Wednesday, May 07, 2014

What I Wish I Could Tell Work

I really don't want to have to look for a job right now. What I want is to be looking for an apartment, to be applying for housing assistance on the off chance that I qualify, and/or to be looking for a roommate situation for awhile. What I want is to find a cheap but airy studio or one bedroom apartment that is just mine, where my cats and my stuff can live, where I can settle in, where I don't have to be anything to or for anyone.

But to keep my job, you want me to be able to tell you a designated person who I will be able to tell when I'm starting to not do very well, so that they can call you and tell you "Hey, she needs a bit of a break, even if she isn't in a place to ask for it herself." I get it. You want to make sure that the clients are taken care of, that I don't no-call no-show and leave everyone wondering what happened to me. And I even understand that you do care for me and you want me to take active steps in dealing with my mental illness, in making sure that I go through an easier time next time that I go through a difficult time.

Just two things.

One: You don't know what I already do for my mental illness and I don't really feel like it is any of your business. While the manager who has dealt with mental illness in her family is sympathetic, the boss ended up throwing out a bunch of the stigmas about mental illness in our conversation and I don't really feel like talking about it with her. Shit, sometimes I have a hard time talking about it with people I am close to, people I love, people I am living with. I sure as hell am not going to tell you. I'm not going to tell you that I've been on medications for 13 years. I'm not going to tell you that I picked out my health insurance plan, which you contribute nothing to by the way, specificially so that I could go to the mental health in-patient hospital that I liked the best of the three I've been to. I'm not going to tell you that I go see a psychiatrist every couple of months to tweak my meds, except that until recently I couldn't afford to think about adding another one because I didn't have health insurance to help me afford anything other than barebones generic medications. I'm not going to tell you that I've been in a therapy program for over two years where I see my therapist once a week and go to an educational therapy group once a week. I'm not going to tell you that my girlfriend, who I live with, works in mental health, understands my illness, and I still couldn't tell her. I'm not going to tell you that I didn't tell my therapist how bad it was because I didn't realize it was that bad until everything blew up because I was trying so hard to keep everything under control that I almost thought I would be able to keep it all under control long enough for things to settle down again. I'm not going to tell you these things because I'm not sure that I think it's any of your fucking business. I'm also not going to tell you these things because I worry that you'll think "Well, damn, if she's this bad with all this help, how bad is she really?"

Two: It never works like what you are wanting. It is not like I don't know that this is a chronic illness I have. It's not like I don't say the same things to other people about mental illness, that it is like any other chronic illness, like say diabetes, that must be managed and evaluated in a realistic light. But when I am bad, I am lucky when I can express to someone else that I want to hurt myself, that I have hurt myself, when I'm starting to feel suicidal, when I'm feeling full on suicidal, when I've already attempted. Hell, I had one attempt that no one knew about at the time, that no one knew about until months or maybe a year later when I was joking about it. It doesn't work like that for me. You are right that maybe it should. But guess what? That's something I don't have the head space to change right now. Right now, all I can manage to do is to keep moving, to keep getting up each day, to keep doing chores around the house, to keep going to appointments, to keep taking my meds, to keep eating, to not just decide to fall into a bottle until the money runs out, to keep applying for jobs since it doesn't look like I'm going to be going back to this one. Right now, there are moments when it is all I can do not to harm myself or start drawing up plans, so I can't really promise that I'll  make this thing that I've never been able to do in the 13 years that I've been dealing with this mental illness happen.

I have until Friday to figure out if I'm gonna lie and say that I can do it and name a person or be unemployed.

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