Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Finding purpose?

The craziest thing about this forced summer break is a complete lack of direction. My first goal is to identify things I want to do with my free time, because the next couple of years I probably will have free time. I have to maintain the ability to keep myself busy. Terry mentioned the other day that I seem tired. Last night he asked why I was sad. The thing is, I don't think I am sad. I know I'm tired. The answer likely is I've lost a sense of purpose with no work or school to propel me forward. Honestly, this is why I would never make a good housewife or SAHM.

So far today I have redesigned my excel spreadsheet for budgeting and begun work on a little book for baby K. I'm going to design a really sweet book of K's first year for Julia, but I don't have the money for that right now. I should by Christmas. Plus that gives me time to ask what she wants included in her book. Birth information, little stories, favorite moments, things like that. In the meantime he's going to get a book about his favorite baby, Baby K!

I'm going to work on stuff for presents too.  My sisters present has managed to get buried in my craft stuff. I didn't tell her about it, just in case I can't find it until Christmas. It'll still be a birthday present, but she's always so angry with me I didn't want to make it worse. My mom's presents aren't ready yet, I have a present for Debbie that isn't ready yet. Maybe I don't need to figure out how to keep myself busy, I just need to figure out how to do the things I already have to do...

Either way, I'm starting with a book for & about Baby K.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Finding Balance in an Unbalanced World?

The move is done. My over reactions from my last post have been calmed for a number of weeks. My sister-in-law & brother-in-law have come and gone, along with the bbq/shower.Terry found a job, which is awesome. He's learning web design with a company where a family friend works. She got his resume last Wednesday and started work today. That's a huge weight off our shoulders now, we have income!  Bills will start getting paid again when he starts getting paid. I had my meeting with the EEOC this morning, which was completely nerve-wracking. I'd worked myself into such a state that I could barely answer the ladies questions. Then GreekTown called about the incident where I was one of 7 people stuck in an elevator at their casino for 40 minutes, people including my claustrophobic mother-in-law, and my pregnant, scared of heights sister-in-law. Not to mention my terror of falling to my death. Yeah, my fear is strangely specific. No big deal. In the meantime I've continued reading mental health stuff.

I've actually been reading mostly about emotions. As always my goal is to be off of medicine. Is it possible? I'm not sure at this point, but I've been researching what kinds of emotions are in the "normal" spectrum and what kinds of emotions need to be dealt with as abnormal. This article from doesn't really have any new information, but it's a great reminder of all the things I forget as I get busy and want to "do it all". This special forced summer break I'm going to spend a lot of time deciding what my "non-negotiable" to do items are. Also, figuring out the routines and the patterns I need to maintain a level of emotional stability. My thought is when I get those things figured out I'll have a much better handle on when things are getting out of control. Hopefully I'll recognize sooner when my patterns are swinging too far away from home base and need less medication and doctors appointments. When I was a kid my mom's patterns were so regimented that I didn't have serious issues, even without medication, until college when all those patterns needed to be held by myself. If I get those patterns back, with all of my new knowledge of bipolar, and my developing knowledge of my needs to be successful, I may be able to live safely, without episodes, minus chemicals & doctors. Time will tell. It's week 1 of new patterns so its way too early to know. Years too early. But it's a nice thought!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Livewire Emotions (Reader Beware)

I try not to live blog episodes because I prefer not to put the wallowing, sniveling, horrendously selfish depressed me on the internet any more than I already have in my late teens & early twenties. I also don't like to share the anger I feel during mania. Because it always is irritable, cranky, and rude. Depressed or manic I'm not a nice person and I never want to subject anyone to that, let alone myself at a later date by reading what I wrote. That's a whole other trigger all on its own. I still get triggered by the ant I tried to kill my freshman year of high school. I couldn't bring myself to kill it with my finger, as I had so many times before and since, so I tried to kill it with the end of my hairbrush. Later that year I became so upset that I tried to shove that same hairbrush end through my forehead. Something I did a number of times when triggered before I got rid of that hairbrush. So, anyway, the point is I like a little distance between me and the emotions before I write. Tonight I don't have that luxury. I need to be coherent and present for the final day before my best friends wedding and deal with her family, who I view as an adopted family, and were the source of this particular trigger in the first place.

Firstly, I was asked to be her matron of honor.  I had a really  busy, awful semester because of the work issues I posted about previously where I was very overwhelmed anyway. She doesn't care. She knew that and chose me anyway.  Because she loves me and wants me to be here. I am really spending a lot of energy in my sleep deprived, angry, triggered state reminding myself of that so I don't run away. The first thing I did wrong was ask (at her request) her mother if she would like the honor of delegating the bridal shower. Again, busy. Overwhelmed already. My best friend loves me and is ok with that. That caused a whole mess of anger from her mother because as the mother she should have nothing to do with that. That was a trigger all by itself that hid in the sea of triggers I already had with school and work. I spent all of April bawling because I felt like she was going to regret choosing me as matron of honor because I wasn't doing what I needed to be doing. I apologized and we talked and, again, she loves me and wants me here. She chose me for a reason. I stepped out mostly until last Thursday because on top of finishing my last semester of undergrad, applying for grad school, dealing with a job that chooses to not follow ADA laws, and MOVING TO ANOTHER STATE, I couldn't handle anything. Not even what was on my plate. Terry is amazing and dealt with so much bullshit, mostly with grace and love. I am so lucky to have him.

Last Thursday I moved into my friends spare bedroom for two weeks. My stuff was on a UHaul and sent off to Michigan with my husband and father-in-law and I was left with 5 or 6 bags and all my makeup & hair stuff. I'm still dealing with work stuff, which will be a whole other post, and on Wednesday the bride's mother (who I have been trying to be patient with) gave me no less than three lectures about how family is family and if someone isn't family they shouldn't be involved. Family is more important than anything, and my friend had moved away and lost track of what family is and what family means. Then there was a near cancellation, and a whole bunch of other mess from the bride's father's side because there isn't a marriage licence yet. There still isn't one. There is a 6 day wait in Wisconsin after the application and the groom had to send off for his birth certificate in California, that HIS MOTHER HAD THE WHOLE TIME. Then, when she gave it to him (at work) she freaked out because she was planning something she never told anyone about and feels like she's not included. The bride's father feels not included because of some other stuff, and everyone is doing things before we have a program, ceremony, or dresses done because those things aren't important apparently.

The real issue for me is all of this is happening around me and I'm trying to not be selfish, while everyone else says that I'm making this whole wedding about me. I'm trying my best to maintain composure when other people are around and help my BFF with what she needs help with, provide an ear when she needs to scream, watch her 10 month old when she needs to run errands. I can't do that at the point I'm at now. Her mother has shattered any sense of composure that I had with the "family is family" speeches. I already felt like I wasn't doing enough and letting everyone down back in April. Now I'm struggling to remind myself that I am here because my best friend loves me enough to make me her matron of honor and I cannot run out on that. So, for the last two nights my Seroquel hasn't done what it needs to do, and since I'm afraid of my Klonapin and the mood swings it causes, I sit awake in the guest room in the basement, alone, and cry. More than I've cried in a long time. Even more than in April when I cried through a whole meeting with my English teacher. Because this time my poor dendrites are overwhelmed with activity AND I feel unwelcome. I really do love my best friend's mother, but I wish she would think sometimes about how her insecurities affect those around her. I might be the selfish one, making this all about me, but I'm not the only one.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Ketamine. Thanks media!

Having not slept last night (in spite of taking my medicine as prescribed...well, minus the Klonapin that I'm currently terrified of...) I am desperate for some control over my world and have a desperate need for productivity. How did I satisfy this? Catching up on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Not the most useful productivity, but it gave me a sense of accomplishment nonetheless.

As I was catching up on Twitter this article caught my eye. This is amazing and wonderful news for bipolar people who are in a lot of trouble and have doctors to watch over them. Sort of. As I've been following Thrive with Bipolar Disorder on Facebook and YouTube there has been a lot of important information about bipolar that I hadn't found through my scientific study. Namely, in bipolar I depression is not only an occurrence for people to live with, it is a necessary recovery time. I have bipolar II, meaning I have never experienced the truly debilitating mania those with bipolar I do, I just get the super fun manic/angry/irritable/impossible fun that I know my husband loves so much. So, this combination of information strikes a question in my mind...while it's wonderful these people are no longer so far down, what happens to that mania recovery time the brain needs? Beyond that, even as a person with bipolar II I have trouble with going too high when I've been low if meds screw with it. That's why I'm so scared of the Klonapin. It sends me into a depression in order to allow me sleep (which I desperately need at this point), but then in the days following I sleep waaaaay too much and then I'm sky high again. This article doesn't touch on that at all. Plus there are different stereoisomers of ketamine. As a chemist who has studied the stereoisomers in drugs and how to separate them for my seminar, as well as made separating agents in the lab many many years ago, I know this means the R enantiomer and the S enantiomer affect people differently. How many other people know that? That means this information is out in the public regarding a population of people who are prone to severe mood swings, impulsive decisions, addiction problems, and suicidal behavior without any disclaimer saying "SPECIAL K AND THE MEDICAL KETAMINE ARE TWO DIFFERENT DRUGS!!!!!!"

The media baffles me. First, they dehumanize mental illnesses like bipolar and schizophrenia by only reporting about people like Pedro Hernandez, who is clearly ill and has needed help his whole life, and the homeless that are implicated in disturbances or worse, then they post an article about a street drug with no regard for the information provided and the population it affects. This only shows how little people know and understand about mental illness and the devastating power they wield over the population at large, as well as the specific population the information is about.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Nothing like a little mainstream media...

I follow a lot of mental health cases in court, sometimes the media boggles my mind with their interviews. This New York Times article quotes a doctor (unrelated to the case, likely brought in as an expert in psychopharmacology) described olanzapine as "not a drug that is usually given to people who are normal". Really? They are "in the scheme of drugs, these are pretty heavy drugs". Shocking revelation there skippy. Speaking as someone who has been on olanzapine, who was warned by many many people that it is an awful drug, and who has experienced the weight gain and exhaustion, and the life disruption that comes with this drug (and many others). As a branch of medicine its super important to talk about a drug given to a bipolar and schizophrenic as "not a drug that is usually given to people who are normal". What drugs are given to people who are normal psychopharmacology expert?

I don't like to speculate on the outcomes of cases ahead of time, but I'm particularly saddened by this type of case. This CBS News article outlines some of the problems of this particular case. The guy who confessed to the 33 year old case would have been about 18, and presumably murdered the 6 year old boy for no reason and never committed another crime since. There will also be questions of the validity of his confession, not only because he's sick, but also because he has hallucinations. If the prosecution can't find proof or motive a conviction is not certain because the defense may argue that it never happened. If there haven't been other similar crimes he's committed who is to say the hallucinations haven't planted the idea in his head this was his doing, in spite of being innocent?

I hate it that these cases see so much media and other developments don't. I understand why it happens, and if he is guilty I'm glad he came forward. Mental illness does not excuse behavior like that and he should be tried by a jury. Jail is probably not the answer, but time in a locked psychiatric facility for his crime is more than justified. I feel like the public doesn't get a good view of the mentally ill population, and if there was more unbiased information there would be less stigma and fear. Instead we see the guy that claims bipolar disorder after attacking Milwaukee's mayor thinking he'll be forgiven. That's BS. Mental illness does not excuse that kind of behavior and should be punished accordingly.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

10 Ways To Improve Mental Health

This article spoke to me.

In particular #4 was really powerful for me. I have a bad memory because everything I remember is colored with emotional attachment. I know I'm not the only one that has this problem (even within my family), but it's really isolating to remember that way rather than remembering facts.

4. Understand the power of your perception and how to change it. We often make up stories about people and events in our lives that have nothing to do with the facts of the situation. They are simply our interpretation. Your interpretation can cause you great unnecessary turmoil. If your perception isn’t serving you, change it! Make up a better, happier, more generous story.

Rights of Passage

I got to spend last weekend with my family, best weekend in a long time. Worst in a lot of ways too, but that isn't their fault, that's all my brain. There was a lot of people. A lot of people. Some that I was actually a little scared to see and one in particular I was really scared to see, but it turned out ok. I have the best mom ever. Ever. She's so supportive and she knows exactly what to say when I'm really struggling with interacting with people. Plus shes really funny when she drinks. (One drop! That's all it takes! Thank your Grandpa Marv for that knowledge! - Of course, the real funny thing is she does that anyway.) My brother is amazing too. He does the best impressions. (Ule, anyone? You know he's the life of the party!) It's incredible to see what amazing women my little baby cousins are growing into, they're beautiful and really considerate of each other when they think no one's watching. I always felt like I could never share my illness with people, like it was shameful. Society taught me that, my ex taught me that, and my most recent job tried to teach me that. But I got to talk about it this weekend. My mom talks about it. I don't know how much she shares, but that makes me more comfortable being who I am in front of the people I need most. Even though sometimes I feel like an outsider, it's easier to remember that's my brain trying to alienate me from the people I need the most when my family is willing to listen.

Graduation was last weekend, I spent it where I needed to be more than anywhere else in the world. At my cousin's high school graduation. There was a little pang of guilt when I realized I wouldn't have the graduation pictures, but that passes. My diploma will be mailed to me by the middle of summer and I have a cap and gown, I can take pictures then. Photoshop people in around me. ;) I got some pretty sweet presents. My aunts & uncles and grandma gave me money so I get the earrings I've been eyeing. My parents bought me a Kindle. Coolest present ever. I never thought I would like one, but its super awesome.

Now, as I return to reality there is paperwork to fill out about a job that gets more and more distant and heartless by the day. I talked to my boss twice today. It's weird, but the more I read dystopian young adult novels the easier it is for me to pick out the acid behind the smile. Not just with work, but everywhere. Some of that is training from my former coworkers, trying to learn when enough was enough. Not because they were ever cruel intentionally, and some of them never were anything but kind and understanding, even when I pushed the boundaries of acceptable like I accidentally do. But everyone has limits, and I spent a lot of time at my old job trying to figure out how to know what those were. It's not easy, and I would still rather just be me all the time with no filter at all, but I know now that there are people who are intentionally cruel. I can't just be me with no filter at all because those people capitalize on any weakness and exploit it at the first opportunity. I'm really susceptible to manipulation by media, and lately I've been grateful for that. The Hunger Games and Divergent have made me more cynical of humanity, which has allowed me an easier time of picking the snakes out of the crowd.

I'm still having panic attacks so bad that I feel like I'm dying of a heart attack, but it is what it is. I had seven beers last weekend. Three at my friends house, one the night I had so much fun with my mom, and three when we stayed at Terry's cousins. That's a lot for me to handle. Plus I've given in to the sugar and caffeine again. That has to stop. That's more dangerous than alcohol. Time to detox and prepare for the next big event, my best friend's wedding. It's really important to me that I'm there for her no matter what she needs, which means I must be coherent and that will only happen after a good old fashioned detox.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Corporate or Academic?

I finished undergrad today. Surprisingly, it actually lifted a huge amount of stress from me. I did feel like I was having a heart attack as I walked into the testing room though. It seems silly now. Yesterday I mailed in my graduate school contract. I'm officially entering into my next stage of life.

Speaking of the next stage of my life I discovered something really eye opening about my experience in corporate America. When I asked Wayne State if I should wait until I get there and know if I need accommodations, or if I should request the accommodations information in case I need to use accommodations. They actually want me to request them and decide after the fact if it's necessary.

Contrast that with my new lesson from the corporate world. My long term disability claim has been denied, which I am currently in the process of appealing. The benefits center, which acts as a liaison between my company and the insurance is not able to let me return to work while my restrictions are in place, even if the appeal is denied. This means I get the joy of sitting at home waiting to be fired because my forced six month short term disability has used all of my FMLA time. My only recourse is the fact that I had unofficial accommodations at work for almost a year and a half, and I qualify for ADA accommodations through my school for a quiet testing environment.

For now, I'm done with undergrad. Tonight I have a ton of forms to fill out for possible social security benefits, and some research to do on how to file a complaint with the EEOC. Life is really weird sometimes. I never would have pictured myself here, about to enter grad school, able to fight back against discrimination. So strange.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Starting over!

I've been reading a LOT about bipolar lately, though it's really been following severe mental illness in general (schizophrenia, paranoia, bipolar, borderline personality disorder...). I've joined the group Thrive with Bipolar Disorder on Facebook (Side note: it would be super nice if I could keep those comments from going to my friends newsfeeds. Not that I wouldn't share that much of myself anyway, but I feel like it can be off-putting for friends that aren't on that level of "there" yet with the illness...), I read blogs, and follow what books are coming out. I follow all kinds of information about mental illness; marriage, children, pregnancy, individual responsibility, legal proceedings, scientific breakthroughs...everything I can get my hands on. I've been keeping track of it in a strange way, as always, a combination of my memory, bookmarks on my computer, sharing with family and friends... Anyway, I feel that method isn't working anymore and now that I am 6 days away from my commencement ceremony and have no undergraduate work left my goal is to post all of that stuff on here to keep better track of it. Starting today! :)

I just read this article about the difficulty knowing the difference between pre-hypomania and exuberance. As always when I read anything I immediately apply it to my experience, and my life. This actually has been a life saver in my last few weeks of the semester since I've found Thrive on Facebook. I've been able to focus on things I do in relation to others questions. But I digress, returning to the article at hand I realized how lucky I am to have the family and friends that support me unconditionally and are able to be objective about my moods. I think the best part is they are objective in different ways, which lets me figure out who I am and how I feel about my moods.

In the last 4 years I have met and married the best husband on the face of the planet. Totally a biased opinion, but it's mine and this is my blog so that's what I'm sharing. Terry and I have worked together to create a "mood map" of sorts for my bipolar to help figure out when things need attention and when they don't. It's not perfect, and it will forever be a work in progress, but its allowed us lots of freedom in our relationship that I didn't experience when I was with the ex. That's been a really positive experience. Last weekend was really rough, Terry was at camp helping with cub scouts, and I was supposed to be studying. Instead, since there is so much happening in my life right now my brain went into overdrive and I didn't sleep at all. However, because of our "mood map" I knew that I was going to be ok. I could text & check in, there was no freaking out. I could vocalize that I'm stressed, scared, and too much is changing at once. He knew that before he left town so there was no worry about the huge impact my mood had on my Facebook updating. We came up with a plan together for how to handle it, I did some little things that mean a lot to me (haircut with shampoo, eyebrow wax, shopping), I spent time with my best friend who understands me better than I understand myself. We focused on conversation and each other and her beautiful baby.

In my experience pre-hypomania and exuberance can be the same thing. The end result depends immensely on how I treat the feelings when they happen. Because of the "mood map" and my exposure to people who love me and have been around for a long time, who have seen me develop through the bipolar, who have stood by me when I needed help the most, I can actually turn pre-hypomania into exuberance and prevent the whole thing in the first place. Currently I still have anxiety/panic bordering on heart attack all the time lately, I'm still losing feeling in my extremities and having trouble with circulation, but its stress. There's a lot of changes happening. My long term claim is under review again, I'm finishing a whole chapter of my academic career and preparing for something completely new and scary. Not only new and scary, but new and scary and with all new people. That's enough to make me have a panic attack all by itself. I just keep reminding myself how amazing everyone I encountered in my last bit of undergrad has been with my illness. It's been infinitely better than the way corporate America treated me. That makes the panic disappear a little. I'm still packing. I'll be living out of as many suitcases as I can fit in Terry's Ion come June 1st.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Learning experiences.

This year has been so full of learning experiences. It seems to be coming out ok. I got into grad school! I was offered and accepted a teaching assistantship where I'll be teaching one or two gen chem sections of 24 undergrads. Honestly, I'm a little scared, but there's time to worry about that later. It doesn't start until next fall.

I'm currently working on my last semester as an undergrad, so excited to be graduating after 10 years! There's lots of chemistry information to learn for my inorganic class, lots of writing to do for my french lit, english, and ethics classes, photos to take for my photography apartment is getting packed up very methodically and carefully. Things are getting taken to Goodwill, and thrown out to have less to move. The cats are starting to get worried. I'm helping my best friend plan her wedding for the beginning of June.

The school thing is the most time consuming right now, but I'm also transitioning from short term to long term disability. This has been a barrage of phone calls and its going to be a ton of paperwork for both me and my doctors. Every phone call has started with "when will you be able to return to work" and my responding "I could have returned in December, but they are unable to accommodate my restrictions". To which I've had to answer all kinds of questions about my hours and history at my job, tons of questions about the change in management and how I would have handled the whole situation differently if I knew then what I know now. The whole process is complicated and annoying because it could have been avoided by just letting me keep the hours I had for two years.

I'm actually kind of hoping the insurance company takes legal action against my company for the money they've lost over the last year. There have been a lot of judges siding with employees who have had issues with ADA violations. When I talked to the vocational counselor she asked if I had a lawyer. I do, but the disability proceedings went so smoothly I didn't need to use the lawyer. I'm not out for a huge settlement (though I'd be dumb to turn one down if it landed in my lap), I just want the accommodations that will allow me to do my job successfully. I told her that if there was a problem in the future I would not hesitate to use legal action. I also told her that in the future I hope to have my restrictions in writing before all of this happens so I can stay at work. I'm not disabled to the point where I can't work at all, I just need the freedom to do the work in a way that allows me to be successful.

Live and learn. I'm looking forward to many more stories of judges siding with the ADA laws rather than employers. It's necessary for people to know they have support legally as well as personally.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Four Months in hell for a little slice of heaven.

I write so infrequently I forget what I wrote about, so after a little review I realize the last thing I talked about was the upcoming changes in my life. My GRE went well, I was able to use earplugs and as exhausted  as I was by the end it was finished. Honestly, I probably could have done better if I'd requested different circumstances, but this wasn't a matter of life-or-death for me. My application for grad school went out with very few problems, but the rest of my life continued in shambles.

I continued to battle with my employer through the insurance company, and as a result my mental stability went out the window. I read MadamBipolar on a fairly regular basis, and I've also been following this series on bipolar in the workplace, in addition to this series on the same subject. This combined with my recent acquisition of Ken Steele's The Day The Voices Stopped I have had a resurgence of the weight my fight holds. In the grand scheme of the world my fight against my company isn't going to change the way America views bipolar, on the contrary I hear my coworkers are quite enjoying calling me an alcoholic, among other choice slander, but it does prove to me that I am worth this fight. Also, each fight like this that is waged and won for the mentally ill brings us closer to actual acceptance.

My employer finally offered me a return to work schedule when I was in Detroit (having run away during a particularly nasty bout of self-doubt), that did not meet my accommodations. I told them I could not accept their terms, and explained which terms needed to be met. The response? Talk to the insurance, they told us this was acceptable. So I did, and the insurance, in turn, told them exactly what I told them. I need a quiet work environment to be successful at detailed data entry work. Through all of this the insurance has been a lifesaver. Without the resources I've linked to above, a supportive unit of family and friends, and doctors & insurance that fought for me I would not have been able to wage this particular war. I went nearly a month without being paid at all.

My medical situation and requested restrictions were judged by medical professionals that have never met me. My company chose to be discriminatory and misinformed, in spite of the masters in psychology held by my immediate boss, and her boss disclosing to me that a close family member suffers from bipolar. When the experts approved my medically necessary restriction of a quiet work environment I was beyond elated. This meant that the cycle of discrimination would HAVE to end! They have to admit that I was right to have the freedoms I experienced with my former boss, and my former boss was progressive and a wonderful boss that understood his employees needs without being strong-armed  into non-discrimination. Wrong. They chose, instead, to claim they are unable to accommodate me through my previous work schedule. This is a schedule that I maintained for two years in their department under different management. This management is unable to let me complete my data entry job when I can be successful, they would rather I be less successful and work within their hours. Fortunately, again, the insurance came to my rescue. I still get paid, and will get paid for up to 4 years of disability because my request for a quiet work environment is 100% medically supported.

So the battle is done and the employer forfeits. I'm satisfied with this result, if only because I get to complete my last school semester in peace. There was an issue with payment for my last few semesters, but that was resolved quickly through a letter to the school. It appears my school doesn't want to lose a student with a 3.59 GPA in her last semester because an employer can't bother to follow ADA laws. I received enough grants to cover all of the remaining balance for tuition.

When I explain my situation every single person I've talked to sees the blatant discrimination. Every single person thinks that its awful. And yet, my coworkers still make derogatory comments about me because they don't understand my situation. They ask why I haven't returned. They make offhand comments like "if she's well enough to be an alcoholic, why isn't she well enough to return to work?" The fact of the matter is I am not an alcoholic. Two beers and I'm drunk. Four and it takes me days to recover from my hangover. They are being bigoted and rude. My employer does not correct these types of comments. If I was at work I would be told to alter my behavior to prevent these comments. I don't really care about these comments, but I will never again put up with working for an employer that behaves this way. Management and HR should not allow bigotry to happen. That self-regulation I thought was possible so few years ago is a myth.

In spite of all the mess, I don't have to return to that work environment. I get to stay home, work through my last semester at school, and attend an interview for graduate admission. The best part of the whole thing? By choosing to not be supportive and instead engage in behavior that borders on illegal, my company is paying me to stay home and accomplish my dreams. I get 60% of my former paycheck, plus I keep my insurance. In addition, their behavior and the reduced pay is the reason my education is paid. I know they feel like they've won because the strange girl with all the difficult requests is no longer there, and they didn't have to deal with a lawsuit from firing me, but I think I came out on top this time. Four months of hell is really a small price to pay when I count all the blessings their decision has brought upon me.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year, New Changes

I'm embarking on the beginning of a journey this year. Choices resulting in major changes have been occurring more quickly as this year begins. I take the GRE on Thursday afternoon. The results of that test could mean any number of outcomes for this year, which in turn will change my life in ways I have no way to see. This is true of every year, but this year I feel it more acutely this year. A year and a half ago I made a huge decision to choose education. I already have an associates in lab techniques for biotechnology applications, which will serve me well in my current location because I have references, good technical skills, and a phenomenal work ethic. But if I want to leave my location I needed something more. Something that would be recognized elsewhere, so I began the end of my undergraduate career. I finish that career in May with a double major in Biochemistry and French Language. A way to move to other places, and a huge step forward. A step that continues to be cemented day by day by the unfair treatment of my employer. I'm the type of person that finds it extremely difficult to leave a job once I've started there. I worked for a movie rental store for six months after they stopped paying me. It actually got so bad that I couldn't even cash my payroll checks at Wal-Mart. Ridiculous, right? If it weren't made so blatantly clear that my job doesn't want me I would probably try to go to grad school in Madison, while continuing to work there.

Instead, the next 12 months brings more college applications. A physical move more bold than I've made in a long time, and a whole new set of experiences. I feel more at peace with this than I probably should with the potential problems I face in the next 12 months as well. A potential job loss, loss of insurance (again), the uncertainty of job prospects for both me and my husband...any large change comes with a potential for great disaster. I don't know what the future brings, but I am excited to see what will happen. I've decided to not make any resolutions this year, in favor of making good choices to keep my health in line through any storms that show up through any of this years many changes.