Murphy’s law and a lovely rant

I’m living it right now. Everything that can go wrong this season will. And don’t tell me that I need to be positive. Positive thinking my ass. Every time I think positive and plan and do everything I possibly can to make things run smoothly, the bottom falls out.

Every single damn time.

I already hate my job because of the schedule and workload. Now everybody is backing out. At the last minute. No one can commit. NO ONE. The only solution at this point is to clone myself. Which I clearly can’t do. And no matter how hard my boss tries, sheer force of will is not enough to solve this.

Don’t tell me to not panic. Don’t tell me to calm down. I can’t create something out of nothing.

I’m setting boundaries with work and doing my best to leave work at work. I make a point to think about things other that work. I’m trying to save my sanity.

But I am dreading work. DREADING IT. I don’t want to go to bed because it will make the next day come faster. It’s all that I can think about and all I can talk about. My poor friends.

I’m trying to process all this the best I can. I’m trying to let go of as much stress as I can. But it’s not enough. It’s seeping into everything and I just want to curl up into a ball and do nothing. I sat through band practice tonight waiting for it to be over. I realized at about 8pm I hadn’t eaten all day. All I want to do is watch tv and zone out.

And now, not only am I trying to solve 54637 crises at work and somehow still attempting to have a life, but I’m fighting like hell to not fall back into bad habits…namely cutting, though we can throw a few more in there for fun.

And yet, not matter how much I complain and rationally explain why I want to leave this field, there are some significant people in my life that think I would be even more unhappy if I leave the field. They think I need to stay in my field to have a good life. They know I’m not happy now, they know I’m overworked, and yet they think if I take a vacation and hold out for a minuscule pay raise it will all be ok. IT WILL NOT BE OK.

Let’s say it again for the people in the back.

IT WILL NOT BE OK.

This isn’t anything like the life I want to live. I’m 30 years old with two degrees and I’m working 50-60 hours a week on a salary that I can barely afford to live on with no overtime while trying to do 5 full time positions within one job.

I don’t think I’m entitled to a certain salary because I have a masters, but I’d like to be able to buy a cup of tea and a cookie at a coffee shop and not feel guilty that I’m spending more than I should.

I’m angry, really angry. But I’m not hopeless. I guess that means the drugs and therapy are working, which is like the one positive out of all of this.

But seriously, this needs to stop.

NOW.

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Music

I’ve been using music to keep me sane these past few months. I started playing handbells at a church in town and joined a community band.

When I sat down with my schedule to see how many concerts I could make for band, my heart sank. One. I can make one. Maybe two if I’m lucky. Out of 6 or 7. If I was being a responsible band member I probably shouldn’t even of joined because I can’t make the majority of the concerts.

So tonight at bells, when I found out that we are pushing my favorite song back from this Sunday to next month, I wanted to cry. I have to stop going to bells after this week because of my work schedule.

I’m not really crying because of the song…it was really just the one little thing to push me over the edge.

I’ve looked for something for three years to enjoy outside of work. I find something and I can only do it three months out of the year. Actually less than that because band didn’t start until March.

Music is my one escape. It always has been. And when it sunk in tonight that I’m going to lose that in addition to time with my family and friends-I snapped.

I’m angry. This is not ok. Maybe some people can live like this, but I can’t. Not anymore. The stress isn’t worth it. Not even close.

I have worked so damn hard to get my life back after my brain broke, only to have it taken away by my job.

And you know what? Even though I know I’m being rational and finding a new job is a perfectly acceptable thing, I feel guilty. The “other people work harder than you/worse off than you/you’re not trying hard enough” variety.

I have given up so much. But I will not give up my music. Why I’ve chosen that as the moment to dig my heels in I’ll never know.

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Mania=sandwiches

I’ve started to notice drug ads for bipolar on tv. They don’t always get it…quite right. The one I just saw made me giggle a little.

The med is supposed to treat bipolar I mania. They show this blond haired, blue eyed mid-30s woman, happily and calmly making 34456 sandwiches, while the voice over is supposedly talking about mania. To be honest, I couldn’t tell you what they said…I was too distracted by all the sandwiches.

I’ve never had a full blown manic episode, but I feel like they missed it. I mean I’ll give them points for effort…and maybe some people do make 34456 sandwiches when they are manic. But it’s so much more complicated than that, though I don’t really expect a 60 second tv ad to perfectly explain it either.

For whatever reason it all struck me as funny. Funny in a I-can’t-believe-they-just-did-that kind of way.

Regardless, every time I see a sandwich or a reference to mania in the near future, I’ll think of that stereotypical 30 something mom making mountains of sandwiches.

And I’ll giggle. Just a little.

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Trapped.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Actually, I’ll probably keep saying it until I figure out how to deal with it.

I feel trapped. Especially in my job. But it’s so much more than that.

It’s one thing to feel trapped, but still do what you need to do. What I’m dealing with right now is a whole different beast. This is more like you’re trapped in a locked box as it sinks to the ocean floor. In slow motion. You can briefly hold your breath and power through, but in the end you take on water. You bang on the walls of the box trying to get out, but instead you see your life flash before your eyes, especially the decisions, mistakes, and situations that put you in the box in the first place. You will yourself to hold onto consciousness, to hold onto life, the little air you have left, but…..you just can’t.

Your normal tactic of taking a deep breath and powering through just causes you to choke on water, and each time it takes that much longer to recover.

You hate the box. You hate the water. And you really hate the fact that you can’t breathe right anymore. But you are powerless. The faster the box sinks, the faster your life falls apart. And you can’t do anything but watch.

All of this….it’s destroying me. The past 3 years have been one perpetual train wreck. Every positive notion I’ve ever had about myself has been shattered into a million pieces and I’m left with all the sharp bits.

The piles of laundry, dirty dishes, and my perpetually dying iPad battery-it’s a constant reminder that everything is breaking down.

Sometimes, when the sun is out and I can momentarily ignore all the sharp bits, I think maybe, just maybe, the depression is lifting and the stress is dissipating. But then I take a deep breathe to clear my mind…

And I choke on water.

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Stress

I’ve probably mentioned this 1001 times but…

This stress is killing me. I’m staying up late and take naps during the day so I stay up even later and…..you get the picture. My sleep is jacked up. When I’m not tired I’m frozen to the point of not being able to think.

And it’s all because of my damn job.

I’m transitioning to new meds and I can’t even tell if they are working because I’m so damn stressed and frustrated. Do I still feel depressed? Hell if I know.

I have four days “off” in May. FOUR. And I use the quotes because I’m going to be so damn stressed it’s not like it’s a day off.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my volunteers. But I am SO TIRED chasing people down and begging them to do something, or have people say they are going to commit but in the end back out. And when they all get sick at the same time…..dear lord help me.

There are a lot of things in this job that I like, but the stressors outweigh the good. I’m looking at leaving the field altogether. Maybe if I was in a different situation in a larger organization I would feel differently, but I’m not, and I want my life back. Actually I want to build my life around something other than my job for the first time.

I’m setting boundaries. For real. I feel guilty for it but I’m doing it. I’m refusing to take work home or regularly work 6 to 7 days a week. My boss wanted to schedule something on my day off. I told her she can schedule it if she wants but I’m not doing it. I’m taking off Saturdays and Sundays to see my friends. I WILL be taking a vacation this summer with my friends. I will not do things for work outside of work hours and if I have to for whatever reason I make sure I get my comp time.

The idea that I can have an identity outside of work is a novel one for me, and one I’m working on with my therapist. I don’t really know what that means for my next job.

But I better figure it out pretty damn fast.

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Quiet

My boss texted me last night at 1030 to tell me that plans changed for today. So I asked if I could take the day off because my schedule is so messed up for the next month and a half. She said yes.

I turned off my alarm and went to sleep.

It is 9:50 am and my mom has texted me 4 times in the last 30 min asking me if I’m working today and what are my plans.

I’m pretending I didn’t see the texts.

I want quiet. I so desperately want quiet. I want to drink my tea and scroll through job postings. I want to practice my music for tonight. I want to clear off my kitchen table and maybe go to the store by myself. I want to think about anything other than work.

I can’t turn on the TV and I have to get out of this chair soon or I won’t get up at all.

I don’t know if I’ll clean today and I don’t know if I’ll do laundry. I should do both of those things. But I think I need to get out of my apartment first. I don’t know where I’ll go….it’s miserable outside. But if I don’t get moving now I won’t move at all.

It will be OK.

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New is good.

I loved my old therapist. I didn’t know my old psychiatrist was bad.

But as I sat in my new psychiatrist’s office this morning I realized something. I feel safe in this new practice. I was able to switch people until I found a combination that worked for me. I have a psychiatrist, nurse practitioner, and therapist that all know each other and talk to each other. They all have access to my file. When things go south they move quickly. There is a support that I didn’t know I was missing.

The whole situation is…..it’s less stressful. I’m worrying about less. It’s much more predictable and stable than it was before.

It took me 7 months to adjust, but I think I’m in the right place.

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Hope.

I don’t have long to write…I have to get ready for work. But I wanted to throw this out there.

I saw my therapist yesterday. Miserable, hopeless, and dreading work. I’m still miserable and dreading work, but there is a glimmer of hope.

All he did was ask me 1001 questions like he always does, but he asks the right questions. He doesn’t tell me what he thinks I should do, and he doesn’t make feel guilty for what I do.

At the end he told me two things.

1) It is good that I’m trying to set boundaries at work. No matter how hard it is.

2) He wants me to start dreaming about what I could do, even though at the moment I feel like I can’t do anything, because I’m at a loss as to what to do next.

For whatever reason, that gave me a little hope back. It lessened the guilt of me intentionally limiting my overtime and being protective of my days off. It lessened the guilt I felt for refusing to come into work at the last minute because I made a commitment two months ago, for my day off, that would affect dozens of people if I backed out. It lessened the guilt I felt for joining a community band with the plan to use my vacation days to participate in the concerts on the weekends I don’t have events.

It hasn’t really made anything easier, and it hasn’t solved the insurmountable stress I am under.

But that glimmer of hope gives me something to hold onto and something to think about other than the stress that threatens to rob me of everything.

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The Crash

I’m watching a spectacular crash that is out of my control. It’s ugly. It’s slowly chipping away at my life.

It sounds dramatic, but I’m starting to realize that it’s true. I have to psych myself up to shower and pay bills, and I haven’t gone grocery shopping in weeks. I don’t care that I’m blowing things off at work, and the unjustified bitterness towards my boss is just making things worse. Work is a constant source of stress and I’m out of resources to cope. All I can think of is how much I miss because of my schedule. I simply don’t do things. Yesterday I got home at 2pm, sat down on the couch, and didn’t move until midnight.

Right now I’m staring at my student loan I have to pay and my taxes I have to mail and I feel frozen. I can’t even think about calling the electric company to sort out my account. I can’t keep straight what day of the week it is, though my work schedule is messed up this week. I just realized I’m losing weight, and I can’t afford to do that.

I think this is what giving up looks like. This is what depression destroying your life looks like. This is what happens when you can’t hold it together anymore and your stubbornness is no longer enough to save you.

And yet I sit here thinking that if I just try a little harder I can pull myself through this like I have done every time before. But then I look a little harder at reality and realize I lost myself a while ago. I don’t even know what that self looks like anymore, but I know it’s not this. My hope that I’ll get that self back is gone, and I wonder what my future will look like.

Everything is falling apart and all I can do is watch.

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Ohhhhhhh

I had a revelation today while sitting at my desk trying to concentrate.

I know I’m overworked. I know I’m burned out. I know my perfectionism has me frozen. I know I’m doing the work of several full time jobs.

Wait. I’m doing the work of several full time positions. Specifically seven.

SEVEN

And I’m only trained to do 2 of the said 7 jobs. The other 5 I’m flying by the seat of my pants. No wonder I’m fried. I’m pulled in so many different directions I don’t know where to look.

It doesn’t change the fact that I’m burned out, feel useless, and need to make some major changes in my life. It doesn’t change the fact that I’m falling way behind at work.

But it is a small solace that I’m working in an impossible situation.

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