Lean on me, but I won’t lean on you

I finally remembered what slipped my mind last week, and we’ve got a lot of ground to cover. Luckily, one topic kind of bleeds into the next.

The job that I interviewed for was set up through a friend. (For those that care, the first interview went well, they passed on all of my info to the higher ups with their recommendation to hire, so it’s all in their hands now. That was two weeks ago. I haven’t heard a peep other than the ones I interviewed with telling me to sit tight, they’re hoping for a decision soon. I’m not getting my hopes up.) She had I have been friends since first semester of our freshman year, so 13 years now. Her and another girl and I have been close ever since. Even though we’ve been out of school for almost a decade we still get together whenever our schedules match up, and we’ve had a running group text that we’re all active in at least once a week since we graduated. This chat log would literally go back years if someone wanted to pull it from one of our carriers. These two are some of my closest friends.

That being said, I hold a lot back. I don’t talk about what’s really going on in my life. Everything I share is fairly superficial. But I support them, chime in with advice when it’s asked for, am there for them. But I’m a bad friend. I don’t share myself with them. I keep my problems to myself as much as I can. There are reasons for this.

I don’t feel like I deserve them. I feel like one of these days they’re going to realize that I’m not worth being friends with. I don’t want to be a burden, burden them with my problems. I would miss them so dearly if they decided that, but I’d let them go without a fight because I believe that they had finally come to their senses.

I feel like that with all of my friends. Hell, even Mike I keep somewhat at arms length, although he knows I’m doing it and generally doesn’t stand for it. I keep a lot of barriers up to keep people from getting close. Part of it is for self preservation – when, as I said, they realize that I’m not worth it, it hurts less when they walk away. Part of it is to protect them, to make them care about me less.

There’s a lot of history behind this, but I think until I met Mike I only had one or two true friends. The rest were people that I thought were friends, but they all left me broken when they walked away after they had taken all they could. I’ve a giver by nature, and this was exploited by more people than I care to admit. Bit by bit those barriers went up to the point where now they’re almost impenetrable. As such, with most people I have very flimsy friendships with most people. The two women I mentioned earlier are probably the only two other than Mike that I can’t say that about.

I had an appointment with my shrink last week and we talked about this. He finally got me to admit that my self-confidence is in the gutter. I feel like I’m unworthy of love, friendship, or success. I don’t see value in myself as a person. That realization is a hard pill to swallow. I think on some level I knew this, but to have to admit this – to say the words reduced me to tears. I haven’t cried like that in years. Hell, I’m tearing up just writing this.

So yeah, back to therapy I go. We’ve got a lot to unpack. I can’t imagine feeling another way. I don’t see how I can change my mindset. This is just who I am. I’ve never seen the world as a light and delightful place. My world has always been a dark place where my worth is negligible at best. I feel like any time I’m confident that it’s really just a gross display of ego. Despite being propped up as a child and told that I could achieve great things, that good old Catholic upbrining shoving you back down into your rightful place as an unworthy sinner might have taken more hold than I or anyone realized. Or maybe it’s the mental illnesses that have warped my brain. Who knows.

I hate feeling this way, but I think I hate more the fact that it’s been blatantly pointed out as wrong hurts more. It’s the final “your brain is a dysfunction” nail in the coffin.

The power of positive thinking? Really?

I just watched a short video on the BBC website talking about how positive thinking can actually have a negative effect. He says that the problem with positive thinking is that if something goes wrong, we feel like we’ve failed.

Here’s the link, it’s worth a watch: https://www.bbc.com/reel/video/p07c6sb6/the-downsides-of-positive-thinking

This video got me thinking about this idea and my own life. How much of my sense of failure is actually caused by this? I’d hazard a guess and say at least some.

Now, I’m not an overly positive person. I’m a realist most of the time, but my thoughts definitely stray to the pessimistic side more than I’d care to admit.

Take my whole job search – everyone keeps telling me to stay positive, it will happen. Sure, eventually I’ll find a job, but I feel like every position that I apply for and either don’t hear back or do get a very polite fuck you very much email, part of me feels like I’ve failed yet again.

That idea that you have to always think positively is so pervasive any more. Hell, I’m in my mid-30s and I’ve heard it since I was a kid. How much of this sense of failure – when there really isn’t a failure, exactly – contributes to so many of our mental illnesses? (Honestly though? If one more person tells me I need to be more positive when I’m depressed I’m going to do something drastic. Just you wait until I have the energy to do so.) I love my family, but they are very much of this mindset and it kind of drives me crazy. They sometimes seem to think that if I think positively then good things will happen.

No. Just no. Good things happen, yes. But so do bad. And ambivalent. That’s just how life is. You thinking something will happen or happen a certain way doesn’t make it happen. If that were the case we’d all be billionaires, or astronauts, or married to Chris Evans. Last I checked I’m a broke, cashier with too many degrees, and married to a wonderful man who is, in fact, not Chris Evans. Not that I’m complaining about the husband part (far from it), but my point still stands.

I hate positive thinking.

In fact, fuck positive thinking. In my experience, nothing good has ever come from it. You can argue that it puts you in the right frame of mind, but honestly? When going into something serious, it just ramps up my anxiety due to the pressure.

I had a whole lot of other things to say, but I have been distracted by the Blues-Bruins Game 6. If I ever remember the rest of this thought I’ll post again.

Until then, friends.

I’m cautiously optimistic, and I’m trying not to get too hopeful

I had an interview on Tuesday, and it went really well. Funny part of the whole thing was after I had the interview they created the job that I had to apply for. I’m tentatively supposed to meet with the higher-ups next week, I just haven’t heard when yet. In many respects it seems like this position is being created around my experience and education, but I’m trying not to get too hopeful that this is going to work out. I’ve been let down too many times.

But it’s hard to not get excited about the mere prospect of not only a job, but a job in my field, in a branch that I would love to get involved in, that not only is relevant to my MBA, but also my biochemistry degree. This seems like a match made in heaven, right?

I don’t want to get ahead of myself here.

But for the first time I have hope, which is something I haven’t had for a long time. To be honest I’m not quite sure what to do. I’m part a ball of anxiety, part general nervousness, part hope, and part preparing for disappointment. I’m hoping to hear something tomorrow about scheduling the next interview.

If/when anything happens, I’ll keep you posted.

This waiting isn’t good for me though. I immediately jump to worst case scenario. I assume I’m not going to get the job. So while part of me is feeling hopeful, part of me is preparing to be completely let down. It’s an internal battle and neither side is gaining and retaining ground. As soon as one side starts to pull ahead in the battle, the other side resurges and gets that land back. I can’t win.

The worst battlefields in the world are in people’s brain.

I need to have confidence in myself, in my talents, in my skills. I need to believe that something will come along. I need to hope that when something does come along that it’s going to be worth the wait of the last two years since I graduated.

I’ve just had so much disappointment over the last few years. I’m scared to let myself feel hopeful.

Sometimes you really have to think about things

I was reading an article today about how Millennials, essentially, are screwed. How we’re the generation with the lowest birth rate, the highest amount of debt. How we aren’t buying houses, having kids.

Is it any wonder?

Most of us are broke – up to our eyeballs (and sometimes higher) in student loan debt, struggling to find our place in the working world where Baby Boomers are trying to hang on to their jobs as long as possible so as to maximize their social security when they retire. This means that we aren’t being promoted (or even hired) as the prior generation just isn’t leaving the workforce. Many are working 2, sometimes 3 jobs just trying to make ends meet. And many more of us are underemployed.

Ours is the generations where our parents really didn’t put money away for our education because when they went, college was cheap. No one saw the high prices of education coming. And then a lot of us had to go on and get Masters degrees (or higher) just to try to stay ahead, or even get started, in our careers.

I was talking with my husband tonight and he made a good point – there was one thing that could have saved our generation, but it’s the one thing that our parents managed to convince so many of of us not to do. Blue collar work. Mechanics, electricians, brick layers, heavy equipment operators, etc. But our parents mostly were of the mindset that we had to go to college. Either because they didn’t and wanted better for us, or because they did go and believed it was the only true way to get ahead in life, or sometimes it was because they looked down on blue collar workers and didn’t want that life for their kids. Whatever the reason, there are a lot of us suffering from crippling college debt, unable to find a job, on the brink of declaring bankruptcy, unfulfilled, unhappy, and feeling like our lives were nothing but wasted potential.

Obviously, this doesn’t apply to all Millennials. I know more than a few with a home and a few kids, but most of them didn’t take the “traditional” routes that our parents wanted or envisioned.

But I have to ask – what toll has all of this taken on our mental health? Kind of funny, but I read an article not long after the first that pointed out that Millennials are one of the most highly medicated generations for mental health issues – depression, anxiety, bipolar, personality disorders, OCD, and on and on and on.

Reading the two articles back to back made me think – are you really surprised? We’re all stressed beyond belief. Many of us know we’re getting the short end of the stick given to us by forces way beyond our control. We don’t know how to make it through. All of the promises of our youth ended up being made of paper. We’re watching the environment turn to shit – a cause that many of us first took up as kids when we cut the six pack rings so ducks and fish didn’t get stuck in them. We came of working age at a point where the economy was at its lowest and unemployment was at its highest. We took menial jobs because we couldn’t find work in our fields. We waited for the days when it would be our turn, but – funny story – it seems to have skipped right over us and onto the next generation.

I’ve heard a lot of people blame Millennials for things we had nothing to do with and couldn’t control, and the be castigated for things when really it was our younger counterparts in Gen Z (never looking up from our phones, disconnected from what’s really going on in the world, wanting everything handed to us) (no offense, guys).

We’re waiting patiently for the day when we have political power, the power the Baby Boomers don’t want to relinquish even though many of them seem to think it’s still 1985 and the world should be run as such. We’re waiting for the day when many of us can really make our mark in the business world as people stop refusing new ideas just because they’re new.

We’re waiting for it to be our turn.

I’m sorry for the rant. This issue has been featured in many of the news outlets and blogs that I read, and many of these things have been weighing heavily on my mind. Partly because I feel a lot of this really applies to the situations I find myself in, but partly because the messages resonate so clearly with me.

Thanks for reading this long-winded rant.

We should be back to our normal programming next week.

Let’s talk it out

I’ve talked before about all of the things I regret in life. But there’s nothing for that now. What’s done is done. All I can do at this point is try to make the best of a bad situation, right? Er… right. Well, at least I can try.

Let’s get down to it, shall we?

I can always go back to working in a lab. Yes, I hate it. No, it isn’t what I want to do, but we’re getting to the point where I may not have a choice. At least working in a lab I can get a decent salary, and I’ll probably have to work another part time job. Ok, cool. That could work. It’s definitely an option.

But I guess what I really want to – no, need to figure out, is what I really want to do with my life, my education, and where I want to do it.

At the end of the day, I’m not against moving for the right job. Mike isn’t thrilled about the idea, but he knows that it’s not off of the table. What I’d like is a low cost of living city that’s a decent size, with a growing job market. I want a city that the bands we like will travel to. That there’s cultural things to do – the opera, musicals, symphony, art. While Mike, I’m sure, would like to stay closer to our families, I’m not going to let myself be hindered by that. If it’s a good job in a good city, I’m going to apply.

But what do I really want to do? I like the operations side of business – supply chain, stock movement, labor forces, etc. But what’d I’d really like to do is work for a non-profit that deals with anything from women’s rights, science in politics, healthcare advocacy, animal rights and treatment. A friend of mine and I joked back in February when her position took a hit that we should start our own non-profit. Honestly, I wouldn’t be adverse to that. Maybe it’s something to work toward in the future.

But at this point? I’m not going to be picky. I just need a job. And I need one that’s not going to cause my mental health to suffer. Good luck, right?

Is it possible to be having an episode without having an episode? Oh, and I may be going through menopause at 36. Or have lupus. But it’s never lupus.

As the title says, is it possible to have an episode – that is, the symptoms of an episode – without actually having an episode? I’m angry, irritable, irrational, moody, cynical, unimpressed by things that should thrill me (*cough cough Endgame cough cough*). But my mood itself feels fine. Or mostly fine, at least. I don’t feel like I normally do when I’m having an episode. I honestly think I’ve just been beaten down so hard by the world the last few months that all of the emotions are starting to vomit all over me.

Like I said in one of my last posts, I’m about ready to give up.

Back to the point. I’m angry, and I anger very easily. I feel very unsupported. Simple things will irritate me until the anger builds until it almost explodes. Unfortunately the tipping point is often my husband. Which isn’t fair to him. But he and I need to have a completely unrelated conversation about how I’m feeling very unsupported, unappreciated, and unloved. But that’s a post for another time.

Moving on.

Those damn irrational thoughts are back. Mostly anger driven. But still very irrational. I think. To be fair, I don’t even know the difference any more. And I’m not sure I care. Because even the irrational ones lead to thoughts or ideas that are based in reality. They just tend to veer into the worst case scenario realm, which is where half of my “normal” thoughts are any way.

I’ve always been a very cynical person. But it’s gotten to the point over the last week or two that has been previously unreached. For example, I didn’t hate Endgame. I actually quite liked it. But there was a lot I didn’t like about it. And when we left the theater I was very cynical about all of it. I reacted similarly to the latest episode of Game of Thrones. To be fair – winter has been coming for eight freaking years. And it lasted an hour. It didn’t even get past Winterfell. I wanted winter in King’s Landing, damnit. This obviously ties in with the not getting enjoyment out of things part.

Oh yes, the early menopause. Ok, so we don’t actually know what’s happening right now (went to get some blood work today for a start), but I get the hot flashes from hell. To every woman that has gone through it, is going through it, or will go through all of it (ok, so all women). I AM SO SORRY YOU HAVE TO DEAL WITH THIS. It’s absolutely horrible. They strike at random – during the day, middle of the night, in the shower, at work, at home, in the car, working out, doing nothing on the couch (have one right now). Sometimes I’ll only get one or two a day, others I get one or two an hour for 14 hours. I had my thyroid levels tested 2 months ago with my normal psych blood work, and they were fine. So were my kidney levels. So this time we’re testing hormone levels, liver levels, and a CBC with diff to rule out infection. I doubt the CBC will show anything – I just donated plasma last week and got the email today that my blood was on the way to the hospital, so I’m sure if there was any indication of an infection they wouldn’t send it out. If all of these look fine, it’s off to my Gyn for more thorough hormone testing and possibly an endocrinologist or a rheumatologist to see if this is something autoimmune. It is also entirely possible that this has at least something to do with having lost 22 pounds in 2 and a half months. After years of psych meds, who knows what was stored in that fat. And then there’s the added bonus of my brain saying hey, we’re 1.5 stone lighter and we have no idea how to regulate ourselves! Party time!

Anyway, yeah. That’s the latest and greatest this week. I’m still chugging along. Pieces are bent, but they’re not broken.

I was definitely pretty low there

Welcome back.

I reread my last entry, as well as the few messages I got regarding it, and realized just how low I was. Mike and I talked for a long time about everything I wrote about and everything that was going on.

I didn’t realize how bad I perceived things to be. I’m not going to say that I don’t believe everything I wrote last time, because in many ways I do, but… I tend to be very fatalistic and look at things from a very negative standpoint. I don’t regret my education. Far from it – it has opened a lot of doors and exposed me to a lot of different things I never would have ever even encountered otherwise. But sometimes it’s really hard to look at something that you put so much work into, so much money into, and so much literal blood sweat and tears into, only to see no payoff from it.

I think the hardest thing I wrestle with is that for so many years I’ve worked so hard, and overcame so much, to achieve so much, only to watch people that have done nothing but screw up, screw around, and half-ass everything, only to have everything absolutely handed to them. As unfair as it sounds, to me they don’t deserve it. People that screwed their way through college, drinking every night and missing class, barely passing making 6 figures because Daddy got them an internship at his golf buddy’s company. It’s not jealousy, it’s not that I really even covet their success. But I want my own. And it’s hard to watch people get what they really don’t deserve.

God, that sounds so catty and jealous, but I was always told as a kid that if you work hard, success will come. That’s all I’ve done for the last 20 years. I feel like I’ve been lied to my whole life. I grew up in the 80s when the mantra was “you can be anything you want.”

Bull. Shit.

I’m just frustrated. But after talking to Mike I’m trying to stay positive, and really make sure my resume is out there. I’ve been spending 4 nights a week plus multiple days on my lunch break either paging through Indeed and savings jobs, or applying for jobs. I am going to turn things around. I am going to be successful. I am going to make my own way.

It will happen eventually. I have to believe that. Because if I don’t…. I think I’d just give up.

I think it’s time for some serious self reflection part 2

Let’s just get down to it, eh?

I think the most important issue to analyze is my education.

I went to college right out of high school because that’s what was expected of me. Due to some health problems I bounced in and out for a few years before ultimately dropping out.

I went back a few years later, again, because that’s what was expected. I graduated with a STEM degree. One reason was because I really enjoy science. The other was because all I heard was that it would be easy to get a job. Yeah. Not so much. My first job out of school paid less than 25k a year. But I plugged away, changed jobs twice, and finally was making a decent living.

But there was nowhere for my career to go. As it turned out, I really wasn’t a fan of bench work. So based on my education and skill set I had hit a ceiling in a career I really didn’t like. What to do, what to do.

So I went back to an online program and got my MBA. Again, everyone I talked to said I wouldn’t have a hard time finding a job at all with my education and skill set!

Yeah. 23 months later and no job.

I’m going to be honest, there were times that I weren’t as diligent as I should have been in looking for a job. A combination of depression and discouragement were big factors there.

But let’s get down to brass tacks.

I feel like every educational decision I made has been the wrong one. After I dropped out of my first undergrad program, I wanted to go to a trade school. Be a mechanic. But I felt like that wasn’t an option due to familial pressures. That just wasn’t an acceptable option for “someone of my intelligence.” And yes, that was actually said.

And after getting into my career, I felt the only option I had was more school.

I regret that too.

Looking back to 13 years ago when I went back to school, I wish I would have been strong enough to stand up to my family and did what I wanted to, rather than what was expected of me.

I’ve done a lot of thinking and soul searching over the past few weeks, and far too often I’ve done what other people expected of me rather than what I wanted to do.

I don’t think anyone, barring Mike, has any idea of how much I regret so many of the choices I’ve made in my life. At the very core I’m very unhappy with my life. But I don’t know how, at this point, to change things.

Maybe once I get a new job, and ten years down the line I’ll feel differently. But right now I have so many regrets, so many things that I wish I would have done differently. So many ways I wish I could have lived my life differently.

It’s hard to admit all of that. And for once I can’t even blame the bipolar or anxiety or mental health issues. This is all on me and my desire not to rock the boat and do what was expected. I feel like just about every decision I’ve ever made has been the wrong one for all of the wrong reasons. And I don’t see a way out of this. I just hope that I can find a new job soon and maybe try to turn some of this around.

So I ran into an old friend…

Was at my crappy retail job this weekend, and I ran into a girl I went to college with. At the time, we were very close, but when she was accepted into grad school she fell off the face of the earth. As much as I liked her, she could be very… snotty, for lack of a better word. She looked down on everything and everyone that didn’t fit into her perfect world view.

But running into her got me thinking.

Why does life seem to work out so perfectly for some people, while other people face obstacle after roadblock after set back despite their best efforts. I know those of us with mental illness really face our own set of difficulties, but seeing people that everything just seems to work out for can be absolutely infuriating, especially when your own world is falling apart despite doing everything that you’re supposed to.

I know personally, it seems like everything I do ends up having the opposite effect that I had intended. Got a bachelors degree, took me 4 years to find a job that paid more than 35k/year despite being in a supposedly “hot” field. Decided to get a graduate degree? No job almost two years later despite doing everything I was told to.

It’s so hard to watch people do the bare minimum and get everything they ever wanted while I bust my ass day in, day out and just… nothing ever seems to go my way.

I regret everything and I’m at the point where I honestly just want to give up. I try to tell myself that everything will work out, but what if it doesn’t? It’s really hard to not be negative about what will come, at this point. 

But, I guess I’ll continue to soldier on and hope that things will be different. Despite everything in me screaming just to give up.

A little of this, a little of that

Last night I almost deleted this blog. I had it archived, and was ready to hit delete. Ultimately I decided against it, at least for now. I may eventually move over to a different domain name as this blog started out as one thing, and has morphed into something completely different.

The one thing that stopped me is that it’s really cathartic to get all of these thoughts out of my head. It helps me identify them, organize them, and better able to communicate them to not only my treatment team, but also my husband, who really is the majority of my support system.

I don’t tell my parents what’s going on. My mother would worry herself to death, and she’s got enough on her plate between her own health problems, and everything that’s going on with her, my dad, and my brother, I don’t need to pile something else on her plate that she can’t do anything about. Some of my friends know bits and pieces about what’s going on, but I’m a very private person. I don’t like people in my business or knowing my business. Especially when it comes to my mental health. For example, the last depressive episode I had in August of 2017, people thought things were a little off, but no one other than Mike knew I was suicidally depressed. I can hold things together really well in public, at work, and with family. And then at home I fall apart.

That isn’t to say that I’m closed off about my illness, quite the opposite actually. It started when I was in college, I advocated for a better system for students dealing with mental health issues. There was an instance where a girl attempted suicide. Rather than trying to get her the help she needed, she was expelled. Not send home for the semester to work on herself so that she could be welcomed back when she was ready. Expelled. I was hopping mad. So I did something about it. I’m very open about my diagnosis, but sometimes I wonder if my propensity for holding it all together doesn’t do more harm than good. I mean, if I always seem like everything is fine, do people get the wrong idea about my diagnosis? And then what happens when I collapse? I feel like people are more shocked than they might otherwise be.

I don’t know.

Anyway, I had my appointment with my therapist earlier this week. He informed me that despite my feelings otherwise, I was not crazy. As he put it, crazy people don’t seek out help. Ok, I’ll give you that. While he did agree that there was some worrisome behavior going on, none of it, at least to this point, was destructive. Being inside of my mind was a messy, weird place to be, but I wasn’t what he would consider to be “at risk” of escalating. Thankfully I seem to be on the tail end of this weirdness and cycling. I’ve felt more stable this week. I adulted the shit out of Monday and Tuesday. I got a lot of things squared away and a lot of problems either solved or on the road to being solved.

I felt good this week. Maybe not entirely back to normal, but at least on the way to being normal.

I hate the bullshit that my brain puts me through. I mean, this lump of matter has control over everything about you. But what happens when you’re not control of it? I absolutely hate that feeling. That, more than anything, makes me feel crazy.