All Quiet on the Eastern Front (or ‘Great East Road, Where Have You Been?’)

All Quiet on the Eastern FrontSo. Needless to say it’s been a while since I’ve posted on here. I would just like to apologise for my absence, and give a brief explanation as to why I disappeared. Feel free to skip this, I want to keep this a review blog, sweet and simple. After all that’s why we’re all here. I can promise reviews will be back to normal. But for those who are interested here is my story:

The long and short of it is I’ve not been posting because, as we all know, real life gets in the way. I was in a job that pretty much consumed me and I was not happy. I’m hesitant to use the word ‘depression’, as during that time I felt guilty for thinking of myself as suffering from depression, but looking back at it now I can see that’s what was happening to me. I was caught in a vicious cycle of feeling sad, then feeling guilty for feeling sad, then talking it out with the people closest to me, then becoming terrified that all my crying and talking about the same problems repeatedly would scare those people away, thus becoming even more guilty and sad (lather, rinse, repeat). It was an odd time in my life, where I had to come to terms that my problems where not huge and that my life could be a lot worse, but that they were problems and they were making me ill. In a way, it was this blog that made me realise that something was wrong – I love reading and reviewing, but I was losing my passion for the blog and struggling to keep up with my schedule, to the point where I was just stuck and it felt like a chore. I began to realise that I wasn’t happy and I needed to know why.
To me it still sound like a bit of a cliche: graduating from university with a degree that ended up being all but useless, and having to settle for a barely more than minimum wage job. I was in a much better position than a lot of my university friends: I’d actually managed to get a job that was enough to stay living with my boyfriend in London, saving me from having to go back to my home town. Believe me, going back there would have pushed me over the edge long ago. My boyfriend and I were living together very happily, and though I didn’t have much money, all my rent and bills were comfortably covered by the both of us. My situation was stable. And it’s not like my as a whole job was even that bad. Yes, the hours were long and busy, and there seemed to be more and more miserable customers which, to be honest, just made me miserable (and I didn’t have the greatest tolerance of people to begin with). But there were several other people I worked with who made the job do much more enjoyable, and we could all make each other laugh.
The problems I had were few, but they were big. Firstly, the job made me feel stupid. I can see why now: it was never a hard job and as I began to progress into management I could see that there were strict way you had to do everything. Which is fine if you stick to those ways, but it also meant that if you ever tried to think outside the box you would be punished for doing it ‘wrong’. Secondly, for a long time we all worked under a woman who became, quite frankly, abusive. It’s wasn’t just me, she seemed to think everyone under her was a ‘f-ing lazy c-nt’ (actual quote, by the way) and had not problem with telling us all. She pretty much made every day hell, forcing some people to quit just to get away from her, ruined everyone’s Christmas and then was surprised when no-one supported her when the company finally discovered what she was doing. Through her, this idea that I was stupid became re-enforced, and I began to feel worthless. I like to think I’m not a melodramatic person (contrary to the impression you may be getting from reading this), but I remember a day when I just couldn’t get out of bed to face it all again. I panicked and just couldn’t move, couldn’t even breathe when I tried to get up. It gave my poor boyfriend a hell of a scare.
During this time, my boyfriend was my rock and I can never thank him enough. So many times he would hold me while I vented and cried about this, so many times he picked me up and helped me to keep going when I felt like never moving again. As I said before, I was terrified that one day he would turn around and say ‘are you still going on about this? Get over it!’, but he never faltered in his support. In fact it was through him I managed to find my new job. I began to spend all my free time job hunting, sending off CVs, filling out endless applications, and typing out the same information again and again. It was draining. (Makes me wish I hadn’t moved so many times during university. I mean really, why do so many companies need to know every address you’ve lived in over the last five years?) It was the boyfriend who found the listing for what became my new job – it just happened that when he was at work one day he discovered that a different department was hiring. He sat down with me, helped me write up all the answers to those annoyingly vague ‘character judging’ questions, did mock tests with me, and prepared me for the interview. The testing was fairly harsh, and I honestly don’t think I would have gotten in without his help.
This new job, however, is not easy. In fact, it seems to be the complete opposite of my old one: there is lots of training, everyone is supportive, and they always try to pick you up, but there are real risks. If I fuck up badly enough I could actually hurt someone. And they are honest about these risks: there was a point at the beginning where I wasn’t sure I was strong enough to do it and they had a serious talk with me, telling me that its not a job for everyone (they are not lying). But they gave me extra help and the confidence boost I needed, and now even I am stunned by the progress I’ve made. It’s refreshing to actually help people, to make a difference. And the best bit? I can finally start saving some real money to build my life properly.
I’m sure it has been said before (probably in a fair less cheesy way), but I feel this experience has made me stronger, and has made me appreciate my love ones so much more. And on the plus side, I was reading like crazy.
So yes: I am back, and I aim to keep reviewing consistently without losing my passion for this again. And man, do I have some great books to share with you all. Check back soon for reviews take two.