Self Inflicted Mental Illness from a Job Layoff

Updated: 3 days ago

I have always been so grateful for this first and very painful layoff BECAUSE IT CHANGED THE COURSE OF MY LIFE. My personal story. #givethanks

In 1991, Dave and I were 35 years old when he was laid off. With four young children, little did we know this would be the first of five job layoffs we would experience in the next 30 years.

After receiving the news I was in shock but also a little excited!!

Leading up to this layoff, Dave had been working a swing shift: 3 PM - Midnight. There were many nights he would arrive home in the wee hours of the morning. Sometimes I would pace the kitchen floor late at night worrying if he was alright. I often thought about how I could provide for our family of six if something happened to him.

The day came! This was MY opportunity to use my entrepreneurial talents and skills and my enthusiasm! I would kick my business in to high gear!

“I’ll prove I can provide for our family, make tons of money, save us from financial ruin and be featured on OPRAH and show the world a mother with four young children really can have it all - a career and motherhood!

(Oprah was the most popular TV show for women in the 90’s).

My feelings of pride, fame, glory and greed along with my lack of some key business skills would be my downfall.

I was a Craft Show Promoter & Organizer. Vendors would book space into my shows to sell their crafts, food, art and jewelry.

But before I started I had a gut feeling to pray to God about doing this. I chose to ignore this impression since I had already decided what I wanted to do. I intuitively knew God didn’t like my plan.

For the record, I know God isn’t against women owning their own businesses or supporting their family in need but in this case, I knew it wasn’t the right decision.

I would unfortunately have to learn this the hard way.

My dreams of becoming a successful business owner turned into a nightmare.

I chose to do things my way.

I didn’t invite God into my business or anyone else with expertise.

I didn't pray and ask for His help or be humble enough to take His counsel.

I lived in fear imagining things that lurked right around the corner.

I didn’t sleep well at night.

There were too many decisions to make.

My foundation didn’t feel solid.

Pressure was mounting because I had so much money coming in.

I was successful in that I had created a lot of momentum but important aspects of my business were not solid - namely book keeping.

My accounting system needed help.

I was trying to do it all.

There were so many people to try and please.

Best words to describe my feelings:
no fun, stubborn, tension, sad, painful, hopeless, fearful, no relief, stressful, intense, paranoid, uncomfortable, uncertain, depressing, exhausting, etc.

At one point, I considered suicide just to put myself out of my misery.

It felt like I was swimming alone in a deep, turbulent ocean full of sharks all around, ready to eat me at any moment.


I wanted OFF of this run-away train but my negative thoughts were destroying me.

Thoughts like…

“I have created so much momentum I can’t stop it now”.

“This problem is even too big for God to fix.”

“The deep pit I have created is unfixable.”

“I have no one to blame but myself.”

“I don’t deserve to be rescued even if there was a way”.

“Why would God want to help me now since I had ignored Him in the past?”

In the middle of all this turmoil, October came.
I managed to make ONE small, but really good decision!

I watched a General Conference session on TV.

During this conference our church leaders talk to a world-wide audience of members and anyone else who wants to listen. This happens for 10 hours over two days, twice a year, April and October.

The only 15 minute talk I remember is from Elder Richard G. Scott, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who said something like...

“I know you feel trapped and think you can’t get out of this mess, but you really can IF you will trust Jesus Christ and allow Him to help pull you out. He can and WILL help you out of this mess IF you will let Him.”.

This message was directed at me. I was really hoping he was telling me the truth. I began to feel an ounce of hope again. I began to trust God that He really would and could rescue me.

It would require some work on my part - mostly faith and humility but NOW I had a willing heart.

I started reading scriptures and praying to God.

I listened to uplifting music and messages.

As I did this, miracles started happening!!

Over the next few weeks impressions and thoughts came.

Relief, hope and happiness seemed possible again.

I finally turned my mess over to God and let go.

One of the impressions I received was to completely STOP what I was doing, regarding my business.

As a little girl, when I got in trouble, my Dad would make me sit on a chair for a few minutes.

Now I felt like my Heavenly Father was telling me, an adult woman, to be still and not do anything (regarding my business), which I did.

During the next few weeks this “run-away train” seemed to fly right over my head and just keep going!

But I was finally OFF the train!

After 6 months my husband had a new job but my problems didn’t just magically disappear.

It took a few years to clean up the financial mess I had created but I felt so happy that I was finally healing!

God was helping me to pick up the pieces.

I was able to focus on my kids again.

I was never featured on TV on Oprah.

But my marriage and family survived the ordeal!

This painful experience gave me a taste of just how hard it is to provide for a family financially.

Thirty years later I still vividly remember that lesson and how hard my husband has constantly always worked to provide for us.

I've tried to look for ways to support and encourage him rather than complain, criticize or compete with him.

My knowledge of Jesus Christ and His Atonement grew as well.

He really is powerful enough to help us solve ANY problem we have.

He is willing to forgive us especially when we need a lot of second chances.

He is more than willing to help us if we will just ask for His help.

He will have mercy on each of us and love and rescue us if we will just let Him.

The results of turning to God are incredible!

Best words to describe my feelings now:
love, relief, peaceful, willing to trust, relaxing, comfortable, confident, joyful, happy, faithful, hopeful, energetic, optimistic….

I have always been so grateful for this first and very painful layoff BECAUSE IT CHANGED THE COURSE OF MY LIFE!

The lessons I learned and my determination to avoid repeating these same mistakes have helped Dave and I to nearly breeze through the next four layoffs! (Each layoff lasted approx. 3 - 6 months).


In 2003, when our children were much older, I started another business, an Outdoor Adventure Business. In the past 17 years I've guided outdoor adventures near and far, including places like Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Iceland, Caribbean Islands and many US locations. Activities included hiking, kayaking, camping, bike riding, etc.

This time I grew my business more slowly so it would bless our family rather than burden it.

My entire family has been included in my business and traveled with me occasionally, earning their own income. It’s very satisfying to blend my business passions with my family which I’ve been able to do!


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