Independence Day

One day is pretty much like the others for me now but I thought I would wish everyone else (American at least) a Happy Independence Day! And since it’s Independence Day, I should declare myself independent of some guilt. My (new) therapist has asked me how long I intend to keep punishing myself for losing my job and she said I just need to declare that I am done. Put it in writing, she said. So here, I am publicly announcing it:

I, Manic Monday, hereby do declare that I shall not feel guilty over losing my job.
-Thursday, July 4, 2013

Things didn’t go exactly as I planned there, some of it was my fault, some of it wasn’t, but I can’t keep blaming myself for losing the job. It’s gone and done. I just have to try to find a new one. (Easier said than done, sadly.)  It was a really bad place for my mental health and my mind is better off not there.  I might have to work three jobs instead of one, but everyone goes through phases in their life.  Hopefully, this is just a phase.

Wow, my therapist was right.  It is liberating to write something like that.  She also told me to draw with my left hand using crayons.  That’s kind of liberating too.  I did it one day when my anxiety was really high and discovered what anxiety “looks” like to my inner self.  It was really interesting.  I’m going to take it with me to my next therapy session.

Anyway, that’s all I have to share for today.  🙂

 

 

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Fight Stigma!

In 1990, the U.S. Congress established the first full week of October as National Mental Illness Awareness Week.  Here we are 22 years later and it’s still not acceptable to call into work as a sick day due to depression or other mental illness.  What happens if you tell your employer that you suffer from mental illness?  If you’re like me, you will lose your job.  Wait, that’s illegal!  Not if you work for a small company.  Check the fine print before you accept a job offer.

Some statistics for you to chew on…

Anxiety: 18% of the adult U.S. population, 23% of these cases are considered severe.  Women are 60% more likely to suffer from anxiety than men during their lifetime. (This includes Agoraphobia, GAD, OCD, Panic Disorder, PTSD, Social and other phobias)

Bipolar:  2.6% of the adult U.S. population, nearly 83% of them are considered severe cases.

Major Depressive Disorder: At any given time, this affects about 7% of the population, but when looking at lifetime prevalence, this increases to 16.5%.  Women are 70% more likely to suffer depression than men, and when looking at age groups, young and middle aged adults are most likely to be sufferers as compared to those over the age of 60.

Borderline Personality Disorder: 1.6% of the U.S. adult population.

Schizophrenia: 1.1% of the U.S. adult population.

I have selected to give you statistics for only a few of the major mental health issues.  Many more statistics can be found on the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) website: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/statistics/index.shtml

While these numbers may seem small, these illnesses affect millions of people.  Millions of individuals with families, jobs, and responsibilities that can be difficult, if not impossible, to keep up with while suffering from an illness.  For some people, illnesses are comorbid (occurring together) but this doesn’t make the numbers less formidable.  For example, anxiety and depression often go together, which makes coping extremely difficult.

Although Mental Illness Awareness week is at a close, I hope you will keep in mind some of these statistics.  For those of you who are sufferers, you are not alone.  For those of you who are friends or family of someone with a mental health disorder, we appreciate you more than you’ll ever know.  For those of you who are neither… please join us in the battle against stigma.  Together we can make the world a kinder place.

 

© 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.

Unhelpful Employment Office

I shouldn’t be too hard on the lady, she really is trying to help.  Maybe there is a grain of truth to things, which is making me feel uncomfortable.  Let me start over.

I’ve been working with this nice lady from the employment office, who I will call Carol.  She is very perceptive and a bit of a counselor.  Her job is to help people find jobs.  She teaches a class on job hunting (it was a requirement for me to take it) and one of the things they talk about is going door to door with a resume in hand meeting receptionists and finding out about the company, then leaving your resume with them.  There’s a story about an IT guy who lost his job and found a new one within three weeks by going door to door. (So to speak.)  She’s telling me to do this too.  Right.  When I have a very specialized background?  She also said that I need to focus my job search in order to focus my resume.  She’s not going to help me with my resume until I can determine what fields I want to focus on.  I feel helpless.  If I knew what the hell I wanted to do, wouldn’t I be doing it?

Research: yes, I enjoy it, but do I love it?  No, love is too strong a word.  Am I any good at it? Yes and no.  I’ve always been good at some aspects of it but poor at other aspects of it.  I’m not a good organizer and sometimes I have trouble thinking outside the box.  Yes, seriously, a bipolar who can’t think outside the box.  I get curious about things, but then my curiosity fades and I’m bored.  (I am so easily bored.)  I don’t know if I am really any good at research or not.  I love analyzing data and looking for trends, which then lead to answers.  Is that research?  Yes, but you need to have an idea to explore in the first place.

College Teaching: yes, I enjoy it, but I don’t always have the answers.  Students expect that you always have the answer for things.  It took me years to make my intro courses into something I could be proud of, but my upper division courses were always a mess.  I couldn’t even follow things in the textbook – it was worse than being a student the first time through.  How did I get my PhD in the first place?  It must have been a miracle.  I’m doubting my teaching skill as well.  I went to Rate My Professor .com and looked up my scores.  Pretty sad. 😦  Well, sad for someone who really cares about what they are doing.  I got an overage average score of 2.5/5.

I’m not going to find a job teaching now, we’re well into the fall, so that’s irrelevant.  I thought about high school and Carol asked me why I hadn’t applied for my teaching certification.  She pointed out that there must be a reason.  I didn’t tell her this, but yes, there is a reason.  I’m terrified.  I’m afraid I will do it and get the job and discover that I hate working with children/young adults.  She suggested that I try substitute teaching.  It’s $60 for the background check and fingerprinting.  It pays $50/day.  So two days worth of work and I have paid for the background check.  I guess it’s worth applying.  It would at least tell me if it’s a job I would enjoy, tolerate, or utterly loathe.

I mentioned putting on weight.  She said “you know the solution to that, don’t you?”  Get up early, go for a walk, etc.  It will help with the depression, give you more energy, blah, blah, blah.  Like my problems with depression are going to be solved with a walk every morning?  If that were the case, I wouldn’t be on Paxil, Lamictal and Geodon.  And even then I’m still struggling.  No, she doesn’t know the details.  And bipolar is one big detail.

I know she’s trying to be helpful, but telling me about her life and how she tries not to let her impending divorce get her down doesn’t make me feel any better.  I feel worse.  She has a full-time job, kids to raise, etc.  I have none of that and I still can’t get it together.  Tomorrow is another day was her message.  What I hear (emotionally) is that she can do so much more in her day than I can do in mine.  Just writing this post has taken me nearly an hour and I haven’t even started editing yet!  I’m so slow at everything, which is why I don’t work well in a fast-paced environment.  (Although, believe it or not, I do type relatively fast and with two hands!)

So why am I writing all this tonight?  It’s not to bash the nice lady at the employment office.  She means well.  And I think door to door resume submissions might work for some people, but won’t work for me.  I don’t want any of the jobs I’ve already had.  I don’t know what I want.  Maybe it’s time to start my own business, except I don’t think I could handle that either.  What I do know is that my last job was a mistake (except financially) and I should listen to my instincts in the future.  Unfortunately, my instincts aren’t talking right now.


© 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.

The Cost of Mental Health

I’ve written a post on the costs of mental health on A Canvas of the Minds WordPress blog, which is a multi-author blog about mental illness. I can’t figure out how to reblog the post here, so you’ll just have to go over there to read it. Sorry about that, but there are lots of other really cool posts for you to check out while you are there. 🙂

The Cost of Mental Health.

Enjoy!

-MM

Wham!

Some days you are just going through life, doing things that need to be done, thinking you are getting somewhere, ready to congratulate yourself on your progress when suddenly… Wham! You are hit up side the head with an irrational (or as in my case, rational but way out of proportion) thought generating panic and anxiety where you were calm and efficient only moments before.

Today was a double hit. I started today off great, with a (reasonably) early rise and a two-mile walk. Wimbledon was on, so I watched that intermittently while I had breakfast and waited for my turn at the shower. After DH left for work, I chatted with a friend about a photo shoot we are devising, then I set to work looking for a job. I couldn’t concentrate. All I could see was how filthy my carpet was and I wasn’t much better since I hadn’t showered yet. Wham! A whirlwind side swipe of anxiety sent me running for the Klonopin, and then the vacuum cleaner, to use up some of the spontaneous extra energy. After a nice shower and some lunch, I sat down to prepare for the job hunt again. I needed to check out some information on a conference I need to go to and went about preparing for that. I sent out some contact emails, working my network. I decided to check on my bank accounts to see how my finances were holding up, and I think that’s what triggered the next attack. But it didn’t come quickly, nay, it hid in the shade until my attention was turned elsewhere. It waited until I had logged off the banking site and logged back into my job search sites.

Wham! Trembling anxiety or is it panic? Thoughts raced through my head: we have to sell the house, we have no where to go, healthcare, food, shelter, how will we live? What about my pets – my children of fur? What will we do? What will we do? How will we live? How? How? How?

Every backup plan we had failed. We set new backup plans. Are those failing too? Something is failing… is it me? What’s next? What do I do now? COBRA is silently sucking away at my savings. This house needs repairs. Some minor, others less minor. Our mortgage is disproportionately higher than it should be… we can’t change it now because I have no job. Ironic, isn’t it? When you most need to readjust your finances, you can’t.

One car is paid for and we owe less than a thousand on the other.  I suppose we could live out of our cars, but it would be a cramped fit with the animals.  Sleep in the Walmart parking lot.  Can you do that?  I don’t know.

DH & I talked about today’s double hit.  We have enough savings for a few months but we will probably have to put the house on the market by the first of the year.  I hate owning houses, I hate switching jobs, I just want things in my life to be settled.  I want my emotional rollercoaster to settle and stop derailing me when I am doing well.  I was doing well until my mind side-swiped me.

Maybe try again tomorrow.


© 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.

First Job Interview in Review

I’m calling this post the first job interview, but in all honesty, I hope I get this job and won’t have to apply for any others. It’s for teaching at a local university. They asked me to come in and teach a class, which I did, and I think it went pretty well. The students clapped at the end. I’m not sure what to think of that since they also clapped when I figured out the light switches. (We were doing a demo that required darkness.)

Overall, I think it went pretty well, except for one thing. They want someone who can teach upper division and graduate classes as well. I didn’t answer those questions right because a) I have low self-confidence, b) I didn’t want to impose on anyone’s current schedule, c) I never picked up on the clue that this was something they wanted and needed, otherwise, I think I might have walked out much better situated. I didn’t get the click that this was what they wanted to hear until I was driving the hour-long commute home. DH says I would sound too much like an eager puppy-dog if I tried to call or email them now to explain that yes, I would teach those classes. Ugh. I need to wait on pins and needles for the next few weeks and see what happens.

I wasn’t hypomanic either. If I had been, I may have been less hesitant and more willing to commit to those upper level courses. I should be happy that I had a stable day, but it’s screwed me in the long run! Can’t I ever win?

This second anti-psychotic seems to keep me in check better than the Geodon (or maybe it’s the combination). The stuff makes me sick to my stomach after I take it (think near dry heaves for about 30min-hr) but maybe that side effect will go away. I forget to take it every day and that seems to make a difference. I am better on days when I remembered to take it the night before.

Anyway, the most stress of the day came when I got home after having reviewed the entire day in my head during the hour-long drive home. I was so worked up that I had to take extra Klonopin and sleep on the couch. A lot of the interview was good, but the answer to this question was horrible. Stupid, stupid, stupid. How can I fix it?

Suggestions, thoughts, prayers, and hugs are welcome!


© 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.

New Position

My new position is: job hunter.  That’s right, corporate politics win again.

I’ve procrastinated on writing this for a while.  I have only shared this news with a few select friends and no family.  Basically, I’ve been kicked out of R&D – I can still look other places within the company, but I only have until March 30 to do that.  Otherwise, I’m on my own.  I haven’t checked to see if I qualify for unemployment, but I think I do.  Right now, all I can think of is how I can keep my foot in the door.  I’m working my network as best I can.

I’ve been going through so many internal changes over the past 10 months.  I’d like to have a job that I enjoy, but I realize that’s asking a lot these days.  I really don’t want to move – I like my house, I have friends, and I have great doctors.  I just wish I could have kept my mouth shut about a lot of things at work.  Work life goes so much smoother for you if you keep your head down.  As a friend of mine said, as soon as you stick it up, someone will chop it off.

I’ve been through a lot of emotional upheaval lately.  Anger, depression, anxiety, self-blame.  I’m still fighting these emotions.  I have no legal recourse; I’ve already investigated that route.  All I can do is try to keep going forward.

I met my pdoc the other day and she decided that we shouldn’t change my medicine with so much else going on in my life.  I see her again in 2 weeks, but what happens then?  How does COBRA work?  I can’t even get the paperwork until after the 30th.  What happens if I need to see a doctor during the month of April?  So many things to figure out.

She did have some very nice and supportive things to say.  Then she firmly stated, “I mean every word of it.  I don’t say things I don’t mean.”  She has the kind of demeanor that brooks no argument. My therapist tried to say the same thing today but either she’s not as believable or she just doesn’t express it as well.  I feel like she is someone paid to be my friend.  I miss my old therapist.

However, I’m pretty sure I won’t have mental health coverage after the 30th, unless I pull off this little miracle of finding a new job.  So my therapists met as a group: my original one (owner), my current one, and a new girl in the office.  What they are offering me is free counseling with the new girl if I lose my job.  (Otherwise, I’ll pay to see my old counselor once she returns from maternity leave.)  One thing about living in this area is that people are nice and supportive if they know you.  Like anywhere else, we range from really rude to really supportive, but honestly, how many are willing to give you free service because you are down on your luck?  Like my hairdresser who shampooed my hair for free when I was recovering from surgery?

Anyway, that’s why I’ve been so quiet lately.  I’ve been working on the job thing, and ashamed to tell people that I’ve lost my job.  Every day is a new battle: a battle to get up, to take a shower, to push myself to pursue leads, to keep my head above water and not let the current of depression and hopelessness drag me under.

It’s a really tough fight.