Daily Archives: April 8, 2018

Living Nightmares

The weather remaining at winter temps as April is in bloom means my seasonal depression clings like the stench of decomposing flesh to hair follicles. Sunlight,sunlight,sunlight,say the mental health pros. Except Mother Nature isn’t providing any,all my ineffectual ‘mood enhancing lamps’ are DOA, and I can’t afford to buy a new one. Not that they ever worked for me,which sucks,because I guess for many people they work like gangbusters at helping winter depression. So no warmth,no natural light,meds not working…I am drowning and all I look forward to is sleep.

Except my long standing sleep disturbance means I wake,for no reason,multiple times a night. I have a hard enough time falling asleep, so it is really maddening to have to endure the process repeatedly every night.

Now due to the excess anxiety of the move and the monthly expenses doubling,not to mention proximity to my dad’s negative and oppressive faction…

Sleep is no longer a true comfort as it is plagued by nightmares. I wish they involved chainsaw wielding madmen. Instead,I wake up bathed in sweat because I am having dreams about water bills and getting trash service while still keeping food for my kid. And while you can wake up and laugh off the machete murderers…

This is my reality.

There is no escape. When you start out so far behind,there is no hope of getting caught up. If I could even get $200 in donations it would help immensely but I have lost my old fund raising mojo. Or people just care more about helping animals than helping a struggling mom and daughter. Idk.

Last night’s horror fest that woke me in a terror was some sort of repeat of the move except my mom,dad,and uncle were all berating me for not working and being on disability. It was brutal because it was like some anti intervention. Just people putting me down,calling me lazy, insisting I am not disabled,just milking it.

I was glad to wake up. Until I realized the move was no nightmare. We are really stuck in Armpit, paying double for the misery to live here, and if the donor loses another job like last time and we no longer have the child support…we’re screwed. And failing my kid,again, is terrifying. She is just now starting to forgive me for moving us here and finding positives in the situation.

Failing her is my living nightmare.

Unfortunately, my doctor was out of the office all last week when I called to report the Effexor failure. When the nurse called back,she was gushing about how the doctors prefer to try the max dose before changing meds and I felt myself crumble inside. 6 weeks with zero change,a dose increase isn’t gonna change that. Besides which it was the doctor who told me if I felt no improvement,chances are we need to try something else. My fear is IF the nurse even remembers to mention my call,the doc will have forgotten our convo and keep me on this ineffectual med. The nurse is the gatekeeper so her influence will likely trump prior convo doc and I had.

I feel like I’ve been sat in a dark corner and started gathering cobwebs waiting for someone to SEE how far down the rabbit hole I am and HELP. I am asking,pleading,begging.

I’ve got to get better,fast,and get a job and start doing better for Spook now!

if only it worked that way. What I want is a year of stable med combo so when I do look for work,I can be honest that I am stable and ready.

Right now,I’m still only bathing twice a week and can’t find a single thing in the future to look forward to except the elusive nightmare free sleep. If sheer will and desire counted for anything,I’d be super woman.

I just want the nightmares to stop. Or at least return to impossible stuff like sinking on The Titanic.

Which seems like a statement about my current situation. Drowning and no way out.

If the depression would let up,I know I could find a couple of rainbow barfing narwhals or something to make it all feel less futile.

Do I Disclose or Don’t I?

As I’ve mentioned before (even on my other blog https://wp.me/p4e9wS-zY), I’m running low on money and clients in my freelancing business. Therefore, I’ve taken up searching job ads online for part-time, work-from-home gigs. (So far, Indeed is the only service that has presented me with reasonable options. I sometimes apply for as many as three a day.)

It’s filling out the applications that has me stumped. Oh, I’ve got a fine resume – one on Indeed and another file I can send to jobs not listed with Indeed. I can write a decent cover letter. If there are editing or writing tests, I can handle them too. I have way more education and experience than I need, but I explain in the cover letter that part-time, contract, or freelance work is what I really want at this time in my life.

Then come the other questions that many ask.

Am I a veteran? No.

Am I a U.S. citizen or do I have the necessary documents to work in the U.S.? Yes.

Is English my first language? Yes.

Am I male or female? Yes.

What race do I identify with? Yes.

(Those aren’t really yes/no questions and are usually marked as optional, but I answer them anyway.)

Then comes the real stumper. Am I disabled? Well, that depends.

Most of the application forms state that they abide by EEOC regulations. Some of them even have a handy list of what are considered disabling conditions – and bipolar is one.

So. Do I take them at their word and believe that they do abide by EEOC regulations, in which case I can reveal my bipolar condition without penalty. In fact, if the company is trying to prove to someone that they are abiding by those regulations, the answer is probably yes, I should.

But we all know that such questions, while well-meaning on the surface, may actually be used to screen out disabled candidates. So perhaps I should answer no.

The deal with the regulations is that employers must offer “reasonable accommodations” to let disabled employees do their jobs, unless the accommodations for that condition are not feasible because of expense or other reasons.

So, as a person with bipolar disorder, what actual accommodations would I need?

The main ones I would need are the ability to work remotely, from home, and to have flex time. Those cost an employer nothing, usually.

And those are precisely the kinds of jobs I am applying for – work-remotely jobs in which you can make your own hours, or at least partially.

So when it comes to “The Question,” I have been answering “yes.” For the purposes of work, I am at least partially disabled by my bipolar condition. I cannot work full time. I have trouble working in a bustling office with lots of people around. I need flex-time to work around my symptoms. (I can still meet deadlines, though.)

Funny, but the forms don’t have spaces or yes/no questions on those subjects.

I have considered the idea that I am doing this all wrong. That I should not disclose my bipolar disorder until I have the job (and for those who don’t ask the question, that’s what I’ll have to do). That after I have the job is when I should discuss accommodations.

But dammit, all evidence to the contrary, I am a cock-eyed optimist. Those EEOC rules are there for a reason and I am that reason. I know that when most employers think “disability,” they think “wheelchair” or “impaired hearing.” But there it is, listed right among the possible disabling conditions – bipolar.

So far I’ve gotten a few form rejection letters and mostly a resounding silence. And in the meantime I’ve been scrambling for other clients and other assignments.

But I hope the day will come when just one of my potential employers means what it says about disabilities.

Those manic moments

A few things I’ve done whilst manic:

 

  1. As a young child, had a ‘vision’ that Jesus had leprosy. Also, at nursery school, had another ‘vision’ with depersonalisation.

 

  1. As a teenager, had other religious ‘visions’ including psychosis.

 

  1. As a teenager, the planet Venus told me (in compressed time) the philosophy of Plato’s ‘Symposium’.

 

  1. Got married. (It didn’t last.)

 

  1. Bought a one-way flight ticket to India. (And used it.)

 

  1. Been a total slut.

 

  1. Marched up and down the living room wielding a large kitchen knife, frequently stabbing the dining table.

 

  1. Had various delusions, most of which I still have (to some extent) despite meds.

 

  1. Bulk bought: cheap wristwatches; USB pen drives; clothing; etc.

 

  1. Written what I estimate to be more than a million words since my teenage years: fiction (several novels), poetry (thousands – many published), reviews, plays, etc.

 

  1. Wrote a 70k word autobiography in two weeks at the age of 20-ish despite nothing actually having happened in my life at that point.

 

  1. Made 20+ ensō paintings in 10 mins or so (total). The lawn was covered with them.

 

  1. Driven up to the Black Mountains obsessively, 3x a week for a couple of months.

 

14. Danced on a table in the staff room at lunchtime. No-one seemed to notice.

 

trees

Countdown to Muskogee. . . 12

I waver over the line of leaving and arriving, trying to come back to today where they meet.  This David Whyte poem spoke to me before I even contemplated moving and became a part of the art journal that will be published in July.  I tore this spread apart three different times, trying to find my true connection to the poem and my authentic voice in it.  It was one of the first spreads I created in the journal and one of the last I finished.  It seems fitting—the struggle of leaving and arriving—to a place and to ourselves.