Mondays, panic attacks, and work

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I’ve noticed people look on Monday as the worst day of the week. It’s the usual drag to get back to work after the weekend. I don’t see it that way. Of course, that may be because I don’t work a classic 9-5 job. Then again, when I did, I dreaded work every day and not just on Monday.

Panic attacks before work, on my way to work, once I got to work, or at some point during my work day were not uncommon – especially when I started my stint at the call centers in Boise. I ended up working for DirecTV, WDS, Citi, and Teleperformance – though with Teleperformance I didn’t even make it through three days of training before the panic attacks got so bad I just walked out and didn’t go back.

I lasted the longest at Citi – almost three years – but I was also in the mental hospital the most because of that job. I landed in the mental hospital four of the five times while working there. I was sent to the ER so many times because I passed out and they were concerned I was having a heart attack or something that turned out to just be really bad panic attacks. I’d often take the next day off to recover and then head back to work after that.

I worked collections, and that was part of it. But when I switched to customer service it got worse. Citi has a requirement that you have to sell products when you help customers in customer service. The products suck and I wouldn’t want them if I was a customer, but we were forced to offer them. If we didn’t reach certain sales quotas, we would be fired. I was a horrible sales person and my numbers were constantly bad. I was so stressed that I’d be fired I ended up in the mental hospital. When I got back to work, I escaped back to collections – which was actually less stressful to me than customer service.

I did okay in collections in the beginning. It was all incoming and I could do a lot to help people. Then they took away a lot of my options to help. Then they forced us to go outgoing as well as incoming. Then they changed our computer systems. I had more panic attacks at that point and twice ended up in the mental hospital. After the second time I finally couldn’t take it anymore and ended up on disability through the company. I applied for social security and got it. Then I quit at Citi and haven’t looked back.

Farm life seems to suit me better. I don’t answer to anyone other than the others who live with me, and even then we all work together to make things run. If I have an off day they understand and often will pick up the slack if I ask. I don’t often do this so they don’t have to do my work on top of theirs. Sometimes I feel like I can’t do anything right even though I’m constantly given positive feedback on what I do. But that’s the bipolar and anxiety talking, and I’m learning to ignore those little voices and pushing past them to get on with my work.

Monday can be a hard day to deal with, but only if you make it one. If you look on it as a day that opens a whole week of possibilities then that might help make it better.

#ShitAbledPeopleSay

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On Sunday, I was hanging out on Twitter (which I actually don’t do all that often anymore) when I saw a hashtag that intrigued me. I use TweetDeck so I clicked on it and it brought up a list of the tweets being done under that hashtag. The hashtag – if you couldn’t guess – was #ShitAbledPeopleSay.

Here are some of the ones I saw that I couldn’t help but comment on:

“Yeah you have [illness] but you don’t /really/ have it. My friend’s cousin’s neighbor’s niece has it much worse.”

“If you got out more, you could meet some people and I bet you’d feel better.”

“You wouldn’t be so depressed if you thought more positively.”

“But you don’t want to be on meds for the rest of your life; that’s not good for you”

And here are a couple of mine:

“Anxiety is all in your head. You’re doing it to yourself. Just don’t think about it & you’ll be fine.”

“Social Security Disability is only for people with REAL disabilities. Mental illness isn’t a REAL disability.”

Now, I know none of you, my wonderful blog readers, would ever pull stuff like this. At least not consciously. But you may do it unconsciously, without thinking about it, because society has trained all of us to think this way. I’m disabled and I still do it to others with disabilities from time to time. I’m not perfect, and I’m not saying I never do these things. I am no hypocrite in this. I make mistakes just the same as everyone else. But we need to be aware of these mistakes and move to correct them.

I’ve talked about invisible disabilities, and how those of us with them are often fed a lot of bullshit about how we’re not disabled. But I think about all of those people I’ve known with visible disabilities – my blind friend Amber, my deaf friends Kacey and Heather, my friend Cecil who was in a wheelchair (I don’t remember why off hand). They got saddled with so much crap it was appalling. We’re all in this together and we need to stand together.

Take to heart the fact that we need to be careful how we speak to each other, not just those of us with disabilities, but to everyone in general. Treat everyone with respect until they show you that they don’t deserve that respect.

Fascinating…maybe

Beautiful Monarch

Isn’t that an interesting title? I couldn’t come up with anything better. Titles aren’t my forte. Even with my stories. Most of the time they end up with working titles like “Fang Faces” or “Archangels” until I come up with a better title for them. (In case you’re wondering, Fang Faces and Archangels are the working titles of two of my urban fantasy series that will probably end up getting merged into the same world, and no, Archangels doesn’t really have anything to do with angels anymore.)

So, quick health update. I’ve had five seizures since February, when I saw my primary care doctor last. I went back on Friday July 1st to see him. That was fun, considering he’s in Salem. I also wanted to talk to him about my chronic and perpetual headaches and stomach aches. He told me “I can throw things at the wall but I don’t know enough to do anything useful” about my seizures and referred me to a neurologist. For my headaches – which he believes are migraines – and my stomach aches, he did a few tests and ultimately prescribed me a couple new meds to try. We’ll see how that goes.

I got my neurologist appointment. They called last Tuesday, when I was on my way into Salem again to do my monthly grocery shopping trip. The appointment is set for September 6th. The neurologists are supposed to be some of the best in the area, so they’re extremely popular and extremely busy. So we’ll see what they can do for me.

I also FINALLY got my med management appointment. That’s on August 18th at 8:30 am. My therapist wants to sit in on the first one. I think, maybe, I’ll finally get this worked out. I’m so glad it’s finally in the works.

Okay, so that wasn’t quite that quick. 😄

Writing wise, I’m plodding along with my Camp NaNoWriMo project. It’s a story about a Myr, my take on merfolk. My merfolk are different from the standard mermaids and mermen you see. I’m not going to share why right now. You’ll just have to wait and see. I may share the story on the blog. I may not. I may finish it (finish writing it, edit it, get it beta read, edit it again, get it beta read again, edit it again) and self publish it because I don’t think it’s going to be a full length novel. I could be wrong though. We’ll have to see.

I’ve been struggling with my moods over the past week. That’s why for the first several days of Camp my word count stayed stubbornly at 321 words. It wasn’t until around the 7th that it really took off, and now it’s sitting at just over 11k. But try as I might, I couldn’t get it to go anywhere. I also couldn’t focus on reading any of the library books I checked out, read any of my Kindle books, or listen to the podcast I love so much. Usually, if it’s a self-imposed depression, a back episode or two will perk me up. (If you’re curious, my favorite podcast is Kevin and Ursula Eat Cheap…it’s definitely an adult podcast.)

My usual methods haven’t been helping, so I’ve been looking for new methods to help me work things out. I’ve started walking more regularly, especially since the weight I saw at the doctor’s office really depressed me. No, I’m not going to say what it was. Let’s just say I’m heavier than I was in Boise and leave it at that. I’m going to keep walking – weather permitting – and see if that doesn’t help me lose some weight. I’m also going to cut back on my soda again and try to cut back on my portion size.

I think that’s enough of my rambling for today. I hope everyone has a wonderful week, and barring my usual “I don’t wanna” and “What the fuck do I write about”, I’ll be back on Wednesday. Bye! *waves*

The beginning of a new month

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Today is July 1st. If you live in Canada, it’s Canada Day. If you live in the United States, it’s the start of the long weekend for the 4th of July. If you live elsewhere in the world, as far as I know, it’s just another day.

Today I’m headed to my primary care doctor. Since I saw him in February, I’ve had several seizures, I’ve got other health issues going on, and I need to see him. It’s a 3 hour round trip at least, not including traffic. It’s the holiday weekend and people are going to be flocking to the coast. I live on the coast, so getting home from Salem is going to be a real adventure.

I look at the beginning of the month as a clean slate. Everything that happened in the previous month slips away and new opportunities and choices lay before me. There are some things that carry over from month to month, but those are responsibilities and must always be dealt with. But the rest of the month is wide open to all sorts of possibilities.

I spoke to my dad last week. He was leaving Tuesday of this week to go camping and wouldn’t be home until July 5th. I was feeling a little jealous. I haven’t gone camping in a long time and I find I miss it. When I was a teenager, I resented having to go with my family because of how unpredictable my mother was. So I would find any excuse to stay home. Once I stayed home in order to take care of the tomato plants my mom hadn’t planted yet. I spent so much time with my best friend that I forgot to water them. It was summer in Boise, so they died. When she got home, my mom was pissed. That was the last time I was allowed to stay home. No matter what, I had to go on the camping trips.

We did a lot of outdoor things when I was growing up. When I was really young, we’d go out and chop firewood for our fireplace. We stopped that when we moved from Northern Idaho to Boise. Then we would go on picnics, long drives, we’d go fishing and camping. I was always scared of being out there with my mom because even then she was unpredictable. But there was some peace and enjoyment. I can remember one specific camping trip. I was wearing a shirt/skort outfit that I really loved. It was a beautiful reddish orange with huge flowers on it. While I was writing at the picnic table, a hummingbird came to investigate me. It thought I was some strange flower. My mom was there and saw it happen. My dad and little sister were down by the river. It was the most amazing thing that happened to me.

One of my favorite picnic stories happened long after I’d moved out of the house. I was living in Washington. My parents and little sister came to visit me and we all went to Hurricane Ridge for a picnic. We were eating and the local avian wildlife was watching us. There was an overabundance of gray jays there. A few of them were coming close to the table and even though we weren’t supposed to feed the wildlife, we tossed them a few crackers. I’d just taken a bite of my sandwich and was pulling it back from my mouth when a gray jay landed on my arm, snatched some of the meat from my sandwich, and flew off with it. We all cracked up laughing and took better care to guard our food.

Even in my darkest moments with my Bipolar, I still have those happy moments I can draw on to give me strength. There are times when event hat doesn’t help, but they’re still there if I look for them.