Tag Archives: brother

Dude, I’m not that deaf.

I do have some hearing loss in my left ear (driving for years with your window down (no a/c) and going in excess of the 70mph speed limit’ll do that to you), and for whatever reason I struggle to understand people when they are in front of me, and I often read their lips a lot for cues, but shit people say from my side or behind me? I hear and understand every. single. word.

Thanksgiving was rough this year. I made a truly amazing dinner for my clients at work but primarily with no help, and was on my feet for 10+ hours doing it. I am already stressed out due to various work stressors- a toxic environment from my bosses who expect absolute compliance and give no room for error, fire people in a hot second and then call them idiots when they really just didn’t jive for whatever reason, where I am salaried but have been told that it is expected I work more than 40 hours/week and “that’s why you’re salaried, so you can work extra” which, um, no? Pretty sure that’s actually wage theft, or at the very least, rude. Where my going to HR and bringing up that something was particularly triggering to me during a meeting somehow was turned into a performance review where my job was threatened. Where I’m afraid to say or do anything out of line, and I just hide in my building, and run my program… which is being evaluated by CARF to determine if I will be certified next week. No pressure at all.

I was originally planning to go to my parents’ house after work on Wednesday, but I was so emotionally and physically wiped out I couldn’t even. We were going to do a 5K the next morning, and I had to be up by 6:30 to get there in time. Last year my stepdad bet my mom $50 that I wouldn’t do it, and physical fitness is an obsession in my family, and I have never measured up or been found worthy in that domain. I was so anxious and stressed out I didn’t fall asleep until 4 am, so obviously I slept right through my alarm. I then decided not to go to Thanksgiving either. I was so triggered and anxious, I was a mess. I ended up calling off work FMLA on Friday, and still feel guilty about it.

So this brings us to today- Saturday. My mom started the tradition of going and cutting down our own tree after she remarried, for just us- my brother, sister, mom and I, so every year we go out the weekend after Thanksgiving to cut down a tree. I was feeling up to people by then, so I came out to participate.

I know I can be a know-it-all sometimes, really. And I didn’t hear everything that was said, due to multiple tractors, chainsaws, and various other machines being used to trim, shake, and bundle trees being brought in, but after a random comment about how emu tastes like ham and how I know that (my Renaissance Faire in Ohio, sells “turkey legs” but they’re actually emu) and a mild disagreement that this was actually the case, but I am pretty confident in this fact, as turkey generally does not taste like ham, and turkey legs aren’t that HUGE, and it’s something of an open secret among the Faire folk.

As I was climbing down off the wagon, helping my nephew so he didn’t fall, I heard my mom say “..it’s like the Disney-Pixar thing.” Earlier in the day there had been a conversation in the car about Diney and Disney-Pixar being two separate elements, and their movies are totally different, so I had been clarifying who made “Inside Out,” Pixar or Disney. So I guess someone asked mom about me being, well, me, and needing to be right or clarifying things or whatever, and it was just… said like that. It hurt, but I didn’t say anything, partly because I wasn’t sure who had asked the initial question (pretty sure it was my brother-in-law) and I wasn’t sure what the initial question *was* though there aren’t too many possibilities, given the answer.

I avoided people for two days and texted my sister to see if mom was mad at me, after I was only able to give monosyllabic answers when my sister called to see if I was coming to Thanksgiving. (Pretty sure the entire conversation on my side consisted of five words. “Are you coming?” “No.” “Really?” “Yes.” “Are you okay?” “Not really.” “Okay, well, try to come to cut trees on Saturday, okay?” “Sure.”) I have been very anxious about if people are mad at me, if they are disappointed, walking on eggshells to try to survive, and I finally started to let my guard down again and then… that. A reminder that I can be a know-it-all and we’re just going to whisper it behind her back.

Except I’m not deaf back there.

I’m not sure if feelings were trying to be spared or what, but I was so upset. I wandered off for a while and cried, avoiding people and bonding with a very friendly, very patient draft horse in the petting zoo area of the farm. I just shrugged and pretended it didn’t happen when it was time to go, and tried to go back to normal, but I was right back on those damn eggshells.

Thankfully I have one more day to avoid people. Next week is CARF and I imagine I’ll be a disaster next weekend as well, and then I have to make Christmas happen for my residents and I’m sure I’ll end up doing that all on my own, too. :/

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Oh, there you are, depression. And here I thought you’d finally buggered off.

Just when I thought maybe I’d kicked depression pretty well, I start feeling a bit maudlin again. I’m feeling overwhelmed- I’m getting more hours at work now, up to 32 from about 26, and I can feel it. I’m also watching my nephew a lot, and simply don’t have much time to myself. What time I do have, I’m tired and don’t feel inspired, so while I have work to do I just don’t want to do it.

My brother has gotten a full-time job at a nice restaurant, which is something he’s decided he wants badly. I’m happy for him, but worried for me. Mom thinks my brother and I should stick together for a while- be roommates once we’re both more on our feet- and I don’t know how I feel about that. As much as I love my nephew, I’m tired, and he’s two and a half. I can’t take being responsible for him so much anymore. It’s starting to negatively impact me.

Everything’s starting to negatively impact me, it seems.

I think it’s bedtime.

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I guess I should do a year-in-review type post.

Basically… 2013 sucked. I broke up with my boyfriend of almost a year, I lost my job, I spent months and months in a depressive fugue, and had to have most of my cat’s teeth removed. I had to move back in with my parents and have my beloved Chihiro fostered out, where she still is after eight goddamn months because I can’t seem to get my shit together and find a job. My brother’s wife left him, taking the older boy who was hers but not my brother’s and dumping him on his paternal grandparents in Arizona, and thus my brother and his son ended up moving in to my parents’ house as well. I ran out of unemployment and started working part-time minimum wage, which saw to the end of my car insurance and the present state of “making payments on a car that’s been hanging out in the driveway for six months, and doing a lot of walking.” I don’t have enough money to buy anything for myself other than my medication, and even doing that involves a lot of robbing Peter to pay Paul. I’m paying what bills I HAVE to pay, perpetually a half-payment behind on Artoo, and doing my best to get at least to where I can see the sky again from under car debt, college debt, medical debt, cat medical debt, and money I owe to the IRS (which I haven’t filed last year on yet, because I owe over a thousand dollars due to having to cash out my 401K to live on, and there is no way in hell I can pay a thousand dollars on top of the other thousands I owe everywhere else. I’ll file for however many years I have to when it’ll come out even or I’m in a position to pay what I owe.) I’m still looking for a job, though I admit my game’s been pretty weak through the holidays because who the hell is hiring during the holidays?

There were some good points, though. I am finally, FINALLY through the multi-year hell of a major depressive cycle, after I don’t even know how many ER visits at this point. Somewhere in the ballpark of a half-dozen over two years, I think. It’s marvelous to wake up and realize I’m not depressed. Stressed, yes, but I no longer have been going to the automatic suicidal ideas when something isn’t going right. Not working, and then doing manual labor, seems to have given my brain the rest it needed to chill the fuck out. Being here with my parents, brother and nephew has been difficult on all parties, but something about the experience has helped, at least so far as the “I’m not really responsible for much other than cleaning and cooking occasionally” element is concerned. Being on umemployment was freeing. I got to go to my family’s upper peninsula cabin twice, when I hadn’t made it in the six years beforehand, and I got kidnapped to TFCon by a friend, which was my first convention in three years. I’ve been teaching myself American Sign Language, and I’ve been getting to spend a lot of time with my two-year-old nephew, which has been nice. I got to go to the Michigan Renaissance Festival once, which made missing my dear Ohio Renaissance Festival hurt a bit less, and I got to spend time with some friends I don’t see much due to them living in Michigan.

And then we rang in Christmas with an ice storm, and I rang in the new year with god-knows-what that is likely bronchitis, so now I’ve missed about forty hours of work in three weeks. *facepalm* I’ve got a 10% off sale going on in my shop. The code is ICESTORM. I swear I will get things shipped, I just turned around after setting up the sale and got hit with this nasty illness, so I’ve not been doing much other than lying in bed, hacking up a lung and living on a steady diet of cough drops and ibuprofen, acetaminophen, benedryl, sudafed, and an expectorant. Whoo, my life is thrilling.

I have made about 18 bracelets and have at least six more on my immediate list, though more might come, depending on when I run out of memory wire. I’m hoping to finish those up and get pictures tomorrow so I can get things up for sale. I’m waiting on charms for two commissions, as the mail has gotten a bit awful due to the horrible weather. We got about 16 inches of snow initially, then the wind started, and we got even more snow because why the hell not, and yeah. Climate change deniers are welcome to kiss my (very cold) ample derriere.

I miss Cincinnati like nothing I’ve ever missed before. It’s a physical ache. I think about it constantly, and how much I miss all of the things I used to be able to do. I miss my sister and I miss my best friend and I miss my cat and I miss my friends and I miss my entire life down there. Now that I’m back to looking for jobs, I’ll be looking in Cincinnati again as well, though I’m also looking in Indianapolis, and on the west side of Michigan, where things seem to be doing better, economy-wise. (Likely because they weren’t as dependent on the auto industry as eastern Michigan had been.) What would be nice would be finding something localish so I could stay at home, finish paying off a good chunk of debt, get new furniture to replace the stuff that was thrown away, and get back into my own apartment. Cincinnati might have to wait simply by necessity of getting things back together again. Alternately, finding a job and getting a roommate down in Cincinnati might not be a horrible thing, though having had the same roommate for ten years makes it hard to imagine finding someone to live with who wasn’t also my best friend.

I’m looking forward to 2014, because seriously, it can only go up from here.

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So, that was… interesting.

Here in mid-Michigan, we had a pretty nasty ice storm that started with rain/sleet for a couple days and then turned to ice on Saturday/Sunday. I think there was an estimate of 500,000 people without power. My family lost power mid afternoon on Sunday, but we have a generator, city water, and a gas stove, so once we got the generator hooked up, we were in good shape. We just had the furnace, fridge, and one lamp plugged in, and used approximately a billion candles everywhere else. (My mother has an inexhaustible supply of tea lights. There were votives EVERYWHERE.) By Monday, we had three neighbors’ houses hooked up to the generator as well, and then power came on Monday night. The Wendy’s where I work, though, didn’t get power until Wednesday afternoon, so I lost approximately 20 hours of work, which sucks. I was already just trying to get ahead of the constant assault of bills so now I’ll be even further behind.

It definitely gave me impetus to get my butt working on some jewelry, though. I started working on some character bracelets I had charms for and hadn’t gotten around to, and I set up a 10% off coupon code at Helpful Cat Creations. The code is “ICESTORM” and is good on everything, including commissions. I only have fan stuff on my site because I have all of my original work at the consignment shop, but I will try to get some original work done and posted as well. I need to go see what’s at the consignment shop and maybe do a sale there, too, to try and move some pieces before the end of the month, so then I can collect it on the 15th. (Anything in January I can’t collect until February 15th; it’s not that I won’t need money in February too, but I am trying to put out this particular fire right now.)

I’m still struggling with getting everything paid, especially my CareCredit card for Chihiro. I’ve still got about $600 left on it and the no interest period has expired on one of the charges so far, so soon enough it’ll be even harder to pay off. I need to get some cat stuff made to sell, as well. My friend who kidnapped me for TFCon made me a bunch of resin charms with Chihiro pictures on them. I wonder how she’d feel about me potentially selling a few of the repeat images. (My friend is like me and does not do things in half-measures; I was expecting one or two when she said she’d made “a couple” and got like, twenty charms.) Obviously I want to hoard them, but I’d be happy to part with them if it’ll get Chihiro’s care paid for more quickly.

Now that the holidays are mostly over, I’m going to redouble my efforts to find a better job. I am planning to look in Cincinnati and the surrounding area, as well as Indianapolis, and in Grand Blanc here in Michigan. Ohio would be best because I’ve got family there and I know I can do what I had been doing with my current level of schooling, and also because I miss Cincinnati like a dear friend. I’m not entirely positive I want to live in Indy, but I do have friends there, and that is where Chihiro is, so it isn’t a terrible place. I would need to look up licensure requirements for case management there, though, and see if it’s the same as Ohio. This “master’s degree and social work license” requirement is killing me, as is the utterly horrible job situation in this state.

My brother found a part-time job! He is still working on getting a full-time professional job, but he got a part-time job as a cook at a local deli. As he is really getting into cooking and baking, I think it’ll be great for him, though the logistics of childcare is going to be a nightmare.

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So, so tired

The holidays are exhausting. I have no money to buy gifts; what money I had to get stuff to make presents was from the commission I had from my mom to make jewelry for my sisters and myself for Christmas. I bought what was needed to make stuff for my nieces and nephew, and to make my brother a hat and scarf, which he already has, because it’s cold and he didn’t have those things. Other than that, everyone’s just getting a card.

I hate not being able to make things for everyone like I usually do, though I’m finding myself of two minds about it anyway; I pour so much of myself into what I make, and my family is generally “Oh, that’s pretty,” and that’s the end of it. My mom is the one who’s the best about it, as she wears pretty much only jewelry my stepdad buys for her, or I make for her. (And on one occasion, jewelry my stepdad bought that I then modified for her.) My sister, on the other hand, won’t wear anything but silk or pashmina scarves, and doesn’t really wear jewelry, or any of the other things I make. I have completely run out of ideas for her. My brother, on the other hand, is enjoying the hell out of his new hat, along with his 1-Up Mushroom hat and Yoda hat I’ve made for him on previous occasions, and he is looking forward to the Minion hat I am making for my nephew. Six of one, half dozen of the other, I guess.

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I didn’t think being underemployed and living at home could be quite this… busy.

I only work about 30 hours at Wendy’s, as much more than that stresses me out, and rather than the solitude of myself and a cat (or myself, a cat, a roommate and a dog) I now live with my parents, their dog, my brother, and his two-year-old son. I am far, far busier than I ever expected to be, with impromptu babysitting often taking up large chunks of my time, along with crafting- especially for Christmas.

I gave a local holiday craft bazaar a shot and it sucked. I only brought in $40. The table itself was $20, and I spent more than $40 in supplies in anticipation. The stuff I made is at the consignment shop. I’ll be checking in on it tomorrow, actually, after work. I can get paid for the previous month’s sales after the 15th. I’m not sure if I had any sales in November or if they’ve been in December, but still, actually making money on the pieces I spent a lot of time working on, would be nice. Last time I checked I had sold one piece, and that was weeks ago, and all of my stuff was displayed right by the register or on mannequins to hopefully inspire impulse buys. I was the only local artist who did any holiday-centric pieces, so I got to cash in on the impulse-section real estate. (That, and she really likes my work, as it is the only stuff that ends up on the mannequins. I am totally okay with this.)

In amazing news, I went exactly two months without a single sick day! Which I then promptly broke the very next day by catching the stomach bug that’s going around at Wendy’s. I wasn’t too symptomatic in the morning so I went TO work, and then got sent home later when the stomach pains turned into the much more delightful symptoms of a stomach flu. I have not gone two months without a sick day in years. I honestly don’t remember the last time I did such a thing. And even with missing a couple hours last week, I still hit my targeted 28 hours for the week, adding to the 35 I managed the week before when I picked up a close. Psychologically, I’m feeling pretty good. I am not attending any groups as I was finally kicked out of the other one for being horrifically inconsistent with showing up, and the only other group locally is at a really weird time that is not compatible with my work schedule AT ALL, and as my car is presently not insured, going out of town for groups is a bit out of reach right now… not to mention I really, really don’t get much out of groups. I’m still taking my meds, of course, but otherwise, my psychological health is kind of on the back burner… and not really thinking about it that hard seems to be helping a bit. It’s easy enough to get wrapped up in one’s health conditions, after all; getting too caught up in my bipolar disorder was making me symptomatic too, I think.

That, and I’m frankly too tired to think about it. Work is very physically taxing, and letting my mind rest quite a bit. The biggest challenges I face during the day is remaining polite and nice when people are being horrible to me, and keeping up with the pace all day when it’s particularly crazy. (I do not like Gospel Nights. I will have to tell you about Gospel Nights.) When I leave, while I might feel aggravated it’s easily grumbled out and a nice hot shower and some food cures most ills, and painkillers can help with how much my feet and back hurt. I don’t have to bring problems home. Now that things are going better with the one manager that was giving me so many problems, I am not a nervous wreck at work (well, not too often; today I was, but in my defense, it was Gospel Night.) I don’t have paperwork, or particularly vexing challenges to puzzle over. I do a lot of cleaning, and cleaning is very zen-like for me. My coworkers think I’m nuts for how much I clean, but I figure if my hands are busy, time goes faster, and I take a lot of pride in having a clean dining room for customers. I burn a lot of physical energy at work, but not a whole lot of mental energy. I feel more capable of a challenge now than I have in ages.

After the holiday, I plan to start looking back in Cincinnati and other places to find a new job. I can’t do what I love here; I miss case management a lot. I want to get to grad school, I want to take classes in ASL (I have now taken orders in Sign three times, and felt like an idiot, but learning a new language is fun) and possibly become an interpreter, or a therapist, or a therapist who is fluent in ASL, which is probably a niche that might actually lead to something resembling an income. I want to be able to drive my car again. I miss my cat. I miss my friends, I miss my city. I just want to get back in the game. I feel a lot better, and I think a professional job will be something I can handle again.

I also definitely need to get back into blogging daily. I’ll see what I can do.

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I’m surrounded by armchair psychiatrists

So Monday morning/afternoonish, I was in a bit of a funk. I’ve been having trouble falling asleep when I want to and staying asleep (more the second bit,) and so I end up needing to sleep later but my nephew (who now lives here) is Very Two and Very Loud at obscene o’clock in the morning, so… yeah, not sure about the overall quality of my sleep in the last few months. I had been having weird dreams and woke up unsettled, and then watched Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and felt even MORE unsettled. I’m starting to think Harry Potter is a bit much for me, to be honest. My brother has all of the movies except for The Deathly Hallows 1 & 2, and my nephew loves Harry Potter, so he’s equally as likely to be watching that as he is to be working through the Pixar collection. I watched my nephew for an hour or so while my brother went and talked to a general manager somewhere, and finished out the movie once my brother and nephew left for a while, and just felt unsettled, and a bit angry.

Lately, it seems that everybody around me- my parents, my mom’s therapist, my boss- knows more about my mental illness and what I need, than I do. It feels an awful lot like what happens when other people who make my fat their business, and doubt my own experiences as a fat person, so I’m going to go with the idea that I’m being completely ignored because clearly I don’t actually know what’s best for me. It’s rude, it’s demeaning, and it makes me feel like I’m incompetent and need a guardian appointed by the court or something.

It just keeps coming up, different variations of the same theme; I’m not pushing myself enough, I’m not really that sick, I give up too easily, I could do more if I wanted to and I just don’t want to. I wish I could let some of these people spend a week in my head and see how well they manage. I’ve actually gone more than a month since missing any work, which is a goddamn miracle and hasn’t happened in YEARS, but I’m working around 28 hours a week because more than that and I had problems. I wonder how I’ll handle a 40 hour week, but as I doubt I’ll be doing quite the same amount of physical labor, and I’ll hopefully be making more than minimum wage, I think I’ll be able to handle it. I can handle mental exhaustion far, far better than physical exhaustion, for one, and for two, just about every other career field in the world is less in-your-face stressful than customer service.

Being physically busy does quiet my brain a bit, so that’s nice, but as soon as I slow down the noise is back, which is part of why I’m having trouble sleeping. I’m struggling to process through a lot and so much has changed. I’m not going to group anymore, as it was mostly a waste of my time. I’m halfheartedly looking for another support group but I don’t really get anything out of the format. I tried, and I’ve genuinely tried in the past, but it just doesn’t work for me. Of course, this is another thing that everybody else knows more than me about how I can handle it, and I just didn’t try hard enough, or participate enough.

It’s like religion all over again. I walked away after being told one too many times that if I just had more faith, God would heal me of my mental illness. My every failure was because I didn’t have enough faith, even though I was pretty damn sure I was as faithful as I could be. It wasn’t the lack of faith, it was how nothing on the other end was changing. I was being blamed for being sick and not fixing myself… and it’s happening again. It’s my fault that I’m still bipolar. If I’d just do what everyone else knows I should be doing, I’d be better. I’d be employed and get to live independently again, get my cat back, get my life back in order, but I’m not doing what everyone else wants, so I deserve to suffer.

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