Funemployment

11 09 2009

About a month ago I went off the deep end. Perhaps the turn of phrase is a bit extreme as I was not admitted to any hospitals (I say I was not admitted… not that I did not visit – thank you Emergency Room Ativan for at least calming me down), I was not threatened with being carted away in a lovely white jacket (are those in this year? I do have a puffy white one! With detachable hood! Crazy may be crazy but at least I can look fantastic while I do it) and there were no interventions. At least no formal ones. 

 

I digress. A month, or is it two months, ago, I lost control of myself. I didn’t turn to drugs or alcohol – in fact I vehemently avoid use of recreational drugs and/or alcohol when I feel myself spiraling downward. In fact, my refusal of whacky tobaccy and beer is usually a great sign something isn’t right. Well, maybe not beer. There are times where I am just not feeling it. I am not a big drinker. I have learned that drinking and other usage tends to up my anxiety levels. 

 

So where did it all start. Who knows. But I do know anxiety and depression took a hold on my fragile temple and I needed help. This came in the form of a 5 a.m. (2 a.m. for you east coasters) phone call to my parents. I had been calling them multiple times a day to express my woes, my anxieties and a covered cry for help for weeks at this point. A few days prior I was taken to the emergency room at the urging of my then therapist to be prescribed a quick-fix for my ever increasing anxiety. I was no longer getting out of bed without a bucket of tears and gentle prodding by Unny and an email with an inspirational thought from my father. I could also not start my day without being physically ill. By the time I placed the early morning phone call I was at the end of my rope and cried out for real help. I mean literally.  I was no longer leaving my bed, I was not sleeping. The only solitude I found was in the form of tears. In short, I was exhausted and lost.

 

“Dad, I don’t know what to do. If something doesn’t change, well, I’m at the end. I can’t go on like this anymore. I want to be happy but I’m not, I need real help and I don’t know how else to say it but I don’t want to do anything dumb and I’m not seeing many other options.” 8 hours later my parents arrived in Los Angeles. I started seeing a new therapist, I was put back on medication – of which I had carelessly had stopped taking under the false assumption that I was just fine and could control my disorder without the aide of medication – and my parents were there. I won’t get into the details of what was going through my mind. As significant as they are for me to work through and grasp, they were superficial thoughts brought on by a severe depression, much more intense than anything I have ever experienced. I called work and used my vacation days for a week to regroup with the help of my parents, boyfriend and new therapist, the wonderful JM. I wish I could say it all got better at this point, that with the support of my family and loved ones I made a fast recovery. Realistically my recovery was fast, but the climb was just beginning and it was steep. 

 

Let me stop here for some author comments. 

1) My father is a survivor of Colon Cancer. He was diagnosed at stage 3B and underwent 6 months of chemo treatment (for those unfamiliar with Chemotherapy you can only be treated for six month periods and then a break before starting another session). My father also suffered a severe depression at the age of 29 – with a wife and two young children and a demanding career. He has said, given the two (chemo treatment – knowing that he would survive the cancer of course – and depression) he would take going through chemotherapy over dealing with depression again. There is perhaps few things less painful than a state of mind where you just cannot see the light at the end. With treatable diseases you know you will survive. You know you must endure the pain of chemical treatment, but you know it will end and you will come out stronger. With depression, it’s almost impossible to recognize this and it is only evident that you will be a stronger person in the end when you are finally reaching the end. It is a dark, dizzying place to be and something you cannot fully comprehend without experiencing first hand. This does not include teen angst or heartbreak. The depression I speak of is a real medical ailment of which medical attention is necessary. 

2) Some may turn their noses up at the idea of publicly recording a downward spiral into a box with no escape. Some may say I am committing a professional suicide. What happens when a prospective employer happens upon my blog and is put off by my experiences. I say I am embracing my experiences. That these experiences have made me a stronger more stable being. Whether by use of medical aide, by the power of the mind (more powerful than you can even believe), determination or all three, I am a better person. This does not mean I do not have my moments. I am human and to be human is to err. This does not mean I have not cried since coming out of it. Tears are a release for me. I hope that anyone reading this can take from my experience. And can see depression as something treatable. And can respect those who have gone through it. That anyone reading this, random reader, regular readers or prospective employer, can take away that I am stronger now than I ever was and have gained essential tools. Would I want to go back through what I have? Never. Will it happen? I don’t know. I can only work on being strong and learning. But would I take back my experience? No. It is molding me into who I am. And part of that is being completely honest with who I am – faults, experiences, the whole lot. 

 

After a week with my loved ones, I was still at a loss. Waking up was hell. When you wake up and anxiety and depression have taken over your life, you are at your weakest. Your defenses are down and you cannot always prevent being hit with a ton of bricks. After discussing my continued decline with the therapist we called my place of employment. The state of California, by law, states employees are guaranteed 30 day medical leave (payment is up to the employer, I was unpaid) without the risk of losing ones job.  I was legally protected. We then went over my personal options. 1) Stay in California and depend on my guy for the extreme moral, emotional, and at times physical support I would require. 2) Go to Florida, stay with my parents and they would take care of me while I went through intensive therapy with my long term therapist in Florida. 3) Move home. 

 

I chose the second option for a few reasons. One being I needed my parents. The second was more long term. Unny had been strong for me for weeks already and I could see it wearing him down. This did not mean he was not willing. In fact he was rooting for option 1. But for the sake of my relationship and knowing what I needed I went home with the intentions of returning to California and starting again. 

 

I had 30 days to recover. We decided I would stay in Florida for no more than 2 weeks. As daunting as that was for me, the idea of leaving my family was unthinkable, but I knew the only way to recover would be to challenge my emotional needs and learn to stand on my own (I had regressed to the emotional state of a toddler and separation anxiety had taken over my life – this is not homesickness, this is the irrational thought that something dire would happen if I was not with my family). For two weeks I went to a therapist, spent time with my family and waited for my new medication to officially kick in. My sister was by my side everyday, regardless of the fact that her board exams were taking place at the same time. I am forever grateful. No one will ever understand me as deeply as she. She is my soul mate and my best friend. 

 

The second wednesday of my “recovery” we bought a plane ticket back to California. I spoke to Unny daily. He was thrilled and proud. Everyone was. As deeply lost as I had become I worked hard and improved significantly in a very short period of time. Three weeks after reaching the end of my rope I was halfway back up and ready to be strong. I would not have been so fortunate without the most supportive family and significant other a person could ask for. (Side note my computer just shut off. THANK YOU auto save). 

 

There were a few deciding factors in my return. One being the need to face my separation anxiety and rejoin the world of emotionally mature adults. The next was knowing my future laid with Alex. Yes, the elusive name! I knew, if I wanted a chance at being independently happy I had to continue after my dreams and work on a future with a man who was all but laying in front of me screaming I love you, lets work on a life together. So with a sleeping pill, a one-way, non-stop ticket and the start of a healthy-tan I went home. (thank you Florida Sun and afternoon walks on the beach to dicuss life, love and all of the above with the worlds most Amazing and Supportive Father  – I use caps because that SHOULD be his official title – Sandy H, CPA name partner and Supportive and Amazing Father Figure – and Mom deserves the same, but inject Bookkeeper, Domestic Manager and Amazing and Supportive Mother)

(to be continued. immediately…)

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One response

11 09 2009
Clo

I MISSED YOU ROWDIZZLE!!!!!

Now I must continue reading part two.

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