So as those of you who subscribe, and read this blog regularly already know, I have been looking for work. Well, I found it. Maybe. This has been a hell of a busy week, suicidal on Tuesday, therapy on Wednesday, interview Thursday, and a med evaluation on Friday. But before I get into all that I thought I’d just take a minute to apologize for leaving you all hanging so often over the past month. I know I went rather quickly from posting almost every day, to maybe squeezing one out per week. If the job does go through, it will probably stay that way, although I fully intend to start cramming as much into these posts as possible, starting with this one.
Anyway, let’s go back to what happened this week, shall we? I’ve been trying my best to apply for as many jobs as possible in the telecommunications field, which is where I have the most experience. By telecommunications I mean, of course, telemarketing and customer service hotlines. You might be wondering how I can possibly work in a field where ninety percent of the job is talking to strangers, and you’d be right to wonder. I certainly don’t have an answer for you, except to say that most of the jobs I’m qualified for are in the customer service industry, and at least on the phone they can’t see me.
On Tuesday morning I got a phone call inviting me to set up an interview for a job. I agreed, answered a few questions, and promised to bring my two forms of ID with me so that if they wanted to hire me after the interview, they could get started a.s.a.p. As soon as I got off the phone I enlisted my husbands help to find my stuff. I knew my ID card was expired, so that wouldn’t work, but I was pretty sure that I had my birth certificate and social security card in an easily accessible file. We pulled out the file and sure enough there they were, only they weren’t mine. As the day went on we went through every last place I could think that they’d be, but to no avail.
Every time we came up empty my temper got a little hotter and my fear welled up a little bigger inside me. How could I be so stupid as to misplace such important documents? After exhausting every reasonable location they could be I let it all get the better of me, stomping up the stairs to my room, and slamming the door. I let out a hideous screams the top of my lungs, but only for a second. The last thing I wanted was to cause a scene, and get the cops called on me. As I sat on my bed I thought about getting a knife from the kitchen, sharpening it, and using it to slit my wrists.
Then I thought about how that wouldn’t solve anything, and it would wreck my husband’s chances to live his dreams, and how it would end rather than just postpone my own and I switched gears to thinking about just cutting a little. Just a few deep cuts on my upper thigh, where no one could see them… I let myself dwell on that for a little while longer than I probably should have, but then I let them go, too. I realized this was exactly what my therapist was talking about when he told me I needed to work on being more resilient. The missing papers were not that big of a deal, I would probably be given a little more time to get them together, and although it would be hard and require a lot of uncomfortable socialization, I could do it.
I didn’t want to, and I had a bad attitude about it the whole day, flopping back and forth between, “I can do this,” and “This is impossible,” but I didn’t think about killing myself after that, and although I still thought about it, I didn’t hurt myself either.
Wednesday saw me feeling a bit better about the whole thing, and I was looking forward to seeing my therapist. We talked a lot about the importance of self-care again, and how important it is to maintain a good sleep cycle. We talked some about the state of my marriage, and how much having a good relationship with your spouse can affect your mental health.
Then we talked about the future, specifically the fact that I spend way too much time living there mentally. I don’t really allow myself to feel good in the moment, because I’m too busy focusing on what’s going to be, instead of what is. He asked me how I felt about that, because I think he could sense that I was more than a little uncomfortable with the idea of living for the now, and I told him bluntly that I felt like that was a little short sighted. He explained that he wasn’t advising me to stop planning for the future, or setting goals, and it’s important to consider the future consequences of our actions. What he was saying was that I need to stop spending every waking minute of my life there. I need to take the time to stop and smell the roses, as it were.
He was right, of course. I do need to be happier in the now, and learn to recognize when it’s productive to worry, and when it’s not. For example, right now as I write this I am feeling extremely anxious about a couple of phone calls that I blew off yesterday to spend time with my cousin. I feel bad, because I know that one of the people who called is feeling extremely isolated lately, and the other is a dear friend from high school, who means the world to me and I would do anything for. I feel like the decision I made to ignore these calls was the right one, because my cousin is also very important to me, but at the same time I feel like I’ve wronged the people I ignored and consequently damaged our relationships. I know I’m probably over thinking, and more to the point, there is nothing I can do about it right now, so shouldn’t I try and let it go for now and deal with the fallout when it gets here, instead of trying to do damage control before I’ve even assessed if there is damage to begin with? Probably, though it kept me up for a few extra hours last night.
At the end of the session we got to try something fun: EMDR therapy. EMDR stands for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. It seems really cool, although it didn’t work for me this time. Anyway, you start by picturing a safe and peaceful place, either real or imagined, in as much detail as possible, including how it feels to be there. Then your supposed to follow the therapist’s fingers with your eyes as they move back and forth in front of you. Then the therapist asks you what you feel.
Now the visualization I get, I do that all the time when I’m writing stories. I imagine every blade of grass, the temperature of the breeze that rustles though it the way it smells of earth, with a hint of something flowering close by. I see with my mind the lady bug that crawls up the tallest blade and sits at the top, fanning and refolding it’s wings. I hear the hum of the electrical substation somewhere nearby. What I can’t do, is keep any of it in my head once his fingers started moving.
My brain went instantly from thinking about my peaceful place to hyper focusing on making sure my eyes did exactly what they were supposed to. Then when he’d ask me what I felt, I was at a loss. How did I feel? Did it work? Did I do something wrong? How was I supposed to feel? He told me repeatedly that there was no right or wrong, but I couldn’t help feeling like I was screwing it up.
In the end we decided to put that therapy on the shelf for now, though he told me he has a few others in mind to try. He also said that even though it didn’t work, it wasn’t a failure, and that he learned some new things about me because of how I responded. I’m very much looking forward to going back to see what else he has in store for me.
I was too anxious to sleep on Wednesday night, so I ended up dying my hair at 3 AM, since the place I’ll be working is business casual and doesn’t allow facial piercings or unnatural colors. Which I would like to mention is utterly ridiculous because it’s a call center, the only people who can see you are your co-workers. In my book asking someone to remove piercings, cover up tattoos, or dye their hair a “normal” color is like asking a black person to bleach their skin to a “less offensive color,” and should be every bit as illegal. But whatever, there’s nothing I can do about it, so I acquiesced and now my hair is black brown #20.
Thursday came and I went to my interview. I totally aced the primary interview, and got a decent score on the typing test. They had me stick around for a second interview, and I nailed it too. All kinds of nice things were said about me by my interviewers, like “You’re sweet as a peach,” and “That’s the best response I’ve gotten to that question all day.” I was supposed to get started on my new hire paperwork and do the drug test, but not having my ID yet kept me from moving forward. They can’t even start the background check without having proof that I’m legal to work in this country.
I told them I understood and promised to bring it in as early as possible next week. Needless to say, I was significantly less calm about the whole thing as the day progressed, but my husband learned that my mom had a copy of my birth certificate, so we were able to arrange to pick that up from my stepdad on Friday, though due to the holiday weekend I won’t be able to get either my ID or social security card until Tuesday.
My med evil on Friday was weird. It was an hour and a half visit, and I swear that by the end of that time the doctor knew my whole life story inside and out. I talked to him about everything from my paranoia, and aggression, to my childhood, and my relationships. We went through a list of all the medications I could take to treat my bipolar, which he confirmed was a correct diagnosis. We talked about Abilify, because he felt it would be one of the best to pull me out of my bipolar depression, where as the Lamictal that I was on previously would take longer to start working and is more preventative, and less effective at pulling you out once you’re in. I told him I was really worried about the suicidal thoughts and behaviors I’ve been exhibiting, and he said that the only med proven to reduce suicide risk is Lithium, but that it wouldn’t help with my anxiety. Then I told him exactly how bad the anxiety was and he said that he felt the best course of action would be to start me on Serroquil, and work on getting the Lamictal back into my system. So that’s what we did. I haven’t picked up my prescriptions yet, but that’s what I’ll be taking.
So aside from yesterday, which was pleasantly uneventful and nice, that brings us to today. Today I sat down with my husband and figured out more or less how much money we’re going to need to make it work until I get paid, provided I actually get the job, and the number is ridiculous. It’s going to cost us $2,500 to pay all of our bills over the next three weeks. That’s just three weeks, not even a full month. If you were to extrapolate from that figure it actually costs us $3,333.33 per month to live in a house that’s all paid off, drive a car that was paid for outright, and not have any television service apart from Netflix and Hulu. That is the amount for power, internet, phone, gas, and utilities, plus groceries, and including therapy for my husband and I.
Something is going to have to give, because my new job is only going to net me about $1,650 per month, and that’s barely going to cover therapy, let alone pay the bills. I’ve been seriously considering canceling my phone plan, but the biggest expense from that is that we are still paying off four different phones, and that wouldn’t go away just because we canceled the service. I know I can’t afford for either of us to stop therapy either, because we need to be in a good head space to make the next five years work and that’s not something either of us are capable of doing on our own. The power bill is probably going to drop drastically once the weather cools down, but for now it’s still hot as hell, so I can’t count on that happening very soon.
My husband applied for food stamps and Medicaid, and he got approved, although I’m sure that’s all going away once I start working, as is the possibility of getting on disability. I literally don’t know how we’re going to survive the next five years when I won’t even be making half of what we need, let alone the next month when I’m not making anything and our funds are completely depleted. But I’m trying to do what my therapist said and enjoy the now. Right in this minute I don’t need anything. Right this second I have food to make it through the day, and I have no bills due, and no other obligations. In this instant I am free, and that is going to have to be good enough.
I did my makeup and everything to show you all my new hair color, but I just couldn’t take a good picture that actually showed my face today…