Mom’s Anxiety

I work with my mom. It’s kind of nice, but it’s also kind of awful.

It’s not awful for the reasons that other people I’ve known hate working with family, which is usually that they wanna do work one way and the parent wants it done another, and ‘omg my dad/mom isn’t respecting my abilities as an adult’ blah blah blah. No, my work experience came with totally different trials and tribulations. I was always held to a higher standard than other employees, because my mom never wanted anyone to say that I had it easy. So, she made it ten times harder; I think she was hoping I’d quit. I was never allowed to file a complaint about another employee, because that could be see as an act of nepotism. So, I just had to grin and bear it, even when people made my life a living hell. More than once I looked for other jobs because I wasn’t allowed to file complaints and I wasn’t sure I could stand to come to work another day. Fortunately, those people eventually left. She never even wanted me to work there, and for the first few years she treated me like I didn’t belong at all. Instead of backing off, though, I felt like I had to prove her wrong… and now I’m her second in command.

The biggest problem with working with my mother is that my entire life I’ve been going to work with her. She couldn’t get a sitter for most of my childhood, so when I was sick, or there was a day off from school, I ended up at work with my mom. She always put me to work, too. When I was a kid, she’d give me simple work to do, like putting stuff in order alphabetically or numerically, since I was at work with her anyways. It wasn’t until I got a little older that I realized how much time she really spent at work, because when I was old enough to come home and lock the door behind me (at all of age 10) I spent a lot of time alone. That only lasted for about six years, at which point I could drive and started going to work after school… and… well I just never stopped coming to work.

During that six years where I spend a lot of time alone I watched a lot of PBS, learned to cook, and spent my evenings pretending not to notice my mother was wiped out and depressed. There was a stretch where she changed jobs every single year for like five years, and I wasn’t sure she was gonna make it through that, because she’d just come home and cry. There was when she worked at a multi-franchise store, all the terrible bosses that berated her, and the time she got let go because a company bought her store and brought in their own people. What I learned from watching my mother was that A, work was awful, 2, no matter how you feel you go to work because money is more important than happiness or health, and D, there’s nothing that a person can’t get through, even if they don’t come out better on the other side.

Part of why I wanted to prove that I could do everything she threw at me was because I felt like she needed help at work. The downside to that is that now I go to work with her everyday, do a lot of things to help, and she still goes home exhausted and depressed. God forbid anything unexpected or accidental happens: my mother’s anxiety has grown so much over the years I don’t honestly know how she functions. She’s just always in a panic… so I try to field the stress for her, at the expense of my own happiness… which she fights me on, tooth and nail, all the time.

This week, my mother is on vacation. It’s a staycation and she’s trying to do a bunch of work on her house. This morning I got a panicked phone call from her where she was looking at something from home and realized she missed something and now she’s in a panic and how could she be so stupid and how will she fix it and… She’s not having a good vacation anyways, because she’s perpetually mad at her body for being fat and getting old and not doing what she wants it to do. Now she’s already stressing over next week when she’s back.

I want to move to Oregon. Yes, I have a good friend there that I’d like to be closer to, and yes, I’d like to live somewhere mostly devoid of snow, but mostly I want to move somewhere that I can get a job and take care of my mother. She doesn’t want that. She stresses about if she can keep going to work, and how much money she can pull from social security, versus how much she’d get if she waited longer. She’s tried to get me to move back home to the south because it’s cheap and there’s “family” down there, so when she dies I’m not alone. She worries about everything and won’t let me just take care of her. I guess she fancies she’s not old enough for me to need to do that yet, but emotionally she’s like 197. Someone should take care of her.

I don’t know what to do about my mom. I don’t know what to do about me.

Hell of a pair we make… an older woman with major depression and a bipolar kid stuck in a bad mood for about two years now. Something has to change… even if I have to drag her, kicking and screaming to a place where things could be better.

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Rambling Regrets

I complain a lot.
I’m never sure if that’s a side effect of me being a Millennial, or Bipolar, or something I picked up from growing up with a depressed mother who continues to just try as hard as she can.

I mean, Millennials are KNOWN for being complainers… That’s our thing as a generation, apparently (aside from so many of us feeling worthless, not knowing what to do with our lives, being generally cynical and despondent because we don’t have a great starting place in life, debating if college is worth the life-long debt, and having an existential crisis that results in debating suicide a lot… we’re known for all that, too). I feel like it comes from having nothing else to focus on. Other generations had wars… we have troops in combat, but we’re not “at war” in a traditional sense. No one is going to draft us. We wouldn’t stand for such a thing. We aren’t a generation that collectively likes America enough to die for it, much less get bullied into dying for it. The military is seen as a way to pay for college in my generation… so mostly we worry about the future… like social security… and the president… and the crippling debt of going to college… and the sad career implications of not going to college… and where we can find housing… and so we try to push that down… and end up choking on it.

Being Bipolar impacts so many things in my life that it’s hard to say whether or not I’m just being overly Bipolar, or if this is a normal reaction for someone without a mood disorder. I know it’s a normal reaction for someone WITH one…

Then there’s learned behavior. You don’t get out of childhood without your parents imprinting something on you that you should probably work through in therapy. For me, even after years of therapy, the main things that my mom unintentionally and regrettably imprinted on me are 1, life is inevitably shit, and 2, only the threat of death should stop you from work. My mom’s clinically depressed. She used to take meds. They didn’t really do anything to stop the crushing depression, so she, like I, just deals with it as best she can. She’s not usually the hopeless kind of depressed, but the monotonous kind of depressed. You get up, you go to work, and you do that until you die. We don’t take sick days, and we don’t expect things to get better when we’re stressed out or everything has gone to shit. Unlike her, though, I don’t live in constant fear of someone firing me… I know my value, which is something she also imprinted on me. I wish she knew hers.
She also imprinted good stuff on me totally by accident… like being okay being alone and not needing anyone. She doesn’t see that as a good thing, because she’s so used to family being a big thing in her life, but since my family sucks, it’s really an overwhelmingly good thing. She also constantly worries about who I’ll have when she dies… which is not a concern I have. I’ve settled with the fact I’ll probably be alone in life after that, and I’m okay with it… Be miserable together or be miserable alone… what’s the difference?

So, the job’s going fine, I guess… but it’s been a hard couple of weeks.

I don’t do that well with first days. It’s not a lifelong thing. My first day of school was fine. I remember bits and pieces of it… and it was fine. I was excited. I made friends. It was a good day.

My first day of middle school was weird. I hadn’t made friends at my elementary school, since I only spent one year there (I changed schools twice in elementary school), so it was big and terrifying and lonely. It was topped off with the fact that I was a latch-key kid. So I’d go home and lock myself up in my house. I eventually made some friends with some anime fangirls, and aside from the barrage of kids that rode my bus that seemed to want to cleave my head open with rocks, for whatever reason (true story), middle school was mostly fine.

The first day of high school I knew that I would need to find somewhere to fit in. My middle school friends found their place pretty easily, because they were okay with what they were socially. I envied them for that, cuz I definitely was not. They were welcomed with open arms to the table top gamer/anime weebs/thespian/general nerdy geek group. I didn’t want to be part of that group. It wasn’t that I didn’t like my friends, I did, but I didn’t want to be part of a group that was one step above 1980s stereotypical AV club kids. I’d been bullied enough, and I was over it, so I picked out a different group of people thatI thought would give me some implied respect, and just forcibly joined their ranks. (Literally, I just started silently sitting next to them and wearing lots of black until someone talked to me… took like three weeks.) I also kept my old friends, though… My high school experience was a lot less like the movies I grew up watching and was more like a whole school of kids being unsure of themselves as a group and trying to make up somewhere they fit in on the fly. We all had friends in every social group. I guess it was nice, really.

My first day of college was a wreck. I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t really understand how the classes worked. I got lost. I tore all my false nails off. My hands hurt for days.

The first week of this job was hell. I dealt with lots of heater customers that I couldn’t help, which did not make them happier. I went home and cried a lot. I pulled a lot of overtime… and of course, I’m not getting paid hourly anymore, so it doesn’t matter… At the end of the week, in tears, I purchased No Man’s Sky. The idea was that it’s a game with no objective than to explore… so it would be good for relaxing. Thankfully, it worked. I love the game.

I spent a lot of the past two weeks feeling like I’m in over my head here. I probably am, but I’m realistically treading water pretty well, but it doesn’t feel that way. It definitely didn’t feel that way when my Finance guy decided to put in his 30 day notice. It wasn’t because of me, but a lot of things… and he’s sad that we won’t get to work together longer, but you do what you have to for yourself and your family. I get that.

Here’s the thing though… I’m being paid to learn finance. In exchange for that, my job is to cleanup the paperwork. Most of the problems come from the finance guy. He’s a power seller, but he’s not great at paperwork. The finance girl pulls in half as much gross, but has perfect paperwork. So, if finance guy leaves… why would they continue to pay me to learn finance? They could hire two seasoned finance people. They’re everywhere, and it’s a very money-oriented position with a lot of earning potential…

So… been freaking out about that, and trying to learn everything I can as fast as I can, but I can’t learn what they’ve been doing for decades in a matter of weeks… I definitely don’t understand leases…. but I think I can fake my way through paperwork for cash and finance deals… I don’t know that I can sell anything… which makes me less valuable…

Yesterday I was trying to get bill out done for the office, which is also in chaos. As a result, I was here for eleven hours yesterday. I didn’t eat. I went home and went straight to bed… I couldn’t do anything else. Still not hungry this morning, either… and I thought I would be… I don’t know what’s happening to me… I don’t know that I made a good decision asking for this promotion…

All I know is that I have to keep going on. If they fire me, I’ll deal with it then… just gotta keep keeping on, I guess… In true family fashion, you keep going, even if it sucks your soul out…

In lighter news, I named a planet YumYumYum Human Hand in the system of Spoopy Demon Toaster in No Man’s Sky… Here’s a link to why that’s funny.

The Quiet Kind of Shy

Did you know that anxiety and fear can manifest all kinds of different ways?

For a lot of people, they recognize both as submissive actions.
A shy person is quiet.
A socially anxious person withdraws from social situations.
An un-socialized dog cowers…. but…

If you corner a scared animal it becomes very dangerous. If you’ve ever watched an animal rescue show, you’ll know this. There’s a reason they take so many precautions when they rescue animals. There’s a reason that they approach scared dogs so slowly on Pitbulls & Parolees. Cornered animals lash out with wanton abandon in the hopes of doing any amount of damage that will let them escape. They don’t plan. They don’t concern themselves with potential harm. They just blindly attack and hope for the best, even if that means just being able to crawl off and slowly die in peace from their injuries.

I am not the quiet kind of shy. I’m not the socially anxious person that withdraws from social situations. No, my anxiety manifests in an attack. Instead of clamming up, I have a tendency to say everything that enters my head. Instead of withdrawing, I throw myself into the center of the conversation and assert myself. I hear it’s very off-putting. I come off as very narcissistic, a little pretentious, and a lot condescending. As a result, I’m the friend that people warn new people about.

The thing about being the know-it-all with an aggressive personality is that people don’t really tend to care what you have to say. They become accustomed to you as background noise, and they learn to talk over you because you’re talking ALL THE TIME. It’s a logical progression. The problem is, that I’m not talking out of my ass because I’m actually narcissistic or even actually have an aggressive personality. I’m talking all the time because I never manage to actually get comfortable with people. By the time I get to a point where I don’t ramble off everything I know in a whole conversation, they’ve learned to talk over me. When they talk over me, I interpret that as them being bored or angry with me, and then I start rambling because I become very uncomfortable.  The cycle continues. Forever.

It happens all the time. It’s why I’m not great with friends and social interactions… and I can often see people becoming visibly bored of listening to me… at which point I do the most awkward thing I can think of: cut the conversation off wherever it is with some excuse to run away and find a place to hide. So on top of having an aggressive know-it-all personality, I come off as very rude when I suddenly run away from you.
If you throw alcohol into this mix, I end up screaming at people instead of running away from them… especially if they’re doing that thing where they’re crying about something irrationally and won’t just listen to and accept the reassurance that I’m offering them. I get really frustrated with unchecked emotions in a social setting…

Being this person is shitty. No one really likes aggressive people. No one really likes people that talk all the time. No one likes a know-it-all.

After yesterday I’ve decided to actively try to stop talking. What was so terrible about yesterday? After a number of people were visibly bored by me, I went to dinner with my mom. Of all the people in the world, my mom is the least able to hide her emotions. She’s also the person I crave approval from the most, since she’s the only family or consistent social interaction I have. I pretty much just ended up annoying her with small talk. She all but ran away from me when we got home. She does that to a coworker we have that talks to fill the void. So… that hurt….

The problem with my shutting up is that if I am the quiet kind of shy, I am invisible. Some quiet people are quite noticeable. They’re visually interesting, or they really open to people after they get to know them, so then people want to tell new people about all these interesting things this quiet person thinks, says, or does. I don’t have friends to do that. If I clam up around my friends, who I am socially awkward with, they don’t even really notice I’m there. With strangers, I can be in the center of a room and if I don’t make an effort to talk to someone no one even sees me. It’s like being invisible, but without all the perks of ACTUALLY being invisible. It’s more like being furniture… just in the way, and if it moves it’s a little jarring…

Obviously, the logical answer to this is to just mellow out the know-it-all. Like, it’s a gift that I can just talk to strangers with this fake confidence… I just need to be less aggressive about it. But I don’t know how to DO that…

I’m Not Okay…

I hate that most of these entries are me complaining about something… but since nothing exciting happens in my life, that’s what happens.

Three weeks ago I was not this miserable. I was pretty okay with who I was and how life was going. This week I don’t even want to kill myself, I just want to curl up somewhere and not exist anymore. I feel lonely, unaccomplished, sad, and generally not good.

Mom’s been doing that thing where she’s been thinking about what will happen to me when she dies and telling me that i should move away so she can’t bring me down anymore, and how I need to find a husband because life is too hard alone… so I dropped $125 on a match.com subscription, so I could at least pull out a few dates and look like I’m trying, and have had no luck. No one even wants to talk me. Not even really skeezy or gross guys… it’s just silence… and I hate it. I think that made the fact I was still recovering from three days of relating to someone even worse. I was already reeling about lost potential, and then she’s gotta guilt me into making up dates I am going on and how many people want to talk to me.

On top of that, since I am drowning at work, but can’t pull any overtime, I worked like 12 hours off the clock this week. That’s illegal, by the way. So… I’m exhausted and I’m not even being paid for it…

I just feel like everything is awful. I’m not doing anything with my life, and I don’t feel like I really have friends, except this girl from work… who has other real friends…

All I have are the dogs… And I love them… but I feel like human beings might need more socialization than I originally thought.

Living In The Future

So I’ve been stressed out at work and home, and generally errywurr. So much, in fact, that I was under the impression that Saturday was the 12th… for about 4 days. Thursday through Saturday…. I was definitely convinced that it was the week of the 7th already.
SPOILER ALERT: There are still no flying cars in the upcoming week.

So Saturday rolls around… Mothership and I are exhausted, and since I think it’s the 12th, even though it’s clearly the 5th, we drag ass up in the early evening to get ready to go downtown to see Jeff Foxworthy. Fortunately, before we left for the train, Mothership checked the tickets and actually knew what day it was. So she started laughing, and when I got back to her place to leave, she told me. Isn’t that funny!? No. No it’s not. I started bawling.

I know it seems over dramatic to cry over a show being the next weekend. It’s not like we missed it. The problem is that we could have missed it. We could very easily have missed it, because we’ve missed shit before. A few years ago, Mothership got tickets to the Blue Man Group, and we fucking missed it… She was exhausted and screwed up the dates, and I still carry around a weird depression about that in my chest. Whenever I think about it I just want to cry. Not because I really love the Blue Man Group, but because it was something I missed out on with mom, that she threw down a lot of money for. I still try to see if I can catch tickets when they get close to us. I’m hell bent on trying to makeup for that terrible mistake. So, when I realized that I almost fucked it all up all over again, I just lost it.

Mom feels bad about that. She knows I’m stressed out. She knows that not being able to utilize my house is also kind of killing me. She hates that I’m so tired an anxious at such a young age… I’m 26. I should be able to keep track of a date, for fuck sake. So, she told me to relax and took me to a movie. Then she felt bad about that, because we went to see A Walk In The Woods with Robert Redford and Nick Nolte…. and I was the youngest person in there by like a score. It was a good movie, though, and once I settled down I felt mostly okay about living in the future. At least I didn’t MISS IT.