Legal Chest Pains


I have been worried about my heart the last few days.

Having PVC & PAC activity is always disturbing but it seems a little different lately. More episodes, stronger extra beats or like this morning, two quick episodes of sharp pain with them.

I am sure I have had pain in the past. A faint memory is lying there but I can’t wrap my full attention around it.

When you have sharp chest pains and you are someone with “health anxiety” (the polite term for hypochondriac) then it sets off all sorts of warning alarms that I have mentioned in past posts.

For those not familiar, it goes a little something like this:

Minding my own business

Pain or dizziness – something out of the norm – could be a twitch or twinge

All systems stop in their tracks while the mind and body “listen” for anything else to happen. If it does, that occurrence is analyzed fully and completely.

Analyzing an occurrence goes like this:

What was THAT?

It was a…..<insert symptom here>

I wonder if that is a problem!

<Insert symptom here>

There it is again!

Okay, it was a sharp pain. It was in the center of my chest.

OH MY GOD ITS A HEART ATTACK

~ Launch all systems GO evaluation~

Blood pressure cuff – on and inflating (please be normal, please be normal….)

PulseOx meter attached (DON’T look at it for 10 seconds because it is always off while it calculates. DON’T LOOK YET)

Blood pressure results – within normal ranges (Thank goodness….)

PulseOx within normal limits (Thank goodness)

Pause……

“I wonder if I did them right.”

Relaunch check of symptoms

Within normal ranges

“Oh thank God! But…what is that pain? I’ll just look it up on the Internet….”

FAIL

As someone with health anxiety (don’t be rude, that is what we are calling it. YOU can be a hypochondriac…I am NOT!) searching the Internet for what ails you is the kiss of….well…..anxiety or panic…we CAN’T say the other word or it provokes nervousness.

If you are not in a full-blown attack then, you will be within a few minutes of clicking and sifting through the best terrorizing medical information the web has to offer.

The thing is? We KNOW this yet…we do it again and again.

I did it this morning after my bout of chest pain. “I can’t go to the doctor so I almost HAVE to rely on the Internet, don’t I?”

Um, no but that doesn’t stop me.

I sit down on the edge of my bed facing the window. This is where I go when I start having anxiety. That SHOULD be my first clue but it never is.

I bring up the search engine. “Tell me what my death sentence is Dr. Google” I almost say as I begin my sifting.

One thing I have learned is to stay away from WebMD as it will ALWAYS tell me absolute death is impending. Paper cut? Can become infected leading to death. Hang nail? Seek emergency medical attention as you may die.

We stay away from WebMD but Mayo Clinic is my golden child of the “What am I dying of today” world.

Mayo Clinic tells me the facts but almost leans toward not telling me enough. They always throw in when to seek medical attention but it doesn’t seem as ominous as WebMd does.

So far it could be spasms in my digestive track, PVC/PAC activity just causing pain or…brace yourself, it could be anxiety.

So, I launch another round of vital checks and determine that if I am going to die today, I need to accomplish something worthwhile.

Instead, I start writing.

What I have learned over the last year of my life is that I have become a VERY anxious person. I was always a Type A personality before but never full of twists and turns like I have now.

My previous employer shares much of the blame of the creation of the mess we all see before our eyes.

Years of being treated poorly and differently than my peers took its toll but nothing like the last and final month of my employment after returning from FMLA. The torment elevated to amazing new heights as they clearly felt the need to retaliate for my absence and then plotted my departure.

I have YEARS of excellent service to that company and needed time off to put Humpty Dumpty back together again because I was torn down from all of your games and demands and you couldn’t get past the time off I needed so you termed me? Makes total sense.

I am being told that my life will be better without my involvement in that company, in that department and certainly in that toxic environment but while I wait for that “bliss” to hit, I am left worrying about medical insurance, life insurance and of course, the almighty dollar to pay my bills when I did everything you asked me to do.

One of the things about the culture I worked in was that they pushed “We will provide you with all of the tools you need to do your job effectively” yet when I reminded them that I don’t have the tools, I was written up. When I didn’t quit as they thought I would, they fired me.

 

As your employee you promised me that you would lead me with all stops removed, to the type of manager you wanted me to be. I did as asked, when asked and usually much better than I was asked to do it, and then you let me go?

That just doesn’t seem ethical. Considering the source, that isn’t a shock.

So today I am fighting my way through the worry that the after effects of your poor and tortuous treatment of me have caused permanent damage.

I pray. I hope and I know that God will take care of me but I also hope that I don’t “go” before I have something important to leave behind. I am not ready and hope God allows me the chance to do something of value for Him, and me.

 

 

 

 

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Great day for a visit


The Director paid me a visit today. I wish I had known, I would have gone to the store.

I was professional. Jovial and polite. Inside I just felt a sense of detachment and disgust. As the Director spoke and made decrees, I thought back to a time when I really had respect for this person. At first I didnt care for the personality. Immature and gossipy. The Director is still that way but it submerged for a little while and I forgot it was there.

The fact of the matter is, I thought the Director had gained some maturity and I appreciated that fact. I thought it couldn’t have been easy to change your natural instincts like that and was impressed.

What an idiot I was. There was no change, it was just hidden below the dark and evil surface that slithers around making demands.

As I watched the Director enjoy being in my department and clearly feeling empowered I wished it was a time in the past when I would have enjoyed the visit. Would have welcomed anything they had to say.

Once someone says untruths about you, it changes how you look at them.

The Director left and I felt like I needed a nap and a shower. All of that malice in one location can be tough to take. It zaps the energy out of you because you know the visit is simply to “record” what they saw while there and then visit again in a week to see if there is a change. The problem with that method is that no matter what IS changed, it will be followed up with no change to support the desire to terminate me.

No ethics. No morals. Grudge holding and vindictive. All signs of immaturity. Nothing has changed except the kid that didn’t really fit in during school, doesn’t really fit in now except someone slipped and gave them a little power and oops…..we are going crazy with it. 

That summarizes the lot of them really.

The spouse works for a boss much like this. I always say “Give them Senior’s card because they will fit right in!”

The sad thing is that at one time I would have shook the world if the Director needed it. Now, I would tape it down and hope it didn’t move because I am sure the request is laced with unethical twists and self-righteous motivation.

People have no patience and will step on another if it serves them.

It’s why I prefer animals. It is why it is painful when they leave. Today was a rough day. I kept picturing my dog and wishing he was still here. The house is so empty without him despite other people and other dogs. I think we are all still stunned and wishing it isn’t so.

His sister is nervous and needy. She wants comfort but isn’t sure how to get it. I feel bad. They just look for him and sigh.

On the way to work this morning I was overwhelmed with going to a place that I have served at the cost of my health and relationships – a place where a few people deem I have no worth any more and it suddenly becomes so – and I was overwhelmed with the continued realization that my dog is gone. My buddy. My calming spirit is off on some other adventure without  me.

 

 

Outta the Blue


Like a hawk diving on its prey, anxiety sweeps in and kills the day.

 

My morning started out great. A little tired, a little stressed from the trials and tribulations at the job but I was trying to push that all behind me and enjoy a nice sunny day with beautiful weather.

We were driving on the highway having a conversation about a creeper blowing past my boundaries when I felt like my blood pressure dropped crazy low. Twice. I was driving as I always do so it startled me for my spouse and me.

As we continued on our path I kept telling myself it has happened before. It isn’t real, its anxiety.

That doesn’t work today.

Symptoms erupt.

Hands and limbs that don’t feel like they move right. Tightness in my chest. Foggy head. Fear.

This one person and their actions touched off a firestorm that has demolished my day….so far.

We started the morning with plans. We talked about how beautiful it was outside. We talked about our first “date” and our future. I was feeling pretty good and relaxed. I turned to my spouse and said “I think for the moment, I am doing better.” I had hope.

Within the hour plus, I am home and checking my blood pressure. My hope has been smashed.

I feel wonky. Out of sorts. I keep trying to push my brain and body to pass these symptoms off as anxiety but they refuse to accept it. It doesn’t matter that “we” have felt this way at different times for over a year.

Part of my resistance is down because of work. I know they are trying to drive me out and I am doing my best not to let them. At some point, they will probably win. My concern is at what cost. They almost killed me the last time. Will they succeed this time?

I ask questions and get no response. No acknowledgement of even have asked the question. My emails go unanswered. Its like communication has been severed. Are they getting ready to fire me? Maybe. Hope your documentation is better than all of mine from the last decade.

I am exhausted from the stress and cleaning up what was left. When I get too tired, anxiety is hard to fight. My symptoms can erupt at the slightest provocation (like today) and it takes me hours or days to manage them back to tolerable.

It is days like this that I wonder if I will ultimately become disabled. These days make it very hard to live. I feel bad for my spouse. A day of promise dashed. I’m sure its getting old.

I have been trying to manage my work stress. It isn’t easy. It is almost like they see you floating and keep throwing more and more bricks at you to try to get you to sink. If you pop back to the surface, it seems to make them mad and they try even harder.

I hope I am wrong. I cant imagine wanting to sink someone. I wouldn’t want that on my conscious but again, I have one. A few of these people don’t.

I’m really trying to keep things in perspective but all of these unknown factors make it terribly difficult.

If they fired me tomorrow, I should probably thank them. Sue them, yeah, but thank them for putting me “out” of my misery they have created. But, who wants to be fired? I have a family to support.

I was told once that I will never amount to anything at that company because I wasn’t liked. I said what I thought and tried to do the right thing. (This was a VP) Because of those things, the key people in charge of my area were never going to allow me to move forward and were probably at some point going to combine forces and destroy me if they could.

At the time I agreed with the moving forward. They would never allow it. But I found the destroying me thing a little out there. Now, not so much. I do think it is in their top 3 goals. I represent some sort of discomfort of fear for them. Maybe they fear they have told me too many secrets that I can share and it would be easier to get rid of me. Maybe I bother them because I refuse to quake when they come near or refuse to treat them as if they are royalty.

Don’t get me wrong, I am respectful and try to do the right things but I will not cave and act like they hold the moon and stars. They are no different than anyone else and the rules apply to all of us. Equally. They don’t care for that so much.

SO, here I am on my day off, worrying about worry and fretting about work. Chicken or the egg? It is hard to say.

As far as the creeper goes, it was a terribly upsetting situation and I think it has come to an end. Almost. I just need to give it a little bit and then I can break free. Ultimately this situation (began at my place of work….of course) will resolve but apparently will crack apart my day first.

My plan to wrestle with this anxiety?

Drink some water in hopes that helps the feeling (and actual) slipping of the blood pressure. Read, study and do what I can, when I can.

I know I need to push, but no so much that I go from a 5 to an 8 on the freak out meter.

I had coffee today. I shouldn’t have. I was feeling good and branched out. Too much too soon on a day when I am reeling from my week. Moderation.

That’s the key.

Yeah


It’s been 2 weeks and I feel like I need to write an apology to my company and bosses for being alive.

I can’t tell if I’m being punished for coming back or being gone and in the end, it doesn’t matter. Punishment is punishment.

I’ll keep going until the day I’ve had enough. They can celebrate then.

Being the “most” hated person in your company is hard on the soul when your life outside of that place is the absolute opposite.

What causes the shift when walking through those doors? It’s hard to say.

In my personal and other jobs – life, I’m respected and admired. At this job I am despised and ridiculed.

Crazy.

I was told by therapist that the world they live in is polluted. It doesn’t matter who I really am, they’ll never allow anything other than the image they prefer. It benefits them in some way. The company villain.

They’ve always had one. When I leave, they’ll have another. I pitty that soul. They have no idea what they are in for…

This job, my bosses have nearly killed me. Wrecked my self-esteem/value. Made me doubt that I am worth the air I breathe.

And yet…..I’M the bad guy….

Saturday Derailment


Yesterday started out to be hopeful. Minor but symptoms, something you can live with.

Within a few hours of feeling like maybe I have a chance of moving from 90-95% bad days to the 80s or, dare I hope, less…

I had a negative and creepy interaction with someone and it flipped my day upside down.

My symptoms rolled in with a vengeance. The room wobbled. My heart pounded. Fear of death swirled over my head and the stench of fear filled every room.

I sat wondering (again) where I had gone. Where is that strong person?

I have spurts of big productive moments. I can do a lot in an hour. Nothing physical, just mind work, but it is massive.

Once that hour is over, I am depleted and left still trying to patch this broken soul back together.

My return to work draws closer and my symptoms have grown with each passing hour.

Fear of the return of bigger and more overwhelming symptoms. Fear of being driven permanently (if that’s not already the case) into a crazy state.

Lets not forget that this is the same place that cared so little about me as a human-being that I ended up in the hospital with wires attached to every place possible.

Lets not forget the demeaning games the Director played (I amusingly write that as if it is past-tense), the lies the Director told and the fact that I went to Human Resources and the Directors boss with the end result being within a few months I was called into a meeting with HR and MY boss and reprimanded for treating an executives son (my employee) poorly, even though every employee can attest otherwise.

Could I have trained him differently? Perhaps. He was unmotivated and did things I or anyone else would have been fired for but, that’s not for me to say. It made it difficult to get him where he needed to go.

This is the same place that refuses to allow me to be who I am, rather than who they perceived me to be 8 years ago while doing the difficult job of restoring order to some of the most chaotic departments I’ve ever seen.

In doing my job, I’ve been threatened, had a drink thrown on me, stalked, harassed to the point of having to change my number and block others, I’ve had to call the police, had my car keyed, called despicable names and been left menacing notes on my car.

That’s just by ex-employees and customers.

By supervisors I have endured isolation, exclusion, lies and sabotage.

The Director, as my direct supervisor told me I wasn’t allowed to be friends with a former employee (I moved locations and was told not to speak to anyone at the old location anymore). This former employee and I are still friends despite my direct order.

This from the same person who befriended several of her employees and co-workers and who still socialized with them on a regular basis.

So, as I write, I’m taken back to where I left off. The confusion and hurt feelings, anger, resentment and sense of betrayal.

It’s like I never left.

The difficulty is in managing this swirl of emotions, the fear of not being capable all mixed with the anxiety that rules my minutes.

My greatest desire is to beat this disorder. My greatest hope is to be seen as the person I truly am and my greatest wish is that life becomes worth living.

I want to make a positive difference in this world. Nothing else is acceptable.

Just keep going


How many times have we wished we had a magic ball? If we could only see the future or go back and fix mistakes or alter a path we took….

When I have days that my symptoms are taking over the place, like today, I wish there were a way to go back in time and alter the path that led me here. If I can even find it.

I would slow down or choose another avenue for work, home or hobbies.

Symptoms make life so much more difficult. Keeping appointments takes every ounce of courage and ability you can muster which can leave you depleted for the day.

I was told to force myself to keep commitments because it is one step away from being a hermit if you don’t. So, I kept commitments, “white knuckling” it the entire time. I think the doc was hoping that by doing so, I would be pulled back into an active role in my life.

The experiment hasn’t been successful so far. I just seem to keep spinning in circles unable to get out of the messed up groove and back to the highway of productivity.

It is SO strange to be in this place. This non-living, non-advancing place. It isn’t something we see for ourselves and when it happens, we are sidelined wondering how to fix it.

I fix things. It is what I have done as long as I can remember. This is different. It just isn’t anything I seem to be able to fix. I keep trying….I keep going….its all I can do while trying to keep the hope alive that one day I will step back into my life and use this as a way to help someone else.

I don’t know why


I don’t know why those little muscle twitches that I used to find amusing, scare me so.

I don’t know why calf pain signifies a blood clot. But it does.

I don’t know why a headache is deadly or why a moment of low blood pressure upon standing means the end.

I don’t know how I came to be afraid of my body. But I am.

I don’t know why I spend my days feeling every event. But I do.

I don’t know why I get flickering mental images of medical issues that have me collapsing or why this all ever came to be.

My resolve used to be solid. My fear of ailment was nonexistent. My worry over death or being incapacitated was unheard of.

Now it’s my days and if I’m unlucky enough to be awake after everyone else is asleep, then it rules my nights too.

My last thought before I go to sleep is about whatever current worry I have for my health. My first thought when I wake up is about whatever my current worry is about my health.

You want to reason with yourself.

“It’s been 14 months. If you were dying, it would have showed by now.”

Reasonable

You cannot help but reply.

“Doctors miss things all of the time.”

That response is too scary to dive deeper into so you resort to a barrage of insults.

“Stop being such an idiot. You’re so stupid. One day you’re dying of a blood clot, the next day heart disease and the day after its Rabies. You’re so stupid!”

There is no reply. It’s how I feel.

A persistent itch is probably some weird manifestation of rabies starting to show. Coupled with muscle twitching and aches.

It couldn’t possibly be a diet imbalance and/or allergies.

I try to remember what it was like to feel safe with myself. It’s getting far enough away that its becoming very faint. Very hazy. You start to wonder if you EVER felt safe but in your soul, you know you did.

I never worried about a cramp. I was annoyed by it but it was either an activity issue or unexplained and left at that.

Never did I fret over it.

Now I do to the point it causes additional symptoms. Muscle weakness, shaking or feelings like I have tremors, numbness and really, the list is endless.

Yesterday I was watching a video of myself talking. I became convinced I had had a stroke at some point because one side of my mouth is higher than the other regarding my speech and smile.

It wasn’t until I dove into pictures from years ago that I saw, that’s just my face.

In come the insults.

“You’re so stupid. OF COURSE it was a stroke, EVERYTHING has to be a big deal. You’re such a f-ing idiot!!!”

Again there isn’t a response because every part of me agrees.

There are times I get angry and insist that I’m going to carry on with my life. If I die, I die…..

“Wait….what was that? That felt weird. I wonder what that means. I’m fine. So strange. I’m okay. I don’t know. I think that was weird. Well, just look it up real quick. I know something on there will scare me but I’ll stop before I get that far because this is nothing. I’m just curious.”

And THAT’S how you end up symptom searching for hours.

You’re on a never ending hunt for why because our brains insist things out of the ordinary have a reason when sure, they might but its probably so obscure and small that its insignificant.

It’s exhausting.