Day 188: I’m winning at being alive

Hello! I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. Mine was a little awkward as I had Thanksgiving with my ex-in-laws. We still get along, but I realize that I need to develop my own traditions outside of my ex-husband’s family. I found a new friend who I *could* have had Thanksgiving dinner with, but opted not to. Let me tell you about this new friend…

My new friend

She’s new to the area, having moved about 6 hours away, here to the coast of North Carolina. She said her ex-husband took everything and her adult kids were mostly on his side and she moved here to start over. She has no friends here — knows no one — and has been living in air b&bs til she was able to buy a house near the beach.

The reason I invited her out for coffee was because at the new book club I’m a part of she brought up that she was raised as a pastor’s kid but now doesn’t believe in God. Actually, she said she’s “angry at God”, which I’m not sure is the same thing as unbelief, but those were her words. So today we had coffee together and she is just a river of pain. I found it a little difficult to be around her because she was in no way warm and friendly and seemed defensive and standoffish, but she asked if we could be friends and I said yes.

She’s older than me by probably 15-20 years and does not work for a living. I did not ask her how she could afford to buy a home and curl up on the couch all day (she admitted she spends a lot of time on her couch and when not she’s walking at the beach) but she got to talking about volunteering for social justice causes and got animated. As I’ve been isolated for most of the time I’ve lived here, I didn’t have any recommendations other than the Humanist group and she asked about a therapist and told her about my therapy place.

So, I don’t know about this woman, just because it was a bit of a downer to be around her. I appreciated her candidness and felt is a very brave woman to start over in a place you know no one. She’s also visually impaired and cannot drive and has an autoimmune disorder so that makes things a lot more difficult for her. I offered to drive her where she needed to go but was relived when she said she’d take an Uber because my car was messy.

Despite being a little put off by her general attitude I did think that she was quite interesting and that she just needed some good things to start happening in her life and a new purpose to get back on her feet. So I hope that for her and hope that this is not a friendship that will drag me down.

Working on Thanksgiving

Speaking of dragging me down…work. I was the only tech to work on Thursday and Friday and the morning work is so detailed and I have to do it so quickly that I felt so uncomfortable and know that I messed it up. Then after the morning work I was on-call and literally helped therapists back-to-back-to-back with 10 patients each day. Normally it’s about 4 a day. I did not have time to check on the equipment or other administrative tasks.

When I’m helping the therapists a lot is demanded of me physically. I am physically helping a patient sit up, stand, or walk that can barely (or not at all) support themselves and it is hard not to strain my back. I was very sore after the two days and so I (at the suggestion of a friend — thanks Ubi) made an appointment for float spa. To read about my float spa experiences go here:

Float spa

This was my 10th (11th? 12th?) float experience. You get a tank with epsom salt water that is a foot (2 feet?) deep and float in the dark. During this float I became keenly aware of all my physical pain. There was nothing “spiritual” or “revelatory” about it. It was purely about the pain. By the end my pain was almost gone and I felt like I had shed 20 lbs (or more). It was better than taking over-the-counter pain relief. I still got 4 floats saved up so next time I’m stressed and in pain I’ll call them up and see if they have an opening.

Afterwards I drove to the ice cream shop and got myself a toffee ice cream. They were out of coffee (my favorite) and the toffee (which is normally delicious) was a little disappointing so I consumed a lot of calories for no good reason. Oh well, it be like that sometimes.

Back to work…

As I said in my last post, I told my boss I was unhappy and asked for a transfer. The only thing I heard since that time was my supervisor telling me to fill out the transfer form for why I want to transfer and what jobs I’m interested in and then I was to send it to the HR Business Partner and they sent it to my manager and director, so I’m not sure where it is in the process as I’ve done my part.

My supervisor was a bit standoffish with me, which I suppose is to be expected, and one of the coordinators (essentially my working boss though not technically my supervisor) was really drilling me the other day, saying I knew what I was getting into with acute care as I was in OTA school, and I said I didn’t because I hadn’t done clinicals yet and wasn’t aware what was involved, though she did seem to understand that the job is not for everyone.

So, yeah — I hate my job just as much and now it’s awkward while I wait to see what happens. It’s been 6 days since I had the conversation and that seems like forever to be in transition, though it could possibly take months. Tuesday is my 90 day probationary review.

I told my mom that I had the conversation with my boss and she thinks they might just let me go at my 90 days. While this is possible I do not think it is likely. She asked what my plan B was and I said I’d go on COBRA (I checked to make sure that was an option) until I found another job with health insurance. Of course, that would totally wipe out my savings if it takes as long as it did last time.

What I’d do is contact my old boss and tell her it didn’t work out and ask if they’ll take me back. They don’t offer health insurance but it would keep me busy and help my income a little while I’m looking for other work. They are likely to say no, but that’s what I plan on doing because I think that’s actually be better for my mental health than sitting around all day.

That is, if they fire me. And to be honest, I’d rather take the loss of $ I have to COBRA than to have to remain at this job for another 9 months. I’m in a weird situation because my job is not toxic like some other jobs have been, I just hate it.

I take it back, my float was a bit revelatory…

I decided to focus on my shame, because I feel a ton of shame while at this job. I’ve felt it from the beginning and I feel it even more now that I’ve admitted to my boss and my two coworkers that I don’t want to do it anymore. I feel like I’m doing something wrong to not want to stay in a job I hate. Here’s why I feel shame.

I’m 41 and I have a Bachelor’s degree, but I barely making over minimum wage and the longest I’ve been able to keep a job is for a couple years, with a few jobs significantly less than that. The biggest reason I left was because my mental health. I have bipolar disorder, so that is a huge factor, but some of the jobs were toxic and have made even mentally healthy people lose their shit.

I’ve only made a “living wage” twice and I couldn’t keep those jobs because I had depressive episodes. The job I currently have now only requires a high school diploma and does not require must cognitive skills, decision making, analysis, etc. It’s almost entirely physical, and I hate it.

I feel really uncomfortable are three of my coworkers are barely out of high school and most of the therapists are significantly less than me and making 2x my income. I don’t tell anyone I have a degree because I’m ashamed that I can’t get a higher-skilled job. I get interviews but am not getting offers.

So in my float I sat with the shame and said, “It’s okay to want better…” even though I feel completely inadequate. My inadequacy of being able to create a life that makes me happy weighs on me.

Feeling down

Ever since I started this job I’ve been down, but especially in the last 2-3 weeks. I don’t have any goals, I sleep away my weekends, and I find most things hard to do. I know it’s almost entirely job related. I need something to change soon. I need to either get into a new job (which will be extremely stressful but at least there is the opportunity of something better) or get fired (though I think that would probably further wreck my mental health and contribute to my feelings of shame and inadequacy after the first week of relief from not working).

In my floats, there is always a phrase, a mantra, that comes to me and I repeat over and over again. In the past it has been:

good girl/bad girl/good girl/bad girl/just girl: girl, girl, girl

me/not me/me/not me

I’m alive; I’m alive; I’m alive

This time it was: I’m not dead. I’m not dead. I’m not dead. This is the basic of “wins” that one can have and so my mind went there. Somehow, despite feeling inadequate, I have managed to keep myself alive. “I’m alive” felt like too much this time, because that seems to imply joy and energy. “I’m not dead,” means, “Hey, I’m a survivor. I’m winning at being alive.”

One thought on “Day 188: I’m winning at being alive

  1. I can relate on a few levels here. Am inspired to try the float spa now. As a bonafide “senior” who is also retired and spends a considerable amount of time sitting at home, I have a sudden soft spot for your new friend and hope the two of you will bring out the best in each other. That said, I also spend a lot of that time writing, which is (as an even older friend reminded me today) “fills the hours in the best way possible.” (Yes!) As for your job, I do hope you will not be penalized for seeking something more fulfilling. Given your education, it makes perfect sense you’d not be satisfied with underemployment.

    Liked by 1 person

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About Quixie

Hi! I go by "Quixie." Quixie is a shortened version of "quixotic," which means: "exceedingly idealistic; unrealistic and impractical." It's how I described my evangelical Christian faith when I started blogging 7 years ago. Now I'm an agnostic atheist who is trying to find a balance between idealism and reality. I write about my mental health journey with bipolar disorder, my loss of faith (deconversion), parenting teens, reading, exercise/health, work-life, and my marriage separation/divorce.