Saturday, May 14, 2011

taking a cue from other bloggers

well now. I haven't been posting lately because life has been very crappy, and I have this idea that if I can't post something witty or interesting, then I shouldn't post at all. Then I look at the blog stats and realize that the only people who ever visit this site are my friends or guys looking for fat lady models wearing a low cut sweater.

One of my favorite bloggers is Crazy Aunt Purl who, despite the name, rarely writes about knitting. I guess she started her blog after she and her husband broke up and she took up knitting in an effort to stay sane. She seems to have worked through her crap through blogging, so maybe blogging is an adequate therapy. Goodness knows, not much else seems to be working.

And I highly recommend her book "Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Cat Hair", which is NOT a book about knitting, despite its cover. It's a memoir, and at turns very funny and heartbreakingly sad.

So, I stopped drinking. I was drinking steadily heavier until the middle of January, when I realized that drinking five pints of beer at my favorite pub and then taking a growler home to consume that same evening was perhaps a tad bit too much drinking? Especially done several times a week? Or drinking an entire fifth of scotch by myself in a single evening? Yes, perhaps the drinking was out of control. So I stopped. Didn't go to the pub anymore. Didn't go to the liquor store. And then my life turned to sh*t. I realize now that I had lost my coping mechanism. Although my attendance and quality of work at Place of Employment was sporadic, at least I was slightly functional. I can rationalize a great many reasons for not going into Place of Employment but a hangover is not one of them.

So, the last few months have been sh*t. The previous year and a half were also bad, but I was able to cope. Well, kinda. My work attendance was really bad. I can't figure out what happened. I refuse to believe that all my breakdown is due to my marriage falling apart, although I do think there is a lot of anger there that I haven't let myself express because "it's just not practical." You know, it's over and get with it. But in the final week of January, it just became too much and things just broke down. I called sick the entire week and then on Feb. 1st, I left a message with my boss that I was not going to be in for the entire month. I managed to drag myself out of the house once during the first few weeks of February to go to the doctor's office, and I had a full fledged panic attack right before the visit. I was shaking so hard that I couldn't safely drive. I made myself wait around until I stopped shaking (no, this wasn't alcohol related). I don't often suffer from panic attacks, so this was really freaky. But I guess it was also good that it happened at a doctor's office, where my MD could see that I wasn't doing so well. Except for two doctor's visits, the rest of February were spent asleep. Seriously. I went to bed and didn't get up until two weeks later. I would wake up sporadically to go to the bathroom and let the dogs out but I decided to let my body do whatever it wanted. If it cried for sleep, I'd go to bed, regardless of how long I'd slept previously or how long I'd been awake. and I was out. Once I woke to Sheba pawing furiously at my head in an effort to wake me up because she had to go out. It got to the point that I would write notes to myself whenever I was awake "Tuesday, 2am, fed dogs, let them out" because I'd never have any idea of what time or day it was. At the end of February, my doc cleared me to go back to work on a part time basis and I really thought I was ready, and the first day back was all right. And then I crumpled again.

Are you familiar with the Kids in the Hall skit in which Dave Foley plays the world's worst doctor, who only graduated from med school with the help of his friends? "I wondered how far my charm could take me. Quite far, actually!" Well, I feel that way at work. I have been screwing up so badly for the past year or so, and I truly feel bad for my colleagues because I have been so unreliable and inconsistent. Part of me feels really bad because I am making it harder for my colleagues, most of whom I really admire and respect. (The only exception is Passive Aggressive Manager who, in true passive-aggressive mode, never expresses his frustration with me to me, but to my supervisor. But so far, the guilt I feel at making my own supervisor suffer for my misgivings are not enough to get out of bed and into work.)

I'm smart enough to know that my own actions are contributing to my unhappiness but not strong enough to scrape enough guts together and face the day. When a person is depressed, the doctors always ask if you have committed harm to yourself or to others. I thought they meant physical harm but now I wonder if emotional self-sabotage is also a type of self-harm.

The doctor has put me on a drug cocktail and tweaking the dosage until I become Functional Human Being. I feel like a f*cking lab experiment. Every morning I take six capsules of three different medications, which in itself makes me feel really bad. Am I this sick that I have to take so many pharmaceuticals? Especially since they don't seem to make me into Functional Human Being.

Part of my problem is that I have perfected Happy Face. Like many people, I have managed to mask my pain and present a facade of normalcy, nay, cheerfulness! at work. I know it frustrates my colleagues when I call in sick for three days and then show up on the fourth acting fine. What they don't seem to understand is that "acting fine" takes all my energy and on the days when the urge to stab people is strong, I stay home and hide under the covers all day. Part of me thinks that I should really lose it at work one day, then people will realize that I haven't been f*cking lying for the past year. But I bite my tongue when things irritate me and I stick my hands in my pockets when I feel the urge to slap people (actually, the only person I want to slap is Passive Aggressive Manager. Actually, I want to throttle him most days. I doubt he wants to throttle me; instead, he takes out his anger towards me on my other supervisor, whom I really do like and respect.) I even stopped knitting because I didn't trust myself with the knitting needles. I generally knit with 2.5mm needles which could do quite a bit of harm when applied with force to human flesh.

As you may h ave guessed, this is a stream of consciousness writing. I may be repeating myself but I am not letting myself reread what I have written because the urge to self-edit is strong. I've been self-editing my feelings for a long time now. I think I need to allow myself to be angry and petty and shallow and all that crap that I thought myself too practical to experience. I am a practical person, a very practical person. Sadly, the practical part of my being is trapped in part of my brain while the emotional persona takes over. I am not used to letting myself be emotional. I don't know how to deal with it. I guess shutting down is a way of dealing with it, even if ultimately self-destructive.

My supervisor, the one whom I genuinely like, is very concerned. I feel guilty because Passive Aggressive Manager takes out his frustration on him; I feel guilty because I am letting him down, I feel guilty because I am so unreliable, I feel guilty because he is truly concerned but I am unable to tell him what's wrong. "I am concerned about you. I ask you how you are doing, and you tell me 'it's fine' but I know it's not fine." No, it's not fine. Most of the time I want to stab people. Maybe I am hoping someone will stab me first and put me out of my misery.

And in case you are wondering, I don't have a gun nor have access to one. A very USian concern, no?

Since I have decided that this blog will be bucket of emotional vomit, let me tell you about something that has been bugging me. Oscar listed me as a reference for his lease agreement to move into his girlfriend's apartment. No, he didn't ask me ahead of time if I would be a reference for him. So Oscar moves into his girlfriend's apartment anyway and his landlord calls me and says "Oscar mentioned that you are his ex-spouse?" The landlord is really frustrated because Oscar left a lot of blanks on the lease agreement, specifically, past employment history and rental history and although the landlord called him several times to get this information, Oscar never called back. Very typical behavior of the O-man, let me tell you. I am inferring that Oscar finally told his landlord to contact me for this information. Of course, O-man never told me to expect this call so no, I didn't have his employment history handy, nor our past rental information. (It's been five years since we lived in Seattle. I can't even remember what I had for dinner last night much less the contact information for a landlord five years past.) I told the landlord that angry ex-spouses aren't always the most unbiased sources of information but I'd answer his questions as honestly as possible. 1. "What is Oscar's financial history?" "Well, almost none. He was a full time student until 2006 but he only had temporary work through agencies after that. When that work dried up because the economy tanked, he didn't work. I don't know all the places or the durations of employment." "Okay, he didn't list this on the form and I thought it was weird that a 40 year old had no employment history." (I guess not so odd when said man had been supported first by his parents well into his 30s and afterward by his wife. I am such a chump.) "How would you describe Oscar as a tenant?" "He won't cause any damage to the unit but he is unreliable when it comes to money. His girlfriend might ensure that you get the rent in time but he just doesn't think about things like this unless someone is breathing down his neck." "What's his conflict-resolution strategy?" (Near hysterical laughter on my part) "None. He is like an ostrich. If there's a problem, he sticks his head in the sand. If he can't see it, it doesn't exist." "Yes, that's the feeling I got as well. Last question, would you rent to Oscar?" "In all honesty, no. Not if I counted on his rent toward my own finances. If I didn't need the money, he'd be fine. He wouldn't damage the unit."

So I feel bad for landlord. Oscar had turned in his sublet agreement awhile ago, with the great gaps in the important information, and decided to move in with his girlfriend while the landlord was on vacation. This did not go over well. I doubt Oscar meant to be duplicitous but I can understand why the landlord got suspicious. On one hand, I am amazed by the sheer audacity he had in listing ME as a reference to move in with his GIRLFRIEND when we haven't even spoken in several months. Also, his obvious expectation (if not consciously thought) that if he had any issues, just call me and I'll set it all straight. F*ck that. I'm not sticking up for him anymore. He's not my husband; I have nothing left to lose. On the other hand, I'm somewhat cheered to realize that he hasn't got his sh*t together. I'd be really heartbroken if he did get his sh*t together and then took that great man I knew he could be and found happiness with someone else. But he hasn't gotten his crap together. Let his current girlfriend deal with him. I wonder how long it will last. Who wants to bet that he'll call me the day his girlfriend dumps him?