Tag Archives: mental health for freelancers

DEPRESSION, SEX, AND DRUGS

Ask anyone who knew me in campus or two years after that about the kind of girl I was, and they will probably tell you a myriad of stories, all of them revolving around my drinking and smoking.

This is despite how sweet and innocent looking I was. Exhibit A:

My habits were not only bad, they were excessive. I tend to be a slave to routine, and unfortunately, those days, alcohol and cigarettes were a big part of my daily life.

Whenever I look back at how I used to live my life a few years ago, I see that my habits were extremely unbecoming of a woman with a forehead such as mine (I’d like to believe that there is a code of ethics that girls with HUGE foreheads have to live by; such facial features are a gift that come with their own set of rules and morals).

But that is the girl I was back then.

A heavy smoker, an alcoholic, and a depressed little girl trying to hide herself and her forehead from the world.

Of course, with the excessive alcohol intake came the many sexual escapades, some of which were a pretty risky undertaking.

There was A LOT of sex! A LOT!

And there was also the RA (rheumatoid arthritis), most likely triggered by my excessive smoking.

Even that didn’t stop me from engaging in these harmful activities. In fact, the pain from the RA fueled my drinking and smoking because they helped me forget about the pain and also the shock of having such a condition at such an early age.

Yes, I was using drugs and sex as a way to cope with things, and I had been doing it for years without realising it.

It’s like I wanted my life to end, but I was too scared to go through with it the quick way (although, I did try once and it failed miserably. It’s crazy; after a failed suicide attempt, shouldn’t you get like an epiphany or something, that leaves you wanting to live your life better?)

The epiphany never came in my case.

And so, I chose the slowest, most painful, most accessible, yet most concealed way of ending my existence.

The drinking. The smoking. The sex.

No one knew that I was on a mission. I don’t think even I knew I was on a mission.

On the surface, I thought I was doing it because I liked it; but, on further introspection now, I can see that I was doing it to cope.

Unfortunately, I had no clue what it was that I needed to cope with, which fueled my frustration further.

So, even though I promised myself not to kill myself, I found relief in engaging in such risky activities because they had the potential to do the job for me.

There was something wrong inside; but I didn’t know what was wrong, I didn’t even know how to find out what was wrong.

So frustrating!

And so, the drinking, and the smoking, and the indiscriminate sexual activity continued.

But even the most well laid out plans can backfire, and my deep conscious’ attempt at ending this seemingly miserable life through drugs and sex, wasn’t working.

I was as wreckless as I could be, risking my life in ways that you can only imagine, and not even a scratch (okay, maybe apart from the RA, which came and went as it pleased- it wasn’t doing its job fast enough, and I wanted results).

I was tired. I was bored. Nothing was working, and so, I became recluse.

The more I spent time alone, listening to my thoughts, the more I became aware of the sadness that had engulfed me mentally and emotionally.

I had never known I was sad. I had never known how sick sadness was making me mentally.

The sadness was emanating from wounds in my past (mostly childhood) that had never healed; grief that I had never properly processed; anguish and pain that I had never acknowledged.

Bad things had happened to me, and I buried these memories so deep making them virtually non-existent.

But they didn’t go away, and I continued piling memory after memory, pain after pain.

Introspection led me to start reliving these memories instead of running away from them.

It felt like an endless horror movie each time I did these mental exercises, but they helped me gain a better perspective of my experiences. They helped me validate all of the anger and all of the pain that I felt I wasn’t allowed to feel.

For the longest time I had believed I wasn’t allowed to mourn the death of my mother, abandonment by my father, or the loss of my innocence at such an early age; they happened, and there was nothing I could do to change it, but to just move on like everyone else, and forget.

But that wasn’t right. The girl inside needed to be heard, needed her pain to be acknowledged, needed her vulnerability to be seen.

No one else could do this. No one else but me.

Bearing witness to the pain inside helped me heal. The inner me could now trust herself to be open, and I am a beautiful sight.

I learnt to love the wounds and the scars and the damage inside, and to accept them as a part of who I am.

I learnt to authentically love myself despite of how messed up I was, despite all of the miserable choices I had made.

I also learnt that there was so much more to me than my trauma.

I learnt that I am obsessed with routines, and I absolutely THRIVE when there’s a routine in place.

I learnt that I love to be alone. I love being left to my own devices for long stretches of time. I find it so refreshing.

I love to hear the sound of my laughter. It makes me laugh more.

I love to eat (alone), and to cook for myself. I find immense pleasure in spending time by myself doing normal, simple things.

I love to read. Economics is a great turn on for me.

I learnt to look deeper past people’s actions in an attempt to make sense of why they do what they do. This little nugget helped me come to terms with my mum’s suicide, and my dad’s leaving.

And, of course, I learnt more about my sexuality. What I like, what I don’t like; who I like it with, and who I don’t like it with. I’m still at the sex-without-commitment stage because I’m really into variety and I LOVE my own space. But now this is no-risk sex. It’s clean, it’s fun; no alcohol or drugs . My physical needs are met, and that, for me, is a top priority.

Maybe in time, I will learn how to share myself emotionally and mentally with someone. But, I am not there yet.

I also learnt that there are people whose regular presence in my life has been a boost to my mental health.

Wahu, my adopted mummy is number one on this list. She is my rock. We are INSEPARABLE!!

My best friend John is also on this list. And so are my nephews and niece, Justin, Jude, Aiden, and Jasmine, plus my annoying brothers.

I have learnt to follow my intuition, my own voice, and the more I do, the more I end up exactly where I want to be. Fulfilled!

Most importantly, I have learnt to value myself. To appreciate myself even when no one else does. To feel beautiful inside and also to acknowledge and appreciate how physically attractive I am.

And to learn and love people… just the way they are…

Have an awesome rest of the week, won’t you?

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RECOVERING FROM REJECTION IN THE FREELANCING WORLD

Rejection is everywhere even in the world of freelance, and just like in other areas of life, it sucks to face rejection as a freelancer.

If you are just starting out, it is imperative that you understand that rejection in the gig-economy is commonplace and it comes in many different ways.

I started freelancing seriously about five years ago, and I cannot count the number of times I have had the door slammed on my face, figuratively of course.

Even with the extensive experience I have gained over my career, I still hear the word ‘no’ from clients, just slightly less than before.

It’s difficult being a freelancer; there are all these perks that people tout when convincing themselves and others of the benefits of freelancing (many of which are true by the way);

– but there is the other side that people simply gloss over; the emotional and psychological pain that you will have to endure while in this line of work.

No one ever prepares you for that part!

Rejection is a huge part of this pain. That and clients who take you for granted as I wrote about here.

So, what kind of rejection can you expect as a freelancer?

Well, for starters, you can find yourself endlessly bidding on your preferred freelancing platform without a single positive response from a client and this situation could go on for weeks! Imagine bidding for hours day in day out, and not a single client has responded to your bids. The horror!!

This can be so frustrating especially if you are cash-strapped that month.

There are obviously ways you can improve your bidding game, but it takes time to understand and apply them effectively. Instant results, for me, has always been a pipe dream.

Now, let us just imagine that one of those bids has gone through (thankfully), and you have landed a client. You are now over the moon and your anxiety levels have returned to normal.

However, every time you submit the task, it comes back with a correction. It could be because the client keeps changing their demands or because you didn’t understand the instructions in the first place.

Whichever the case, constant correction of one task, to me feels like constant rejection. Trust me, you will feel like pulling your hair out every time this happens. Your patience wears thin, and you begin to panic. You are stressed out, unhappy, furious at yourself, furious at the client, and you feel like you want to give up.

But giving up is not an option, is it now? Giving up would mean losing the contract, and risking a bad rating, which adds to the strain of trying to land another client. Giving up would mean that you lose the earnings you would have earned if you had successfully completed the project. Giving up means your bills might not be paid this month, and if you have any dependants, it gets a million times worse.

However, if you continue with this project, you are losing precious time that you could have used in more economically beneficial ways.

Now, you are stuck- the true meaning of being caught between a rock and a hard place.

There is also the possibility of the client canceling the project because you are not delivering the task according to their expectations. That’s another low blow.

A few more experiences like these and you are likely to become a prime candidate for high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, alcoholism, and a slew of other health problems.

We definitely do not want that, and that is why it is essential that you learn how to deal with rejection in this line of work so that you are able to enjoy a long and successful freelancing career.

So here we go:

My tips on How to deal with rejection as a freelancer

1. Don’t take it personally– You need to learn how to separate yourself and your emotions from the work. These are separate entities and should be dealt with as such. Client rejection is not a reflection of your value as a human being. It is easier to overcome the hurt and frustration associated with this kind of rejection if you do not peg your emotions on the bidding or contract outcome.

2. Take as much time as you need to process your emotions after facing rejection, and then move on. Don’t carry any of the pain or the frustration forward. Venting can also be good as long as you are doing so through the right avenues (alcohol consumption, smoking, pill popping are not the recommended avenues).

Talk to a friend, listen to music, or journal/blog. Do what you need to do in order to blow off some steam. This way you get to move on quickly and constructively.

3. If the client has refused the bid or rejected the work and perhaps ended the contract, seek to understand where you went wrong. Feedback can help you improve your future applications so that you definitely get the gig the next time around.

That is why it is important to always remain respectful in all of your dealings with the client, even when the contract is going contrary to your expectations. If you remain cordial, it is easier to ask for feedback on where you can improve.

4. If bidding is proving unsuccessful, or if a client cancels your contract, get back in the game by refreshing your network. Inform them of the kind of work that you are interested in doing. Ask for recommendations, and you will be surprised by how many people are willing to help you. Linkedin is the perfect platform for this; just ensure that you are using the platform correctly, and that your profile is attractive to potential clients.

5. Keep looking– don’t give up the search, continue bidding for work on your preferred freelancing platforms, and try to detach yourself from the ensuing disappointments. And even when you finally land a client, be sure to understand the instructions clearly before commencing on the task in order to avoid further rejection in form of conflict with the client.

I hope this helps and if you have any questions on this matter or any other issue as relates to freelancing, do not hesitate to contact me through Linkedin, Instagram, or Facebook.

PS: If you are looking for data entry gigs, and need help on how to pitch clients, this short video can help.

If you are looking for tips on choosing the best payment options for your freelancing career, you can read here.

Plus, if you need help getting your Upwork account approved, have a read here.

Bye for now!

Happy freelancing…