It's Been A Long Time

Five months since I've updated. That's a long time. Though this happens to me. My interest in activities rises and wanes without fail. This blog was a victim of my complete lack of any sort of attention span.

Quick update, and then to my reasons for posting this.

Since November, I've had two noteworthy mood episodes. One was in December. It was mild. The lamictal has done a good job of keeping my ups and downs relatively in check, and what they do come, they aren't nearly as bad as the once were.

However, that can't be said about the events of this month.

In December, we found out that we were going to have to move in the spring (by April 30th). I had managed up until late March to kind of just ignore the fact. Every time I did think about it, I would get this terrible feeling in my chest, like my whole world was coming apart.

Unfortunately, I could only ignore it for so long.

As the beginning of April neared, I started to really begin to stress out about the whole thing. And stress+anxiety+bipolar=not good. One thing I will say though, when we finally got around to looking for a place, we happened to choose the first one we found. So it wasn't difficult in that regard.

As easy it was for us to find a place, at the end of the day, it was still tearing up my insides. I was worrying about it constantly. But any issues I had (and still have) with moving were trumped by the terrible situation that is my job.

I have, for quite some time, been completely miserable at work. It's not that it's difficult. And I was, at the time, only working 24 hours a week. Not a lot. Just enough to get by. However, I have been convinced for quite some time that the owner has been treating me as a "lesser employee" in comparison to the others.

To explain, I have to give some back story.

I work at a independent pharmacy. It is run basically like it's out of the 1970's. Hell, half the product in the store has been there since the early 80's. There are two counters in the store. The main counter (also called the back counter) is where the pharmacy is. 99.99% of all business funnels through this counter. The other counter is the front counter, which is right next to the door. If you work up front, you are lucky to wait on one person a day. Most people are there for medication, not sundries. So if you work the front counter, you spend a vast majority of your time standing at the register, staring at nothing. It is easy, but for someone like me who has severe attention problems and anxiety issues, it can become quite overwhelming to just stand in one spot for six hours a day.

Also, it's important to note that due to the location of the front counter, and the lack of any real purpose or responsibility, it has historically been known to be the place where the owner puts the workers she doesn't care for.

So allow me to give you a detailed account of my average day.

I come into work at 1pm. I am told to go into the back office and shred. Now, as a pharmacy, we generate a lot of documents that have personal information on them. So there are a lot of papers that, by law, we are required to destroy. However, more often than not, what I am sent back to shred is actually newspaper. The owner brings in bags upon bags of newspaper for me to shred on a daily basis, to the point where at times there are literally a dozen or more black trash bags full of shredded newspaper in the office at any given time.

Why? Because for some inane reason we have three very large compost bins behind the store. None of which ever gets used, but the owner insists that they are maintained nonetheless. The newspaper is used to put on top of the compost.

This part of the job I have no problem with. Though I think it's stupid, and irresponsible, that she puts more emphasis on shredding newspaper than the printouts that have customer information on them.

Anyway, shredding usually gets me through till about 2:30. Then things go bad. The girl who works up front during the day leaves at 3:00. And every day, without fail, I hear my name and am told to go up front to relieve her.

Every single day, without fail. I am fucking shoved up front to sit and stare at the ceiling.

There are two other employees who she could have go up there. Never have I ever heard her tell one of them to go up front. The only times I ever see one of them up front, by her request, is when shredding pushed me over 3:00pm and she has no choice but to put someone else up there.

So every day I am shoved up there and forgotten about. The other two employees, knowing that it's complete bullshit, will sometimes offer to switch out with me, which I appreciate. So it's not every day that I am forced to work an entire shift up there. But the fact is, when she has to put someone up front, a job everyone in the store knows is bottom rung, she thinks of me.

I know some people would think that this is not a big deal. I shouldn't get so worked up about it. But I have deep seeded issues with being treated as equal to my fellow worker. In this case, I believe whole heartedly that I am viewed as the shit worker.

I wouldn't have an issue with this, if I had done something to warrant this stigma. But I haven't. I am a good worker. I am a stubborn perfectionist. I am never satisfied with anything. So when I have a task to complete, I make sure it gets done right. I have never lost money. I have never fucked up someone's medication. I have never done anything to deserve the treatment I receive.

Let's continue.

So as I have pointed out, for quite a while I've been dealing with some personal issues with how I'm treated at work. That, along with the whole moving thing and some other issues ended up pushing me into a depressed state at the start of the month, which lasted about a week. It wasn't terrible and I didn't miss any work. I just pushed through it and kept it to myself.

Monday, April 5th, I went into work. I was feeling a lot better, in fact in hind-sight I would say I was feeling abnormally good. But I digress. I stopped before going into work to pick up some food some a seasonal food stand that had just re-opened. I got to work on time and headed to the pharmacy to put my stuff down.

As soon as she sees me, she informs me that Thyda (her daughter-in-law and the girl who normally works up front during the day) was busy boxing up old greeting cards, and that she needed me to watch up front.

Normally I would have been annoyed by this. Fact is, when she was boxing up those cards, she was no more than ten feet away from the front counter. There was no reason for me to go up front. But, as I said, I was in a really good mood, so I didn't care. I was only going to be up there until Thyda finished, and then I would be off to shred.

So I go up front.

Let me paint the picture. The front counter is about fifteen feet long. On one end is the register and the check out area. Then moving left is a display counter with a watches and eye glasses on carousels on top. At the other end is a computer, keyboard, mouse, monitor and a scale for UPS package shipping.

As I go up front, I set my bag of food on the edge of the counter next to the keyboard and I put my drink behind me on the shelf. See, I realize putting drinks right next to a computer tower isn't a good idea.

So at this point, I haven't even taken my food out of the bag when Thyda rolls up with her boxes.

Thyda: "I need you to go over there and finish boxing up those cards for me."

Mike: "Well, Lynn (the owner) told me to only come up here long enough for you to come back, and then I would be doing something else."

Thyda: "Well I'm up here now."

When she said that, she had a nasty tone in her voice, like she was annoyed that I didn't just go and do her work for her, which is exactly what she wanted me to do.

So I was about to reach for my bag and head on back to the pharmacy, since she was going to be at the front counter, when she pointed at my food (still in the bag) on the edge of the counter.

Thyda: "I don't want that there."

I was taken off guard, by both the sentence and her demeanor.

Mike: "Don't want what where?"

Thyda: "Your food. I don't want food near the electronics."

Now, this is where I want to point something out.

Thyda is not my boss. She doesn't even get paid. She's the daughter-in-law of the owner, and comes in a few days a week to help out.

Also I want to point out, she wanted me to move my food down to the other end of the counter, next to the register, which is also an electronic machine. Now, in case you're wondering well maybe she doesn't want you to eat up front at all allow me to say that EVERY day that girl eats up front. She just does it down by the register.

Anyway, I digress.

I grab my bag and move down the counter, to the register, completely forgetting at this point that I was actually supposed to leave the front anyway to go shred. I was very taken aback by the whole encounter.

It's important to note that everything I said to here from this point on was beyond civil. I was annoyed at this point, but still in a very good mood and merely wanted to express my opinion on the matter. She, on the other hand, was getting very nasty with how she spoke to me.

Mike: "Well, that's fine, Thyda, but if I move it down there then it will be in the way."

Thyda: "I don't care. When I am here, you do not eat by the electronics."

Mike: "That's fine, Thyda, but you are not my boss and I don't appreciate the way you're speaking to me."

Thyda: "Do you want me to go tell Lynn to tell you not to eat by the electronics?"

Mike: "I know if you go back there and say something to her that she will tell me that."

At this point she storms off, completely ignoring what I had just said. As she was walking away I said "There is no reason for this, Thyda, we were just talking."

She goes to the pharmacy and I hear her talking to Lynn. Sure enough, five seconds later I hear the owner chime in.

Lynn: "Don't eat near the electronics."

Two things. One, it's really stupid that they keep referring to the computer as electronics. Two, this is the point where I started to become angry. First of all, I told that bitch Thyda that there was no reason to involve her mother-in-law. Second of all, for her to tell me she doesn't want people to eat near a computer is a flat out lie.

Vaughn, her brother, who also works there, eats standing over a computer EVERY SINGLE DAY. And more often than not what he eats is something with liquid in it, like cereal, or some sort of asian soup dish. What I had to eat was a fish sandwhich. Which do you think is going to hurt a computer. Also, Patty, the witch who works in the back office, takes a plate of food back to her desk every day and eats in front of her computer.

See, there's a kitchen in the back of the store. They make food every day. And every day, Vaughn, Patty, Thyda and Lynn eat near or over a computer or, in Thyda's case, a register.

So once again, I feel like I am being singled out.

But it gets worse.

Mike: "But I see people eating over computers every day."

Instead of having a discussion with me about it, she slams the door.

Lynn: "I've said all I want to say about it and I don't want to hear anymore."

At this point, I am livid. She has trounced on my feelings and made me look like a fool.

I grab my bag of food and milkshake and throw them rather violently into the trash can. The milkshake went every where.

Shaking, I grab paper towels and try to mop it up. As soon as I am done, I am seething and I go quickly to the back. There are no customers in the store, so I speak rather frankly. I will admit that I am on the verge of losing it.

Mike: "I want you to know that I threw my food away and I won't eat here ever again.

Lynn: "Mike you are getting upset over nothing."

If she really meant that, she would have stopped what she was doing for two seconds and actually spoke to me. But in truth, she just kept counting pills, trying to ignore the situation. I wouldn't let it go, though.

Mike: "No, I should be upset. Vaughn stands at this computer EVERY SINGLE DAY eating food. Patty does the same thing in the office. And I'm not supposed to eat here? Why am I different?"

Again, if she really wanted to resolve the issue, she would have stopped what she was doing and spoken to me like an adult. I was obviously very upset at this point. I was spiraling out of control. But I believe had she treated me like a human, and not a piece of shit, that it could have been avoided.

At this point she ignored me. I stood there for a minute or two, trying to hold myself together. When I realized that wasn't going to happen, I rushed out of the pharmacy and went to the bathroom.

Once there, I became a mess. I was crying, but I was also a ball of rage. And when I say rage, I mean I could have literally hurt, or even killed someone. I punched the concrete wall several times. I started to break the mirror and cut myself, but I was able to hold on enough to keep myself to doing that. I certainly didn't want to stumble out of the bathroom bleeding.

I was in the bathroom for an hour. I didn't pay any attention to it at the time, but in hindsight I find it interesting that no one came to check on me. Everyone there knows I am bi-polar. The owner hired me with that knowledge. They also know that I have been hospitalized several times because of that. And yet no one cared to come and make sure I hadn't slit my wrists open on the bathroom floor.

As I said, an hour later I emerged. At this point, I was still very upset, but I had settled down enough to manage to function. I went up to Lynn and asked her what she wanted me to do.

Lynn: "Did you over heat?"

This stupid fucking cunt is so oblivious to the world around her that she thought I had just went to the back to shred newspaper.

Mike: "I was in the bathroom trying to calm down."

Lynn: "Well, you can go shred then."

I go to the office and I sit down to shred. I start feeding the newspaper into the machine.

Normally I would listen to music or a podcast while doing this. I couldn't. My mind was racing. My hands were shaking. With every newspaper I fed into the shredder I just grew more and more upset.

After twenty minutes, I realized I had to get out of there or something really terrible was going to happen.

I went back out and went to the bathroom once again. I spent another fifteen minutes trying to calm down enough so that I could speak to the owner without blowing up and quitting or doing something even worse.

I went up to her and tried to speak to her. She kept deflecting, either walking off to get something from a shelf, or talking to a customer on the other side of the counter. I eventually snagged her attention.

Mike: "I think I should go home before I do something regrettable."

Instead of showing some bit of concern, she had this to say.

Lynn: "Regrettable to who?"

Mike: "Me, I guess."

She huffed and told me fine. It's not like I was inconvenience her. She had plenty people there that day. Of course, she would have to find someone else to shove up front.

I went back to get my bag and I literally stood there for another ten or so minutes. I didn't want to say or do something on the way out, and I was afraid that I would. I was still somewhat in control of myself.

I made my way out and got in the car. I couldn't start it. I just sat there, crying, upset for several minutes. I got a call on my phone. It was my mom. My cousin, who also works at the pharmacy, had called her and told her I was just sitting in the car upset. I told her what happened. After word, I went home.

When I got home, I sat down at the computer and tried to escape from the world. For the most part, I was able to do that. I centered on playing a video game and was able, for a time, to go from being filled with rage to feeling really good once again.

Then my girlfriend came home. She was concerned, having seen some messages I sent her when I was very upset. She tried to talk to me about it. Unfortunately, I was not in the mindset to speak about it. At this point I was full-blown manic.

She was being very careful with her questions, knowing I wasn't well. But I would have none of it. I lost control, throwing a chair and collapsing to the ground. From that point forward, I have very little memory of what happened.

According to my girlfriend, I climbed in bed and starting talking about wild conspiracies involving her and "them" trying to keep me down, trying to ruin my life, etc. I was delusional and obviously a danger to myself. I will point out though, no matter how far off the deep end I have gone, I have NEVER attempted to hurt Tiffany. No matter how angry I get, it is always directed inward.

Several hours past. At some point she called my mother, who came over and tried to talk to me. I started to calm down eventually, sometime around midnight (some eight hours after I had come home from work). I then walked my mother outside and she left.

I came back in and Tiffany told me I could stay on the computer if I wanted. Normally she won't let me do this, since it is in the bed room and it disturbs her sleep. But I guess she realized that I needed something to do or something bad might happen.

The next day I already had a doctor's appointment planned with my primary doctor for an unrelated matter and was supposed to be off work anyway. Because of this, I didn't bother calling my psychiatrist yet.

I went to the appointment. He could tell right away that I was not well. We discussed the initial reason for my visit, then he probed about my current mindset. I got upset again, crying in the office as I recounted what had happened.

He was very concerned, asking me if I had been seeing things or hearing things, etc etc. Standard questions. I hadn't gone that far. The last time I hallucinated was a long while ago, back when I wasn't on any mood stabilizers. Since then I hadn't gone completely out there with my mania.

But my delusions still worried him, as well as my inability to control my temper.

He wrote me off work, afraid that going would end up driving me to harm myself, someone else, or just walk out and quit. He told me to come back in a week for reevaluation and to call my psychiatrist.

I had them fax the note, and had my mother deliver the original the next day.

A week past. I forgot to call my pdoc. I just tried to focus on not being stressed. I was fine being manic so long as I wasn't pushed into being angry.

That weekend we had already planned on having a night out with a bunch of friends. I probably should have just stayed home, but the event had been planned for months.

During the night, someone asked me about what happened at work. I told them the story. Just talking about it got me very worked up, but I choked it down. In my head though, I was starting to sink into my anger.

We left the house and went to a strip club. Probably the last place I needed to go. I had money to spend and there were naked women every where.

My girlfriend was there, and when we were set to leave I had disappeared for a bit. I had went to a table that she could not see and sat down there for a round. She didn't think I was going to be gone that long.

When I got back she was mad at me for taking so long. The switch flipped, and I went from being in a really good mood to being just fucking horribly pissed off. As we left to walk to the car I started yelling at her, in front of our friends. Thinking about it now makes me feel terrible.

Anyway, as the following week approached, I wasn't really better. I was still very distant and cold, according to my girlfriend. I went in to my followup appointment with my primary doctor. He could tell that I was still not feeling well and asked me why I hadn't called my pdoc.

Based on my unstable mood, he wrote me off another week of work. He also increased my lamictal to 200mg and insisted I call my pdoc. I did so when I got home. They wanted me to come in on Wed, but I told them I couldn't pay for the visit till Thursday (my insurance doesn't cover it).

Two days later, went to the pdoc. Once again told the whole story. It took up well over my allotted fifteen minutes. I think for the first time Dr. Saeed realized just how large a problem my mood swings are for me. He took out his pad and started to write me 200mg lamictal, but I told him my primary doctor had already written it. He also renewed my xanax, and also gave me 100mg trazadone to help me sleep, as I was only getting 2-3 hours a night at this point. He wanted to have me come back in a week, but I told him there was no way I could afford another visit that soon and we agreed for me to come back on the 4th of May.

Well, here we are, five days later. I feel better mood wise, more back to my old self. The only problem is that my anxiety is through the roof. My bloodpressure is probably ridiculous at this point. I have my appointment with my primary care doctor tomorrow, and I know I will be cleared to return to work, which means I will have to call tomorrow and speak to the owner. This will be the first contact I will have with her since the incident.

I have two worries here. One, she just tells me not to come in, that I no longer have a job. If she does this, I know I have grounds for a lawsuit, though I don't know if the ACLU would help me. Plus, that wouldn't help me short term in regards to money to pay for my insurance and pdoc appointments, as well as expenses with our new apartment.

My second worry is that she does agree for me to come back, but I know that none of the issues I had before the incident will be resolved, and worse, may actually be inflated. I am worried that she will use this incident to further discriminate me when compared to the other employees, maybe even hoping to push me to the point that I will quit.

My chest is hurting me. I feel like I am being shocked underneath my sternum and my skin feels hot. I am deathly afraid of what is going to happen in the next few days. Every instinct in my body wants to just run away from everything.

This is my life. I am going to end up alone, on the street with no one who gives a shit about me and unable to take care of myself. If not for my mother and my girlfriend, I would have nothing. I wouldn't have a home. I wouldn't have food. I wouldn't have anything. I am a useless piece of society who will never rise above being a broken human being.

I'm not depressed. I am merely facing reality. It does make me sad to acknowledge these things, but I know full well that this is the truth. At least I can accept it.

Sorry for the wordiness. Here endeth the post.

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