See part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5
by I.T. Jobseeker
What an exciting, varied life I lead! Late last week, I made a routine visit to my doctor. After a short conversation, matters were settled, and presumably because she had time remaining out of the regulation ten minutes, she took the opportunity to give me a quick 'once over'. She took my blood pressure and weighed me, then entered the figures into her PC.
'Hmm, that's good,' she said turning from the screen, 'your blood pressure is very satisfactory and your weight is down by seven kilos.
Have you been on a diet since your last check up?' Seven kilos! Over a stone in old money. I knew I had lost weight - my wife had told me that one of my chins had gone missing and my jeans and trousers had been slipping low on my buttocks, putting me in serious danger of becoming trendy. I had taken to wearing belts.
'I would put it down to taking more exercise,' I told her, 'I walk every day, just to the shops and back, it's about a mile each way. And I don't go to the pub so much either, these days'
'I'm impressed,' she said, 'What bought about this change?' 'Redundancy. I've got time on my hands now, so I try to walk whenever I can. As for the pub, I often used to go to unwind after a stressful day at work. Now there's no need.'
'How do you feel about being made redundant?' Her face had suddenly assumed a concerned, serious look. 'Well, there have been better times in my life.' I told her. 'I mean, how is your mood, generally? Does your situation make you feel sad, for instance? Have you become irritable? Do you feel lethargic?' she asked.
My GP was checking for symptoms of depression! Doing her job, after all, but depression? I assured her that I was OK, that I kept myself busy trying to find work and was getting on with things around the house and in the garden. She seemed reassured.
I thought about the changes in me that redundancy and unemployment had bought about as I walked home. A rather odd one was that my feet had become soft! I had been used to wearing outdoor shoes from early morning to when I got home in the evening. Now it's only for a couple of hours each day, resulting in sore feet and sometimes blisters after a long walk. I feel much better generally. More exercise, the weight loss and less stress are a huge plus.
The financial aspects are obviously a worry, but with some redundancy pay still unspent and my wife earning a reasonable salary we are managing for now. I think I am in a better position than many unemployed people. I don't feel any of the symptoms of depression described by my doctor, not yet at least; but I can see how they could come about. I imagine my doctor's prescription pad has seen a lot of anti-depressant action on behalf of the unemployed.
How would I feel if I was still out of work in a years time? I hope I never get to find out. Come to think of it, though, I have experienced some of those symptoms. It was back last year, when I worked for the outsourcing company.