I’ve been having some… conflict… at work with my manager, such that it’s become clear to me that it’s time to get out, and not just because I’m being judged “lacking,” some of which may or may not have any merit since the industry’s shrinking, I have a big mouth when I’m displeased about stuff, and there’s no doubt in my mind that while our store will be fine, our state and our district is going to be impacted by recent sales trends, such that there will be extra managers with more seniority than me and not enough stores. All of which is, more or less, objectively fine.
It’s even all well and good, because this job was one that I took to get me out of the house and over the hump of “I’m a complete failure because I had a nervous breakdown over being the wrong kind of litigation attorney and not being able to see a way out.” I still feel like a failure, kind of, but I don’t have that same rush of blood to the face and faint feeling when I say, if people ask about what I did B.B. (Before Bookstore), that I’m a “burnt out trial attorney,” or something along those lines. Burnout, nervous breakdown, complete misfit of sub-occupation with mental disorder– whatever.
Do I still have any idea what the hell I want to do next?
I’ve identified: work fewer nights & weekends.
The intimacy of bookselling to people with whom you can share knowledge and help, and the joys of working with fellow nerds all to the side, retail work sucks. Retail management sucks even harder, because turnover’s a bitch, customers too, and you keep repeating the same patterns over and over again (also, the same displays of the same types of books. Save me from the January displays of books featuring what I call “Brand Name Bookstore Thinks You’re Ugly, Needy and Fat.”)
I don’t know if it sucks more or less at a big or small store– at a small store, there’s fewer people to hate more intensely. At a big store, there’s more people to be annoyed by and bitch about behind each others’ backs, all the while doing nothing to improve the overall situation and, you know, rise above mediocrity and mere corporate ISO. Just do it the way the honcho above you wants it, that’s all. Don’t, you know, think, or try to pay attention to other things.
So, yeah. It’s time to get out. And I know that. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t stressful, or that I’m not incredibly anxious. Because– while I have made a few thrashing motions toward a job search, none of them have been in earnest, and this has had to light a fire under my ass because– even if things work out under the “plan” my boss and I have come up with, there’s no goddamned way I am staying, because IMHO there were sneak-attack tactics involved because she doesn’t want 360-degree criticism from me about shit she’s supposed to be handling. Nope. I’m just supposed to be managing all of the things, and only be getting paid for 1/3.
Which is all a long way of saying I’ve been anxious as hell, loading up on my prn anxiety meds a little more than I ought during the day so I don’t burst into tears at work, sending out applications like woah (and getting the beginnings of responses, which is hopeful) and otherwise just feeling like SHIT, I NEED TO GET A MOVE ON. And, y’know, not sleeping and feeling like physical crap.
Which is hard to distinguish from an impending overdose on a medication, which is something I figured out I think I’m having this morning. It’s been a few years, but you don’t just get unexplained neck/jaw/shoulder muscle tension and clenching, on top of the lack of sleep, general anxious/snappish/labile feeling and that elephant sitting on top of my chest– that muscle clenching is a symptom of psychotropics– and one I’ve had before, though it’s been almost four years since the last time.
It’s not a symptom of an OD anti-anxiety med, thank the gods of medication and whiskey. But it is a side effect of the SSRI, and I’m hesitant to continue taking it in a half-dose or at all because I remember my OD on lithium and abilify as being very, very distressing– borderline suicidal– and really quite physically painful as the meds continued to build up in my system. I left a message with my shrink, who hasn’t called me back yet, but on my own initiative I’ve upped the anti-epileptic I take as an adjunct to the SSRI and skipped the SSRI tonight, in the hopes it’ll get some of the muscle tension and drug out of my system. I can always take the anti-anxiety drug if I’m feeling angry/weepy– but I remember feeling on the border of hallucinations/paranoia and the closest I’ve come to psychosis with the lithium OD (stuff at the edges of my vision) and that’s something I don’t want to repeat.
Not when my boss is already looking to boot me out the door.
It never rains but it pours, and whether the stress from work triggered a mental state that made the meds stop working, or something vice versa, I so don’t need this ourobouros conundrum right now.
The one blessing in all of this, hah, if it can be seen as such– my dad had a bipolar girlfriend who was way more crazy than I’ve ever been. I have been on an off schedule from my dad the last couple of days, but I can tell him tomorrow that I’m a little bit worried about how crazy I am at the moment, and can he please give me reality checks– and I can trust that he will, unlike my husband, who was either afraid to confront me or didn’t really understand what was going on with me until it was too late and I was deep in a bad place. Dad, at least, while a little more likely to be over-critical, is at least willing to say I’m being nuts. I don’t always agree, but at least he tells me– and if I ask him for help, I think he’ll listen.
ETA, the following morning– even crazy-people instincts are good ones. One night off the drug and I already feel far less stiff.