Not sure how to start this but here goes. I suffer from Depression and Anxiety and although I manage my Depression my Anxiety does bite me in the arse sometimes. I no longer drive because I’ve developed an anxiety over it. Sometimes it holds me back in life, sadly it’s something I have to deal with and sometimes I manage OK but other things stress me out/build my anxiety up to the point where I struggle to sleep/get tense/can’t switch off.
Anyway, for this to make sense I will start at way back in 2003. I graduated from college with a HND in Graphic Design. And I duly set about trying to get a job or at the very least a work placement. But every time I got knocked back, I guess I went to at least 40 interviews. Not sure how many I applied for, maybe hundreds? Too long ago to remember. The first few times I didn’t get the job I brushed myself off and applied for the next. But I think there is only so many times you can do that before you start to feel down. Basically, every “sorry you didn’t get the job” is a you’re not good enough and after a point it really gets to you.
The last interview I had for a Graphic Design job was just one too many. One too many no’s, and it sent me into a Depression. To be fair I have suffered with Depression/Anxiety since I was about 13 so it’s not like I was “normal”, don’t like that word but not sure what else to use. Hopefully you understand what I mean in that I wasn’t starting from a balanced point of view and it is likely my pre-existing problems contributed to the Depressive episode. After a few weeks of feeling like shit, feeling worthless, not good-enough, stupid – I felt like an idiot for even applying I should have known I wouldn’t get the job so why did I apply?
I then came to the realisation that I needed to draw a line in the sand. I binned my portfolio and deleted all my college work from my Hard Drive. I decided to forget about Graphic Design. Later I decided I wanted to be a Teacher but I was struggling to find a course. I only had 2 years of funding left and so I couldn’t afford to do a full degree – I would need to pay a year’s worth of course fees out of my own pocket. Money I simply didn’t have. I need a degree to do a PGCE but I knew I didn’t want to top-up my HND, I didn’t want to go back to Graphic Design – I wanted to go forward. But after looking at the other options it was the only way, so I applied at The Sheffield College.
I needed to refresh my skills big time. It was Freehand and QuarkXpress not Illustrator and InDesign when I was at college. Plus I knew it wasn’t just the software I needed to brush up it was my design skills too. I was rusty as hell, so I embarked on creating a new portfolio. It reminded me just how much I enjoyed Graphic Design, but I kept telling myself to not get too into it. I didn’t want to start getting ideas about being a Graphic Designer again.
Unfortunately, that it was happened plus going on a placement would look good for my Professional Development. Or at least trying would to get a placement would. But then the anxiety kicked in, I didn’t realise at first and it wasn’t long before I was struggling to sleep. I had written a placement request email, I had looked up nearby Graphic Design companies – I wanted something not too far from home for childcare reasons. But then I just couldn’t send the email. I even got as far a draft email with all the email addresses on ready to send but I just couldn’t do it. All the feelings of failure kicked in again. All I could think is what is the point? Ok yeah if I try it would look good for Professional Development but bad for me mentally when I get a load of no’s again. Why put myself through that? Why make myself feel bad again. In the end I couldn’t do it, I just couldn’t face the rejection again. I appreciate this looks bad for my Professional Development but my mental health comes first. I may enjoy Graphic Design but I’m not a Graphic Designer.