I may have only just started writing about it in earnest but my journey out of Operation Hellhole began a little while ago now, back in September. I needed to find a second job and was actively job hunting when I landed myself in hospital with pneumonia. Recovery was pretty slow and a month stuck in bed unable to work did my financial state absolutely no favours! As soon as I was able to work I applied for absolutely every possible vacancy which came my way and was hugely grateful when word of my woes spread to the owner of the local supermarket. He immediately offered me a job and I relaxed in the knowledge that in two weeks time I would be working 30 hours a week in addition to my writing.
So it was a bit of a blow to say the least when the day before I was supposed to start, I came down with pneumonia AGAIN! Whilst not as severe as the first bout, it still knocked me for six and I had to wave goodbye to my new job before I had even started. Boy did I feel like a right pillock. It took five courses of antibiotics to get me up and about again and by now the doctors were getting concerned. Why wasn't it clearing up? They did some more tests found that hooray - the pneumonia HAD actually cleared up! But now they had found something else. They could see something on my lungs and they didn't know what it was. All they did know was that it was most likely one of two things - a chronic condition called bronchiectasis, or you know, that awful word that nobody mentions just like Voldemort in Harry Potter. The illness that shall not be named.
Understandably this news didn't really fill me with joy! Neither did the news that I would have to wait months for the scan I needed to determine what the 'something' they could see actually was. But the funny thing was, I was finally feeling better! I had no choice but to try and get on with life as normal and get back to job hunting as soon as possible. Which was good because all of a sudden everyone decided they wanted to offer me a job at the same time. I went to a lot of interviews and they were all OK but something about each one just didn't feel quite right. I berated myself inwardly about this attitude; after all I couldn't afford to be fussy! Then one day out of the blue a friend who knew I had been looking for work tipped me off about a vacancy behind the bar at the local club and straight away I thought this could be the one.
The interview I had with Susie, the manager was like no interview I had ever had before. I mean as interviews go it was just a regular interview but it was the first interview where I wanted not only the job but also actually to work for that particular person. I told her about my shocking run of health and that I still wasn't 100% recovered, plus I couldn't even guarantee I wouldn't get sick again but she appeared unruffled and was still willing to give me a chance anyway. She was so sweet and kind that I left my interview wanting to do the best for her that I possibly could. I wanted to be the best barmaid in town and I couldn't wait to start!
From the first day I loved my new job. In my first week alone I had to dress up as a witch for Halloween and then again in my glad rags for Melbourne Cup. This photo isn't the best quality as it's from the local newspaper but I'm the world's least scary witch cracking up laughing second left. I love this pic because it sums up exactly how I feel when I'm there. After 15 years working alone from home behind a computer, all of a sudden I had somewhere to go! And it didn't take me long to realise that this was exactly what I needed. You see it doesn't matter what it is you worry about or what gets you down, being stressed every minute of every day isn't good for the mind, body or soul. In my case it doesn't help that I lead a very solitary existence. I don't go out, I hardly ever see friends - combine that with working alone from home and I spend the majority of every day awash in my own thoughts. I hadn't realised but my confidence and self esteem had been at an all time low.
Not any more however! From the moment I started working at the club I no longer felt alone. It feels like I have a whole new family! We are all very different; different ages, different walks of life but I love all my workmates and as for the customers, I love them too! I have so many favourites and nothing makes me happier than making them laugh. I can be having the most rotten, awful day but as soon as I step behind that bar and start smiling and joking with the customers I forget my worries. It's almost like playing a part; a larger than life version of me - except it really is me. I love my job so much that even if I was rich and famous I would still want to work there as I would miss everyone too much! And to top everything off, I had the long awaited scan on my lungs just before Christmas and we found to my relief and amazement that whatever it was that was on my lungs had completely gone! No bronchiectasis, no Voldemort, nothing!
You're probably thinking 'OK cool, you've got a job just like most of us do, what's so special about that? We all have to work to make money', but it's not about the job. I guess what I'm saying is that constantly having money worries (or health worries, or any kind of worries for that matter) makes you feel low. Low, low, low, low, low. You feel like you're a failure, like everything's your fault, like nothing you do is good enough or even just enough. Often we become our own worst enemy and certainly our own worst critic. And when that happens you need to find something to make you feel better about yourself otherwise you just get dragged further down. In my case it was my job but it could be anything. Take up a new hobby, join a club, go for a walk - something where you can be among other people. They don't have to know your problems, they don't have to do anything but they might just work some magic.
For example yesterday I walked into work and was given a rainbow ice block from one work mate and a soft toy Peppa Pig from another who spent time and money winning it for me out of the toy machine just because he knew I would love it and it would make my day. Peppa already has pride of place on my desk and every time I see her it makes me feel happy and reminds me I have true friends who care. Believing in yourself and maintaining your self esteem is half the battle because when you have that you will fight, just like I did the day I started this blog. And as I've already discovered, once you start fighting instead of wallowing, good things really will happen.