Work + Grief + Mental Burnout = No Fun

Back in the summer time, Open Salon posted this theme titled, ‘Blocks Where No One Has Fun’. If you have never written on Open Salon, every few weeks they would post a theme for bloggers. They don’t do this anymore for whatever reason.

I wrote a piece based on this theme and published it on Open Salon, but have decided to update it and post it here.


The year 2008 was a bad year for me. No, bad isn’t a strong enough word to describe it: horrible is more like it. That year should have been the best year of my life: I graduated with my BA in History from the University of Northern British Columbia, and in the semester leading up to graduation, I had the honor of working one on one with my creative writing professor on the progress of my first novel, Day of Revenge.

I should have been the happiest woman alive, and I should have been celebrating. But I wasn’t. Less than a year before my graduation ceremony, my Oma (Grandmother) who I was very close to, passed away from Pancreatic Cancer. While I was happy to know that her suffering had ended and she had gone to a far better place, the fact that she was gone pained me beyond words. Yet, I was so determined to complete the few courses I had left to complete, that I didn’t give myself enough time to work through my grief.

Then, in March of 2008, I found out that my father was taken to the emergency to have stints put into his heart after he had a heart attack. Thankfully, I haven’t lost him as well. Today, he’s in much better health. At that point, I was already struggling with depression, so nothing else could have possibly made me feel worse. My parents were glad to see me; I was equally happy to see them, and relieved to be far away from Prince George, the town where UNBC is located.

When I moved back home with my parents one month later, I thought that I would get over my depression and that life would get better. Wrong. I knew I wanted to become a published author, but I didn’t know what I was going to do career-wise in the meantime. I didn’t even have the skills necessary to land a decent paying job. Worse, I was still struggling with depression. Yet, I didn’t want to stay at home and feel sorry for myself day after day. I needed to find a way to make money somehow. So I got a part-time job at Shoppers Drug Mart. Not the kind of job I wanted to be doing. But a job is a job, and because I was living at home, I decided that it would be enough to get me to point B in my life: money to pay for more schooling.

Well, things didn’t go as planned. In fact, they only got worse. The assistant manager spent very little time training me. Those box store chains don’t train their employees at all. I always considered myself a fast learner, so when I couldn’t pick up new skills fast enough, that was when I realized I was fried; mentally, intellectually and emotionally. And I had pushed myself into doing something at a time when I wasn’t ready to enter the working world.

It all came to a head one afternoon, the moment a middle-aged man walked into the store to purchase a lotto ticket. He was tall, had short, blond hair and a scruffy face that held a fierce expression. He came right up to my till and had me ring in his lotto ticket. I can’t remember exactly how it happened, but he insisted that he didn’t give me the money to pay for the lotto ticket when he in fact did. In other words, he tried to steal the lotto ticket right under my very nose. I knew instinctively what this man was trying to do and I wasn’t going to let him get away with it.

We got into a heated argument: his voice rose, and mine rose higher until I practically screamed and cursed at him. Okay, I admit, I dropped the f-bomb, and in front of several other customers.

Two days later, after a more peaceful shift, I was fired. Yes, it was because I had lost my temper and cursed in public, all because I was trying to protect Shoppers Drug Mart from petty theft. But I didn’t care because I hated the job and I needed some time off to heal. Desperately.

That time in my life had been my no-fun block.

Four years later…

After more heart-ache and hardship, life has gotten a whole lot better. But that was because I made a concerted effort to change. I recently signed a contract with PULSE for my contemporary YA novel, To be Maria (now available in electronic format; the paperback is scheduled to be released at the end of November); I’ve been a member of the Driftwood Players Story Theatre troupe as an actress for two years; I have been blessed with a loving, supportive family, and wonderful friends. I should also mention that I’m learning how to fight with swords (wooden swords); I volunteer at the Gibsons Public Library every second Friday. The only thing I really need to achieve now is financial independence.



4 thoughts on “Work + Grief + Mental Burnout = No Fun

  1. Deanna I have been so proud to know you and see you emerge over the past year and a half I have been with you in Story Theatre. Its wonderful to see! Keep going as I know you will……strength and beauty!

  2. Wow. Sucky year. Definitely no fun.

    So glad to hear you’re doing better & still striving toward your goals. Looking forward to To Be Maria!

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