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Unemploymenttttt (TW ANXIETY)

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

How long until it is no longer okay that I am unemployed? I apply for 2-5 jobs a day on average and I've only had a handful of interviews, none of which with positive results, and I've been unemployed for more than 2 months now. I have had this conversation nearly every day this past week and a half since there's been an influx of birthday parties in my social circle:

STRANGER: "So what do you do?"
ME: "Oh I'm a graphic designer."
S: "Cool, where do you work?"
M: "Nowhere right now, I got laid off."
S: "Oh that sucks, how long have you been looking?"
M: "A bit over two months."
S: "Don't you freelance?"
M: "Yes, I do but it's not that easy to find freelance work."
S: "Man...I'm sure you'll find something."

Then they feel the cloud of gloom rising over me and leave the conversation. Or the exchange with friends and family (they mean well) that we have to have every single time I see/talk to them where they ask me how the job hunt is going and I have to tell them, again, that there is no such thing as good news in a job hunt until I am offered a job, and I'll be sure to tell them when that happens. They say they'll keep their ears open, which I'm sure they do, because strangely enough they believe in me.

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I'm barely even holding out for professional work anymore, but even though I'm (temporarily god I hope it's temporary) loosening my grip on my dream to be a graphic designer again I'm trying not to let it feel like I've failed. I've got an excellent portfolio, experience up the wazoo, and a university education in art history which is not entirely unrelated. I'm really struggling to keep my ego out of it, though. Sometimes I feel thoughts creeping in telling me I'm not as good as I think I am, that no one actually needs what I have to offer, that I should just give up.

I haven't yet started to apply to call centres (the only place that hires in February in my neck of the woods, even service is at a standstill this time of year), but I feel like today's the day. Only I feel like if I worked at a call centre I may just wither up and die at this point. I didn't go to school for 5 years, get into over 30, 000 in debt, and work my ass off at my last graphic design job and multiple side projects including a somewhat successful magazine I launched myself just to wind up in a call centre that feeds my already unbearable phone anxiety.

I know I'm going to have a job again before the day I die but I don't know how much longer I can wait before I feel so worthless that I start self-sabotaging. Maybe I'm already there, I don't know. I've got all this money that I was in the process of saving up for a long trip alone that is more important to me than anything I feel like I've ever done. It isn't even a trip, it's a move, really, because I will not have a home to come back to and that's the way I want it to be. I'm dipping into those savings just to live a chickpea-and-frozen-spinach bare-minimum existence right now, and I see the numbers dwindling every day and it's killing me. I even had to give up boxing (the only exercise I enjoy) cause the damn gym is too expensive. I've developed backup plans (working vacation visas or au pairing) that have allowed me to chill out a bit about the money dwindling, so at least that isn't a deathblow to me, but it's still unbelievably frustrating. And I'm still waiting on my EI benefits after all this time. Where are they?

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All you folks out there who've done the long term unemployment thing, how did you cope / how are you coping? Do you have some kind of ego-annihilating mantra that you thought up to keep your head above water? How did you eventually find work (if at all)?

Thanks for listening, fellas <3

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