It is hot today but I feel so lucky to be at home and relaxing rather than at work, where I have only very rarely not worked on a Sunday since beginning my current position in July 2007. We are only open for four hours each Sunday afternoon but my Sunday shift is often the busiest, most demnanding and most stressful five hours in my schedule. I have also continued working every Sunday longer than anyone else at our branch. There have been three different BA’s (err Senior Branch Assistants) who have been the every Sunday opener and closer these two+ years. I definitely believe that if I am able to transfer to a smaller branch that is not open on Sundays that would do a lot to decrease my overall stress level. (As would somehow coming up with money to replace our oldest currently working puter– a six or seven year old Toshiba lap top with broken hinges. Basically I have the old boy hooked up to an old but still working fine flat screen monitor. It would also help if I had (And had room for) a separate keyboard. After all those years of hard travel, this old keyboard is not as well, reliable as it once was and it is just very different from our newer lappy’s keyboard, making it considerably harder for me to type. The fact that my computer desk is also a storage facility for everything from kitchen utensils to photographs to Ron’s used insulin syringes in empty plastic Diet Pepsi bottles and various other emphemera as well as our large collection of plastic shopping bags (which we hold onto in order to re-use; we do seperate out our recyclables into plastic bins– which are also crowding me in a bit in this corner of our kitchen. We seperate out aluminum cans from everything else because a local recycing company pays us 50 cents per pound and a several month accumulation can be a financial lifesaver if we are dead broke two days before payday.)
I mentioned in an earlierpost that my current mental health crisis has been very hard on my spouse, Ron. In our ealiest years together, I was mostly able to avoid stress and keep myself on an even keel without most of my meds since I did not have health insurance from Jan 2004 when I was laid off from the outsource customer service center (wages half my earthlink salary, very similar work and I kept it cuz like the library it provided great health insurance at no charge) until I got hired on at PCLS in July 2007. At that time Ron’s cyclthymia and other mental health problems had also been untreated for many years and he was a pretty bitter “rage-a-holic”. And part of why I loved him so much is that I could see so much of myself in Ron’s frequent and often incredibly vehement outbursts of extreme anger. Folks, I’ve been there. When I met Joel incidents as minor as someody cutting me off in traffic could set me off on what I can only describe as an insane murderous rage. I consider myself incredily fortunate that I never had a horrible accident or got arrested or killed during those years. I honestly can’t say how Joel saw the person I was beneath all of that mis-directed or perhaps even psychotic rage, let alone just how he taught me to let go of the rage and learn to manage my illnesses by taking my life moment by moment and continually telling myself that while I am completely unable to control what life or the world throws at me I can Always choose how I will recat to it.
I don’t by any means claim that I am always able to put this theory or belief into practice but these are two ideas and strategies that have enabled me to go from being a rage-a-holic most of the time to being calm and “laid back” most of the time. And since I got hired at the library (gaining me again free gold standard health insurance at no cost), my new income increased our household budget to the point where Ron was able to afford to sign up for a Medicare suppemental insurance policy so that now both of us to use Group Health and pay only nominal co-payments and receive comprehensive care for all of our various mental and physical heaolth issues. Since that momentous development (both of us getting mental health treatment from psychiatrists and therapists) we have both made much progress in coping with our various issues. And when I went into crisis the Friday when my boss was so hostile and threatening when I called in sick, Ron as been my rock of gibralter doing everything in his power to see to it that I got the treatment that I needed and went very much into NURSE-mode (Ron is a highly experienced RN) to take care of me as I recovered from what my shrink called ‘the precepice of a nervous breakdown’.
Today Ron cycled from the manic to the depressive phase of his illness (VERY breifly cyclthymia is a kind of rapidly cycling bi-polar disorder and in ron the manic phases to me seem happy, contented and agreeable and the depressive phases, hostile, angry and bitter rather than the more conventional definitions of ‘manic’ or ‘depressed’). It seemed to me this afternoon during the heat of the day we were having “one of our Old fights”. Based on our history together the fact that his mental illness is getting worse at the moment, almost certainly foreshadows mine getting better so that I can handle his symptoms and problems. With all my heart I am terribly sorry that my poor sweetie is suffering today. Even though his cycling fills me with hope that I will soon be getting back to my version of normal.