Job Hard

Yeah, didn’t mean to imply that my job is overly hard – for the most part, it is just the right degree of hard, at least physically. I’m just happy that the other night, when my general manager pulled me aside on a break to talk to me, it wasn’t because I was in trouble – but rather because he wanted to give me the opportunity to stay on at Barnes & Noble as a more long-term employee. That’s right – after January 5th, I will be a regular Barnes & Noble employee, entitled to vacation (eventually) and everything. It’ll only be 24 hours a week, true, but it gives me time to do other things and have enough energy to actually do some stuff outside of work.

I’m still waiting to hear back from Calla; I heard from her on Christmas Eve, and it didn’t sound like she was doing too well, but I hope that she’s doing better now. I’m worried about her, but that may be just me; I just feel like there is more I could be doing, but there is so little I can do from here and with the communication restrictions enforced by her treatment center. I spend more time wondering about whether I am trying to do too much or not enough than is probably helpful for me.

Honestly, feeling like I can’t do anything to help my friends is becoming a recurring theme over the last few days. I keep hearing things from my friends that make me wish I knew how to help, but I don’t, so even though I tell them I want to help, I don’t know where to start. It seems frustrating for all involved, and so I am trying to find ways to be of more use, but with the topics at hand, it ain’t easy. Saying more than that, though, is not in the cards for now, because the topics I am hearing aren’t mine to bring to light. 

It’s times like these that I wonder how much being a good friend is a part of who I am, or who I am trying to be. It seems to me like I spend a lot of time worrying about the problems my friends have, possibly more than my own; that may be because I think that they’re more important than me – or it may be because right now, my problems, such as they are, just aren’t that pressing. I mean, my depression is under control, I have health insurance for the first time in a year, I have a regular job, and I am living on my own – what do I have to worry about? This is a topic that I need to put some more thought into, and any suggestions, questions, ro comments are welcome.

Leaving the Nest

Well, the countdown continues. I picked up the keys to my new apartment today, and moved some things in, stuff I bought at Ikea over the weekend. My furniture should be delivered on Friday, assembled over the weekend, and some final pieces found at places like Best Buy or Target. I should have my apartment ready for habitation by Monday, which is good because it will be my last day in the step-down program.

Today, we had our weekly community meeting; each of the three people leaving soon got a chance to talk about what we have learned and what the program has meant to each of us. It was very touching to hear, and when my turn came, it was very tough for me to really say how I felt; I felt like crying, and I most certainly teared up. Come Friday, a good friend of mine is not only leaving the program but also the state, and that will be tough for me. But it will be good for him, because he has come so far since getting to Menninger, and this seems like the right step for him to take.

I’ll still have plenty of friends around here; most of them have left the program already, and program rules don’t let them visit the housing that is part of the program. I’ll finally be able to have some of them visit my place, which will be cool. I want to have people visit as often as possible, really. I’ve got plenty of stuff for people to do – read, watch TV, play video games (especially things like Rock Band), board games, and of course talk to me. At least until I have some transportation of my own, and I can go out and about with people, I want to keep things as social as possible.

My psychiatrist adjusted my anti-depressant last night, after I told him about my feeling so emotional lately and having panic attacks about speed dating. I don’t know what effect it’ll have, but I think it is making me more drowsy. It’s only been a day, though, so it is hard to tell. I felt so drained after moving some of my things into my new apartment that my hands and arms were shaking. It was good, though, because it was the only exercise I got today, and it was something I needed to do.

I’m really going to miss being in this program. For the last 6 months, Menninger and the step-down have been my home, and the patients, clients, peers, and staff my family. I have learned so much from the program, the material, the staff and the others around me that I don’t know that I could write it all down, or even put it down in the right words if I could write it down. I couldn’t have even imagined being where I am today before I got here, and now that I’m here, I feel better than I have in a long, long time.

It will be hard leaving the people here, and the routine. But I’ll still keep in touch with them, if they’ll let me, and I’ll make my own routine – it will be pretty easy once I get a job, I assume. It’s a big change in my life; I keep repeating this, but only because it is true. This is unknown territory for me, and while I know I have plenty of support, both from those around me here in Houston and those at home and elsewhere who are rooting for me, it’s still hard to get my head around. I hope I can make it on my own, and I am confident I have the skills and such now to make that happen.

I’ve felt for a long time that I kind of stopped growing up when I got to college; my mind still seems to be stuck in a college sort of mindset most of the time, and so I often feel comfortable around people around college age. Maybe this will be a good opportunity to move beyond that, at least in part. There are certainly worse things than to feel young at heart; I just lead to learn to also bring in some adult behaviors. Who knows? Maybe I’ll find a girl who likes that sort of thing someday soon.

I know I still have a lot to work on, and I am sure that I could get more value out of staying in the program longer. But I think that I need to try and make it on my own now, to see if I can do it. I’ll still have a safety net; I’ve been told that if things go wrong, I can always come back to the program. I think one of the things people are worried about is that I will let things get bad and I won’t ask for help. I can’t blame them; that has been my behavior in the past. But I believe that I have the right tools and support now to reach out and ask for help when I need it. I’ve certainly shown here that I am much more open about things than I was, and I hope to continue.

So, I plan to continue writing here. I’ll still be attending some support groups once I leave the program here, and going to therapy, and maybe vocational counseling as well. But a lot of what I work through will have to be on my own, or with the help of friends and family. Well, and those of you still reading. I’m willing to take requests on topics, if people have something they are interested to find out about me or want to see me talk about. If somebody wants to guest-write, I’d be honored to have them; I know writing things like this is a big, scary step, and it isn’t for everyone. But it has helped me to work through a lot of things, and I hope it continues to do so.