I don't know that the five stages of grief are exactly right for being laid off, at least for me, but I'm definitely moving through stages. And the first one, last Thursday, was absolutely Denial: all day, I kept saying, "I can't believe this is happening." After that, I spent a couple of days in whatever you would call "I don't want this to have happened"; maybe that's just the second part of denial? I remember going through it (much more strongly) after my father died, when "I want him back" drummed through my head for the longest time.
Now, I guess I'm coasting through Emptiness: I find myself sitting and looking at nothing, thinking about nothing. Not even "I should be..." but just nothing. It's weird and blank. It's not like I do it all day long, mind you; I'm reading (so much) and running errands* and patting cats, but periodically I realize that I'm just ... sitting there. If my brain is saying anything, there's just that background refrain of "12 years, 8 jobs, 4 layoffs" bouncing around with other bad thoughts. (At dinner Sunday night it came up that one friend has been in her current job for 6 years; she was in the one before that for 15. I can't even imagine that. My longest stretch is almost-three.)
*Being able to run them during the day is another one of those little perks of being out of work.
So I'm trying to be kind to myself. I imagine one of my recent coworkers coming to me and saying, "I know I should be spending more time job searching, but after about 10 minutes I can feel myself getting so depressed I have to stop." I wouldn't tell her to snap out of it and get to work, because she needs to get a job, doesn't she, and there's no time to lose. I would say, "Well, 10 minutes is better than nothing; maybe you can build on that, but meanwhile, don't be too hard on yourself. This situation is hard enough." So I'm trying not to be too hard on myself. And I'm reaching out to others, from the lunch and kitten break yesterday to a planned walk on Monday with someone else. And I'm totally looking forward to my trip, which is a sort of deadline; I'm going to try to build up more and more time spent on job-search stuff over the next week, but then I get the restorative week with mama before things get serious back here.
It's funny, isn't it, how we're harder on ourselves than others sometimes. I broke something this morning, small and meaningless, I wasn't even upset, but when I went to throw the pieces in the trash one missed and fell on the floor. If someone I loved had done that, would I have apostrophized them in that tone as an awful klutz, How like you? No, I would not. I caught myself, and gave myself a little pep talk ("You are a smart and good person who is going through a rough time right now. And yes, you are a klutz, but that's not a big deal, really.") and moved on, but still.
No plans for tomorrow yet; what shall I do with myself? It ought to be laundry, but will it?