Thursday, June 23, 2011

60% a milestone!

60. Djinn in the Nightengale's Eye by A.S. Byatt, finished 23 June 2011

highly recommended

Sunday, June 19, 2011

getting there

Book #57. The Celts: A Very Short Introduction by Barry Cunliffe, finished 19 June 2011.

For a complete list, click here.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The sweet smell of rejection

So, as you may have gleaned from previous posts, the past few months have been rough. Since February 1st, I have been out from work approximately two months. All of February and intermittent days in March, April, and May. This has had a financial effects, which I am still trying to dig myself out of. I can do it, but not as timely as creditors would like. I would have preferred never to have fallen behind on bills, but thems the breaks. (when someone calls to inform you to discontinue an automatic payment from a bank account because there are no funds in that account, please take this person seriously and don’t give the spiel of “ceasing the automatic payment will take two months to process. Please ensure you have funds in your account until that time.”

I’m a fairly frugal person and I don’t have a lot of debt, and literally 99% of the debt I have is the so-called “good debt”—mortgage, student loan, home improvement loan. I guess it’s called “good debt” because these are seen as investments. However, it’s still a good chunk of my paycheck every month that I would like to apply towards other things. And all debt is "bad" if you can't make a payment.

Anyway, I was eligible for disability pay for the days off in March as mandated by my doctor. It was 60% of seven days gross pay and it was such a freaking hassle to get it, and it took so freaking long that it almost wasn’t worth it. But in mid-May, I finally get the check and the first thing that I did was apply it to my primary mortgage. Of course, the clerk had to point out that I was past due in making a payment. Yes, I know. I’ve been out of work because of illness and I am trying to catch up. So the clerk did a quick check and said “hey, you are eligible for automatic loan rate adjustment. This is really quick and easy and there are no closing costs to you. It will lower your monthly payment because the interest rate will be reduced.”

I figure it would be worth investigating, and I swear that program is a will-o-wisp to get you to talk to a mortgage broker because once you are face to face, he will find a refi plan that You Are Eligible For, even if it turns out that you are actually not eligible for the quick and easy refi that your mortgage holder said you were eligible for. But “there are other plans and this one will lower [your] interest rate but only the primary mortgage is eligible” and not both, like I was originally told. So to cut a long and convoluted story short, I signed the refi papers on Thursday but after thinking about it, I realized that I wasn’t really coming out ahead. I wasn’t screwed but pretty much left in the same position so I wanted to cancel it. The net effect is that my payment on my primary mortgage would be lowered by about $90 a month, but the term would be reset to 30 years. To pay it off in 25 years (keeping with the timeframe of the original mortgage), I’d have to add an extra $100 a month. Which is pretty much where I am now, financially. $90 a month isn’t going to make or break my budget.

I sent a message to mortgage broker, requesting that he cancel the loan process and he called me back to say he had been trying to get in touch with me that day but I’d left my mobile phone at home this morning. His news? I had been rejected for refi through the Home Assistance Refinancing Program because I had been late on a mortgage payment over the past 12 months. Please remember that the only reason I even started down this road was at the mortgage holder’s suggestion BECAUSE I was behind on my payments. However, I’ve never been so happy to have been rejected.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

I have to admit it's getting better/getting better all the time

Sunday afternoon and I'm not a crumpled heap of anxiety. In fact, I'm showered and dressed even though I don't have any plans to go anywhere.

Also, it's quiet. There is not a single person in the neighborhood using a power tool. No lawnmowers, leaf blowers, weed whackers, pressure washers, or air compressor pumps to be heard. There is just something about the sound of power equipment that puts me on edge. But only certain tools. Power drills, for example, don't bother me. Drills make an annoying high pitched whine but it's just annoying, not anything else. But the things I listed. Ugh. The sound is enough to make me weep crazy tears. Add to that vacuum cleaners. I hate vacuuming because I hate the sound of vacuum cleaners. I ripped the carpet out my house because I hate vacuuming. Also, there are wooden floors underneath. A bit noisy when the dogs walk but otherwise fine. I'd much rather sweep and mop than vacuum.

This is a stream of consciousness journal, so yes, I am going to talk about random crap like how much I hate power equipment. At this particular moment, the cat is trying to crawl on my lap but he's interfering with my typing. Also interfering with my typing is the fact that I am not wearing my glasses. I can't see the screen really well so expect a few typos. Adds to the flavor of the dish.

I saw my counsellor for the first time on Friday. I'd seen her before but ages ago, under another mental crisis event. I hope she's not planning on retiring anytime soon! She listened to me summarize the past year, with all its stresses and unpleasantness and she asked me a few questions I wasn't expecting. How do I think the stresses contributed to February's breakdown?
And do I think I don't have a strong sense of self? I have to admit that this second question really threw me, because I've always thought I had a strong sense of self and that was the reason that I often times don't fit in.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

deep, heavy sigh

The deep, dark depression of 2011 seems to have passed. Or maybe it's still there but with the current combination and dosages of drugs, I don't feel like hiding or stabbing people. This funk had been steadily increasing for a little over a year until things finally hit bottom in February. In that time, I had several supervisors give me a lecture on my work attendance and I was honest in telling them that coming in to work took all my energy and sometimes I just didn't have that much. Also, sometimes I felt like stabbing people and when that urge was really strong, I didn't come in.

But they didn't believe me. Or I had mastered happyface to enough of a degree that they thought I was just being metaphorical. While the deep funk of February-March 0f 2011 had passed, it was replaced by a mild psychosis (my term) of April-early May 2011. That's when I really wanted to stab people. I am not joking. I wanted to sink a blade into someone's flesh. And it was scary because I didn't know what would trigger my rage. Example: I got up and left a meeting because someone was drinking a cup of chamomile tea, and I HATE the smell of chamomile tea. One of the drugs I'm taking is used in anger management, but like so many psychiatric drugs, the drug can produce a side effect of exactly the issue that's being treated. I started taking this drug in late March and these take a few weeks to take effect. Early April, the urge to stab people became incredibly strong.

So I stayed home, which pissed everyone off at work. I thought I was doing them a favor. While at home, the only person I had to worry about was me and I thought being in a familiar environment would lessen the chance of encountering unknown rage triggers. Part of me felt like I should call my doctor but I couldn't bring myself to it because I was sure she'd make come in to her office, which meant taking a shower and getting dressed, and going to Seattle and hell, if I could make it to Seattle for a doctor's appt. why couldn't I make it into work?

Also, my paid leave was exhausted on January 31st, so every day I didn't go into work, I didn't get paid. My savings were gone by mid-March. Honestly, it seemed like a tidy sum until I had to pay the mortgage. So yes, there was a direct financial cost by not going in to work.

However, no one was physically harmed over the past two months. At least not by me.
About two weeks ago, I started to feel relatively normal. I didn't want to hurt anyone, and I had the courage to finally reach out to some friends for help, and they have been wonderful. I'm not surprised. They are my friends! (I know that I should have contacted people earlier, when I was really down. But I didn't want anyone to see me in that state, so I hid.)

And the drug cocktail is working. This is how I know: over the past two weeks, I have had real reason to be upset and frustrated due to a less than helpful Human Resources department (that's a rant for another time), which resulted in all that time off in April and May that I was off was not covered by the Family Medical Leave Act (like I and everyone else in the office assumed), which meant that all that time was in risk of being considered Absent Without Leave, which effectively means that I was not considered employed on those days, and thus my health insurance would be voided for that time (among other things, but that's the one I'm really concerned about). Oh there's more, lots more to this snafu, but I will say this: I did not feel like hurting anyone. In fact, I didn't feel any urge toward any violent behavior like kicking the wall or slamming a door. I did stomp around and complain bitterly, but I think that's an improvement.

And I feel like reading again. I feel like I can knit. I made food which actually including chopping something and there was no fantasy or urge to slice my skin. (For most of the past few months, I have been relying on canned or jarred foods. Mostly beans and rice, and spaghetti. And tea. Lots and lots of tea. I'm glad I bought a four-pack of PG Tips in January!)

So it's day by day. And things are getting better emotionally. Which is good, because I have to deal with a really big pile of financial and employment-based crap due to Madness 2011. sigh.