I graduated with Academic Excellence and a mental illness that had begun to truly take its toll. I had been inducted into the Golden Key Honor Society and Tau Sigma. I had been awarded by the Multi-ethnic group. I had been on the Dean's list for several years. I had a 3.65 GPA. I had received scholarships for my work. I had a BA in Communications and went back to school for a BA in Psychology after being turned down from a Master’s Program in Industrial-Organizational Psychology.
I was furious; I had the grades, I had the experience and the work ethic. I also had a mental illness that was determined to wreck me. Voices and negative energies surrounded me. Things that I did not understand haunted me. And images of people appeared to me. It felt like I was in a movie and the audience had more say in what I was doing than I did.
I took a job that was fine for a high school graduate but made no use of my college skills. I was deeply frustrated that the degree that I had earned led to no job advancement. I had applied to what I felt was the universe and still had few callbacks, few responses, and even fewer interviews. I applied to at least ten places every evening.
I volunteered to make good use of my time. It was important for me to make myself useful and I always had the desire to give back to the community. I spent hours of my time giving for no pay. At my job, I was making $10.00 and hour. I was on food stamps, WIC, social security, and social security disability.
During this time, I went back to school for another Bachelor's degree, this time in psychology. I thought that this would increase my chances of being able to get into the Master's program that I originally applied for. I graduated with good standing and felt confident that I would find a job that would make good use of my college-learned skills.
When I finally felt that I had found my place with a job assisting others with mental illness, I was horrified to find out that they would not hire me. I went to several interview rounds, did a shadowing, and everything seemed well. I had good references and a good amount of experience. When I received the call that they would not hire me, I was devastated and went to the gym to release my aggression and frustration.
I felt inept because I truly believed I was capable of more than a retail job and had outstanding credentials to back up my story. I had been inducted into two honor societies and been on the Deans list for 3 consecutive semesters, I had two Bachelor’s Degrees and the will to succeed.
The experience left me very low in self-esteem and I started to believe the negative voices. I became tired, depressed, and lethargic. I kept trying to be positive, but the anxiety was more than I could handle. I was 31 with no career, lived with my parents, and was a single mother.
Interview after interview, I was rejected and thrown deeper into despair.
Finally, after a long day at work, I had an interview. I decided that I had been to too many interviews to feel anxious. I decided that I was going to enjoy every moment of the interview, forget about the competition and just enjoy life. I went in, talked with the people that were interviewing for the same job, smiled, hoped for them, listened to the interviewer, and simply enjoyed being in the moment.
I got the job.
And that was when I changed my perspective on everything. I decided that I was going to enjoy life, enjoy every moment, enjoy every sadness, every anger, every emptiness, every silence, every voice, every hallucination, every class, every person, everything.