Applications

I hate filling out applications. It becomes so disheartening. They always ask: What was your reason for leaving?  I got fired, OK?  It’s more than that, my therapist even said so, but that’s the short answer.  I was let go.  That sounds so much better than I was fired.  At least when you are let go you get unemployment.  And believe me, unemployment helps.

Let me recap my experiences for you:

I lost one because of my bipolar.  I was dumb enough to tell them about my Multiple Sclerosis and bipolar diagnoses.  The company was in the process of downsizing anyway and they couldn’t count on me to be in the office with my medical issues. I sued them unsuccessfully.  This is why I will never tell another employer about my bipolar.

I lost my academic position because of sexual discrimination.  I had always suspected it was an administrative decision, but one of my former students came across a memo from the dean to the chair stating that they were impressed with my progress as a teacher.  This was less than six months (including summer) before I was berated by my department chair for poor student evaluations.  I also learned from another student that my evaluations were not as bad as stated because he had seen them.  He also found out that the chair had the good ones removed and shredded.  Can you believe this?  I considered suing the university for sexual discrimination but decided against it.  After all I was going on to a $100+k job – it wasn’t worth my time and effort.  Everyone knew that I deserved to have my contract renewed – except the people who had the power to make such decisions.  Part of me berates myself for losing that job even though I didn’t do anything wrong.  I stood up for myself, my students, and what I thought was right.  I rubbed the wrong feathers the wrong way.  I don’t regret what I did there.  But as a friend of mine put it, if you rise above the rest, someone is likely to chop your head off.

I really blame myself for this last job.  I couldn’t handle the people, the pressure, the work.  I was out of my element and I hated what I was doing.  All my mental illnesses began to implode as I worked with the narcissist and his henchman.  I lost grip on reality and I lost my grip on myself.  The harder I tried to hold on, the more my illnesses bled through, mixing into the pot of bad blood between my coworkers and myself.  My PTSD skyrocketed.  I started having nightmares several times a week.  I was afraid to go to work.  When I was there, I couldn’t concentrate.  Something would happen and I would be out working off my temper or crying in a friend’s office.  I wasn’t effective.  I couldn’t be effective.  Add to all that my injuries and several work-related relapses, they determined I was no longer fit for duty.  I hadn’t been fit for duty for a while.  I should have been out on mental health leave a year earlier.  Maybe none of this would have happened then.  My wrist wouldn’t have been injured and maybe my right arm would have been fixed sooner.  I don’t know if either will ever be 100%.  I gave too much of my soul to this job for the sake of a lucrative paycheck and a little prestige.

Now I’m filling out applications again.  And faced with the question: What was your reason for leaving?  You can’t write: sexual discrimination. You can’t write: forced out for medical reasons. So sugar-coat it and call it contract not renewed, received other offer, company downsizing. What else can I write? I wasn’t needed, I wasn’t wanted anymore. End of story. But that’s difficult to handle, even when your therapist says, “it wasn’t your fault.” Because yes, some of it is my fault. It’s my fault for not trying harder. It’s my fault for letting people get under my skin. It’s my fault for being dumb enough to share personal information. Information is a weapon. This is why I write anonymously.

 

© 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.

I Didn’t Screw Up!

If you’ve been following my unemployment saga, then you know that I was concerned about how poorly my last phone interview went. I just got a call that they want me to come in for a face-to-face interview! I am blown away!

Now, of course this amps up the pressure on me for the next week.  I have to pack for an extra day of interview wear (what to wear now!) and prepare a class.  I don’t have a class prepared.  Well, I do, but all my notes are in books in garage.  How to find them quickly?!?  (I know, stop typing and go look!  But I had to share this with you.)  I may not be stuck in industry after all!

Sadly, it means I will be stuck with an awkward move situation.  We have to move part of our household now, and the rest during Christmas break.  I have to find a place quickly and be able to move into it soon after I arrive.  DH will have to fly home for his own classes.  We will be separate for a semester.  Also, I have to leave all my friends. 😦  But I know that they will be happy for me.  I have to leave my house, which I love, for the unknown.

There’s lots of unknowns. It’s a yearly contract, 12-mo pay, but no tenure commitment, which is both good and bad.  No security, but no hassle. So there are pros and cons to this type of position.  I would get to teach again.  I would be involved.  I can create a legacy for myself.  And maybe that’s what I want most of all.  To know that when I pass, I have left something good behind.  Something worth remembering.  Even if it’s only for a generation.  Teachers can make such an impact, both good and bad, I want to be one of the good ones.  I know I did it before, so I can do it again.  This time, I’m a little wiser and I know how the game works.  Hopefully there’s no sexism, which is why I lost my last academic job.

I want a forever home and I want a forever job.  Maybe this is it. We will see soon enough.

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© 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.

Frustrated Today

I’m frustrated.  I don’t even know where to begin.  It’s not like something big happened.  It’s the stress of a lot of little things.  And it probably doesn’t help that I haven’t been writing this blog.  This is my stress reliever.  But since I don’t want to burden anyone with my ‘poor, poor, pitiful me’ bit, I just don’t write.  It seems like I have to have something worth writing about.  And right now, all I’ve got is stress.  Why can’t they make a pill for stress?  They’ve got one for everything else.

So what am I so stressed about?  Well, DH is not here this week.  His mom paid for his ticket to come home for a week.  I leave on Saturday for a conference.  We overlapped our trips intentionally so that we wouldn’t have to kennel the dog as long.  Maybe that was a mistake.  It’s one thing to have DH spend a week away from me, it’s another when that week is right before I leave for my own trip.  I always get stressed out before I go on a trip.  I always have – at least I have for a long time.  It’s gotten worse over the years.  But travel anxiety spiked since 2009 when I we went on weekend trip and came home to find my cat had died.  That horrible memory is burned in my brain.  She was under the guest bed and DH saw her first.  When I looked under the bed I started screaming.  I don’t handle things like that very well.

So I think part of my problem when I travel is that episode is running through my subconscious, even though I have no reason to expect it to happen again.  But my travel stress dates back long before then – it just got worse after Luna’s passing.  Identifying that experience as part of my problem has helped a little, but I’m worked up already.  Worrying about packing, about how to apply for jobs when I’m not even home, making sure my resume is available, I have to make out business contact cards, taking the dog to the vet for his shots before he goes to the kennel.  Oh, and my debit card was declined today.  Probably because I didn’t have any money in my account.

Tomorrow I see my pdoc in the morning and I get my hair cut in the afternoon.  I’ve got to get it colored so I don’t look so old, because ageism is upon me.  I fly back Thursday night, unless the place I phone interviewed for wants me to come out for a face-to-face interview.  Then I will have to go directly from the conference to there for Friday, then back home.  Thinking about the “just in case” is freaking me out. I have to pack for an extra day “just in case”.

I have to start doing laundry for this trip too.  All my work clothes that have been mothballed for a year have to come out of their corner of the closet and be re-washed. I have dishes that will need to be done (can’t leave them for the few days before DH gets home) and calculating lunch and dinner is complicated for me.  I don’t want left-overs sitting in the fridge.  I’ve got to pack breakfast food (in the form of protein bars) because the hotel is one that doesn’t offer a free breakfast.  (Fortunately, I got the student hotel rate, but there’s no student rate on food.)  I have to pack all 11 (or is it 12?) medications for this trip.  I wanted a smaller pillbox, but I haven’t got time to go to Walmart to look for one.  Or maybe I do.  I don’t know.

Aren’t I supposed to be looking for a job???

And that’s a fruitless endeavor too.  Yesterday, today… nothing there.  Nothing.  If I was an IT person, I would have it made.  (At least locally.)  If I had managerial experience, that would open some doors.  If I had specialized in anything other than what I did, I would be in a better position.  This conference is about the only place to find a job in my specialty.  And we still have to exclude anything that requires a security clearance.

So…. yeah, I am so frustrated right now that I want to cry.  (I also had therapy today, which is emotional for me these days.)  So many things to do, but my list only has 4 on it because I can’t even articulate them in my head.  (Although this post is turning into a pretty good to-do list.)  Anyway, I guess the first thing on my list is to go make dinner.

Wish me luck! (and sanity!) 😉


© 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.

A couple of down days

OK, I’m having a couple of down days here. Tuesday was great as I spent it with my BFF and we had loads of fun! But yesterday and today it was back to the job hunt, and that has me down a bit. There just aren’t jobs out there for me.  I’m going to a conference in August, and hopefully something there will work, but mostly I’m SOL.  I am still holding on to hope for a few of the teaching positions I’ve applied for but I’m getting nervous as August, and the school year, is fast approaching.  I realize that it’s just a numbers game and it only takes 1 success.  But what if that one success doesn’t come until after unemployment runs out?  I am half-way through unemployment, and since unemployment in my state is dropping, the tier 2 and tier 3 federal government unemployment won’t be available.  So I will be on my own.

OK, so I figured I would lower my standards and apply for any kind (within reason) of job after unemployment runs out.  I don’t need a PhD to type letters or file forms, but I have done it before.  It’s depressing work and last time led me to a suicidal ledge, but hopefully this time I can keep it together.  Hopefully, it won’t get that far.  Hopefully, I will have a job soon.  I am so over sitting at home.

I wish I could have written a novel or done something more productive during all this time off, but it was time well spent working on me.  Getting myself stable is no easy feat, and I think I should give myself some credit for it.  Even though I’m having a couple of down days, I don’t think this is going to turn into a mood episode.  I hope not.  I need to keep myself upbeat in case something good comes up.  There’s nothing worse than blowing a job interview because you are depressed.  (And believe me, I’ve done this several times before.)

Another thing that has me a bit down is my schizoaffective niece – Persephone.

She called me in a panic yesterday and asked me to co-sign on an apartment so she would have someplace to live.  I told her I had to discuss it with DH first.  She said she would call me back.  That was 12:30 yesterday afternoon.  I’ve not heard from her since.  When she does call back, I will have to tell her that I just can’t be a co-signer.  First, I don’t have a job, so I wouldn’t qualify because I have no income.  I think she would understand that.  But on a more personal level, even if I could qualify, this just isn’t something I could do right now.  I can’t make that kind of financial commitment to someone else when I am struggling to keep my own head above water.  Co-signing on a lease makes you liable for everything that other person does – if they trash the place, you are responsible, if they default or get evicted, it shows up on your credit score.  No, I can’t take that kind of risk.  She is un-medicated, unstable, and I know nothing about her boyfriend other than he appears to be irresponsible.  If I was working and making a $120k a year, I would probably do it.  But not now, not in this situation.

So I am upset with her – she only calls me when she wants something.  She isn’t going to see a doctor for either her mental or physical health.  She is acting irresponsible (not surprising since she is a manic state), and spending money on geckos that they don’t know if they can take care of.  They had one month of free rent, but instead of using that month to find their next place to live, they spent it having fun.  There’s nothing wrong with fun, but you have to take care of the real world too.  (I’m one to talk, but we aren’t talking about me right now.)  So instead, they paid for a week in a hotel while they look for a place to live.  Then I get a panicked phone call and now nothing.  She’s 24, in love, in a manic state with schizophrenic hallucinations.

It is so frustrating when you watch someone you love throw their life away on partying and bad relationships.  She had such a promising future when she graduated community college, but then she took a year off, and now she is in a mess.  She had been stable on medications for nearly 10 years, but she got sick and tired of the side effects and the fact that she couldn’t go out drinking while taking them.  So she stopped taking her meds.  First the Lithium, then the Seroquel.  She is allergic to Lamictal and Trileptal, but doesn’t keep very good medical records so she doesn’t know what she has tried and what she hasn’t, or what makes her sick and what doesn’t.  “I’ve tried everything,” she said.  I know that feeling, but it’s probably not true.  I don’t know.  There’s nothing I can do to help her.  I don’t like feeling helpless.

And I think that is the reason for my melancholy.  I feel helpless.  I feel helpless to help my niece.  I feel helpless in the job hunt.  Now that I’ve identified the problem, I can work on it.

 
© 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.

Stability

I saw my pdoc earlier this week.  I told her that I was reluctant to say this, but I think I might be stable at the moment.  Why am I reluctant?  Because I didn’t want to jinx myself.  I’m still reluctant to post this subject.  Stability is weird.  It feels foreign to me.  I can be happy and laugh, without going overboard.  I can think at a quiet pace, without my thoughts rushing ahead of me.  I can be sad without being immobilized.

My doctor is also treating me with Straterra for ADD.  This also appears to be helping with my focus.  I don’t get up and do other things four or five times in a two paragraph email message.  My thoughts are slow, compared to what I am used to. But I feel like I can finish this post without running and doing a dozen other things at the same time.  Maybe that’s just called multi-tasking, but that has always been beyond me.  And honestly, I don’t think multi-tasking is good for anyone.  You do a dozen things at once, but do they all get done right?  Doesn’t it take some focus to complete a task well?  I’m so used to hyperfocusing, that I don’t even know the correct answer for those questions.

Maybe this is the time to work on me.  Time to work on more core issues.  Things that are too hot to touch when in an extreme state.  I need to come to terms with my past, my childhood, and my mistakes.  I need to learn but not mourn.  This is the perfect time for CBT.  I need to dig deeper into my psyche while I have the opportunity to do so without it blowing up in my face.

I am afraid.  I am afraid that this plateau won’t last.  Stability has only come to me in spurts: a week or two here and there.  I don’t predict it lasting, although that would be nice. Or would it?  I once had a therapist tell me that I have so much drama in my life because I seek drama. I never thought that I seek drama, but it always seemed to me that drama finds me.  But is there a kernel of truth in there?  Maybe when I was younger but I am too old for that crap now.  But I do wonder… Do I know what to do with myself on a daily basis if I’m not fighting depression or mania?

I don’t call myself in recovery though, because I will never fully recover from bipolar disorder.  I think of bipolar as a relapsing/remitting illness.  And right now, I appear to be in remission.  I don’t know how long it will last, but hopefully long enough that I don’t feel so foreign to myself.  Some part of me worries – who am I without my bipolar?  Am I still an interesting person?  Will my friends still like me?  Will I like me?

So many philosophical questions, things that can only be answered by time.  I hope I don’t become so mellow as to be boring.  I hate boring.  But I guess it’s time to find out who I am beneath this layer of illness called bipolar.

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.

30 Days of Thanks: Day 4

I am very thankful for my husband. He is my rock, my friend, my soulmate. He puts up with my moods, my episodes, my bad habits. He cooks, he cleans, he does dishes and takes out the kitty litter. He carries the chores when I can’t do them, and often just beats me to it.

We haven’t always been this close, and we haven’t always gotten along. We came near to divorce once. But as we both learned more about my illness, my triggers, and the reasons behind specific behaviors, we grew closer. I think we have gotten a lot closer just over the last year, when I have finally started getting proper treatment for my various psychological illnesses (bipolar, OCD, etc.). He started taking cooking more seriously when I was diagnosed diabetic two years ago.

Some days, I think I couldn’t possibly live without him, that I wouldn’t have the strength to go on if something were to happen. I depend on my husband so much, maybe too much, and I worry about him whenever he goes somewhere without me. I love him with all my heart, and I feel thankful to have him every single day of my life. (Yes, even when he ticks me off.)

I would love to be more eloquent in this post, but I’m afraid I’m at a loss for words.  My heart is full of love and thanks – that’s all I have to say.

 
© 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.