I’m fucked. I’m fine. The unemployment mood tracker

Today I thought it would be fun to chart my moods swings over the past several months of unemployment.  As you can see from the below, it’s been very up and down, but upon closer analysis I’ve actually uncovered some interesting tidbits. 

The "I'm Fine. I'm Fucked" Unemployment Mood Tracker

  1. My insomnia started when I was in my “fuck-you pink-slip” high phase, which as it turns out was likely fueled by high levels of cortisol running through my body. How did I know my cortisol was crazy? Well, there was the obvious physical evidence (a flourishing muffin top), but to rule out ice cream consumption as the main cause of the muffin top growth spurt, my chiropractor suggested I take a saliva stress test to measure biochemical imbalances. As it turns out, my cortisol levels were three times higher than normal at bedtime, which explains my inability to sleep. No sleep exacerbates anxiety. Anxiety means cortisol. Cortisol and ice cream feeds the muffin top that in turn gets me all hopped up on shitty foods (and caffeine) that prevent sleep. Wee…what a fun cycle!! My naturopath, who interpreted the results of the stress test, used words like “adrenal fatigue” and “pre-diabetic conditions” so now I’m in the process of making a complete lifestyle change (diet, exercise, meditation, etc.) because the alternative doesn’t sound pleasant.
  2. The chart also indicates that despite efforts to reduce cortisol levels the past two months by using the natural remedies above (which are slow), maybe the best medicine came in the form of actually make a decision about my future.  Could all this soul-searching over the summer have been more stressful than getting a pink-slip or having a job that I didn’t enjoy? All signs point to yes.
  3. And finally, did switching to decaf actually improve my ability to make a decision about the direction of my future? I don’t have any scientific evidence that this is the case, but I can’t help but think it did. Caffeine is known to feed anxiety and when you’re sleep deprived and anxious, making an informed and rational decision is close to impossible. Instead, you seek solace in ice cream. 

Well, there’s the recap of  the “summer of Keri.” Wasn’t that a fun ride?



Filed under Diet, Health and Exercise, Mental Health, Sleep trouble

7 responses to “I’m fucked. I’m fine. The unemployment mood tracker

  1. Jade

    I think number 2 point is brilliant and have come to same conclusion myself. Too much time to think is cruel and unusual punishment. However, number 3 is ludicrous. I had a soy mocha today that invoked a much-needed artificial sense of serenity in me. Different strokes, maybe:)

  2. Active Leisure

    Please, please, please tell me that I won’t have to hit a point in my unemployment where I have to forego caffeine? One of the main reasons I drag myself out of the bed in the morning (around 10am!) is to get my coffee fix. I can’t imagine looking foward to it in quite the same way if it was a decaf coffee and then, who knows what time I’d get up!

  3. I SO know how you feel.

    I am suffering from Unemployeditis.


    Last night I was up till 4:30 am. My brain was so addled I watched that movie “Stepbrothers”. It was so dumb, it was just right.

    By the way – dark chocolate = happy. The REAL dark stuff. Like Theo’s or Scharfenberger.

    Chin up,


  4. You are effing hilarious and should be writing for a living at far more than the consulting rate you mention in an earlier blog post.

    One post led to another…pink slip, Facebook breakup, gorilla thief, and now I think I am hooked on your blog.

    I RARELY laugh out loud, especially when reading. If every laugh out loud moment correlated to points on a chart, today there would be quite a spike on mine. Thank you. I needed this today. You have a gift. Unemployed or not, you are smarter, funnier and a better thinker than the vast majority of employed people.

  5. Jonathan McAfee

    Hi Keri – Hang in there. All of us unemployed geniuses are in this together and are going thru what you are. Let me know if you want to meet at CP to talk. I don’t mind listening and would enjoy getting out to talk to someone new. Take care


  6. MADM

    Hey Keri,

    Love the graph! We all know how you feel.

    Insomnia seems to be one of the worst side effects of unemployment (in addition to having no money and feeling the soul sucking void that is now your life somehow lacks purpose). I find that washing down a couple of Tylenol PMs with a shot (or 2) of vodka does the trick. Little tip from me to you.


  7. GreenPea

    Earlier on, when I was Laid off from MS, I went through alot of mood swings too, while slower than the graph chart of yours, it was surprising to me (since I thought as a man I am immune to mood swings). In the end it all settled down on a low level depression.

    The only thing that got me out of it was going back to basics: “my basics”.

    In my case, that basics was getting off my butt and playing an old 7 year old computer game. Sure I gamed 10-12 hours a day. But It slowly brought structure into my daily routine, I started updating resume, signing up for community college classes, excercising, etc.

    What I did may not be what other folks need to do (signing up for classes or updating resume). But the fact that I went back to basics and started a routine, is what enabled me to get on track to do all the other stuff.

    So, my best recommendation is to see if you can go back to “your” basics and pretend this is all a big vacation that could end any time (say a week from now). What would you do with little or no money? Get in that routine (in my case gaming, maybe in your case is bird watching, or book club) and bring a daily, and plesant regular routin to your life. It will help alot to set a regular structure for life and move on.

    Whether it be changing career paths, hunkering down for recession to be over, going back to school for more education, or re-education, … it is all decisions you have to make yourself. But having a “pleasant” and nice daily struccture will be very helpful.

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