Monday, February 09, 2009

To Work or Not To Work

This weekend we went to Slightly Bigger Midwestern City to see my grandmother and celebrate my uncle's birthday together. My grandmother asked me if I was applying for jobs yet. I confirmed that I was. I also told her, as I've told many people recently, that I'm trying to work extra hard to pitch in around the house and do things for my family. Right now, while my meds can impede things, I'm attempting to push through the difficulties, get used to a normal schedule, and to be more than the lump of flesh sitting on the futon. I know that if I went from just sitting around all day to working even part-time, I'd have a very difficult transition and even more tired than I usually am when starting a new job. I'm also acutely aware that all my bills are paid for by my parents, with no financial help from me. I figure that if I push myself to do what not ungrateful and not lazy people would do then I'll be seen as not ungrateful and not lazy.

But my mom threw me for a loop with some comments that she made on our way home. She mentioned that she had heard my comments to my grandmother about finding work, and that she had heard me say the same things the previous weekend at my uncle's house. My mom expressed to me that she was displeased that I seemed to put so much emphasis on finding a job. She pointed out that I wasn't in dire straits financially, as my parents are paying what bills I have and providing a place to live and food to eat. (Yes, somehow I now feel ungrateful for wanting a job.) But her bigger worry was that I would push myself too hard and either take a job that I liked but that I would end up losing because the meds that just settled down got messed up again or that I would take a job I didn't like that would cause me to spiral and lose that job. She would like me to just take it easy and allow myself more time on the current meds before I put myself out there too much.

It is not like I don't understand what she said or why she felt the need to say it. I'm well aware that I had what might have been a great job offer last month, which, unfortunately, coincided with when the Lexapro dropped off and the Prozac didn't pick up the slack, like it was supposed to. I couldn't even get out of bed in the morning to go to the job, much less see how bad I'd mess it up by being there. And, honestly, it isn't like I don't have a difficult time with the more mundane aspects of life. I get tired much more easily than I ever used to. Just one trip to one store, be it grocery or wal-mart, wipes me out. I also have weird... spatial disturbances.... I'm not sure how to easily describe it. It happens when I move my head to fast, either up or down or from side to side. It feels like what happens when you are just a bit drunk and you move your head too fast, only it doesn't last as long. I guess when a person is drunk, they expect it and they're already out of it enough not to care. When you are sober, it's disconcerting. In addition to the above, I still have the tremor, some times worse than other times, though the beta blocker helps. I also don't like too many people. Tend to get a little paranoid around strangers and need a larger bubble of personal space. All of these things combined, as well as all the others that I'm not remembering right now, and, now that I think about it, bad memory should be on that list too... where was I? Oh, yeah- all of these things combine to make me worry that I could keep a job, even if it was one that I really liked and tried my hardest at. Those things also tend to limit what I would even consider applying for. I probably couldn't do a job where I had to stand eight hours. I couldn't do a job where I had to have steady, precise hands. You get the picture.

I should also say that it isn't like I'm hurting financially or lifestyle-wise. I will grant that I would be someone's slave for a week if they would either fix my car or have it fixed. My poor car :( Like I said before, I have a place to live, food to eat, everyday needs met, and what few bills I have paid. I don't go out as much as I would like and tend to look longingly at books I want, but a little less consumerism could probably do us all good. And I have plenty of books and movies here to catch up on anyway.

But it brings up some questions surrounding my future employment that I've been trying not to think about lately. I worry about my ability to get and stay employed over my lifetime. I've never really been able to keep a job for a very long time, though most of my jobs have also been in high turnover, low pay, service industry jobs and some I quit when I moved to a different area. But I know that I have a problem consistently keeping a job. I also have a hard time starting a new job when I find one. I've also had long-ish periods of unemployment, especially during and after a hard time in dealing with my depression or during and just after a crisis in my life. (Wow. I sound so pathetic.) It isn't as if I am physically disabled. It isn't like my mental illness is debilitating either. It would seem that the only thing stopping me from working is my own laziness and self-defeating attitude. But, on the other hand, this has been the pattern of my whole life.

I don't want to give up on myself though. To quit before I've even started, especially now that I"m on not just a new medicine, a new anti-depressant, but a new set of drugs, who's combination, for better and for worse, have new effects. A new set of drugs that I'm sure my doctor is hoping will make me better able to live a more "normal" life. I also feel like my life can't move on really until I am more free and independent, or at least in a position where I can choose to be dependent or not, where it would be a choice for me to live with my parents, whether to save money or just to be close to family, or to live on my own here in this city or to start over again somewhere else or to shack up with a hot lover or ten.

So I'm left wondering what road is best to take. I've been trying to take life much closer to one day at a time, not have expectations but enjoy things, feel things, love while I can as much as I can, try to be good. But now.... well, I just don't know. Please feel free to give advice...

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