Posts Tagged ‘life’

More change

Regular readers of this blog will notice I’ve had several changes of field in my career. Sometimes it’s boredom, sometimes it’s stress, sometimes it’s lack of support, sometimes it’s fear of commitment that drives me from one job to another. The time has come again. Can’t put my finger on the why – it seems to be all of the above, and yet …

I love this organisation. I genuinely love the people I work with and the work that we do. I am passionate in this field and love what I do. I’m also not scared of change, and love new challenges.  This role is very limiting and limited – as a manager of sorts to one measly program, supervising a (very) small team, and conducting business on a fee-for-service framework (which is dictated by the funding body) resulting in fewer clients and needing to ‘hunt’ for them, I feel I am not utilising my strengths or learning anything new. I’ve essentially become quite bored with the job. The only thing I seem to be doing is micromanaging people, and I feel little scope to do other work.

So after some consultations in external supervision and with my psychologist, I have come to an uneasy decision of starting to look outside for further stimulation. I want to get back to casework, client work, case management or anything hands-on really. I thought that management will be busy and intense and fun and a bit of a break from ‘managing’ clients – but in actual fact, it’s not that fun at all. In essence, you’re still dealing with clients. All of them. AND the case managers who work with them. It’s tripled workload, and none of it entirely fulfilling. My time supervising my staff whets the appetite. I hear about the difficulties the clients are facing and in my head runs a thousand different scenarios, techniques, strategies – how would I have worked with this client?

Damn I miss it so much!

In other news – and something I have yet to explore via this blog – I am committing to take a year off to travel next year (from about Aug/Sept/Oct – nothing in concrete yet, other than the plan). This somewhat puts a spanner in the works in terms of locating more work. If I leave now, I could probably get a 12 mth contract. If I leave in Jan, the likelihood to get a 9 mth or equiv position will be harder. The idea of temping or locum work is not ideal, but could be my only option. Ideally I’d like to stay where I am and just do casework but there’s no funding in it, and if I stay in this program, even if I take a demotion or return to substantive position, I’ll still basically be doing all the same work as there will be no one else to do it.

I thought about going back to mental health. As a clinical case manager. Again, it’ll require a certain amount of commitment, commitment I can’t guarantee to give. It’s still a year off but so much can happen in that time, at the same time how much should I hold off on my dreams for the sake of a good job… Tough life questions.

This often happens. Crossroads seem to occur more often than not in my life. In the past 7 years since I began this profession – new relationship, new job, move house, stress, unemployment, new job, anxiety, new job, break-up, move house, new job, court, promotion 1, promotion 2, new relationship,  move house, break-up, move house again.. new relationship.. and now the question mark around new job.  It’s all life, I suppose, this is completely normal to have change happening all the time. The difference now is, I don’t have a black or white answer. There are more options than not, and making a decision now when shit hasn’t hit the fan is in fact, the scariest decision of all.

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Withdrawing from Cymbalta… fun it is NOT

I write to you this afternoon on the other side of a horrific night battling with some serious demons. At first it manifested itself as being completely annoyed beyond belief at my partner, then as though there were bugs crawling under my skin that had to get out. I felt like screaming. I felt like running a marathon, I felt like taking a whole bunch of pills and saying sianara to the world.

Then when I came home, I felt even worse. Restless as all get out. Legs twitching, body tensing up, and a strange buzz in my head that feels similar to when you come home from a gig and your ears are ringing. My poor partner, we’ve had our rough patches lately and I don’t want to have to inflict this shit on him again. I had to take my emergency Valium (my final one) to actually fall asleep. I got up at 6am and was restless again til about 9am, when I drifted back into sleep only to wake 3 and a half hours later.

Where did the weekend go.

Withdrawing off any medication is pretty damn hard. It’s quite funny and ironic because I’m forever telling my clients that it’s ‘not a good idea’ to take yourself off your psych meds, but when you’re in the same boat, it’s a completely different story isn’t it. I don’t want to be taking this shit all my life. I can see how people could get trapped into doing so. The fact is, I’ve been told by a few professionals that I don’t really need to be on psych meds. Most of my problems are situational, and it came through a lack of ability handling them that suddenly I was crippled with anxiety and unable to function. I am dealing better than ever with problems I encounter in life, but I don’t attribute that to a blue and white pill I take every night.

I’m on the lowest possible dose of Cymbalta available in Australia, 30mg. I was told by my doc initially that this was a ‘starter’ dose and that the therepuetic amount was 60mg for it to work effectively on my anxiety. I was thrust up to 60mg after a month on the 30 and probably went back down after about a month. I turned into a complete zombie, uninterested in anything. Devoid of emotion, or fun. I was a ghost of my former self. Clearly the dose was too high, and I dropped down to 30 after telling my doc that I just couldn’t handle being someone that only exists outside of herself.

Since then, I’ve been maintained on 30mg and things have been going alright. About a month ago, I made the decision that it had been about 10 months since I started, and I wanted to be a touch more ‘normal’ again.

I have sought medical advice for withdrawing off Cymbalta, so it hasn’t been a completely autonomous experience. The doctor I booked wasn’t my regular (she’s on maternity leave, bloody breeder), in fact my previous experience with her was in short, fucking awful. She has the most atrocious bedside manner, and never once asks the important questions one asks (the first time I saw her, I was pretty much in the midst of a panic attack, but because it was New Years’ Eve, she sent me off on my merry way with two dozen forms for blood tests and scans, not even having asked me how I was feeling). So despite that, I went in with an open mind, and got a rude shock when she gave me information about Cymbalta that my previous doc neglected to tell me. The withdrawal from SNRI‘s is particularly bad because unlike the regular SSRI’s, it works on two different neuro-transmitters: seretonin and norepinephrine. She provided a brief overview of withdrawal effects: dysphoric mood, irritability, agitation, dizziness, electric shock sensations, anxiety, confusion, headache, lethargy, emotional lability, insomia, hypomania, tinnitus, seizures… Thanks doc. I am sufficiently freaked out, and worried I am fucked.

After a discussion about how we would go about addressing negative side effects (prescribing Prozac), she advised I do the two days on, one day off approach for a while before then doing every second day, then spacing it out even further.

Well, since I started doing this, I’ve had two major breakdowns, both facilitated by alcohol and one by another substance. Last night was particularly bad and it is making me worried – the change is so small that I shouldn’t be feeling so out of step. But alas. Maybe I need to go back to doc and tell her that me and Cymbalta are having a difficult break-up. It’s like a manipulative and overbearing boyfriend who keeps reminding you that as much as it is better for you to leave, he will make it damn near impossible to.

I had a list – Part Deux

Ok so maybe the last post was a little off-topic. And a little uncharacteristic. I don’t much like going through the insanely tedious minutae of my life – especially when it concerns ‘stuff’ that ‘happened’ that was ‘throroughly unreadworthly’ (please excuse my own interpretations of words).

The point I wanted to get at – one of the many – was that my life pretty much revolves around lists, and I’m not sure why. I love doing them. I love crossing things off. It happens rarely, and sometimes I think I just like the torture of compiling a list, seeing face-to-face how ridiculously unorganised I am, getting depressed, and going back to the chaos of my existence.

In work, lists are endlessly useful. Again, there’s still that sense of masochism putting one together, but it does show others exactly how busy I am, and to please stop pestering me with bullshit things that can honestly wait. In a one-month period, I was able to whittle down a list 4 pages long, into 1 page (double-sided). Naturally, the least-pressing but still important, and mind-numbingly boring/irritating/involved get left last. For me at work, that’s putting together case plans. Embarrassingly. I have it in my head. And on a majority of occasions, care plans have already been written and I only need to edit them. BUT I DON’T EVEN DO THAT!!

I can’t seem to discipline myself to do them all and have them done and not have to worry about them. But as with the life of every social worker, some other ‘can’t wait’ task presents itself, and you need to run out the door, still compiling how best to put “Mrs Smith is a crazy toothless bearded cat lady and needs to be locked up” in the most positive, life-affirming, strengths-perspective way.

Outside of work, lists really don’t serve much of a purpose other than to get out the shit that’s in my head at this exact moment. About 10 years ago, I wrote a hell of a lot of poetry, short stories, musings, thoughts and commentary on life in my little notebooks. Now, it’s nothing but lists. Usually written on a monthly basis, mostly around my period when I start to realise how much I hate myself and my disorganisation, then the book closes and may as well never have existed. The progression is quite sad. Functional? Hardly. Sad? Definitely. What happened to spontaneous me? When I didn’t care what I had to do in the coming week? When all I needed to do was write a couple essays and make sure I was home for dinner? Oh that’s right. Age.

Sigh. I won’t bore anyone with the tedious ramblings of regrets and time lost. It’s been done before to a nauseating level by all manner of hack writers and bloggers (mostly of middle-age, with 248 kids and a mortgage, none of which describes me). Not to say that I’m gonna put an interesting spin on things, I’m really not. But it is dull, and monotonous, and not the point.

Yeah, what the fuck is the point, you ask. I suppose I’ve realised within the writing of this blog entry that my unhealthy obsession with writing lists doesn’t actually serve much of a purpose outside of work. Let’s face it, the stuff that needs to get done, gets done, regardless of whether a list exists or not. Paying rent. Paying car registration. Cleaning out my jewelry box (see previous post). Writing a fucking blog entry. Joining a gym. Yep. Sooner or later, it does happen. But for now, why don’t I just sit tight and enjoy whatever kind of ride this is we’re on.

Getting lost in the whirlpool of life is sometimes a good thing. Being busy, but having the foresight and curiosity to stop and smell the roses occasionally (or to flash a stranger, to eat something you’d never think of eating, to try something completely new, to be spontaneous) makes life freer, and more sense to rip up lists and just live in the now.

WordPress fail: YOU DIDN’T SAVE THE DRAFT!!

I’ve had a few drinks. I don’t want to start the whole conversation again about how I should give up alcohol, or that I think I’m such a better person when I’m drunk, because common sense dictates that not to be the case. The gist of the draft I had started earlier this evening was in prose-style. About how bad my writers block is. About how unmotivated I am. How even the inspiration I seek from the internets actually made my brain hurt. I couldn’t even think of the smallest most insignificant most teensy weensy detail to respond with. EVEN OUT OF MY OWN LIFE EXPERIENCE!!

For e.g.

What scene from a movie, book, or play would you most want to recreate in real life? Who would you play? Who would you cast in the other roles?

Answer: WTF? I don’t know! Demi Moore in GI Joe? Jack Black in School of Rock? Fuck!

Would you rent or buy the home of your dreams if a brutal murder had taken place there? What if you got to live there rent-free? Would you think twice if neighbors warned you that it was haunted?

Answer: Um..! Christ! A brutal murder? Well, my imagination is fucked. Paranormal Activity, the Amityville Horror and the experiences at my last house pretty much dictate it won’t happen. Oh and by the way? It wouldn’t be the house of my dreams if there was some fucked history like murders and shit there. (Specifically, if I knew about it)

Yeah. So maybe alcohol has enabled me to think a little more than I could earlier in the evening.

Back around 5.30pm, the one and only question that immediately got the hairs standing on the back of my neck, and the frustration and anger rising in my throat… was this one:

If you could say anything you want to the person who has hurt you most in life, what would it be?

Answer: I awake now with a new breath, a new day. There is light, there is sound, there is noise but noise that is happy and vocal and bright and sonic, not full of empty, of tightness, and grief and weight.

The change happened, but not without time, without a lot of space and time and distance, and many many cliche’s that make no sense to you.

You made an ultimatum, a promise, blackmail, heartbreak, that if I ever changed my mind, if I decided against you, that you would no longer physically exist. At 18, it’s such an easy thing to say, such a throwaway phrase when you’re in love, and yet the ultimate display of your love. That’s what it would appear. It felt so true, felt so right, felt like this is what people say, this is what they promise when they promise their love.

And in paranoia at Jenny’s party, speaking a word to Steve, saying I had doubts, I had doubts at 9 months in, the pregnancy of our relationship broke its water and gave birth to the fattest, most diseased, angry baby. That baby was the elephant in the room. That elephant demanded to go on safari.

You walked right on in on that one, I stumbled and cried, scared of what may have been revealed, and then out it tumbled. 9 months in, those words were first uttered. What followed was a full pint of Carlton Draught dropped from a height, onto the verandah of The Ship Inn. You ran. I followed, I grovelled, I took back words and turned back time, however just like Cher, I would never be forgiven. Or believed.

The words I love you were spoken and dismissed.

The cars drove by, you were walking blindly into them.

The manipulation.

You were everywhere, you were nowhere, you spoke only love and I saw only obsession.

And when we did break up eventually, it was understood that that was the end. We agreed. WE AGREED! There were conditions and there were rules. Those conditions were,
we were no longer to sleep together
we were no longer to spend every waking moment with one another
we were no longer to rely on each other so constantly and incessantly.

The cracks formed. Of course that wasn’t going to last. You couldn’t handle it. You had to control the situation. You needed to be with me. That hug lasted a lot longer than what I was comfortable with. You sewed your skin into mine while I was trying to delicately unpick with my teeth… So you wouldn’t notice… So you would notice…

The drugs were part of the issue. Pot was with us always. It explains why I can’t remember most of our relationship now, sadly, it’s the fun times I can’t remember, and only the bad times I can. Then I stupidly decided we needed to try something heavier. I guess I can partly be blamed for all the mess that ensued. So we took some Es and that was fine.

And after the breakup, there was the ice.

The psychotic, pathetic, tragic, monstrous, insidious, suicidal crystal meth.

That night, you stole the last moment. You lay there pretending to sleep; we lay there both on opposite sides of the room, trying to sleep, pretending to sleep, for hours on end, biting our teeth, sucking our tongues back, chewing our cheeks with the fan whirling around us and increasing the anxious tension in the room.

And then after that?

After that?

That?

That was the end of the end. You killed that person. You threw yourself out of the car and you killed me. And when your dad and brother knocked on my door hours afterwards, crying, bloodstained hands, bloodstained poetry… I knew I couldn’t go back.

You didn’t realise, and you never will. How much that entire experience destroyed me. That threat that you made, out of love, out of selfish love, you actually attempted to follow through. Once, twice, three times, four times… And 6 years on? Am I still the one to blame for it?

Selfish was the key word, selfish was the word that was bandied around like the new black, like the new skinny, like a primetime cooking show for words. I learnt dutifuly to say sorry in five different languages, to move aside and make all efforts. But nothing I could ever do would be enough. I was always the selfish one. Because I wanted to be me. I wanted to be independent. I wanted to write, and be private sometimes, to be alone and have a simple life. I wanted to be free, to be light, to live a life without the constant who what where when why and how of everything that ever happened without you there, just in case you may have missed somehting important, just in case you missed me looking at someone else, which you know was suggestively, you know i’m flirting with them, you know I’m trying to escape and run away and live another life with someone else other than you, you insecure little fuck. When I say I love you and I never wanted to be with anyone else other than you, and that I never even so much as hazarded a glance at anyone, ANYone, why couldn’t you just believe me? If you believed me? That long scar along your arm wouldn’t exist.

Thankfully though, I died old and dead, empty from you, eyes closed, blood drained, with a flicker of a smile in my eyes, that flicker which decided to exist in that new person I now call me. If there is one thing I can hate you for,  I fucking hate you for killing me. But I fucking love that I died.

 

 

Now that the well has opened, I could write so much more.

Ladies and gentlement, it goes to show that even time cannot heal all wounds, unless you unbandange them, and give them the actual TLC they deserve. I was so hurt. I was killed. I have no regrets. I have no wishes. I don’t want him back, although I did try. But if I never address these thoughts, they will still keep haunting me. And killing me, without ever getting to the me I want to be.