it has been 2 1/2 years since I last posted here. A lot has changed. The biggest change is that I moved out of my parents’ place and into my own apartment in December 2012. I enjoy being on my own. The second change is that I adopted a cat named Jingles the same month. Jingles was a stray. He is now 3 years old. I really enjoy his company. I started a new blog on this site called jinglesmommy.
i got to the point where I was able to work again. I did a stint of test scoring at Questar Assessment in spring 2013, followed by 6 weeks as a temp at the state of Minnesota. On November 6, 2013, I started a permanent data entry job at the state. The job has been very stressful to the point where i had a flare-up of a pre-existing condition and started a medical leave of absence 2 weeks ago.
I am now 47 years ago and going through a midlife journey, questioning a lot of values and previously held beliefs. Currently I would describe myself as more spiritual than religious and eclectic. I attend a Lutheran church and write for their blog, easterprays.org. But I draw on other sources of spirituality as well. I have been going on retreat at a Benedictine convent near here.
Where am I going from here? I am scheduled to return to work soon and I plan to stay in the Twin Cities. I would like to do more with my writing.
Yesterday my family and I celebrated my 45th birthday a week early, because of family schedules. We went to Don Pablo’s Mexican Restaurant in Bloomington. Then we came home and had ice cream and cake. The food was very good.
It was great to get together and have some fun for a change. Yesterday morning I started applying for Social Security Disability. That is really hard for me, because I don’t know who I am outside of work. It’s been 2 weeks since I quit my job and I’ve felt lost. I’m also having some abnormally heavy bleeding and my doctor is doing an ultrasound in St. Paul on Thursday.
I decided to become a Christian again and I went back to church last Sunday. The pastor is talking about resetting our lives. Last week he talked about purpose and this week he talked about identity. Our identity is based on being children of God, not on jobs or human relationships or money or anything else, he said. I needed to hear that. Next week he will be talking about our place in the Kingdom of God. I have also been receiving prayer from the Prayer Team, friends, and my women’s small group at church and that is comforting to me, because I’ve been having panic attacks.
I am filling my days with reading, praying, going to classes at the workforce center, walking with my mom, and playing Sims. I had an attack of writers’ block but it’s gone now.
Before I get into describing our trip to the Renaissance Festival, I’d like to say that I received a criticism from someone in a LinkedIn writers’ group that I was writing too much about my personal life. Well, when I write in this blog, it is about what I personally want to write about. When I guest blog on other blogs, I write what my editors want. So this blog will continue to be personal, controversial, and honest. As always, your opinions and likes are welcome.
My sister, brother-in-law, their 2 kids, and I went to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival in Shakopee, Minnesota yesterday and my legs are still tired. The festival grounds are so big that we made it only halfway around. It was our first time at the festival in 9 years. My niece had been to the festival before but she was a baby; my nephew had never gone. I bought a pentacle pendant for my Thor’s Hammer necklace from a jewelry kiosk; I was going to have my fortune told but didn’t get around to it. My nephew won a plastic sword in a game.
We toured the Mermaid Cove, the Hobbit Hole, saw numerous entertainers, ate pickles, ice cream, and turkey legs, and saw the Washing Well Wenches perform. Note to self: next time only check out the family-friendly entertainment when the kids are around. It was bawdy but funny.
We had good weather, not too hot and not too cold. We are already planning to go next year.
It was a nice break from the Twin Cities and all my problems here. I left a LinkedIn group after being personally attacked by someone and the other members, including the group owner, did nothing about it. I am still angry about that one but have decided to let it go and concentrate on my own groups. I am still uncertain about when I’ll return to work. But yesterday was a good day.
In the pagan and agricultural years, we are entering the time of harvest. The pagan holiday we celebrate now is Lammas, the first fruit and grain harvest.
In my life I am also at a time of harvest as I leave my 3M job today for an uncertain future. I believe I have done a good job and will be missed by my team. My 3M boss bought me flowers at the Farmer’s Market on campus yesterday, which was very nice of her. Every day for the past 13 1/2 months I have gone in, endeavoring to serve 3M customers well and make the gods, goddesses, and ancestors proud. My co-workers and bosses have said how much I will be missed.
It’s bittersweet. I am looking forward to a calmer life but I will miss the people I’ve worked with for over a year. I will have to adjust to living on savings for a while unless I apply for Social Security disability or get another job.
However, this is a good ending to this job and I’m grateful for it. Apparently I’ve sown a good crop and am reaping a good harvest. Please pray for me as I find out what comes next. Thanks.
I am trying to move forward in my life, despite having another panic attack that sent me to urgent care yet again. I feel ashamed of these panic attacks, embarrassed about them. I shake uncontrollably in my arms and sometimes my legs, my teeth chatter, and it’s noticeable to others.
We were cheering on Michigan State football Friday night when I had my panic attack at my sister’s. I had been feeling anxious before we went, but really started feeling panicky after we had a rich dessert. My parents noticed and asked if I wanted to go home, and I said yes because I didn’t have my Ativan with me. So I went home and took an Ativan; when that didn’t work, I took another per my doctor’s orders an hour later. To my dismay the attack was still going on so my parents drove me to urgent care. The doctor there said I could take a third Ativan so I did and the attack went away.
I am doing some reading on panic attacks because I believe that education is power. I got some books from the library and plan to buy some as well.
I saw a therapist Friday and she is going to refer me to a DBT group. DBT stands for Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. This group is educational, designed to teach participants how to handle strong emotions like anxiety and anger. I am looking forward to attending the DBT class. One of the educators is going to call me. I also have lots of therapy and doctor appointments scheduled.
Another thing I plan to do is cut out caffeine as much as I can, as it can lead to anxiety. Since I won’t be working for a while after this Friday, I can do that. My mom and I walk a lot and that also helps me keep down anxiety.
We have begun training my replacement last Friday. She is another contract worker, a transfer from another department, and I think she’ll do just fine. She is bright and asks lots of questions.
I don’t know when or if I’ll be able to work again but I plan to take things one day at a time and continue my writing no matter what. I have some guest blog posts I’m working on.
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1998 after 3 hospitalizations for depression. I have bipolar II (depression/hypomania). I was on Social Security disability for 2 years until I was able to go back to work full-time in 2000. I also have generalized anxiety disorder and panic attacks. I take various prescribed medications for my conditions and also see a therapist.
I have been greatly helped by the organization National Alliance on Mental Illness (http://www.nami.org) which was founded by family members of those with mental illness. They run support groups for family members and consumers (people with mental illness), sponsor a fundraiser called NAMIWalks, and have various educational forums and conferences, as well as telephone support. Monday night I went to NAMI Connections for consumers, held at Advent UMC in Eagan, a nearby suburb.
I am planning my post-3M life and NAMI will be a big part of that. The support group’s next meeting is September 10, the first weekday after my resignation takes effect. I plan to go to NAMIWalks as well; it is being held at Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis on September 22. Although I remain anxious from time to time, my future is taking shape. I plan to see my psychiatrist on September 21 and ask her about applying for disability again.