I have been unemployed for almost fifteen months now and although I have been applying for jobs, sadly, I haven’t been successful. These last few weeks, I have struggled with my mental health because I applied for a job which I thought I would be suitable for but once again my application seems to have disappeared into the ether. I don’t know which is worse – not applying for jobs because there is nothing to base your hopes upon or applying and then having your hopes disappear because you never receive a response. Like most people in lockdown, I have tidied my cupboards, read more books, tackled the garden, attempted DIY, baked some cakes and started painting again but it doesn’t replace the routine of being employed. I think it’s because I haven’t been able to find a new job that I keep referring back to my previous job which I loved and was always thinking of new ways to improve the environment and community. Lately, I have had a few ‘low’ days where I have just felt like crying. I am usually able to overcome these blips but as the months pass by, it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain my optimism. I try and read positive quotes throughout the day and even dipped into numerology which was very interesting! However, practising these activities doesn’t conjure up an interview or a job offer.
On reflection, working has allowed me to manage my autism because I had routine and structure for thirty-five years. For fifteen months, I have endeavoured to keep myself busy and tried to establish and maintain a routine. However, I am hoping that in the coming months, job opportunities will increase due to the relaxation of lockdown and I will eventually find employment. In the meantime, I am due to start volunteering at the local museum and next week I shall be undertaking some training prior to the museum reopening – so it’s a start. In January 2020, I was due to start volunteering at my local primary school but due to COVID, they were unable to allow parents or volunteers on site and then lockdown was imposed. I am hoping that working for the museum will give me the opportunity to learn new skills and gain a greater depth of knowledge about the history of the local area. I have always enjoyed learning and I have discovered so much whilst completing the Level 2 Counselling course. The content has kept me focused and I enjoy writing learning reviews and have completed my first assignment. I am eagerly waiting to return to college so routine can be resumed. And today – I am getting my hair cut so I no longer look like I am touching a Van de Graff generator!