Today was the last day of the DVR WorkStrides class that I've been taking for the past 3 weeks. It's been an interesting class, and while some parts of it have been sheer review (like affirmations and goal setting) or things I am just not ready to do right now (like job hunting, while I get emotionally stablized again), there have been a few really good things that have come out of the class.

First and foremost is developing a clear concept of my dependable strengths, which has been really valuable, and I think will help me a lot when I do make a move back into the job market. That exercise alone was a tremendous boost to my battered self-esteem. It reminded me of strengths I had, and had forgotten I had, and got me to write them all down in a job-finding tool. I also learned a lot about networking and job benefit negotiations from that exercise.

Second, is that the class got me out of the house, where I'd otherwise just wallow in self-pity. WorkStrides and got me doing something productive again, while I wait for school to start in January, and since I am not working. (Right now, because of my emotional instability, and the insurance problems, I have a real disincentive to work. More on that later.)

I produced a lot of work in the class, and though my starting the fluoxetine regimen right in the middle of it was hard, and then doubling the dose 5 days later was doubly hard, I made it through, and even produced some interesting writing and art.
And third, it made me some new friends (some of who are reading this journal entry right now... Hi McKenna!). The makeup of the class was quite diverse - in age, background, and ability - and it was nice to be in a social situation where I got to interact with people on a more-than-shallow level, cooperatively. Much of the work was done in small groups, and it let me interact with other people in a safe environment. (One of the instructors described my style as that of being a "consensus builder.")

Today being the last day, it was kind of like the last day of school. As an exercise, Anita handed out a bunch of 3x5 cards to the class, and instructed us to write something positive about each member of the class on them. They could be anonymous, or not, as we wanted, and anything we wanted to write, short or long. Then Anita distributed the cards to the people they were about. It was kind of corny, like everyone signing each other's yearbooks on the last day of the school year before summer vacation, but it was nice to see all the nice things people wrote about me.

The ones I received are to the right. Click on them, if you'd like to read them. Zach, McKenna, Kat, Bonnie and Anita were all especially dear to me, and over the last 3 weeks, I really am grateful that you guys were all able to share with me.

Then, at the end of class, we had a graduation ceremony, with cake and punch, and personalized certificates of completion. I'm sorry it's over, because I'll miss my new friends, but I'm coming out of it with some new tools, and a newfound appreciation of just how amazingly talented I really am!
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