If You Are the Smartest Guy in the Room…

Hope your Thanksgiving was great. We went on a trip to Louisiana to see family the day after Thanks giving.  It was filled with family, and the best food on the planet.

It was also filled with an uncomfortable conversation.

While hanging out with some family members drinking some Jameson and having a good time.When it was just me and one particular family member, I was asked if I was working. Of course I said no and that I was still going for my disability. When pressed, I explained my anxiety, and bipolar disorder and how they affect me.  Then I was pressed further for more of an explanation. I was asked how I could be around people at family gatherings and such, but have anxiety. Then more family came over to talk and the conversation changed.

It puzzles me that people treat mental health issues with such doubt. If I had cancer; then no one would say “But, you had that one good day” and then doubt that I had cancer. Why people do this with mental illness is beyond me.

As the conversation went on it was directed back to the subject of work and how people should pull themselves up and not ask for help. The same family member piped in with a bunch of “If this; Then that” statements on how people should get themselves back to on their feet. Some were valid; however one of these statements was “If it’s mental health; then go get your pills”.  This just proved to me that this particular person was ignorant on the subject of mental health issues.

Pills do not cure mental health issues. They can help manage the symptoms. Pills alone do not help with mental illness. It’s pills and therapy that are the course of action to make mental illness manageable.  Just like some treatments usually don’t work well by themselves, there are tandem treatments that go along with them (Like radiation & chemotherapy).

“Go get your pills” is not a solution for mental health issues.

Especially when you take in the fact that there is a severe lack of mental health services in this country.  In my state alone, there is such a shortage of psychiatrists that there is only 1 Shrink to every 10,000 patients. Yes, this number is offset by the use of Physician’s Assistants; however that is still a large deficit between people who need help and the people that provide help. Then you have to be qualified to receive any form of county, state, or federal assistance. The other option is to have insurance, which most people cannot afford through the Health.gov site, and if they work part-time they are generally disqualified from any form of assistance. So, you would have to work full-time at a job that supplies insurance. Which if everyone could do that; then this entire conversation would be a moot point.

In short, sometimes you simply cannot “go get your pills” to begin with.

I am not even going to go into the fact that sometimes it takes Y E A R S to find a medicinal regiment that will actually work for your symptoms. Sometimes it takes awhile to find out what pills to go get.

I guess the point is this: If you have little or no understanding on a subject; then don’t speak on that subject. It’s really that simple. You are doing nothing but spreading ignorance and perpetuating a stigma.

 

 

 

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Battle Royal

Yesterday was terrible.

I had plans to go to the store and run a few other errands; however those plans hit the skids. Apparently, my anxiety has made a new best friend out of my diabetes and yesterday was their first tag team match vs. my normal day activities.

If you have never read any of my posts (or have no idea who I am) then I should tell you that I have severe general anxiety disorder, along with bipolar disorder and OCD.

Yep, you are reading the blog of a crazy person.

So, my anxiety does it’s usual number and it was the typical battle of myself vs. the front door. Usually, I can calm myself and beat the door, but that day Anxiety brought it’s A Game. For almost 3 hours I stared at the front door of my house trying to gather the will to get up and go outside. To get shit done. Finally, I had summoned the will to go get groceries and run my errands and…

My sugar tanked.

So now the will was there, but my body was not able to get up and move. My sugar was low and I had to stop and eat a snack to get it back up. About 30 – 45 minutes later I had that under control and felt like I could move forward; however a new player had entered the tournament…

Depression.

4 hours of my day had been stolen and now, I sat there feeling worthless, feeling broken, and feeling angry with myself. I called no joy and crawled into bed. I talked with my wife, and chanted my mantra “Depression Lies” (Thanks Wil Wheaton) and moved forward. I cooked dinner, and my day returned to as normal as it could be at that moment.

That night I came to terms with something. I will always have to fight. This is a war, not a battle. I have to fight not only my mental health issues, but now my physical health issues as well. It’s a war on many fronts, but one that can be won. I just have to fight. It sucks, but I have to do it. I have the tools, I have the support structure, and I have the drive to persevere. Because if I don’t fight; then like in a real combat situation I will die.

It’s brutal, but it’s the truth.

So today I got up, fixed a healthy breakfast, and ran my errands. I lost yesterday, but today I struck back and I won. I will lose again, but I always have to keep fighting,  celebrate my victories and learn from my loses.

That’s how wars are won.

 

 

Victory-Ish (With a bit of Catch-Up)

Yeah, yeah… I know I haven’t posted in a few months. I have been busy.

However, I thought that I would come back to you all with some good news.

My SSI hearing was on Wednesday Sept. 27th. I had planned to let go of all of the constant mental and cognitive acrobatics that  I perform to keep the resemblance of stability that probably everyone sees right through; however that wasn’t necessary. I was a W R E C K when I got to the Federal Building. My anxiety peaked, thoughts were racing through my head and I could only look at the ground the whole time.

We arrived REALLY early and sat in the lobby. Waiting for our lawyer to arrive. Once he arrived he had some fairly good news. The judge had already made the judgment of a “Closed period”. Because one of the doctors or therapists had made the note that I was improving, he said that I could take the closed period, but not the residual monthly check. Basically,  I would receive payment from the date that I filed in 2015 to the date that I got out of my last IOP (BTW, I went into another IOP during the time that I was away from here) which was around September 15th, 2017.  So, Y x 25.5 months = Closed Period Check (Y is the unnamed amount that I would have been paid monthly during the closed period). I was told that I could re-file at anytime and that I would have a stronger case this next go around and that it probably would not take as long. So, I will be refiling later this month.

I feel that this is a win. Simply because, now I am not worried about back pay. I already have that out of the way and I just have to focus on getting a monthly check. I was working a job at the time and that also hurt me a bit. I was working for a company called Teletech troubleshooting a very popular brand of computer peripherals venture into cloud-based security cameras. I quit just a few days ago because the management there was horrific. I mean, these people couldn’t have run a fast-food joint much less a help desk. I was asked to work off the clock, threatened with termination if their software didn’t perform correctly, told that they would make any extra time disappear if I went over my 20 hours of availability and just treated horribly. It was just ran terribly. So, now I won’t have that weighing me down during my next filing and I already have a SSI Judge stating that I was previously disabled. So, I am fairly optimistic about this next go around.

I also plan on keeping up with this more. Maybe not posting every day, but at least once a week.

See you soon!

 

A Small Decorative Box.

It’s been a shitty few days.

Yesterday, I feel that I took the first steps away fro the shit show that is depression.  I asked my wife to call the MHMR crisis line for my county. I spoke with a counselor over the phone, and they dispatched a “mobile crisis team” to my house. I met with two of their team and I am taking steps to get help. I am looking to enter into a PHP/IOP here in a few weeks.

They are also setting me up with a therapist and hopefully I will get along with them.

I started to perk up yesterday. I made it out of bed and actually cooked some food. I also went out into public to pick up some smokes and did OK. I felt like things were getting better…

Then today happened.

We received Boo’s ashes back and now we have a physical reminder of her loss. It’s sitting in our bedroom, staring us in the face. All of the pain that had started to wane came flooding back into me. It knocked me down, but not out. I am fighting today. I am fighting the urge to curl up in bed and watch “The Office” all day. I am fighting to actually eat real food and not just pop-tarts. I am fighting to stay active and not just shut down. I am fighting. I am making my way through this grief and trying to make it to shore; however it isn’t an easy task.

I miss her so much and it hurts.

Despite that she is gone, I know that I have to keep on living. I have to keep on fighting. I will make it to that shore, and I am going to be OK.

I may need some more coffee, though. This shit is rough.

Princess of the Universe (and Surrounding Galaxies).

Yesterday was a hard day. My wife and I had to say goodbye to our first dog.

We had Boo since before we were married. We actually stole her from my mother-in-law. She asked us to pet-sit her , and we just never returned her. She was our pride and joy for 15 years. She developed pancreatitis and this complicated an existing heart murmur. Fluid filled her lungs and enveloped her heart. She had trouble breathing, even on oxygen, and it was just better to let her go vs. watch her suffer.

It was the right thing to do, but it still sucked.

Boo was with us in the beginning of our marriage, when we lost our pregnancy, and all of our other adventures. There are countless stories about her and her eccentricities; however I am not going to share those today. I mainly just want to get my thoughts out because I have been a wreck since she passed. I have had thoughts of self harm, thoughts of harming others, and then feelings of complete depression and apathy. Too the point where I didn’t trust myself to drive up the road a bit to Taco Bell. I was either going to wreck the car or hurt someone, possibly both.

Like I said, it’s been a hard day.

Because my wife and I cannot have children, our pets are our kids. With that being said, I feel like I lost a child today. I am lost in depression and fighting to keep my head above water. I may need to enter into a PHP or IOP; however I don’t think I can because I would probably end up losing my job. Even if I went out on FMLA, our income would be greatly reduced. I am not sure that we can afford for me to do that; however I am not sure if we can afford for me not to get into a program. Right now all I can do is watch “The Office” and lay in bed.

Sorry, but right now Netflix therapy is all I have.

It’s actually all I can afford.

 

You Had To See This Coming.

Tomorrow I am walking into one of my current employers and resigning.  Mind you, I have only been there for less than a week.

If you read the last post, then you saw this coming.

Anxiety has turned into depression, and I cannot handle being in a role that requires me to be in a face-to-face setting.

So, tomorrow, I deliver this:

To Store Management and Whomever Else It May Concern:

It is with my deepest regrets that I am writing to inform you that I am resigning from my <redacted> position effective immediately.

It has come to my attention that this job is not the best fit for me at this point in my life. I have issues of a personal matter that are intrusive to my work life and that will have an impact on my performance in my current role. I greatly appologize for these unforseen events and for the inconvienence that this may have caused you and your company. Rather than inhibit your business, I feel that it is best that I step down from my current role.

I do appreciate the opportunity to work for such an outstanding company such as yours and I do hope that I may be considered for future employment with you. I wish you all the best and hope that you can quickly find a replacment for my role with your company.

Best Regards,

<redacted>

So, it’s now time to focus on either a cubical type gig or something from home.

That’s my plan.

Sleepless Over Office Supplies

Here I am. Sitting at my computer at 1:25am having a panic attack.

Why? What’s wrong?

I am terrified of putting on a red shirt tomorrow.

I started work for… well let’s just say a large office supply retailer that is named after an actual office supply… and I have yet to complete a full shift. Tuesday I made it for a whopping 3 & 1/2 hours before the people and the openness started getting to me. I can’t handle it. Even after taking yesterday off, I am still in a sense of complete dread about going to work tomorrow. I have tried all day to put everything out of my head, but here I am. I was in bed, watching Fawlty Towers, waiting for my medication to kick in. I got sleepy for a few moments; however the dread has counteracted my pills. I tried forcing myself to go to sleep; however that obviously hasn’t worked.

I actually have sealed myself up in my geek-lair with the oil diffuser cranked with a clove & cinnamon mix and some incense burning. I am hoping that these sweet aromas will help me calm down and possibly get some sleep.

I am not holding my breath.

I am just terrified of going to that place tomorrow. I actually have a good notion to type up a resignation letter; however I am stuck on the male notion that I am just being a giant pussy and I know that is false logic. I have walked around this house anxiety-ridden and depressed for almost two days now and I am not sure that overcoming a (hopefully) temp job in retail is going to make me better. I still have my 2nd job and a few good prospects that have popped up lately. Honestly, I believe that this job is taking up time that could be put to better use by looking for another job and also polishing up on my Excel and Word skills.

I just don’t want to put on that damn red shirt.

 

Condiment Jokes and a Full House.

So, how about a little ketchup?

See what I did there?

Anyway…

So, in late December, we had a friend of ours move in. He is trying to reboot his life and we couldn’t stand the idea of him spending WAY too much money to rent a recliner and live under the Orwellian rules of his mother, so he lives here now.  So far, it’s been kind of fun having him live here. I say “kind of” because of this:

Me: Moderate Progressive Atheist.

Him: Somewhat Progressive Conservative Christian.

(I know! I smell sitcom in the making as well.)

We have had a few heated discussions and we have now come to the point where it isn’t a good idea to talk politics or religion, for the sake of the household. Normally, I would welcome such debate; however, usually when I have a discussion like this the other person goes home when it is all said and done, but in this case we live together. So, I have come to the realization that he is going to think his way and I am going to think my way and we just work to find common ground. We’ve been friends for decades, so it isn’t that hard. I like having him around, not for debate purposes, but for general conversation and company.

Also, we got a new dog!

She is a Russell Terrier/ Standard Poodle mix and is adorable. Her name was Popcorn; however she is now Bella (for Bellatrix LeStrange); however she is so not living up to her namesake. We named her that because of the Nerd Tradition of our dog’s naming scheme. We have a Marvel Character, A Doctor Who/Firefly Character, and now a Harry Potter Character (Our oldest came pre-named, but she shares a name with a Disney character). This dog is perpetually happy. She wags her tail like a paint mixer and with such force her entire body wags. She is so full of energy and so goofy, it was one of the best decisions that I have made so far this year.

We are also having a kid. ..

 

 

 

 

 

…come live with us this summer. Our housemate’s kid is coming to stay for the summer. She and her brother stayed for Spring Break and she loved staying with us. So, she is bunking in with us come early/mid June. She’s a great kid, too! She keeps a better house than 3 adults and that’s without prompting or a promise of a reward! I was astounded to see a 15 year old kid take out garbage and clean up a kitchen simply because it “needed to be done”.  Of course, I told her parents this and they were astounded that she cleans our house, but not theirs.  I still say she’s a good egg.

All in all, things are on an upswing from last year (*knock on wood) and hopefully will continue to get better here at the home-front.  I am planning on keeping up with this blog/journal more and hopefully there won’t be any more gaps between posts. The only thing that would keep me from doing so is if I land a job. So, if there is a gap, hopefully it’s because I am working and that is taking up my time.

Because ,unfortunately,  I don’t get paid to write a blog about my life’s adventures.

Or lack thereof.

 

Where The Fuck Have You Been?

Unlike the metaphorical father that left for a pack of smokes X number of years ago, I am back.

Where have I been?

Well, I will tell you.

In February, I started a job. I landed a “work-from-home” techsupport gig… or so I thought. I got a call back from a company called Kelly Services. I was tested and interviewed for this work-from-home gig. I was made an offer and I accepted. I then was told what I would be doing:

I was to be working as an AppleCare Advisor for all iOS devices.

Now, you may be thinking that is AWESOME; however it was far from. The job payed crap (for a technical support position) and the “benefits” that they offered was from the healthcare.gov website. So basically, they didn’t offer any healthcare insurance at all.  They sent me an iMac to work with and I had to disassemble my current computer system. Which was heartbreaking (Like the ending of Ol’ Yeller kind of heartbreaking).

Also, I should mention this: I FUCKING HATE APPLE iOS.

I did try to keep a positive attitude about the entire thing (No, really, I did).

I went through the 4 weeks of training to learn NOTHING about iOS that I didn’t already know; however I did learn a few things regarding the interaction between iOS and Mac OS X  and it was interesting. I basically took aced tests over basic IT concepts and played games on my tablet. When it finally came down to the most basic of skills that we needed to work at this job: learning the call system, we got almost no training.

You would think that the training would include a large portion of how to use the Apple Care ticketing systems (aka: iLog) and how to use all of it’s features. You would think that we would have access to this tool before we took calls. You would think that our trainers that did assist us in taking the few calls we did before we started work would be helpful; however it was just the opposite. We got to take a few calls during training and we were “mentored” by the most apathetic guy on the planet (and that’s coming from me!) who didn’t seem to care about anything other than us n00bz getting him in trouble.  It wasn’t until the last 30 minutes of our last day that we got somewhat trained on this system. The next day we went into full production.

(Basically, up until we got access and training, we were shown screenshots of iLog and that’s it. Imagine me showing you pictures of the drivers side part of the dashboard and explaining how they should work. Then, after a couple of lessons with just the pictures and my tutorial/explanation, I tell you to get in the car and take it out on the freeway.)

On my first day of production, I started on time and taking calls like a champ. I muddled my way through iLog and did pretty well (IMO). Until, iLog and my Apple VPN shit the bed. I didn’t panic. I called out attendance line to report the issue and was told that I would need to call the Help Desk. No problem. I rebooted my iMac and called the help desk. While on hold, my iMac booted and I tried signing in again. iLog still showed that it had a connection error. While I was waiting, my mouse started to move and I kept getting a series of IMs. WTF? I wrestled my mouse from whoever had remoted into my iMac and opened the first IM.

Did you ever see the movie “Office Space”?

…Bob: I have eight different bosses right now.

Eight, Bob. So that means that when I make a mistake, I have eight different people coming by to tell me about it. That’s my only real motivation is not to be hassled, that and the fear of losing my job. But you know, Bob, that will only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired.

And that’s what was happening.

I had put my iLog into an auxiliary code that didn’t go over well. Apparently, I had someone remoting into my computer to get me out of it and multiple people yelling at me via Jabber. My choice to place myself in “Offline” when my system was… well, offline was a bad choice.  So, I had all of these strangers trying to get my attention to get me to change it. When I advised everyone that I was having technical issues and on hold with the help desk, I was told that I should be in “Break” and not “Offline” (Because that makes sense in their world). I then had the multiple people explaining why and that I was “doing a bad thing” by avoiding calls. I then left a message for the help desk and tried force quitting the app. This fixed it; however a call to the attendance line again later, I was told that without a ticket number from the help desk that I would be marked as absent from half of my shift. The above events took about 25 minutes and most of it was explaining to people what was happening. It did not take 4 hours. So, queue the panic attack.

I tried taking another call and made it through it; however I was done for the day.

The next day I logged in and was determined to have a better day. That didn’t last long.

The key metric that is monitored for an AppleCare Advisor with Kelly Services is attendance. You get five occurrences before you get the boot. I received an email stating that with the one day that I had to take care of my wife and logged in late during training, some other tardy that I don’t remember and the prior day’s episode that  I had 3 occurrences, and this email was to make me aware of that.  So, I sent an email to my trainer, my supervisor and my team lead:

I resigned effective immediately.

Yep, rather than having another termination on my resume`, I just gave my notice. So, now I am looking for a job again and honestly, I am glad that I quit; however, I was kind of excited to work again. I emailed my disability lawyer that I tried to return to work, but failed at my job.  I have yet to hear anything back.

I have an appointment with the county mental health clinic this week. I may be entering an IOP to deal with some shit, if that’s available. I have been dealing with depression and anxiety a lot. I have also been having mixed episodes, which suck balls.

On a brighter note, I did get a new phone recently and I fucking love it…

And no, it wasn’t an iPhone.

 

 

A Swift Kick in the Balls.

I cannot recall hating a year so fucking much as 2016. 2016 has been nothing more than a year of loss. I have come to an understanding that my being almost 40 means that my heros are going to be dead soon; however I didn’t expect so many at one time. Today, however, is the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Today we lost our princess: Carrie Fisher.

I am in tears, literal tears, as I type this out. We have lost 50 celebrities from music icons to statesmen this year. That’s almost one per week this year and 2016 still has a few days left. I cannot believe that one of my biggest heros is gone.

It sucks.

Not only was she Princess Leia, and later General Leia, she was a huge advocate for mental health issues. When I was first diagnosed as bipolar, I watched a documentary called “The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive” by Stephen Fry. I was shocked to see her in it. I felt a calm come over me when I found out that “Princess Leia” was bipolar as well. Carrie Fisher became more of my hero that day because I knew that if she could live with being bipolar, then I could too.

I will miss her terribly, despite I am just a fan that she never met. She meant the world to me.

So long, Princess.