Tag Archives: medication

(Easier than) waiting around to die

(Trigger warnings for discussions of suicidality, family drama, and other A+ parenting issues.  Also, as usual, language.  This is a sort of undecided, sort of open-ended piece because I need to tweak my meds again and am feeling more than a little blue, but I have already called my shrink & let my therapist know I feel lousy, in case you’re wondering.)

I read some author’s line someplace that we sometimes feel like can’t be who we really are until everyone who’s known us is dead.  Sometimes, it’s even true by circumstances of money or other constraints– you don’t have the freedom to tell other people and their expectations to go screw, and sometimes just heading out for the hills and reinventing yourself somewhere, somewhen else is not in the cards. Continue reading

Side effects may include (not as described)

Any drug is going to have side effects.  Any psychoactive drug, either when it stops being effective, or causes you to be in overdose (the “mild,” not-dead, not in the hospital yet kind of OD) often has side effects that mimic the symptoms you’re trying to treat.  Sleep disturbance, anxiety, paranoia, lethargy, apathy, catatonia, insomnia, suicidal ideation, you get the drift.  In something cyclical like bipolar, it’s hard to tell if it’s the meds that aren’t working, if it’s too much meds, if it’s the change in season (bipolars’ diurnal & circadian rhythms are really sensitive and prone to getting extremely messed up), or some external stressor that has set off a dip or upswing in mood– but it can be a slow creep, and sneaky, and even practiced, self-aware, general ly pretty in-control folks can find themselves in the midst on an onset before they realize they’re having an episode.

And then there are the physical side effects.  These may or may not be listed on the drug label– my own experience since 2007 is that some of the side effects are always going to be idiosyncratic to the patient, especially when dealing with psychoactive drugs, which doesn’t mean they still aren’t real to the patient, and that some aren’t listed because they’re not widely known yet, because a lot of bipolar drugs are off-label anti-convulsants, and so, obviously, bipolars’ reactions are going to be a little different from people with seizure disorders.  (This is why patient med wikis like crazymeds are so integral to feeling like you aren’t totally nuts when you experience symptoms that are listed nowhere official.)  I mentioned the sleep disturbance– so, multiply that by weeks or months, and then see how your joints and muscles ache because you’re exhausted.  See how your patience and moods fray, and your sense of humor disappears (and makes your mood swing even worse). Sometimes, there’s muscle stiffness, so painful you can’t turn your neck, and it brings tears to your eyes to touch your own skin to rub in some arnica cream or Tiger Balm or whatever other placebo-self-care balm you think might possibly help.  Some of the meds make you clench your teeth so that you wake every day with a headache or walk around with a permanent frown that turns people off because they think you hate everyone.  (You don’t.  Just your meds, the same ones that make it possible to get out of bed everyday and come to work to frown at everybody in sight.)  They dry out your mouth, or leach out salts so that all you do all day is drink water and crave a salt lick.  Sometimes, the meds dry out your skin, so that no lotion is thick enough and you have to go to the work bathroom three times a day to lather up just so you won’t claw your skin off.  (But it’s spring, and you’re hitting a middle age hormone change, it makes sense that your normal spring dry patch would just be worse this year, that’s what you tell yourself…)  You take ibuprofen to deal with the headaches, the jaw pain, the muscle stiffness, the aches of exhaustion, and suffer the bruising that comes with too much NSAIDs as a result.  Another side effect.  Not so bad, right?

And then you realize, maybe after the fourth time you’ve closed you’re office door because you’re leaking tears again, OH, I’m having a mood swing and I need to adjust my meds and maybe I’m also overdosing because– what’s this weird rash on my chest?  DO NOT IGNORE THE RASH ON YOUR CHEST, DO NOT IGNORE A RASH ANYWHERE, I REPEAT, especially if it’s raised & it itches, take a benadryl right away.  Cut your dosage, call your shrink, look up your meds to see if you need the ER, if your shrink does not call you back, call your primary care doctor, call your therapist– tell someone your meds do not work and you need to get off them and onto something else, pronto.  Keep calling until someone calls you back.

I try to not completely discontinue meds– withdrawal sucks cold turkey & it has dangers all of its own– but so does strong suicidal ideation, and sometimes complete cessation of meds = cessation of strong urges, plus sometimes there is not enough klonopin/other anti-anxiety med du jour (or sometimes, there’s just enough in exactly all the wrong ways) to make those wrong, ugly inner voices quiet down so you can hear something besides your mood swing.  A bridge medication is good, even if you still are going to feel, over all, pretty bad for a bit– because a bridge helps you cross the chasm, and if it makes you feel a little dopey, a little zoned out, a bit unable to spit the words out, a little less in touch with the finer feelings you’re going to have to deal with at some point– well, at least it gets you over the fiery pit part in the middle.  (That is a crappy metaphor.  Sorry.)

No one ever tells you this in the psychiatrist’s office.  I don’t know if it’s because they don’t take the meds so they don’t know (or because it’s unprofessional to admit they they feel your pain) or because they think it’s scare you to know that at some point, you’ll have to switch it all up, and that at a certain point you’ll have to start down a new road, your old bridges burning behind you– such that you’ll never start off in the first place.  I do know now, what I didn’t a while ago– the lessons learned smell like ash, but they still illuminate, even if it is just at the brink.  (Oh, crap, it’s a rash– that’s an illumination.)

My therapy homework this week is– every day– to write down something that I did right, at work or at home.

Just like when I was sitting in my therapist’s office and he said that to me, all kind intention and just brimming with empathy– this man is good in the essential sense of that word– I’m leaking and choked because I can’t hear it, can’t think it.

Medication changes and more severe than usual spring mood swing aside, I don’t get enough thanks or praise, and when I do get it, it’s often laden, conditioned.  “You’re the best,” because I did something so ridiculously, outrageously pampering of a grown-ass adult, just to get the work off both of our desks, even though it means it pushes the boundary back toward me though it’s not my job.  “It’s nice that you work late & weekends,” (because the other guy didn’t.)  These aren’t words that mean they see me– it only means that I exist as a contrast, an outline against some other condition/behavior/thing they want to avoid and make their life easier as a response.   And I feel like it’s insincere when I hear it most of the time, because people just want things from me that make their lives easier.  They don’t care about me except as a delivery vehicle.

I feel pretty invisible, most of the time– partly my role, partly my introversion, who knows what else– and when I’m visibly upset, most people don’t ask if I am okay or even let the pause be awkward before leaping in to the thing that they want– either because they’re oblivious, or selfish, or because there’s some perceived power dynamic and it’s better not to acknowledge that someone “above” you is having a shitty day in case they’ll get… what?  I don’t know.  I don’t understand the dynamic of it.  I guess it’s mostly that it’s my job to be the one to deal with people’s feelings and people can’t deal with the idea that I might have some of my own.

At work, too, there’s a power dynamic between “just” the admin and the sales teams.  It’s shitty. The sales leadership aren’t as well trained as they could be, and they’re allowed to get away with inconsistent & lacking behavior as long as the sales are on point, while the administrators run around mopping up after them.  It’s the same any place, but the rhetoric here is that it’s supposed to be different and the divide from reality is stark, isolating, and disenheartening in the extreme.  When you feel overworked, under-appreciated, overwhelmed with entitled stupid questions & never given a pause to train anyone in order to stop the stupid questions or any subset of of them, it’s– misery, pretty much, pure & simple, especially when you’re more or less suicidally depressed and no one seems to notice except your second assistant in a year and oh, yeah, guess what, she’s going to grad school so you’re going to have to start training somebody else by mid-summer.

There are smaller things that I did right this week.  I admitted that I made a mistake about something that won’t be the end of the world.  I helped someone qualify for housing benefits.  I helped someone with a leave of absence and explained how short term disability worked.  There is more.  I can’t recall any of it in the constant onslaught of shit I deal with, day in & day out.  Some of it’s firing people for stupid mistakes (the worst reason to fire someone, imho, at least be blatant about it), some of it’s wading through unqualified applications, some of it’s saying no for the 40th time and handing the person the explanatory form they’re too lazy too fill out themselves.

I can’t help feel, though, that the main thing I did right this week was admit that right now, I really do hate my job and I need to take some time off before I do something stupid like mess up something for someone or quit.  (Like, you know, last time.)  I don’t feel better about it, for managing to pull myself up short of my 2009 mistake and having admitted weakness, reached out for help, and asked for a leave of absence, without disclosing all the particulars of my diagnosis.  I still feel stupid and paranoid and crazy and like there will be a negative impact on my job when and if I return, and who knows.  Maybe there will be, but I suppose this all still buys me time.

I’m still really scared and anxious and depressed the moment I start thinking about it, in terms of– what will happen if I come back?  Do I want to?  What do I do while I’m off?  What if the med change doesn’t help?  I can’t fucking look for a new job in this state of mind.  (You know, the usual crazy morass of anxious over-thinking.)  I actually left early for the first time since I started work, after overreacting to something my two-weeks-brand-new boss said in– what I think were objectively understandable circumstances for context he didn’t have and didn’t bother to have before he set me off– and people are probably all gossiping about me at work by this point because I was clearly upset & in tears when I left and was shutting things down in my office.  I idly looked at things I might theoretically otherwise want to do as job search queries (after isolating the parts of my job I like the most) and started to panic because it’s not that I hate the company or the job, really, it’s that I can’t draw a breath without 5 people shoving into my office– so I went right back to time-wasting internet shit– but it’s one thing at a time, I guess.

Things I did right this week.  I didn’t stop showing up for work, because: crazy, and I went home early for a long weekend after a somewhat weepy but otherwise reasoned discussion.

I guess we’ll see how the rest plays out from here.

Decisions, decisions (it’s only dinner)

I didn’t make supper tonight.

Is that a failing or a freedom?  I don’t really know.  It is a decision, though whether it’s a capital D Decision or a small decision just for the right thing I needed today, I’m not really sure.  I do know I started to assemble things out of the fridge, all knackered out, and then looked at the ingredients out on the board in the pantry and said to myself– no.  I don’t want to.

When I came in, my dad had been sitting there for at least a half hour, snacking on all the various food he didn’t have to cook or reheat that was there in the house– and I was just wrung out when I came in on automatic and started to housewife, you know, in the ways that we do.

I didn’t want to, though.  I’m not hungry, because I’m upping the dose of the particular meds that kill my appetite dead (anorexic anti-convulsants, woohoo!), and also because I had a late snack/drink at the store in accordance with the preset alarms I’ve got in my phone and which I obey whether or not I am hungry, on the hard lesson learned that your body needs fuel whether your stomach feels like it or not.  But– having had protein and some carbs and some veggies on three occasions today, not to mention too much caffeine and other fluids, the idea of doing it all again just because I have let my dad get into the habit of me doing the cooking made me kind of sick to my stomach, physically and mentally, too.

Instead, I said– sorry, I was really just tired, I didn’t know what to cook & didn’t feel like eating in any event, and that there were X & Y leftovers to heat in the fridge & I was going to bed.  Dad did not understand the not hungry thing, so I explained, for the fourth time in two weeks, about not being hungry with the increased dose of the meds and feeling grossed out by food– and then retired upstairs.

I supposes it’s a measure that the increase dosage is working that I didn’t have a temper tantrum of rage or start crying because he just can’t pay any attention to what’s going on outside his own head.  And I suppose it’s good, too, that I still feel pretty calm and chill about the fact that I said no, sorry, I’m not your wife or your nurse, feed yourself, and am not feeling horribly guilty or like a terrible mooch.  The fact is, I do buy a lot of the food, cook & clean, do the yard work & heavy lifting.  If it’s not money, it’s still work, and it’s value– and valuable.  I’m starting to know that.

There will be a time when my dad can’t “do” for himself at all anymore, including the cooking, and then I will have to take care of him whether I feel like it or not– but right now he can, whether or not I’ve fairly/unfairly stepped into the cook/caretaker role in an attempt to pick up some of the slack my not paying rent leaves.  He taught me how to cook, after all– if he’s too tired to do it, well, then we’re both in that boat.  Any stupid decisions he makes about salt intake or junk food or excess fat or calories are just that– stupid, small-d decisions, rather than life-impacting Decisions that are the product of someone who’s senile, demented, or some other process of aging or illness.

Maybe, for example, an Illness Decision could be: someone who’s manic-depressed and making bad life choices instead of self-caring ones because they’re not really lucid?  Then again, Bad Life Choices can be really good learning experiences,  even if it takes a while in the rearview to bring them into perspective.  I think skipping dinner, though, isn’t so big as that.

Ask me next week.


(Re-post from my fannish tumblr)

Up-front disclaimer— I don’t recommend just discontinuing your meds to anyone who’s bipolar and having escalating mood regulation problems.

That being said, I went off my wellbutrin (100 mg) last night, because I’ve been feeling more and more like crawling under a rock, quitting my job, and/or running out into traffic, plus everything, everything hurts. (Anyone who tells you depression is all in your head is a steaming sack of dog shit.)

I’ve been diagnosed bipolar since 2005.  I’ve blogged off and on about it as a way to get the thoughts out of my head and maybe because it’ll be helpful to someone else to know they’re not the only one feeling nuts and still getting on with their life.  It hasn’t been easy; I’ve had some real setbacks, including starting over in a new career path after I self-sabotaged my old one during a bad depressed phase, plus realizing I needed to end my marriage because my husband (who had his own problems) couldn’t deal with being supportive when I was being crazy.

But since 2009 I’ve been on a drug cocktail that has more or less worked well enough to give me good insight into escalating mood problems— not in a *ooh, lightbulb* kind of way, but at least in a *oh, I’ve been working myself into a lather and I’ve been crying a lot and I hate everyone and I’m really angry and I don’t want to go in to the job that I love and I just want to sleep* kind of way that takes me only a few weeks to see, rather than months.  Having a therapist who asks if it’s time to adjust my meds rather than tell me it’s all Freudian shit (fuck you, last therapist, for undermining the fact that I do have a neurotransmitter disorder as well as a fucked up family life, you can’t just turn off the biological disorder like that) helps, too.  Plus, there’s that whole blinding headache all the time thing, kind of a clue.

Accordingly, I’ve discontinued the wellbutrin, because the mixed states I’ve had before have always resolved when I’ve gone off the SSRI* for a few weeks & then either reintroduced it or switched out that med, while increasing by 25 mg. the anticonvulsant (topamax) I take and bringing more of the benzo-class drug that I take (klonopin, 1 mg nightly) with me for day time anxiety swings, .5 mg prn,2 mg. max. daily.

I feel better this morning already, with the crushing headache absent and the body aches mostly gone.  SSRIs* are controversial for bipolars and bipolar IIs (my particular diagnosis) because a little can maybe help but it builds up and then you get depressed— and me, I get depressed and angry and despairing and— hate everything, including myself.  But up until they don’t work, they do.*  It’s a catch 22.

We’ll see how the mood is affected tomorrow when I go into work and all those situational stressors reassert themselves.  I did leave a voice mail for my shrink (it’s the weekend) of what I was planning to do.  I did tell my dad, who I live with, how I was feeling and what I was doing, but that I was basically ok if he just gave me some real quiet time this weekend.

It’s a rollercoaster and a ferris wheel— because it’s both up and down, but also it’s a slow cycle around.   I’ve been here before, in this crushing, aching, self-hating place, and I have to take a step back and give myself perspective even as I employ all my coping skills.  I have to be my own best cheerleader and say— you’ve deployed your support system, you’ve let people know you might need time off, you’ve been proactive, you’re taking time to yourself, you’re balancing quiet time and coping mechanisms like reading fanfic and listening to music with normal adulting stuff like doing laundry and taxes.  I have to remind myself that yes, it’s up and down, yet again, but the relative volatility isn’t as much, and if I was a jerk to someone at work, I did apologize right away and tell them they weren’t at fault— and they accepted that apology and let me be human, which is also a credit to me because this time, this career change that was a little more voluntary, a little less self-destruct, I chose a workplace where, for all there is too much work, at least I am allowed to be human.

Maybe this time, out of the crush, there’ll be some wine to drink— not just me, feeling like pulp.

*I have been on two other SSRIs from 2009-present before switching to wellbutrin in 2011-ish, and my shrink has always called wellbutrin an SSRI.  The wise ladyofthelog has noted, however, that wellbutrin is actually a DNRI, which I did not know until today, and which may well explain why I’ve been on it more or less steadily with two or three two-week-breaks, maintaining a pretty good mood state at low dosages (100 mg combined with the rest of my cocktail) for the last three years, when most of my other SSRIs usually only work for a year & a half at most.  Thanks, verity!  ❤

Please let’s not talk about the weather

This is an all over the place kind of post.

I suppose, first off, my mom is okay as far as I know– she was discharged from the hospital after an overnight with some treatment, but I haven’t talked to her.  My brother’s in touch with her.  I don’t think I’m going to be, anytime soon.  I have been pushing her to get this problem dealt with for a really long time and she hasn’t, and I’m just furious– despite the fact that I know that she’s crazy, that she’s literally so nuts she can’t hear anything outside the stories she needs to write for herself in her own head– that she can’t trust or listen to me.  (Even if she lies and says that she does because she knows I am angry at her and that makes her uncomfortable because it doesn’t fit into the story she tells herself about us.)  I had a talk with my new awesome therapist about it and clearly, still lots of work to slog through, but right now when he asks me the question– what do I want from her?  The answer is nothing, because I won’t get the things that I want.  I won’t get an apology.  I won’t get someone respectful of boundaries or attentive to my interests and issues, much less aware that I am a distinct intellectual entity.  So, sadly, what I want from her is, precisely, nothing for as long as that can be maintained, because her refusal to trust, to listen, to acknowledge the adult competencies she herself thrust upon me by her infantilizing, victimizing behavior and her need to nevertheless whine to me because she somehow things that we’re friends or I’m her mother?  It’s too much to bear.  The only resolution is no.  I feel bad my brother gets to deal with her, but then again, I do get my dad, and he does infuriate my brother in a way I mostly ignore or poke right back on.  Even trade?

I will help with any legal or medical matters, either at hospitalization, institutionalization, or death, but I can’t bring myself at this point to bear more.  I can only turn off my furiousness at her when I have to put on my I WILL FIX EVERYTHING HAT, the one she forced me to wear as a child, and then I will high tail it out of there to get fucking drunk off my ass– one of those rare times.

I have been debating if my creeping anguish and apathy and everything everything everything has been SAD, too much work, too much stress from my dad, some institutional problems at work that need active rooting out and more support than I’ve had but some of which may change soon– not enough therapy, or all of those things.  It’s just been getting worse, though, and while there are lights in the darkness I am starting to dread going into work, getting snarly, putting off yucky projects, and feeling generally hateful of everyone and everything.  I talked to my personal boss (rather than my store boss) about it and that I wasn’t sure what I needed quite yet but that I was feeling messy and I might need a little time off– she was supportive and when I offered with my heart in my mouth that I felt like I generally knew what I was doing, she agreed– but it’s going to be weeks before the institutional stuff at work is fixed and I’m in no place to have the patience to explain myself without starting to cry or just be a horrible beast.  (Which I can’t be, because I am the one who’s supposed to be the source of counsel.)

I have been dealing with being crazy for a while now.  I suppose this is “easier,” in that I haven’t messed anything up yet, I asked a boss for help and she said “whatever you want,” and while my plans to leave early when completely to shit because of said institutional problems, a few more perceptive coworkers saw I was in a really bad mood/didn’t look right and slowed their roll long enough to ask if I was okay.  I even was honest with a few of then and said “No, but thanks for asking.”  But it doesn’t change the fact that I’m so depressed and feeling isolated and lonely that I feel incapable and in need of a goddamned parade and a hug from everyone in the store and I KNOW I am overreacting to stuff– and I am afraid if I take time off, I won’t come back.  I need this job, this one in particular, plus the money is good, because even if I am getting fed up with the store, I like the company and I have plans for regional and eventually global domination.  And I don’t want to start over again, much less be angry and sad all the time.

Almost as a one-off, my new therapist asked me if maybe my meds needed tweaking once we ran through the was I eating & more or less sleeping routine, and OF FUCKING COURSE.  Lots of carb cravings, increased appetite (when they work, my meds make me very unhungry and anorexic in the clinical “lack of appetite” sense), mixed anger and sadness, no sense of humor, no time for any small talk or bullshit (and rage at any waste of my time) apathy, procrastination, anxiety, increased sleeplessness & anxiety dreams– and I’m so used to my old therapist being all MEDS AREN’T THE ANSWER that I haven’t been thinking that way.  (Maybe I should report her to the board of licensing, bullshit billing crap to the side.)  It’s been 5 years on this regimen, wellbutrin plus an antiepilectic and klonopin– it stands to measure that the SSRI has ceased to be effective, in the way that they do for bipolars, and that I need to wean myself off the wellbutrin and try something else.  (Yay, rapid cycling mixed states, kept under moderate control?)

Soooooo… do I work during that time?  In a fit of wisdom, I signed up for short term disability at annual enrollment, and I am sure that my therapist would write me a note, and that I could wrangle my shrink into writing something as well, though I don’t see her as much except for refills.  (And I should call her this weekend to set up a check in appointment for sooner/this week.)  I am worried the place would burn to the ground in my absence, but at the same time one of my institutional problems is people both taking me for granted and not paying attention, so maybe it would serve the damned bastards right.  I am concerned, though, about stigma when I return, and yet– if I can’t take the time off to get my shit together at a place like my current employer, then there’s no hope for anyone, anywhere, ever.

It’ll be spring sooner or later.  I’m just worried it won’t be soon enough, and after 5 years on this regimen, I have lots of worries about starting new meds and seeing how they will work.

Change is good– it has been.  I fucking hate it anyway.

Push (I’m renaming this week Shark Week because someone smelled blood in the water)

It’s been a challenging week.

(Whining alert.)

Sunday was the night when we got an “anonymous” phone call from the elderly neighbors’ kids about a pile of brush I’d already tidied up– on the side of a garage they don’t use behind a fence they can’t access and a bush they can’t climb over but that lies on their property line, mind you– accusing my dad and me of elder abuse for “throwing briar bushes into their property.”  Like I’d invaded their kitchen for the Red Wedding or something.  Mind you (part 2) that I cut those rose canes last week and tidied them up a week later and on Thursday night (so, a week elapsed time) got a call from one of the neighbors about something else (passive aggressive, much, hi?) and then the rose canes came up at the end of the conversation and I said I’d be out there that weekend– as I’d already planned.  The anonymous phone call was therefore bullshit, and I called them on it, asking one of them to walk down the driveway with me and agree that all the brush was already gone, and to further agree that it had only been there a week, was never anywhere they walked or touched, and that they’d only called me Thursday, so please don’t complain to your family first with such vehemence that they leave me nasty messages on the house phone.  They were more horrified by the bad manners of the call than anything else– I don’t think they understood that they’d made a mountain out of a pile of rose canes, but in any event, we called up the reasonable son and let him know they were getting a little histrionic in case it comes up again.   I told the elderly neighbor that allegations of elder abuse were not going to be tolerated,  since they were the ones who had helped me babysit my Alzheimer’s stricken grandmother in high school, and by “helped” I mean once or twice they brought her back when she got out while I was in the bathroom when she could still figure out locks.  That pretty much shut them up, but I am really, really angry about it still, and will be for a while.  Why would you ever get so worked up about something so miniscule to the point that your kid with problems gets drunk and leaves your neighbors nasty messages on your behalf?

Monday and Tuesday were various personality negotiations at work; there are some evolving ways in which everyone needs to learn to work with each other and it’s a challenge.  I’m in an in-between position and new to the company, sort of a neutral and sort of a disciplinarian and sort of a manager all at the same time, and I need to try and balance all of those things with my job to try to keep everything and everyone balanced.  Add to that my communication and responsibility kinks, the fact that I do have mediation experience and experience with lots of different management types and just… age… on some of the people I work with, and it sticks me square in the middle trying to help people figure out how to talk to each other– how to ask for what they want, how to say what they need, how to not hurt one anothers’ feelings, and how to do that myself when I’m feeling proud and uncertain and “aw yeah” and “who, me?” all at once.

And then Wednesday.

I had a job fair in the morning, screening dozens of people and then heading back to the store– late, because of traffic and the crowd at the job fair, because that shit was mobbed.  One of my challenges didn’t show up and while the story’s garbled and has only gotten more problematic as the week wears on, one issue compounding on top of another until it’s hard to keep things apart and not just fire the person for them all, all at once, and keep an eye on just the simplest things– the fact at the core of it is that not just I but most of us got played in that we tried to be sympathetic and helpful and this worker, either through stubbornness or stupidity or sheer malice has played all of us because they just don’t get that they have to play by the rules.  I don’t know at this point, because when I left work yesterday for Job Fair Part 2: Endless Screenings Continued, Electric Boogaloo, they had gone awol after a series of contradictory communications, so who the hell knows.  The lesson to be learned is:  don’t make exceptions, because someone will play you. So.  We made exceptions.  We got messed with.  Lesson learned.  Hopefully not too painful for us, but doubtful.  It’s going to be uglier before it’s all done, and it’s a shame because at the end of the day, when they show up, this person does a really good job.  It’s stupid.

One of the store managers got in an accident, another had a death in the family, and a third has been out for a family member, so we’ve also been down staff and I’ve been helping the rest juggle schedules, make arrangements, check in on the injured manager, request time off, etc., etc.  Paperchasing and phone calling– and then arranging to cover their shifts with enough other managers.

Next:  Wednesday, still– another challenge came in for a shift and accused me and another team leader of being liars because they didn’t want to admit that they hadn’t complied with a policy.  It was a big long ridiculous discussion and I couldn’t take any of it seriously because they were all affronted dignity and bullshit and when they said they’d just give notice if that was how we were going to play it (we did have a neutral party present, since I was a “liar”) I said I was sorry to hear that and I hoped that they found someplace they were happier.  When no one else disagreed with me, they immediately backtracked and said they weren’t giving their notice, to which the neutral told them to make up their mind, since it seemed like that was problem, and then another half hour of mediated drama and affronted dignity ensued.  Quitting chicken:  hell yes, I’ll play it.  I just hope in the end they do quit, because if I ever have to spend another hour and a half like that it will be too soon.

Also, the meat drain is backed up and water’s heading right for the compressors and the ice cream freezers are down, so: help organize repairmen and moving stock and unplugging all of the things.

AND IT’S STILL WEDNESDAY.  At least I got to help someone– a really great someone who’s been with the company a while and has been performing a little erratically, so an amorphous we sat them down to say we were worried and ask them what was up because if things kept in this vein, we would have to go the discipline route and that would be awful.  So we talked about feelings and feeling overwhelmed and asking for help:  it was hard, and teary and sad, but they left agreeing to look into help and are going to do that.  I’ve been scrambling and arguing since with my higher-ups about getting them some time off pending the doctor’s appointment they’ve since set up because I know they’ll miss shifts and end up with discipline if we try and make them come in and no one wants that– so while I could make this person feel better, now I feel like shit and doubting myself because I have to argue against my own bosses and therefore my own instincts about the right thing to do– when I’m trying to learn to trust them.  And all the while their rightfully worried (and a little bit OCD and pushy but really really excellent) manager is pushing at me and I’m just.  Stressed, because I want to get this person the help that they need and make sure it sticks, and at the same time I am trying to OBJECTIVE and not personalize this person’s situation, even though I realized Thursday:

I took this job because I want to give people all the chances and confrontations and opportunities to talk through their crap that no one called me on that I wish like hell someone had.  Right.  No personalization or projection there at all, whatsoever.  At least I’ve got something to talk about at therapy now.

Twelve hours after leaving the house I got home, and Dad wants to know what’s for supper.  Umm.  Leftover veggies and mushy mangoes with frozen shrimp in, erm, yeah, a curry stir fry?  Throw some garden-fresh herbs on it, no one will know it’s a mish mash! (eh, I knew.  Next time, I’m ordering Thai.)

And then Thursday:

MRI.  Oil change.  Overdue (whoops, and then I was anxious about that once I realized) state car inspection, which at 140,000 miles and no significant maintenance since 100,000 miles I was a little worried about.  Back into work on my day off to see if Challenge One came in and then more discussion about What to Do, and more discussion about Good Challenge and asking some questions about some other miscellaneous things including following up on Grieving Manager and then home, because I had a horrible headache from the IV contrast and– I’m not even supposed to be here today!  And then a late afternoon call with Challenge One’s manager and another manager and my position’s back up about the Game Plan.

Friday:  Go in extra early.  Challenge One doesn’t show up.  Challenge One’s manager and I and a senior manager giggle because really, this week is ridiculous.  Challenge One’s manager leaves.  Senior Manager and I open the store, me doing senior manager’s job and senior manager doing Challenge One’s job.  Later, talk to Manager of Good Challenge some more, do some stuff I haven’t done all week because of the Wednesday from Hell, and then: get text message from AWOL challenge one that is contradictory to all prior communications.  Text Challenge One back and tell them to call the store, please.  It doesn’t happen for hours.  Get in the car, get lost on the way to Job Fair 2/Electric Boogaloo, get there with five minutes to spare and a call from my dad wondering if the cat’s dead because she hasn’t eaten her food yet (it’s HOT, she’s a PERSIAN, CATS ARE NOCTURNAL, we have this discussion each SUMMER, dad, CHILL) and then interview the dregs that show up at the last minute, all of whom are grumpy that we’re mostly hired up.  Pretend to give a shit they need a job when almost all of them have no experience, no skills, and waited until, (wait for it) THE LAST DAY OF THE FAIR to show up.  Pretend some more, because I am a motherfucking human resources professional.  Fight with my awesome really cool super nice boss in a not fighting way because we are motherfucking professionals, ‘kay, and I’ve had a migraine since WEDNESDAY, about Good Challenge and her issues, twist her arm aggressively until boss who hired me kind of concedes, go back to interviewing dregs of the job fair with less anxiety crawling under my skin because at least I can help SOMEONE who doesn’t think I’m a liar or play me or anything else.

Get a hug from other super awesome cool sort-of boss, who gives awesome hugs.

Have supper and a good Vieux Carre with a friend.  See Man of Steel.  (Meh, the writing was Portentous with a capital P, but HELLO, Shirtless Henry Cavill, and I ❤ Amy Adams and the lady villain and Diane Lane, so, all the ladies plus Henry Cavill and his muscles.)


Get woken up at 5:39 am by the rude blare of a call from Challenge Oh My God, Really, I Told You To Stop Calling My Phone and Call The Damned Store, I am Not Your Boss.  I Tell them To Call the Store after making sure they are merely calling out sick and not otherwise having problems.  Send an email to that Challenge’s bosses, because I’ll forget otherwise, and then send Good Challenge’s boss an email because well, I’m up now, might as well work.


And now I’m awake, because did I mention I have a horrible shrink who doesn’t return my calls because I’m not really that crazy and so I’m not on her priority list.  So… I ran out of klonopin and I had to have my primary care write my wellbutrin but she’s not comfortable writing benzos and I need .05 mg nightly to sleep so then I left by shrink a NASTY message on her phone for the third time and she finally called me back and acted like nothing was wrong.  I asked her to just write me a 90-day script and to please give me the names of some people taking referrals.  I left a message for my old shrink as well; at least she’ll call me back.

So.  I broke up with my shrink and have to find a new one, but on the other hand, now I don’t have to worry about the old one and I might just be a bitch and report her for patient neglect.  It’s just disgustingly unprofessional not to return patient calls, whether or not I’m sobbing into the phone.

And… it’s 8:34 am.  Let’s see how today goes.