pet groomer with her own business and it’s active, hard work. She kept us afloat, paid for dinners, paid for groceries, paid for everything. While I blew my meagerly unemployment checks and under-the-table work on treats for myself, gadgets, video games and distractions. I tried starting my own business but in retrospect, it was stupid. I think about what Carrie went through to start her company, the long hours and the endless questioning and fear. The setbacks and the heartache.

I think inwardly, I was proud of Carrie and maybe even a bit jealous and I wanted to show that I could do what she had. I tried starting my own Web Design company. I got a business license. I opened a business checking account and I did everything you’re supposed to do to start a business. In my head I could imagine myself on the phone 12 hours a day hard-selling myself.

To be honest I wasn’t really up to selling my self. My work ethic was lax at best and my work was decent but not anything exciting. I think I just loved the idea of being my own boss. To do what Carrie had done and to be proud of something I created. I managed to get a few clients and talk a lot about it. The spirit was willing, the flesh was weak. Eventually I stopped trying.

I stumbled through some work projects and told myself I was doing okay. I argued with Carrie a lot and eventually after months of this I got buried under a deep fuzzy blanket of pure depression. The likes of which I hadn’t felt since my Dad died. I would get up at 10am, stumble to my desk, check emails and pretend to work for 2 hours. Then I would abandon the facade and just play video games for 5-6 hours.

Carrie would come home, exhausted, upset, and tired. I would be dying for human company and spoiling for a fight. I would claim that I was working too. That I was working hard. Just so I wouldn’t feel so guilty. She would complain and I would complain right back.

I was so desperate to support this lie – that I was also having a difficult day – that I would refuse to help her with anything. Claiming that I was ‘also tired’ and she would have to do more and more every day to keep the household stumbling along, cleaning, laundry, running her own business. While I sulked and pretended not to play video games.

At some point I got so depressed I just couldn’t move. I couldn’t even play games. I was just wander around in a funk and watch movies. I was really scraping bottom. It was only after a week of that that I realized I desperately needed to change something.