24 hours

It’s amazing what 24 hours can bring: happiness or despair or complete apathy or sheer boredom.  Sometimes all of the above and then some.  Twenty-four hours can crawl by at a snail’s pace or it can fly past quicker than you can blink.  For those of us with mood disorders, we can feel everything and nothing in that amount of time.

Let me tell you about the last day or so…  yesterday I was so depressed that I couldn’t even finish an email to a friend of mine.  I had to drag myself into the shower because I was meeting another friend after dinner for crafting and ‘catch-up’ time.  We had a great time, and I felt my depression ebbing.  I even revealed to her my bipolar disorder.  She took it in with a simple nod and then acknowledged how difficult it must be to have BP and do all the things that we have to do as scientists. Especially working with the crowd I had to work with – who would drive a sane person crazy any day.  We talked about my illness, my medicines, and other things completely unrelated to mental health.  As we were wrapping things up, her husband came in.  He is basically a nice guy with no social skills.  We discussed how things were going and he was trying to cheer me up with compliments that also included potential insults, but knowing him I didn’t take the insult aspects because it was in reference to my job not my person.  But what bugged me was that he started asking about a job that’s posted in my former department.  I know the job, I know the hiring manager, and so he asked about all of that.  We even went through his stack of business cards from his last interview there four years ago so I could tell him who was still there and who wasn’t.  I think in part he wanted to make sure I wasn’t applying for the same job, but I can’t imagine why that would make a difference. Even though he apologized, I was angry that he brought it up.  I felt used.  Two hours of fun, followed by 30min of grilling about my former employer and group.  I came home nearly as miserable as when I left.

This morning, we went to see DH’s doctor who (at long last) is doing some blood work to see if we can narrow down what is wrong with him.  But both of us were so tired that we fell back asleep after we returned home and slept for another 4 hours.  I’d been dealing with anxiety and depression all day, then I got an email in the afternoon asking if I would like to come in next week for an interview.  I have to teach a class (it’s for an instructor position) and meet with the rest of the faculty.  I was a little bit floored to get the email, and once I picked up my jaw, I was excited.  But then I started thinking about it, and now I’m nervous.  Sure, I can go through the motions of teaching but am I really any good at it?  A friend of mine tried to cheer me up on that point saying that there were students who loved me, so I must have been good, and there were students who hated me, which also means I must have been good.  However, it all boils down to I still had crappy evaluations. 😦

Well, this conversation turned because this same friend just got a job with my former company, and she started ‘picking my brain’ about benefits until I told her I didn’t want to talk about it anymore.  I begin to feel like I am nothing more than a source of information for a company that threw me out in the garbage.  Will people please stop talking about the company before I start screaming?!?!

Now I am in some sort of mixed state of anxiety, depression, and self-worthlessness.  How can I wow them next week when all I can think of is: will they see how stupid I am?

Anyway, that’s how the last day went for me. From utter despair and depression to fun and a lightened load, quickly back to anger, frustration and depression, then excitement, fear and worthlessness, back to frustration at my other friend who won’t shut up about her new job.  And now I’m just tired.

Too many emotions in too short of a time.  I want to get off this ride.

 
© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Quiet Composure

One of things that has been bothering me lately is that I am taking this unemployment situation with graceful composure.  With the exception of a couple of down days, I’ve been working through this unemployment problem with no actual outward sign of mental illness.  Although I am still laden with some depression and my Moodscope chart puts me in the teens in terms of emotional state, I am by all appearances, calm.  Even behind closed doors.  DH & I talked about this the other day.  He was surprised that I am not more upset.  He came home from work and told me how he was feeling stressed out over our situation.  We hugged and talked… even with his admission, I remained oddly calm.

Is this me?  Is it the real me?  Am I hiding something from myself?  Am I in denial?  Or is the medication numbing me?

I talked with my new therapist about this yesterday.  We didn’t come up with an answer, other than maybe my mind recognizes and accepts that this situation is not as bad as previously similar situations.  This time I have savings (which will be eaten up quickly by my mortgage and COBRA), and I do not have a $450 a month car payment.  But we do have a $300/mo student loan payment for my husband’s education that we didn’t have before.  Our mortgage is $500 a month more, and my husband had a job with health insurance last time so we didn’t need to COBRA.  Our medical and phone bills are certainly higher. Maybe we aren’t so much better off this time after all.  Damn, why did I have to follow that train of thought?

This morning I began to feel a crack forming in my calm facade.  A thin stream of mental instability shot through the opening.  Maybe I am not as composed as I think I am.  I’ve not been taking Klonopin because I am trying to avoid it whenever possible.  Stubborn me, I’ll suffer before I ask for help.  At least this time I have people to help me.  My therapist might be young, but she is enthusiastic and genuine, whereas last time my therapist was only interested in dragging out my therapy and not focusing on things that would impact me immediately.  The pdoc I had last time was nice, but he didn’t have the same amount of insight or time invested with me as my current pdoc.  I have a better support network of friends now, even if none of them know I am bipolar.  Last time, my friends abandoned me when I lost my job or perhaps just before because I scared them all away with my wild mania.  Odd, isn’t it, how quickly people will turn tail and run rather than try to help?

I’m walking on paper-thin ice here.  I fear the day it cracks and I fall into the dark cold of depression.

 
© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Chapter Read and Lesson Learned

The title of this post was actually snagged from a line in the Barenaked Ladies song, “Who Needs Sleep?”  It’s just one line, but a very powerful line that takes on a different context in the song than how I am using it.  For me, this marks the end of my dalliance with a high-paying job.

It’s been a week since I last wrote.  I couldn’t bring myself to write about work and unemployment last week.  Things were still too raw.  At times, I am still stumped about the whole thing.  I feel like I should be more angry or sad than I am.  I simply feel resigned to my fate.  Mix in a little terror and self-deprecation when I think of my situation and the lack of funds that will be coming in.  Basically, I’ve been spoiled while out on medical leave.  Sure I had a lot of healing to do, but I didn’t worry about not being able to pay my bills.

Chapter Read refers to an ending, the ending of my employment.  Part of me is dying to work, to earn money, to be useful.  Another part of me never wants to work again.  Mostly, I just don’t know what I want to do with my life.  It was pointed out to me once that my resume looks like someone who spends a lot of time running away from things.  Is that true?  I am an expert in one specific field, a high-paying field, if you can get the work.  If the job isn’t taken over by a bachelor’s degree technician.  How could they possibly know what I know?  Probably fairly easily. (Or am I being self-deprecating again?) I’ve been overeducated and probably forgotten more than I ever knew in the first place.  You hire a PhD to run the lab, to take care of the helium tanks, track the standards and chemicals… yuck.  All the things I hate about working in a lab.  But all my experience puts me in a lab with a (hopefully high-paying) yet utterly boring job containing droplets of excitement when you happen to work in collaboration on something that is patentable or publishable.  That is, if your work isn’t being questioned or stolen.  What’s the point of being good at something if everyone thinks you suck?  Or thinks your opinion is worthless?  Or questions your conclusions?  Maybe I am better off with this chapter closed, but what will the next one bring?

Lesson Learned refers to what I’ve learned from this job.  Money is awesome but it’s not everything.  Right now, I am unemployed with limited funds, thus once again, I must take what I can find, be it industry or academia.  What I learned from this job is that after the original “honeymoon phase” where I am learning and being challenged, this job is downright boring.  And when I get bored, I get lazy or I watch how others work, and some part of my brain thinks it’s OK to do X or not do Y if other people are doing X or not doing Y.

For example, I watched as lazy Dr. B (short for Dr. Bastard) get away with everything.  He swears he has something in his personnel file that says he shalt not be fired.  Who knows? Maybe he does.  He must have done something valuable for the company at some point because they let him get away with all sorts of things that no one else can.  He would stroll in at 10am. He would leave at 6pm.  (Core hours are 9am-3pm.)  Sure we are salaried and have flex time, but you were expected to be on site for 8.5 hrs a day, excluding lunch. He would ramble all day long to anyone who would listen – not getting an ounce of work done.  He brags about how great he is and how the company has wronged him.  His stories are 20 years old, yet he tells them like it happened yesterday.  He brags about how he got his revenge on people by getting them fired.  (And now I am one of them.)  He is mean to people who report to him or work with him if they don’t do exactly as he wants.  He is insulting to anyone he doesn’t like.  He is bigoted and reeks of harassment.  But the company thinks he is some sort of god in the field and that they can’t part with him.  Not everyone does, but enough people to keep him around.  Some people see him for what he truly is:  a narcissistic ass who is not always right (scientifically) even though he is trying to BS you into thinking that he is.

My other lesson learned is that I need to admit when I need help.  I needed to have this surgery a year earlier.  I needed mental health help a year earlier.  I went through hell because I didn’t seek the help I needed.  I thought I could control my bipolar, my OCD, my PTSD all through sheer willpower.  It’s taking me 5 prescription drugs a day to control all that and still I have to contend with symptoms from my mental health problems.  I need to have a psychiatrist.  I need to have a therapist.  I need healthcare coverage.  I am jealous of people who can get away without coverage or who just need the bare minimum or people who only have to take two or three pills a day.  I have in total 11 prescription medications per day and I am barely into my forties.  I have to learn to admit that sometimes I need help.  I am too damn stubborn for my own good.

So where do I go from here?  Without my six figure income, how do I live?  How do I get to travel?  Take my photographs?  Do the things I enjoy?  How did I ever survive on $40k/year?  For starters, I didn’t have a 4 bedroom home with a formal dining room.  I didn’t get to travel.  I didn’t have an iPhone, an iPad and an iMac.  I didn’t eat out that much.  I thought a little bit more about what I spent money on.  I didn’t spend hundreds of dollars on steel swords for renaissance costumes.  We didn’t have an Xbox or a Wii or a flat screen TV.  I certainly didn’t have this many pairs of shoes.  We never remodeled the house and I didn’t have nearly  the wardrobe I have now.  (Some of which I no longer fit into – thank you meds.)  Still, I am at a loss.  I don’t know where to go from here.  My mortgage is too high.  I have too much junk.  This house is turning into a money pit.

Some days I am good – I can handle the stress, focus on the tasks ahead, and move forward.  But always in the back in of my mind is: Where are you going?  You aren’t going anywhere.  You spin your wheels wandering from job to job.  Sometimes making money, sometimes not.  Always banging your head on some wall.  Always allowing your illness(es) to encroach on your life.  Mania or depression coloring your view, affecting your productivity. Like a hamster on a wheel, I am forced into running through these cycles, never getting anywhere.  I never get a productive hypomania like other people do.  I’m either constantly distracted, fidgety, talkative and flighty, or touchy, angry, and easily set-off.  My depressions are laden with anxiety, sadness, and a lack of energy and focus.  How the hell did I get through school???

Well, there’s my emotional core dump.  (For now.)  Where do I go from here?  That is the biggest question on my mind.  Everything else is details.


© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Not Quite Forgotten Yet

I got a call on Friday from R&D’s HR rep.  They want their stuff back.  (Big surprise, eh?)  So I am to come in tomorrow morning to “exchange” things: company property for personal property.  The only joy I take in this is that our group manager is the one who has to sift through all my boxes and try to identify what is mine.  Ha!  That should take him a while.  I took most of my stuff when I left.  Since I am notorious for leaving piles of paper all over my desk, he ought to be having fun right about now.   Of course, I wonder if this means I will get back my 15 bottles of half-drunk water.  Ha! Ha! Ha!

They still can’t answer my questions about unemployment.  A dozen people in HR and not a one of them has a clue.  “Just go ahead and apply for it,” is what they said.  OK, fine.  I will.  If I get it, yea!  If I don’t, oh well.  This job sucked anyway.  The best part of it was the paycheck.  Damn, I’m going to miss that paycheck.  😦

My existence is slowly being erased by the company and soon all I will be to anyone is a memory.  Except for the few friends I have that I will still keep in touch with.  I wrote down some numbers and email addresses while I still had access.  Sifted through my files to see what was worth keeping, and most of it isn’t.  That will be erased too.  My computer will be recycled and so will my laptop.  Such is the way of things.

I am sad and relieved at the same time.  I’m depressed about having lost another job, and I’m scared about our lack of income.  But I won’t miss working with the nutcases.  I will miss working with the customers.  So many of them depended on me to make sure that their samples were run and analyzed correctly.  I had so much customer interaction – and that’s the stuff I am good at.  Yes, I’m a scientist, but I’m a people-oriented scientist.  That’s rare.  Now how to market that?

Right now, my feelings are so mixed up that I don’t know how to feel.  At least I have a therapy appointment today.  I get to work with the new girl, but I don’t have to pay.  So that much is good.  I felt bad about that until DH explained to me that if she fresh out of school, then she has to take on a certain number of free clients as part of her professional training.  That makes me feel a little better.  I hope she is better than my interm therapist.  I really miss my original one though.  *sigh*

I guess I’ll wrap up for now.  I hope everyone has a great Monday. 😉

PS: I changed my WordPress name from Manic Monday to just Monday.  You may have to approve my comments for a while.  I’ll probably change it again once I come up with something clever. 🙂

 
© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.