And so it begins….


I have had my old employer and their dastardly deeds in my life consistently over the last two days. I received notice in the mail that there are some investigations into the company going on.

I have had anxiety consistently over the last two days. Dizziness, feelings of fainting and the dreaded thumps bumps and skids of my physiology are in full swing.

Picture a carnival setting up. The Ferris Wheel is erected and starts to turn. It is usually the visual clue that a carnival is taking place because it sits so high, spins so slowly and lights up the evening sky. It is like a beacon telling patrons that the fun is just getting started. That is my dizziness or disequilibrium. It is the first thing to show up. It gets the other rides moving. I find it anything but fun.

The next thing to set up is the mini roller coaster. It is unfolded and bolted in. Test runs are conducted and deemed “safe”. It whirs and grinds along. It whizzes around and around. The slow tick tick tick as the cars climb the incline followed by the brief pause at the top before the cars rocket to the bottom, twisting and turning, thumping and skidding around corners before it comes to a slow crawl. That is my heart and its “safe” skips and extra beats. It is the driving force to this carnival and a clear indication that my world is getting ready to be set on its side.

Once the Ferris Wheel and roller coaster are operating the High Striker shows up. This is the midway game that patrons use a hammer to hit a plate sending a puck to the top where a bell is located. *DING!* “WE HAVE A WINNER FOLKS!” This is my blood pressure rising and falling every few minutes. When I stand, as I sit, if I move…I feel the fluctuations with emphasis on the low pressure. Standing too quickly makes my world go spotty and gray. It is also apparently “safe” as I haven’t passed out and fallen down stairs or wrecked my car…yet. “CLOSE but no cigar!” It is called Orthostatic Hypotension and I hate it. It makes movement and life close to impossible. You feel it in the car, walking, sitting or even laying down. It is prevalent with  my anxiety and was dominate when I had panic attacks. It grinds and wears on me throughout the day rendering me nearly useless.

As these symptoms whiz and whirl around me, I have to push forward living my life. Searching for a new job yields extra pressure as I fear I wont be able to control the carnival in a new environment. Suffering from PTSD from my previous employer makes it a difficult when thinking about facing a new job, culture and bosses. The worry over being damaged unemployable goods walks with me daily. My last employer made sure I felt that way each and every moment. Leaving employment hasn’t resolved it. I talked with Senior in great length about it. Another mistake in my attempts to remove their treatment. I assumed that if I let her know how deeply their treatment affected me, she might back off. I had no idea it was a death match because I did my job well. My worst day was better than several of my co-workers best days.

When people collectively conspire to beat you down, you lose a part of yourself. I’ve never had it happen so I have no idea if you ever get your self-worth and confidence back or not. I highly doubt you are ever the same. I feel weakened and I know they take a lot of pride and joy in that fact.

I review my life there and other than the fact that I had (key word there is HAD. They beat any self-confidence out of me) a strong personality. I haven’t any idea what their problem was with me.

I was told once by Senior Director that I scared them because they never knew what I was going to say. They didn’t feel that they could include me in their team because a lot of things were discussed and if I didn’t agree with some of them, I might do something about it.

She was right. If they were to talk about sabotaging an employee, I would say something. When Director made the statement that she didn’t want people with disabilities to work for them because she wanted “good workers” – I would have said something. When they collectively said that hourly workers hold no value other than being warm bodies and were “a dime a dozen” – I would have said something. So yes, your concerns were valid because those things are not acceptable and just because you hold a position of “authority” doesn’t mean you get to say and do those things.

When Senior told me that she didn’t think I would “have their back” – she was right if they were acting in the wrong and there my friends lies the crux of the issue. If you don’t do unethical things – why worry who has your back?

When I said I would have their backs if they were operating for the greater good but would be the first to stand up if they weren’t, that was the final nail in my coffin. Well, that and taking 12 weeks of FMLA for a condition they caused.

So, as we move forward through the process I am clinging to the walls. I don’t want to go. I don’t want to have to deal with it. I hate the chaos and inevitable symbolic blood bath that is about to unfold. I don’t want to have to relive the details of what they did to me. I don’t want others to have to relive their trauma either. It is something I do not look forward to and do not relish because you see, unlike them, I am not someone who relishes on the pain and misfortune of others. I don’t seek to destroy someone because they upset me once five years ago or even two minutes ago. I prefer harmony and peace. I prefer teamwork and helping.

So this path that we are all headed down is totally opposite from my natural inclinations.

In the end, I hope they each learn some valuable life lessons and the company makes changes to prevent those things from happening to another person.

 

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Relapse rinse and repeat


Today was a day from hell.

Reminiscent of a few months ago. The room spinning, becoming light headed on a whim. Weak, wobbly.

I went back to work at the end of last week. Within 3 days, I was having super symptoms.

Today they are wanting to take over.

I’ve got regular commitments that I have to meet and to do it, takes an entire day of preparing myself to spend that little bit of time, doing what I’m supposed to do.

I choke back the fear that wells and I try to mask the dizziness by moving when I feel it is safe.

I sent an email asking for assistance in the department I am in and those are not generally received well on a good day. Add my three whole days in to it and I’m sure I’m facing a firing squad tomorrow.

That worry doesn’t calm my issues.

I think FMLA should be based on your length of employment. I feel that after X amount if years, you should get a year if you need it.

I’m sorry but my current employer is partially, if not fully responsible for me being wrecked. I would think that taking a year to try to piece me back together wouldn’t be too much to ask….

I want to beat this. I want more than anything – to walk into my place of employment and feel like I can do it, inside and out.

Outwardly, I’m sure I seem fine. Inside, it’s the most excruciating thing!

So painful, all of the damned time!!

Like I’ve said, when I can be productive, I accomplish a TON of things, so much that it looks like I’m fully productive. The problem is; those productive times are maybe once or twice a week. 2 or 3 total hours of being able to complete tasks in a week, doesn’t make a great future!

So this afternoon I am trying to cope and get ready for whatever my day brings tomorrow.

My company always enjoys a great ambush so, I’m sure there will be one of those on the books. My email and all…

On the up side, I have an unruly right hand person and honestly, I think it’s just all of the changes that have gone on. I’m not mad about their actions. I’m not pleased but for once, I’m not upset by the things they’ve done in a short time. I view it as a hiccup that can be corrected. That’s a new one. In the past I would have insisted on an immediate chat and made sure the boundaries were laid out clearly.

I think that still needs to be done but not then. The situation was fresh and talking about it right away would have only aggravated the situation. I said little and left it alone.

We will revisit it but in a teaching – team work method rather than a correction.

Everyone makes mistakes and even though their first impression was terrible, that doesn’t mean they can’t do their jobs or won’t do things differently next time.

That’s a change in approach.

So, I guess I’ll see what happens tomorrow.

Fade to black


Have you ever fainted? Have you ever nearly fainted? Then you understand.

For those that haven’t, its an odd sensation.

Yesterday I was sitting on my couch. Knees bent, feet on the coffee table, working on my laptop.

I kept hearing some kid screaming at the top of their lungs. It sounded like a tantrum but just kept happening. Finally, I thought I should look out, just to make sure nothing was wrong.

I jumped up, walked 5 steps, looked at a house across the street and everything started going black. I held on to the door and for some reason, in my head, kept repeating my name.

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Weird. The blackness almost took me completely over, but then faded away.

During those seconds, I didn’t feel a thing. I knew I was going out. I knew it wasn’t a good thing, but it was like reading a book.

Once it was over however, the terror was on.

I raced to my room and repeatedly took my blood pressure. I called my spouse at work who couldn’t come home and at that moment, couldn’t talk. I decided to get dressed as I felt so shaky and weak that I was likely going to have to call 9-1-1.

My spouse called back and was good about it but not leaving work. My spouse offered my mother-in-law or daughter-in-law, our son or EMS as my spouse is the only person in the office on Saturday and not past the 90 day probation period. It’s understandable.

So, pulse ox, blood pressure, heart sounds with a stethoscope monitoring galore.

I accessed my Facebook support groups, put a call into the Cardiologist (Who by the way, never called me back), and went to that answers website where you pay a fee and professionals will respond, even doctors.

The website doc could have made matters much worse but oddly, I didn’t fixate on what he said. He thought it was likely common but listed all of the textbook reasons why I should immediately go to the Emergency Room. I can Google for free, thanks.

When pressed as to if he himself has experienced such a thing, responded curtly along with how to make sure he gets paid for his answer.

My Facebook group was most helpful along with websites. I tried to stay away from worst case possibilities as its not a common thing for me and I was on the dehydrated side. But. That didn’t, doesn’t keep me from worrying it will happen again.

In my reasoning mind I know such a fast change in position coupled with dehydration can cause exactly what happened.

In my fearful mind, I don’t care. I’m scared and worn out from being so fearful and unhappy for the last 9 months.

In my fearful mind I feel like a victim. I feel trapped in this haze of terror, fear, unrest and disbelief.

It had gotten bad enough that I finally broke down and took .125 mg of an Ativan.

For those not aware, I am terrified of medicine. I have pills that are .5mg, but fearful of them, so I quarter the pill.

It’s just enough to eventually bring the terror down to just a hair below panic. Semi-tolerable.

It takes a long time to work. Probably close to two hours yesterday. Of course, such a small dose has a big hill to climb.

Once it finally kicked in, I felt partially normal.

Earlier in the day I started reconsidering Zolof again. My doc gave me 12.5mg to start but I just can’t take it. I’m fearful. I went to the answers website and chatted with a Pharmacist who was bewildered as to why such a low dose was an issue. I don’t think he ever got it. He eventually resorted to it being such a low dose that it wouldn’t register and talked about the benefits of SSRI meds, well tolerated at such a low dose, etc.

Yeah, its still sitting there. I put my 1/2 of a micro pill up next to my spouses who takes 100mg. It looks like a fruit fly in comparison. Harmless looking really….but….nope. couldn’t do it.

I have actually considered just taking the Ativan for a few days instead.

I know literature suggests no more than 2-4 weeks. My doc thought with the nano dose I will take, it could be longer. She actually wants me to take the Ativan along with the Zoloft in an effort to preemptively strike the inevitable terror that will come with me taking a new pill. Which would be awesome….if I could take the damned thing….

So, Ativan is on the table. This morning I am PLANNING on taking my nano dose and maybe “enjoying” my day. I figure if I take it once we are up and before we start planning our day, I will be capable of leaving the house and perhaps experiencing some true relaxation or dare I hope, joy. At minimum, I’m hoping to have a normal outting less torment.

Planning is the key word. When you’re terrified of meds, a plan can fall apart quickly. It can be something as fast and simple as a news blurb. “Taking Ativan? You won’t want to miss this at 6.”

That’s it. I’m done. I won’t take it.

Someone who hadn’t fallen off of the normal wagon can’t comprehend my plight. You’ve never been to the edge of crazytown. You don’t know the amount of fear and torment I face just by having a day off.

A day off used to be pure joy. A full two or God bless, three days off was cause for celebration. I was in bliss.

Now, its torment. It’s unscheduled time for my mind to pick at the fear wound.

Odd since work also causes me torment.

Think about that. I have hell at work, I have hell at home.

Where do you relax?

You don’t.

I have varying degrees of torment. The Director is out of town, no games going on, no daggers to remove from my spine, I can relax a minute. Maybe even enjoy my job a little while.

Then I go home and fear death.

The Director returns to work, I wait for the next assault, amped up and trying to step cautiously as you never know where she has placed the next landmine.

I go home and fear death.

Once in a great while I am able to not fear death, but mostly, I do. Well, its a give and take really. There are times I’m terrified and begging God to please give me my life back while other times, I beg Him to just let me go because I can’t live like this any more.

Ultimately, I age daily. Yes, I know, we all do. But I LOOK like I’m aging. More grey hair. My eyes look worried. Wrinkles have set in. I look worn out because……I am.

So, its 8:18 on Sunday morning and I just took another quarter of an Ativan because even at this hour, I’m already fretting. Already fearful. Already jumping head first into torment.

It’s too bad really. Just about a year 1/2 ago, I was counting my blessings. I couldn’t believe the life I had. I was grateful that I was able to provide for my family and still do my own training. I was starting to see signs (in retrospect) that the Director, then District, was likely doing things that I didn’t fully understand but wasn’t ready to assign reality to yet. I started being worried about losing my job. I started feeling down. But, I kept pushing because there was no solid evidence.

My worry continued to eat at me while the District (now Director) would tell me how much people didn’t like me. How I set people the wrong way. How she was ghetto only one that “Got” me, but not to worry. She was always looking out for my best interests.

I felt grateful that she was on my side, while at the same time distraught that I was so despised and didn’t understand why. I did my job. I was honest, I was helpful…yet, hated.

I didn’t understand it.

Now, I guess I do. She was busy weaving lies about me while telling me she was my savior.

It’s dizzying to consider that someone could be so….I don’t know the word….not quite Evil…because I don’t think she is, but…..maybe, manipulative….at minimum.

It’s stunning to think someone would want to be like that. Do those things. I just don’t understand

So, as I lay here waiting for the terror to quiet to simple agony or despair, I know I have to leave this job in order to save my life.

It doesn’t seem fair. I treat people well. Do my job. Extend a helping hand any time needed, yet, I’m the one that has to leave.

There is a perfect picture of the state of our world. Our culture.

The bad people advance while the good ones give up and go away.