It's a GAD GAD World
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Thanks T for your post. Even though I know this is a public blog and that anyone can read it, it still amazes me when people do. It amazes me even further when people say that it's interesting.

Your post touched on several subjects. I'll try to touch on all of them here. First, let's talk about cognitive behavioral therapy. Personally, I'm not into psychotherapy of any kind. I'm not saying that psychotherapy is bad. I know that it has worked wonders for several people. I'm just saying that it doesn't work for me. I've had some bad experiences with counseling. I suppose if there's a counselor (note that I'm using the word "counselor" as a generic term for anybody who does therapy--psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, whatever) who would take me seriously that s/he might be able to help. But any time I've tried to open up about the mental junk that floats around in my head I've not been taken seriously.

Here are some actual things that counselors have said to me:

"Maybe you're just imagining things"--a Catholic Social Services counselor whose office operated out of the first floor of a convent, when I told her about how bad things had gotten between my DNA-providers (with whom I was still living at the time) and myself. 2 days after this session, they summoned a social worker to the house to issue me a letter telling me I had 1 week to get out. By the end of that week I was living in the convent (long story, but I had no other place to go and I wasn't making enough money to afford rent). At my next weekly session I looked the counselor right in the eye and said, "Now do you believe me?" For some strange reason I kept going to her every week until I finally got a real job and moved away, but she was never very effective after that. Maybe she just wasn't very effective to begin with.

"It happened 20 years ago. Forget about it." This was the p-doc I went to after my blowup with the White Russian. It was her response to me trying to open up about the abuse I went through in grade school. I'm sorry, but you don't go through that kind of hell day in and day out for YEARS and just forget about it. It never leaves you. Just ask Jodee Blanco. I finally resolved this (or at least, I resolved it as much as I think it's ever going to be resolved) when I fired off that 4-page email to my grade school classmates in response to the suggestion of holding a 25-year reunion. For 30 goddamn years I've been waiting for someone--anyone--to say that what my classmates did to me was wrong, that I didn't deserve it, and that I was an OK person and not some horrible mutant. Even now as I type this I am crying over those memories and that need to be told it wasn't my fault. As I mentioned in previous posts, I did get some responses. As a result, some of the burden has been lifted from my shoulders. But judging from the crying fit I'm having at this moment, not all of it. But I'll be damned if I'm going to make an appointment with a total stranger and open up about this just to be told that it's in the past and I should just forget about it.

There are other incidents where I can't remember direct quotes, but I've alluded to them in other posts. The way the White Russian would play on my anxieties the way a cat plays with its prey before killing and eating it. Remember, this is the same person who deliberately left a screensaver saying things like "You're're smell bad" in plain view of a patient who suffered from paranoia. The junior high teacher who told me "it's just a phase, you'll get over it" when I bravely came to her one day after school and tried to tell her I was suicidal. And my current psychiatrist, when I was having multiple problems at my job and dealing with the death of my friend with leukemia, told me point-blank that she didn't know what to tell me. I understand she only does med management and not therapy, but Jesus, could you have just a LITTLE compassion? That doesn't require expertise in psychotherapy, that's just being human and decent! This was the same problem I had with my first psychiatrist, the Research Asshole. He could throw meds at me, but he could not/would not understand that my life situation [un(der)employment, dire financial straits] was having a direct effect on my condition.

So that's why I don't do psychotherapy. For those of you out there who have been lucky enough to find caring and compassionate counselors who really do help you, congratulations and more power to you. But I haven't been that lucky. And I'm not going to go ripping my wounds open again and again and again and again to people who don't think those wounds are real.

Now for T's next question about stopping automatic thinking. When I first tried baby xanax I found that the bad "what if?" thoughts would still pop into my head, but my benzo brain would respond, "So what?" So benzos might help you there. In addition, I've been living with the understanding of my condition long enough that when I start thinking bad thoughts, I can sometimes (not all the time, but sometimes) take a step back and say, "Is this a real and likely scenario, or is this just the GAD talking?" Sometimes that allows me to right myself.

Like with my job. I've been there for nearly 4 years, and I've spent most of it thinking I was going to be fired. I've also seen people who have screwed up far worse than I have, and they've been kept around longer than I've been there. Maybe about a year ago I finally accepted that maybe my continued employment wasn't just some weird fluke and maybe they did value me. And I've slowly started to feel secure about my job. That doesn't mean I like my job, it just means I don't worry as often about losing it.

Which leads me to the advice T gave me about employment. If I were to leave jobs off my resume, there would be significant gaps in my employment history. I think it looks a lot better to have to explain multiple jobs (they were temp jobs) than to have to explain unemployment. Between being fired from Small Catholic College and landing my current job, I was job-hunting on and off for about 5 years. I wanted permanent work (and during that time I did find some "permanent" jobs that for some reason didn't work out), but if while I was looking for that work a temp opportunity popped up, what was I supposed to do? Tell the agency, "No, I'd rather risk running out of money and being evicted rather than take an opportunity to feed myself and keep a roof over my head for a few months"? Besides, I worked at some amazing places and got some really good experiences out of some of those temp jobs. I'm not ashamed of all the places I've worked, I'm proud of them.

I may try your advice about working late every day for a month. My annual performance review is coming up next month, so this might be a good time to try it.

As for looking for another job, I've been trying to do that. But there's so little out there right now. And what is out there doesn't match my current salary. I've seen some great temp-to-perm opportunities, but it makes no sense for me to leave my current job for a job that only MIGHT become permanent. I should note that from my job-hunting experiences, all these temp-to-perm jobs are a sign that the economy is picking up. Now that business is picking up, companies are trying to get the work done that stopped getting done when they laid off/downsized their staff. But they're being cautious about it, which is why the opportunities are temp-to-perm instead of permanent.

I'm thinking that maybe what I ought to do is develop a freelance career in writing/editing/proofreading. I'm not insane enough to think that I could live off this freelance career, but it might just pay me enough so that I could leave my current job for a saner one, even if it pays less money. I have to have a "real" job, because I need the health insurance. If I can't get my meds, I'm screwed.

Finally T, I want to thank you for your comments about my landlord. Unfortunately, most of what he's done I can't really act on unless/until it's time for me to move out. For example, one of the things he's required to do when he jacks up my rent is provide me with a new lease reflecting the change in rent. He's never done this. But if I point this out to him now, all he has to do to make it legal is hand me a piece of paper. But if I wait until I move out (not that this is going to happen anytime soon) and he tries to withhold my security deposit, I can counteract that by trying to get back all the illegal rent he's been charging me over the years.

I may have mentioned that he just jacked up my rent. The timing of this is fishy, as it comes on the heels of a nasty confrontation. If I'm the only tenant whose rent got raised, then I could establish that it was retaliation, which is illegal. But if I pointed that out to him, all he would need to do to make it look kosher is raise the rent of a few other tenants. But if I wait a while and then confront him, it will be more difficult for him to show that I wasn't the only tenant who got an increase. (If in fact that's the case.)

So basically my only option at this point is to sit and bide my time and continue to document his abuses. And if the day ever comes when I need to leave, I'm going to hit this motherfucker like a ton of bricks with all the evidence I've got against him.

I've been typing this for over an hour. I've got more to say, but I really need to stop and rest now. Thanks again to T for your response. I really appreciate it.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Not one damn word.

Not a phone call, not even a lousy email.

This was the response I received from the Guitar God to the birthday package I mailed him last week. The one I've been working on for more than a year. The one I was inspired to do the night I kissed him.

Mind you, I wasn't expecting any miracles. I didn't think this was going to magically change his heart around. But I thought he'd at least say "thank you".

As I said, I mailed it last week. And for an extra $0.75 I put a tracking number on it so I could track delivery on the USPS website. It was delivered 2 days after I mailed it.

The only logical excuse--the ONLY logical excuse--is if he's been out of town for his birthday and he hasn't picked up the package from his doorman yet. It's possible, but I'm not betting on it.

And I guess there is one other possibility. He's got some gigs in the next couple of weeks and maybe he's thinking he'll thank me in person. Well, I'm not going to any of them. It turns out I've got other concerts to go to on all of the nights he's got gigs.

This was a damn good package too. I can't be too specific here about what I put into it, but let's just say it was stuff I knew he'd appreciate, mixed in with some corny stuff.

But I don't think it was a waste, despite his (lack of) response. As I've said here before, just once I wanted to unleash my creativity full force on someone special. And I did. And every time I thought of something new to put in the box or found something or acquired it, I'd spend some time daydreaming about how pleased he'd be when he opened it. And that gave me a lot of joy.

The other reason I don't think my effort was a waste is because his non-response might just piss me off enough to finally get him out of my system after all these years.

In other news, my GAD/depression seems to be stable even though my job is still a nightmare. I've slacked off on the job-hunting, mainly because there's very little out there for me to hunt. I don't want to trade one miserable job for another, especially if it's one that pays less than what I'm currently earning.

And did I mention how pissed off I am at the President for his health care speech a few weeks ago, when he called people who don't have health insurance "irresponsible"? I'd like to see him show up at the college where I work and tell our adjuncts that they're irresponsible. I'd also like for him to remember that the same people who worked their butts off to get him elected can work their butts off to get him defeated in 2012.

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