Disabilities, Mental Health, Uncategorized

“Family Doesn’t End (or Start) in Blood”

A family is always supposed to be there for you no matter what the cost. You do everything for them and you expect to have the same respect and kindness in return. Sometimes, however, when you find your “true” self spiritually, emotionally, and physically certain family members can make life difficult. They may have good intentions, but if they do not open their minds and realize that nothing can make you change to the way they want you to be. Sometimes, no matter how much you try to please them nothing works. They become rude and refuse to hear things that you want to say.

This is something I have to live with. Technically, it is called “emotional” or “mental” abuse. I don’t believe my abuser realizes what they are doing. They are stuck in their ways and do not believe that anything should change. Men are men. Women are women. To them, gender identities do not exist. Men do male jobs, women to women jobs. By 30, you should have a job (even if you hate it). They believe that you should be able to do “any job” even though your primary doctor agrees with you that you have a chronic illness like Fibromyalgia.

In my situation, I am forced to live with my parents. They are respectful towards me… at least my mother is… However, because I am currently unemployed and working on school and part-time freelancing, while at the same time sending application after application out into the world and receiving nothing back from potential employees. Those from the “baby boomer” generation continuously find ways to nitpick everything I do. The only spec of comfort that I have is when I am able to find my way into my bedroom just to escape. My room is my only solace where I have my computer and phone. Music, videos, writing, and video games help me to forget the insecurities that my so-called “family” members have put inside of my head.

I place “family” in quotes because, at this point in my life, I have realized that my close friends are more family to me than my own blood. I have chosen siblings that care for me and a wonderful girlfriend that I thank the gods every day that I have. She has been the first partner I have found that does not negate my anxiety but helps to calm me. Despite the thoughts that she might leave me too one day, she reminds me that she never will.

One of the best lines in current Television comes from the show Supernatural. “Family doesn’t end in blood.” Bobby Singer says that to the boys and it sticks with them. He is like a father to the boys just like how my friends are like siblings. Dean goes on to say “…it doesn’t start there either.” That in itself is the meaning of this post. Once I am finally able to move out, I have decided that I will live the way I want. Decorate the way I wish, practice my spirituality the way I wish, and live the life I am meant to live. If family members disagree and continue to try and change me, I will not associate myself with them anymore even if that means never going to family functions any longer. As long as I have her and all my chosen siblings my life will be complete.

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Mental Health

Know Your Limits

Living an adult life with a known and/or unknown learning disabilities is hard. Most of the time it is extremely difficult to obtain or hold a full-time job. Once you get into retail it seems impossible to get out. Most of the companies out there want people with education, but if you have the education they usually want an equal amount of experience. It seems like an endless cycle.

When I was 22 years old I was diagnosed with Anxiety, ADHD Inattentive-type, “slight” dyslexia, and dyscalculia. They told my parents I should have no problems getting into the workforce. They were wrong. For years I’ve struggled with finding a decent paying job. I wanted to become independent for so long but it seems as if the world’s view of learning disabilities is clouded.

I feel as if the moment you mention “anxiety” or “disability” in an interview or application lots of people politely refuse a position or do not see me at all. It’s a stigma that I think the American companies need to look past. What is the point of a law against discrimination of disability if it’s still there? They may not go out and say it but let’s face it; if there is one person interviewing with a mental disability and another who is “perfect,” who are they going to choose for employment?

To top it all off, I am always in pain because of some unknown disability in my back that doctors have previously seen as “faking it” or “slight scoliosis” or “being too inactive.” It wasn’t until I saw a rheumatologist this year that someone finally saw past all of that and realized something was actually wrong. However, even he was wrong. My primary doctor saw my symptoms and finally agreed with me that I was suffering from Fibromyalgia. I am finally on medication and vitamins that help aid with my issues.

This brings me to why I am sitting here writing this. Despite everything I have gone through, I refuse to give up. I have decided to go back to school for writing. The one thing that had stayed with me since I was in grade school was my love for writing. Looking back, I really do wish I would have forced myself to read the material in the English classes better to show that I really loved writing and English. Sometimes I wish I could time travel back in time and tell my old self to push through my frustrations with reading, and prove to the teachers and everyone that I was good enough. If I did that, I wonder if I would be in a very different situation right now.

In College the first time around, I had very little direction in what I had to do to get a decent job after I graduated. This is probably partially why I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. When I graduated high school I was forced to go to college full time just because it helped me stay on my parent’s insurance. By the time Obamacare was passed, allowing me to stay on their insurance without worrying about school it was too late. I already had so many credits I felt as if I had to finish with an associates’ degree in something. I graduated with only an Associates in General Studies.

After years of bouncing from job to job and months at a time being unemployed with little or no health insurance, I finally landed a job that worked with my physical and mental limitations. The main problem was that I would never be able to be financially independent. I was only qualified to work part time and they gave me less than 20 hours a week starting at minimum wage. Less than a year into this job they raised the wages to 9/hour but it still was not enough. When my medical bills rose and rose I finally had enough and applied for Medicaid and SNAP. It lifted my financial burden slightly for the time being. The only reason I settled with this job is because it did not leave me physically and mentally exhausted at the end of the day like the others. I know that most people are physically and mentally exhausted after working a full day of any kind of work, but the point was that I was exhausted to the point that I did not want to do anything but eat and sleep. I was always in so much pain and my room became a disaster area because of my lack of energy.

With this job, I had the energy to do things again. I did my chores and kept my room as tidy as I could. I even walked to and from work when I worked shifts in the morning or afternoon. With this job I was not limited as much for anything. The only downside is the fact that I had no idea how many hours I would get the next week and if I would get enough to pay the little amount of bills I had. This is when I decided I wanted to try working two jobs to see how I could handle it.

I had never in my life been a waitress and I wanted to see how I was at it. Not only was I physically drained, but mentally drained as well by the end of the trial period of a week. I enjoyed the free Japanese food and the people’s company but the three anxiety attacks were not worth it.

The second job I applied for was a seasonal job watering plants. For the first few weeks it was ok because the weather was nice and warm. It was not until after the weather began getting cold again that I realized I could not handle the job physically. Not to mention when I had this revelation I had the fifth anxiety attack I had from the moment I started working. I wished I could stay there because the pay rate made me feel so much better about myself. However, I knew my physical and mental health were worth more than a paycheck.

The main point of me saying all this is not to wallow in everything that’s happened. I want to express that I did these things because I wanted to gauge what I could and could not do. I am not going to give up. I am going to try a temp agency to gain experience in an office while also working on freelance writing through Upwork and other places where I can find work for a writer trying to begin work. Working for offices should help me gain experience for internships and eventually a real career that I want to do. For everyone who reads this post, I want to let you know that it is not impossible to land the career you want or even just something as simple as keeping a job. If you can, think of everything you can and cannot do. Do not dwell on what you cannot do. Focus on what you can do, and what you love to do. Eventually you will know what path your life will take.

Disabilities, Mental Health

Finding Jobs That Might Accommodate for Disabilities

Even though it is not exactly ideal, I have had my fair share of retail jobs. Many were hard to obtain or keep because of my learning, mental, and sometimes physical limitations. I found that despite the law that employers are not allowed to discriminate against disabilities, many “politely decline” me employment suspiciously after I mention anything about my disabilities. True, they may have simply found a better fit for the job, however, I only notice that I receive this reaction when I mention my lack of ability to do something like the cash register.

I never wavered when I continuously looked for a job. I started to realize that certain things I said either made or broke my chances. The methods I developed may not work for everyone’s situation but I am going to share a few that may help someone one day.

  • Search for jobs at stores, factories, and offices that have multiple positions available. There is always a higher chance to be able to do at least one of these positions without accommodation. If I am confident that I will be able to obtain at least one of these positions, I will not have to worry about disclosing any information about my disabilities during the interview.
  • Apply to at least two or three jobs a day. This way, I usually have a higher chance of obtaining at least an interview. Once I accept a position somewhere, I can freely take or decline any other offers during other interviews depending on how I feel about the position I was given such as compensation, hours, and the atmosphere.
  • Try not to take too many days off until at least three to six months into a new job. I know there are a lot of things that happen in life, but when I first get a job I only request off if I have an already planned vacation, doctor’s appointment, or something else like that. I try my best to make it in when I am not feeling well but if it is bad enough that I cannot function, such as when my vertigo acts up, I call out. Even if I am running a few minutes late, I always make sure to call just in case. I also try to take extra shifts whenever they ask me to take if I am available to take them. These things help my employer know that I am reliable and give good references for school or other jobs.

If there is a store opening, and/or they are hiring for a seasonal position, apply! I have gotten a job with two companies that were opening stores and got the job since I applied early enough. I also stayed at three jobs that I applied to that were originally seasonal positions because they liked me. I used the previous three techniques which helped me keep those jobs.

These are only a handful of techniques that I use. I found that they really helped me and I believe they can help others like myself. I hope whoever reads this succeeds in finding a job and possibly a career.

Mental Health

Positivity in Retail

Working in retail is brutal. Employees are tasked with not only providing amazing customer service but also do various tasks while doing so. It’s no wonder that many employees always look angry, upset, or depressed.

I, however, have realized that if you think and act with a positive attitude, everything seems to go a lot smoother. For the first couple years of working retail, I had always let the mean customers, coworkers, and everything outside work get to me. I no longer am able to work in retail because of my health issues, but I wanted to share the experiences that I had in the five to six years I spent in retail. Since I had a lot of physical pains that I experienced, that felt worse than many others, many days working in the backroom at SEARS dragged on. The only thing that got me through it was the reminder that I would get paid after all of my hard work.

When I began working at ROSS as a fitting room clerk, I associated with customers a lot more than I did previously. At first, I was very shy and timid. While I worked, I realized that when I put on a smile every day the customers smiled back. I interacted with them constantly. When I gave them a “have a nice day/night” after they were finished trying on clothes, I saw their eyes light up. When they approached with a sad or depressed expression I could see it change to a lighter, happier tone once they left.

During the dull, dragging days and nights where there were hardly any customers, I kept my mind and body busy. My mind was always on stories or my future as a writer. To ignore my physical pains, I paced around the podium at my station, danced with the music playing on the loudspeakers, and when there were clothes on my rack I went off a few clothes at a time to put them back. I also spent time going down aisles making sure everything was neat and tidy.

Many employees complain about the amount of work to do in retail jobs like I have had. In my experience, time usually goes faster when you’re busy. Positivity is key when working in retail, especially when you have disabilities like mine. It makes the managers, and everyone else important overlooks what you cannot do and commend you for what you can do.

Mental Health

Back from Hiatus

Writer’s block and severe stress has taken over my life for the past few months. It all started when someone I thought was a good friend decided to treat me as if I was nothing with no true explanation except for anger and resentment towards me. Another person who was previously my friend had also continuously made me believe that I was to blame for everything in my life. However, as I got close to my other friends, one of which I am now currently dating, I came to realize that it wasn’t me at all. They left me because they couldn’t handle that I was finally becoming my own person. They couldn’t handle that every once in a while, I freak out because of emotional abuse I endured from would-be friends, nuns, and some others growing up. They helped me find my true self and made me realize that I need to stop trying to please everyone else and do what I need. Not what others expect of me.

Now that I’ve gotten rid of my blockage and I’m finally beginning to get my life on track I will try and post more often in order to get my mind out and talk about things that I enjoy.