Kind of a Mess

That about describes me right now, because for whatever reason, today I just feel like a big old collection of sadness, anger, frustration, and fear. It’s really due to a number of things – any one of which would probably be relatively easy to handle on its own, but when they all seen to hit me at about the same time, it makes for a somewhat unpleasant evening.

First, I have a relationship with a friend not only not going in the direction I hoped it would go, but apparently actively going the opposite direction. Then I find out that the CEO of the company I worked for got more as a bonus to his salary this year than I would in 150 years of working 32-hour weeks, every week – and this is for a company that is, on the whole, losing money. Then I make the mistake of reading a discussion where people I would normally respect seem to keep taking up the position of defending a man who essentially lured two teens into breaking into his home, and then, while they were unarmed, drew them into his basement where he gloated and then shot them, multiple times, killing both, before hiding the whole thing. And now it also seems that the one job I was really interested in getting not only has strings they don’t mention in the application for training, but that the possibility of even getting the training is far more competitive than I had been led to believe, and I’m at a disadvantage.

The confluence of those events, which seems to have all kind of hit me today, has me feeling a number of unpleasant things all at once, and I’m still trying to work out how to deal with them. I know that even writing this out will probably have some people very worried that I will be headed for a relapse, regardless of what I say. I’m not depressed, and I don’t believe it will get to that point, but I am feeling a number of unpleasant things all at once, and I am trying to figure out how to best deal with what I am feeling. Since this is a blog about mental health, and my own mental status, I figured it was probably important to write something about it here, even if it did cause trouble – just the fact that I am willing to do that, even knowing it will probably be messy, is a good sign, I think.

I’m not really sure what to do with all of this, but I imagine that I will find a way, or several ways, to try to work through some or all of it in the next day or so. It’s just a bunch of things to deal with, each of which I would have preferred to deal with separately.

Day of (No) Rest

So, today is Sunday. And so, much like last week, I made the assumption that my work schedule would be the same this Sunday as it was last Sunday.

This, as it turns out, was a foolish assumption.

I got a call at 10:15 this morning, from work wondering where I was. I, who had assumed I was working at 1:30, told them so, to which I was told ‘nuh-uh’. It seems my schedule changes on a weekly basis. Odd, and quite embarrassing. In good news, I did manage to make it to work in record time, and with pants on, no less. After some fervent apologies, it turns out my manager, benevolent being that she is, said it wasn’t a problem, I could work from 11-7:30 instead of 10-6:30.

So, I spent most of the day working at the registers, which was long periods of customer chaos with moments of tranquility thrown in. It was actually kind of nice, because as busy as it was, it also mean that the time passed relatively quickly, and so my first days of screwing up at work ended several hours before I thought it would.

I mention this because last year, had something like this happened, I would have been mortified, felt awful, then assumed that nothing I did was good enough, nothing could be good enough, the manager was just acting when she said it was OK, and that I was just a screw-up too damaged to even work a minimum-wage job. But now, though I felt lousy when I was late (even though it was only partially my fault), I got right through it, I worked my shift, and I felt fine by the time I was done with work.

It’s not exactly man walking on the moon or anything, but it is a good sign for me. Oh, and now I have peppermint cheesecake, and it is awesome.

Friday Discovery

So, it’s late, and it was a long day at work – I worked from noon to 8:30, anf today was a big day for the store, being essentially the warm-up for Black Friday. It went relatively well, though I need to remember to start bringing Advil or Excedrin, because I had a massive headache for the last half of my shift. But that’s nothing really deep or psychological, so let’s move on.

I got an invitation for Thanksgiving with Calla and her family this morning (well, yesterday morning, but who’s counting), assuming she can get a pass to go out for some time with her family. Like I sad last time, I’ve never really spent the holidays with anyone besides my family, let alone the family of someone who, frankly, I’m still very interested in. I want to go, mostly because, in lieu of my family, I think some family, even if it isn’t mine, would be nice, and because I want to spend time with Calla. At the same time, though, it’s a little intimidating. Not a situation I’ve been in before, I have to say.

I keep thinking about Calla, and how she might be headed somewhere else, possibly far away, for six months or so. I want her to get treatment that will help her, but I know I’ll miss her a lot when she’s gone. But she’s such an amazing person, even though she doesn’t see it, and I think seeing her when she’s better, or at least better able to manage her issues, would be worth waiting all the time it takes. I know I seem to write about her a lot, and I don’t want other people in my life to feel like they mean less to me, but she is currently the one with the most pressing issues.

My own issues, really, seem pretty small these days. I have my friends, my place, my job, and a life for myself. Granted, none of it is perfect, and I certainly have my moments of depression and doubt. But I have people to talk to, therapy to help me unburden myself, medication to help me manage what I’m feeling, and things to keep my mind off the times when life doesn’t look so great. If you had told me I would be here a year ago, I would have – well, not laughed in your face, because I wouldn’t have really felt like laughing, but been skeptical and sarcastic enough to cause physical damage.

I’m not really sure where to go with this blog, really. I don’t have groups anymore to talk about them, and while I am familiar with many of the issues of people I know, I don’t want to talk about them without permission. My depression, while not – and never – cured, has at least become pretty manageable, to the point where at least one or two people who knew me before Menninger say I’m not the same person. I don’t want to just make a diary of what I do, because honestly, I don’t do anything all that thrilling – and if I talk too much about working for Barnes & Noble, I might get in trouble, because they can apparently be touchy about that sort of thing.

So, any suggestions? I know this isn’t the most widely-read blog of all time, but I’d guess that some of you, even those who don’t know me personally, have been reading this blog for long enough to have some suggestions. I’m sure there are things I could talk about that just haven’t occurred to me yet, or areas that would be interesting to open up some kind of a dialogue on. Honestly, I’m nudging towards 200 blog posts in around six months, so some relief ideas from a fresh set of eyes or minds would be more than welcome.And yes, I just mixed up a baseball metaphor, deal with it.

 

New Home for the Holidays

So, Thanksgiving is coming up, and it doesn’t look like I’ll be spending it with my family. Now, I’ve been spending Thanksgiving, and most other holidays, with my family for basically my entire life (and since I’m 34, that’s, of, most of 34 years). So not spending Thanksgiving with my parents, sister, and other family members will be kind of weird for me.

I’m not actually sure what I’ll be doing for the holidays. I mean, I work both the day before and the day after Thanksgiving (yes, I work on the infamous Black Friday), so I won’t have a lot of down time to work on preparing food or finding things to do. I’ve had one quasi-invitation, but I’m not really sure how that will work out. But I have a number of friends in the area, some of whom will also not be celebrating with their families (possibly purposefully, for some of them). I think we’ll find something to do, even if it isn’t the same kind of spread my mother usually puts out (that will definitely be among the things missed, though, along with family).

The build-up to Christmas will be interesting, too, since I’ll be working retail during the biggest part of the year for sales. . It seems likely that I also won’t be seeing my family for Christmas, so again I’ll probably be relying on my friends in the area for holiday plans. I am looking forward to the whole gift-giving thing, because I like giving gifts to friends and family (though some people I know aren’t exactly huge of the gift-receiving, but they write Christmas stories about people like that, right kids?) This may be the first holiday that I’ll be buying gifts with my own money, so things might not work out as well as normal, but thankfully, working for a big retail chain has its privileges – I get some pretty nice discounts.

So I won’t be alone for the holidays, but I will almost certainly be in a situation I haven’t been in before. I know my family is worried about me, and to be honest, I’m a little worried, too, both about myself and at least one of my friends, Calla. I know she’s been going through some pretty painful and nerve-wracking things, and I don’t envy her that; I wish I could do more to help. But I think one of the best things I can do, especially in a time of year where so many people find themselves trying to be close to the people they care about, is make sure she doesn’t feel deserted. So I’m happy I can be around for her. It’s a good time of the year to be supportive of those who we care about, right? Homes is where the heart is, after all.

And for the holidays, you can’t beat home sweet home. (Sorry, never-ending Christmas music loop at work).

Men at Work

So my blog entries for the last week or so have been a bit sporadic. As some of you may have guessed, it is because of my new job. To be honest, spending eight hours on my feet is something I am not really all that used to, and it’s been taking a toll on my body – particularly my back. My feet seem to be OK, but standing in one space, largely immobile, for several hours at a time is making my back cry for mercy.

I imagine I’ll get used to it after a bit, and so I won’t be quite as worn out – and thus my blog writing schedule will pick back up again – but it will take some time to get used to. Until then, I’ll be posting every other day or so, just because I tend to be so worn out after work that I don’t think first about writing this. It isn’t an indication that I’m not really feeling good mentally, more that I am just worn out.

On the other hand, I do seem to be getting some time to do some cooking between shifts, both because I need to eat (much like the rest of us mortals) and because it’s a relatively stress-free exercise that keeps me focused and generally end up with me eating something that is better for me, if not always as appealing, as pizza. I suppose someday soon I’ll get around to asking my friends around here, like Calla, what things are on their lists of favorite foods so I can work up to making some of those. I mean, you make someone’s favorite food, they have to come hang out with you, right? It’s like a rule.

Really, it’s just kind of a fun activity, which is odd for me to say. Between that, reading, watching TV or movies, and working on roleplaying games, I have a lot of things keeping my mind occupied these days, so it’s a good way to wind down after work, or keep myself active on my days off – I don’t want to spend all day in bed, after all.

In other news, Calla seems to be doing a bit better than she was the other day, but she’s still having a tough time, though she’s made it clear that she thinks I’m not impeding her progress at Menninger. It’s good to know, but I still wish there was something I could do to help. Just that urge to try and fix things, I guess. One of the good things about not being able to physically fix things, though, means that listening is one of the few things I can do – and while I do still occasionally try to find things to fix while in conversation, mostly what I do is listen and try to give Calla (among other people) a metaphorical shoulder to cry on, let my friends know that they have someone who is willing to listen to them.

In any case, I’m finishing this entry just before I head off to work a shift from 7 AM – 3:30 PM, so I’m going to go finish getting ready and hope that I’m not completely tired out by the time I get home.

New Age

So, the last few days have been pretty busy. I started work on Tuesday, doing training, and yesterday I spent some time cooking, cleaning, and reading – which doesn’t sound too busy, but then you didn’t see how tired I was after my first day at work.

Today, I went in to work to train on working the registers, and actually got a while to work on the register by myself for about an hour or so. Other than the back soreness created by standing up without moving around for a long time, it was a pretty decent day at work, and I think I actually did a relatively good job for my first time out.

After work, I got to grab some food and go visit Calla – we didn’t go to the cafeteria there, because I brought food from Sonic. I am, of course, the man (not meaning, of course, that I am the male in this friendship, though I suppose I am, but more along the lines of general awesomeness). She’s been having a rough couple of days, and so I was glad to get the chance to come see her.

Seeing her is the high point of my day every time I do it. I know that she isn’t in a great place mentally right now, but I still feel good just being around her. It must show, too – when I was talking to her earlier, she actually told me, and this is no joke, that I was ‘too optimistic’.

Yeah, I know, right? When you recover, just think how surprising I found that.

It’s been a life-altering 8-10 months, and I think that her statement, however joking it may have been, is a good indication of how far I’ve come. I went from basically being a deadbeat, suicidal, hopeless, lonely guy to a guy with his own apartment, living among friends, having a job, activities, and people around here who I care for and who care about me (I mean just the immediate area, I know there are other people who care about me).

So I may be, justifiably, more optimistic than I was a year ago. That’s pretty cool, now that I think about it. I hope that Calla can start in that direction, because I really like her. I think she deserves to be in a better place in life, where she feels at least kind of as amazing as I think she is.In the meantime, I’ll do what I can to be a support for her, and my other friends, and hope they’ll do the same for me. I think writing this blog has been really therapeutic, and a big help to me, and I hope it can continue to be so,

But, really, what kind of a funny face and/or noise did you make when you saw someone said I was ‘too optimistic’?

On the Books

It’s been a busy couple of days, so I’ll try to get all the salient details in. On Monday, I went to go see my psychiatrist, who lowered my dose of antidepressant back to its previous levels, which will hopefully help with my having been feeling more tired than normal for the last couple of weeks. Then I went out and picked up the relatively new Lego Marvel Superheroes Xbox game; it’s the first video game I’ve picked up in a while, and I felt like grabbing something new to play – and after seeing the new Thor movie, that seemed like a good bet.

The rest of my day yesterday was relatively sedate, which was good because I hit the sack early to get ready for my first day at work, which started Tuesday at 11 am. Now, we’re not allowed to talk about too much of what goes on as employees of Barnes & Noble (and, even mentioning that I’m an employee, the employee handbook notes that I should say that the postings on this site are my own and do not represent Barnes & Noble’s positions, strategies or opinions). But we (and by we, I mean one other new employee and I) spent all day, from 11 am to 7:30 pm learning the ropes as booksellers. 

It’s been a long time – since the end of 2011 – since I worked at a job, and even then I usually only worked for 5-6 hours at a time. So a full day was pretty tiring, not to mention a lot of information to absorb. But at the same time it was nice to have something scheduled for my day, something to keep me busy and kinda productive. So while I feel exhausted – and my back will almost certainly hurt later – I feel pretty good.

So, after a long day of work, and a relatively relaxing night afterwards, I hit the sack pretty early. Thus, I am also up exceedingly early, which is very odd for me, and hopefully something I will be correcting soon – I’ve only had about 6 hours of sleep, and I expect this burst of writing productivity will only last for a bit longer before my body realizes it hasn’t actually gotten its entire allotment of sleep.I’m not sure what I will be doing for the rest of Wednesday, but I do feel pretty good right now, so I hope things continue in this direction.