The dangers of sharing on social media

I was thinking about sharing mental health struggles the other day and the anxiety of being so public. I wonder why I share so much and if I am being judged. Sometimes I regret what I share.

 

But another thought came up and that was the fact that these days, we have very little privacy and it isn’t just our friends and family who are reading our posts. Anyone with the right software can access our social media ( even if we make our posts friends only as opposed to public)

 

We live in a judgemental world and the stigma about mental illness is still very strong and empathy is weakening in our society and there are consequences of sharing too much, beyond our social circles.

 

Something I had never thought about was employers. In their screen process, they hire ‘third party companies to scan social media accounts of potential employees ( which is a gross violation of privacy by the way) And if our social media activity is less than favorable in their eyes ( ie sharing information about personal mental health struggles, it can ruin our chances for better jobs.

 

I find this tactic to be immoral and upsetting. I realize that everything we put on social media is public but it in a sense this is all our personal space to express ourselves to connect with others. Employers checking our social media is the real life equivalent of them breaking into your house, looking at your photo albums, reading your journal, spying on you when you are out social; it;s just wrong and creepy and totally invasive.

 

That being said, despite that, I will continue to speak out about my struggles because I know it is helping people, I want with all of my heart to end the stigma and I can’t do that by being silent or fearful of a judgmental, ignorant world. I know I am helping people and this is my calling and if it means someone in a third party spying company may see it so be it. I’m just trying to make the world a better place and I’m proud of it and if I am judged, than I’ll be judged. I am who I am. ❤ ✌

 

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Job update

I have not written a full blog post in quite awhile; I have been focusing on making videos; and it seems that the more I see myself on video; the more confident I become being on camera; I am learning how to speak clearer and slower and just be calmer while I am making the video and I appreciate all the likes on comments on the videos because I am pretty self conscious and making videos for me creates anxiety; so those videos are me facing my fears. I also lost the internet for 3 days either due to the snow storm or the fact that Spectrum has terrible customer service and doesn’t care enough about their customers to promptly fix their internet; but that’s off the subject.  I didn’t have the chance to write much but my wifi is back and I wanted to update everyone on how my new job  is going. Oh yes, and having a new hectic schedule has kept me from updating my blog as much as I’d like but hey this job is more important at the end of the day.

Anyways, how is my job going.   Well it’s been a bit bumpy; like I think more new jobs are but I am improving and feeling more confident.  I work in the front end; assisting the cashiers by loading carts and putting back go backs; I also gather carts; pick up trash etc; I like my job; actually.  There are moments when I get frustrated or anxious but my stomach isn’t in knots and I don’t feel like pulling out my hair. I get along well with all of my supervisors and most of my coworkers; I try to be friendly; I say hi to everyone and smile and ask them how their day is going and a lot of people seem genuinely nice; which is something I rarely have experienced in my previous job. I also enjoy talking with the customers and most of them are also nice.  I try to work hard and at a fast pace and just be the best worker I can be.

About a week ago I was asked if I was comfortable moving to the bakery; I was a little concerned because I thought they were transferring me because I was doing a bad job at front end but then I found out another guy; who was with me in orientation was also moving there and I felt a little better about it. A lot of people told me how hard the bakery is and how tough  they are. I have worked 2 or 3 days and so far I actually prefer it. I like to be away from the crowds and being watched the whole time; it just makes me nervous; even if I’m doing good. I am in my own space and I am not bombarded by noise from people; although the machinery is really loud; we have ovens that beep really loud and huge fans that go the whole shift and a big washing machine; just a different kind of noise.  I will mostly be setting up for the next day and cleaning.  Set up is pretty simple; you take the frozen premade goods; place them on a rack and you throw it in the oven; pretty simple. After that we take the dirty pans; throw them into the washer and the rest is like washing dishes and cleaning and drying the floor.  I also degreased a huge walk in oven yesterday; which was pretty cool.  And so far I like the people in the bakery; they seem chill.  The bakery  manager seems easy going and the guy who was training me yesterday seemed nice and was patient. Although I sort of felt he was talking to me as if I was stupid but maybe I am just hyper sensitive about those things.  Today I mostly worked with this young girl and she was pretty nice too; we did some huge cookie orders. And I found the more I did the task; the more confident I became and I can work quicker. I was actually end of the break room towards the end of my shift and I was talk to one of the cashiers and told her they moved me to the bakery.  She sort of chuckled; like she knew how rough it was. But she told that moving me there was a good thing. If I show them how hard of a worker I am; they might keep me ( because I am seasonal) and that was exciting news; I am determined to the best I can because I really want this job.

The main problem I have is that I am just slower than others and learning disabled; I process things differently and it takes me longer to learn. I also get more mentally exhausted than most; due to all of the noise and activity of Costco; it is a very busy place; I have never worked in a place like this. The one thing I noticed is that is non-stop at Costco; from the moment I walk in until I punch out; I am constantly on the go; I don’t slack and I never see anyone slacking; which again is a first.  Right now I am so tired but also proud of myself; I am doing really well overall

Yesterday I had a 30 day review and they had some good things to say and noted some ways of improving.   They said that they could see that I was a really hard worker and I maintained the outside well, got along with my co-workers and customers. I come in on time and haven’t called out and I act professional; good things.  They noticed that I wasn’t moving quick enough and part of that is that I was sick for quite awhile and I am just getting over my cold but I am slower and I am going to work on just having a “sense of urgency; as they call it.  They also said I engaged in idle chit-chat; which means I have conversations just standing there; which is not something I noticed. Maybe I did that and didn’t realize it; like talking to the cashier and not engaging with the customer; which is surprising to me because  I am always chatting with customers and asking if they need help.  I had a review with two supervisors and one of them said they had no problem with me; and even though I thought that was good; I also said to myself ” does that mean other supervisors DO have a problem with me”  That old anxiety.   But they also said that everyday I was improving. At the end one of the supervisors said that there was a new store opening and there would be some vacant spots at the Costco I am; they might call me in March; which is semi optimistic; I guess. I just knew that they wouldn’t keep me at the point but you never know.

I just pray to God that whatever happens; he’ll protect me. I am fortunate that I have family and friends who are real supportive and are rooting for me; that makes a huge difference.  I am just a real determined person and I refuse to give up or let my anxiety get the best of me.   I am blessed to be at this job right now and out of Sears and getting paid so much; I have nothing but gratitude. And whatever happens happens; it’s all in God’s plan at this point. With that I bid you a good night.

Thanks for listening

Dave

 

 

Starting a new job

Its Thanksgiving day and I am still currently sick; I was invited to a family friend’s house but decided to stay home and rest and I also didn’t want anyone else to catch my cold.  I’m by myself; frustrated that I had to get sick the day I got a new job and right before Thanksgiving. But I wanted to take this time to write and update everyone on my new job.  So far since I have been sick;  the job has been difficult; the first day I barely slept and yesterday I could barely focus because I was sick and could barely stand up.  Most of my co-workers and managers seem very nice and helpful; giving me tips and answering any questions I had; which has been nice.  The first day I assisted a lady and she seemed very nice with me; she kindly told me how things were done and it went smoothly; I helped another gentleman and he was nice as well.  The second day was a little different; I was really struggling with my cold and the cashier I was working with was just moving way too fast for me and it was hard to keep up; I also was sort of annoyed at her attitude. I think it’s always like that; some people are really nice and easy to get along with and others are unfriendly and don’t want to help someone who just started a new job. I could just tell she was annoyed at the fact I was a little slow bagging and I could have told her I was sick but I’m not sure if that would have made a difference.  I have to say about myself that I do have learning disables; so it’s takes me a lot longer to learn a task and trying to learn a task very quickly is even more difficult.  I am learning not to show my anxiety or react when people are critical; I used to react but I am learning that really hurts me in regards to job.  I then worked with another cashier at the end of the day and my cold medication had worn out and I had none left; so I was pretty out of it. He was annoyed at my slow pace too; this doesn’t give me a whole lot of confidence.  I will not give up though and continue to do the best I can.

But instead of focusing on what I can’t do; I want to focus on my gifts and abilities and what I can do well.  So I may be a little slower but I am kind to everyone around me.  I interact with customers very well; joking with them; making conversation; being polite; I think that is great customer service and an asset to the company.  Even though I am on the Autistic Spectrum; I am very good at talking with customers; they can see I am trying to be helpful and friendly; that is something I take pride in.  I also work very hard; I hustle; I come in on time and I don’t give up.   Yes, I want to the job quickly and efficiently and I realize that is what they are looking for; especially when competing with other seasonal employees but I think customer service interaction is equally as important.  If customers find that you treat them right and take an interest in them; they can overlook the fact that you haven’t quite learned the job yet. Whereas if someone is doing the job perfectly but they are not interacting with customers in a friendly manner; they might walk away disappointed because they didn’t  feel welcome.  Does that make sense?  I know that when I walk into the checkout line and the clerk is friendly with me; it makes my experience at the store a little more enjoyable.  So right now I am trying to get rest; drink plenty of fluids and hopefully have a more productive day tomorrow.   Again I hope everyone has wonderful Thanksgiving with your families and I am so grateful to be connected with all my followers and have your support; it’s really beautiful. I love you guys

Thanks for listening

Dave

I hate waiting

Well today I am supposed to hear back from Costco about starting the job and I am awaiting the result of the background ( I have no criminal record and have never failed a background check) I passed the drug test and they said they’d contact me this week about starting orientation; I was hoping to start as soon as possible so I could avoid working Thanksgiving.  I am also just ready to leave my old job; I’ve pretty much stopped caring at this point; in a sense they broke me and I am just exhausted from being there.  I thought of it as almost being in a prison; knowing you’re going to be released in a week and that’s the longest week of your whole sentence because you know you’re leaving and you are just staring at the calendar; obsessing about the days you can finally walk out and never come back; that’s exactly how I feel.

So I am at my most anxious when I am waiting for anything that requires urgency ( phone call, email text)  and I always go through this little anxiety attack in my head and that tape loop; they won’t call; you won’t get the job; maybe your current job will say you aren’t a good worker etc; over and over and again.  I’m just visibly anxious; my legs feel like they are shaking at 100 miles mph and I am just tapping my fingers in frustration.  I hate this anxiety so much because I have tried every which way to calm myself and remind myself that more often than I do get a call back; the anxiousness persists. I figured I wanted to write about my anxiety as it was happened so someone might get an idea of the feelings I have during this heightened state of anxiety.   Even when I send a simple text; I got through this sort of script in my head and I don’t calm down until the person texts me back or I give up and realize they aren’t going to talk to me. That is why I only like people who respond to messages promptly because that way I know they want to talk to me and don’t keep  me waiting.  I’m pretty I’m not the only one all this anxiety but it certainly feels like I’m alone with this most of the time.  Well I am going to get something to eat and take a shower; maybe that will calm my nerves. And I won’t make another post about this until I hear back from Costco and start officially working there.  Thank you so much for the support friends; I really need it on some days

Dave

The mall is dead

As many of you know, I work at Sears and our store is closing in less than two months.  My store is located as an anchor store at a major mall in the area; and it’s closing is really going to have an impact on the mall as a whole.  Anytime an anchor closes; it slowly kills the mall; foot traffic decreases and people have less of a reason to get into their cars; fight traffic and go to the mall.  And it doesn’t help that everyone is shopping online; and why not? It’s more convenient; you don’t have to leave your house or put up with pesky sales people or deal with crowds of screaming babies or terrible bland music piping from the store speakers; that is the exact reason why I stayed away from there. These days Malls everywhere seem to be dying and while I admit I hadn’t been to the mall to shop in a long time; I still feel sad about it’s demise.  Growing up as a teenager in the late 90’s; I would hang out with my friends at the mall all the time; we didn’t buy things; we just walked around aimlessly; smoking cigarettes and eating at the food court until someone picked us up; it sounds boring but it was the only place to hang out with your friends for hours on end; besides being stuck in the house.  I don’t even think kids today hang out at the mall; I think they’re stuck on the couch; looking at snapchat or watching Netflix on their phone; barely interacting with anyone.  Yeah the mall was a drag but at least you were in the real world; interacting with real people. It just feels like everything I grew up with is slowly dying and it really makes me sad.

I went back to where I grew up a few months back and stayed with a friend.  Before I left she messaged me and asked if I wanted to go a hockey game that her brother was a referee at; I figured she meant downtown; because where else would a hockey match be held?  It turns out it was at the mall where I had lunch with my grandparents every week (a whole lot of nostalgia but that is for a different post).  All the stores were gone and even the surrounding restaurants were out of business; the only thing left was the metro and this hockey rink that had been built after I left.  It took me a second for all of that register; the memories I had of that place were completely gone and it felt surreal.  Later on during the trip I had a dinner at another friend’s house and I used to hang out with her at the mall all the time.  She told me the mall we went to was demolished and they had it replaced with condos or something.  It’s just crazy to me; how fast things are changing and the mall is just on life support at this point.  I think about all the jobs being lost and abandoned buildings and parking lots; it’s just depressing.   I don’t know what else to say about that except a part of me will miss the mall.  I know that whenever my store closes; I am going back to the mall to see my Sears for the last time and I won’t be going back to the mall for a very long.  I assume within the next 5 years or so; that mall will be gone and just a faded memory.   The mall was good while it lasted; long live the American mall in all of its glory

Dave

 

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I got the job

I am so happy right now.  I have been on the job search for a few weeks now and it has been real stressful; I thought that I’d have to stay at Sears until the very end; which was a depressing scenario.  Anyways today I had my second interview with Costco; I had my first one only yesterday and I felt it went well.  I was really nervous today but I gave myself a pep talk and sent out a little prayer and thought about how supportive my friends were and how God was looking out for me and it calmed me down a bit.  It was a much shorter wait this time around and luckily I was interviewed by one person.  The conversation went really smooth and I felt confident in explaining how I handled certain situations at Sears; he just replied “Great, great” and moved on to the next question.  I asked him what the  job entailed ( like I did yesterday)  Its just bagging and gathering carts but also keeping the front end clean. I told him I was a hard worker and I didn’t like to stand around and do nothing ( which is the truth).  I know this job will be a challenge but I am up for it and willing to work hard and do the very best I can; I know I can do it; because anything worth having is worth working hard for.

I think God is working in my life right now; he is really looking out for me.  I was at a real low point and was depressed for a long time; my mental health has deteriorated and I felt so alone here and was just asking God for a miracle. At first I thought that leaving Sears was such a sudden thing and I felt like it was a bad thing but now I see it as a blessing in disguise; they is a new and much much better opportunity for me and I’m going to run with it.  I know I saw this a lot but God has blessed with me with the most loving friends.  I posted my good news and immediately my phone was just buzzing like crazy with texts and messages and notifications from my social media; my support network is unbelievable; I can’t describe how it feels to have all of these people who care about me so much; some days I can’t wrap my brain around; it really makes a difference in my life. Oh that support includes my blog followers as well. Thank you so much for all of your kind words.  So I am extremely happy right now. I am going try to calm down a bit; I’m  little too hyped right now and I am going to  treat myself and order some Chinese Food.  Today was an incredible day and It wasn’t me; it was God; he’s the one who made this all happen.  Thank you again, friends.  Good things do happen in this world if we’re patient; I truly believe that.

 

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The picture is a little blurry but I was so ecstatic after this interview.  Just such a relieve to finally have a new job!

 

Can I take a minute to vent?

Life is just a frustrating mess for me right; constant obstacles and I am trying to be positive but some days I need to vent; so here goes. I work a job that I absolutely I hate; and although I only work 30 odd hours a week; it feels like more. My schedule is erratic and next to impossible to find times where I could go out and meet people. So while I’m ready to be social and I’m facing my fears; I can’t; simply because every time I want to do something where I might find friends, I am working because while everyone else has their Saturdays and Sundays off ( when everything is happening); I’m on my feet all day. I am surrounded  by people who are difficult to talk to and I feel alone; which adds to my sense of isolation and depression. Because of my health issues; this is the only kind of job i can have at the moment and I know that I deserve better than this and that I’m smarter and more capable then any of them realize.

Writing is my refuge at the moment and the only interaction I have ( beside my family) are online since all my friends who I communicate with live far away. I want to meet other writers and share my poetry. I had planned on going to a poetry reading and share my poems for the first time ( I had missed it last month) and saw that I was scheduled that night of course. I banged my against the wall and said quietly to myself oh fuck me; it’s always something. I feel defeated at times and I always run into brick walls every time I want to do something to enrich my life.

The poetry reading is only once a month; I am sure there are other events but they usually fall during the weekends when its guaranteed I’ll be stuck at work with idiots all day; making nothing . I could be taking a walk in the woods and writing poetry or in a coffee shop relaxing or meeting other writers but no I’m  working as usual. I feel bitter; it’s not fair this whole system we live in is fucked; so much inequality between the working class and those 9-5 types; gets me so angry. And a part of me hates them.

Even my health is affected; I work in a warehouse environment and I’m pretty sure its partially causing my severe allergies. I have dark circles under my eyes, constant sinus pressure ( terrible headaches), stuffy nose and sneeze attacks. They are at there worst at work. So not only is it bad my emotional health but my physical health as well.

I’ll give you another example I had this volunteer opportunity at church to help the disabled; I emailed one of the leaders and told her I could meet Monday morning to discuss times i could volunteer. And I’m was scheduled that morning of course. I had to lie and tell my boss I had a test in school ( I withdrew weeks ago) just to be able to meet up with lady from disabled ministry. If I hadn’t of lied about the test; I’d never be able to volunteer and it just burns me up. Anytime I have to get something done that takes time I have to call in sick or make shit up to able to live a life.

I just want a set schedule like all my friends; I want earn a paycheck but I also want to be a part of things; meet people, go to church; volunteer, go out and talk to women but none of that seems possible now. It feels so hopeless. When I took this job I had no friends no life nothing going for me. I could work anytime day or night because I had nowhere to go; now things have changed and I feel stifled. I feel stifled as creative person; a person who wants to make difference and as a human being. I pray God will guide me through this difficult time because I’m sitting in my car in the heat wondering how much more I can take and whether I should walk out the door. God help me out of this. I got to get the hell out of here but is the grass greener on the other side? I don’t know. I just need help. Thank you friends for letting me vent

How I measure success?

I often time beat myself up because I am not as far a long as I would like to be in life. I am not in a relationship; I don’t have a family or kids; I don’t have an exciting career; I am not even living on my own; I feel left behind. I compare myself to the people I had grown up with and all the achievements they have made; while I sometimes feel like a failure. But then I remember all the obstacles that came my way; I remember difficulties in school due to learning disabilities; I was very smart but the mainstream way of teaching was not getting through to me; I felt left behind and it is because I have my own style of learning things and I have learned to adapt over the years. It’s probably why I struggled in high school yet thrived in college; for example I would get lost if I was trying to take notes during a lecture; I couldn’t keep up with the professor; my handwriting was illegible and I didn’t learn a thing. It wasn’t until I just listened to the lecture and studied twice as hard before a test; that I was able to do well at college. To me since I do have learning disabilities; just functioning in a classroom and getting passing grades to me is a success; it may seem small to someone else but to me it is a big deal because I never thought I’d be doing so well in school or getting so close to a degree; it was a nice pipe dream but I didn’t think it would actually happen ( although it has taken me many years)

I think back to the emotional difficulties I faced as a kid and how difficult it was to make friends. I just had such trouble relating to others; being able to hold a conversation; managing my feelings appropriately; all of this was extremely difficult for me. I used to act in anger all the time ( I have my moments but I have improved) and it got me kicked out of many schools and sent away to treatment centers and I look back and wish that if I had just controlled my anger; I could have stayed in regular high school and maybe been more successful. I look at myself and I am a lot calmer than I used to; I handle situations a hell of of lot better than in the past. I manage my anxiety by writing; working out and reaching out to my friends ; I don’t have to act out anymore. Writing has been my saving grace and has allowed me to make sense of all these complex emotions I face on the daily. While I still have trouble making friends; I put myself out there more; I am more involved in helping others; I try to meet other people who share my interests. I am actually going to a poetry reading tonight for the first time and I’m pretty excited and a little nervous ( although I won’t share) but these are things are I never did before because I was fearful. I face my fears these days and you can’t be successful if you are under constant fear and afraid to take risks; you can’t have success without risk.

For most people having a job is something you just do; you get up; get ready for work and put in your 8 hour/40 hr a week a job; they don’t realize that for some people going to work can be very difficult; both on a emotional and a physical level. I, like so many other Americans suffer from a number of disabilities and working has always been difficult for me. For me being on my feet 8 hours a way; dealing with a bad stomach and co-workers and bosses that don’t seem to give a shit can make the work day seem impossible; those 8 hours can be daunting. But I have gotten to a point ( believe or not) where I get up everyday; I get ready; out the door without any complaints; I just do it because it needs to get done. I hate working but I can’t expect anyone to carry me financially; I have bills that need to be paid and as far as I know working is the only way to make money ( legally at least) Today I manage to be as productive as possible and stay out of everyone’s way; I don’t talk about anyone or antagonize my co-workers; I ignore the bullshit and the gossiping because I want make my day as productive as possible. So I try to keep my emotions in check and that is very hard when you have a controlling store manager or backstabbing co-workers but I tell myself this is temporary and soon I will be on to bigger and better things; no need to be negative; this was not happening in the past. I was such a miserable person to be around in my previous job; I was spiteful and was the biggest shit talker you’ve ever met; I was in physical pain and I took it out on anyone I could find; I am truly ashamed of my behavior and wish I could take it back. At that time my stress was through the roof and every workday was an ordeal. I remember at my old job there was this new guy and he was pretty extroverted and able to make friends with everyone pretty quickly. He came back to me one day and she said some girl there told him that all I did was talk bad about people; I felt hurt at my behavior. Nowadays I don’t act that way at all; I respect others; I don’t complain; I do my stint at work and I go home; like everyone else. I am proud of the worker I am today and I would call that success. It may not be financial success but I have a steady income; work more hours; havE better relationships with my co-workers. Sometimes I can’t believe how much things have changed. I feel the person I was 7 or 8 years ago no longer exists; but it took a lot of work to get here; it didn’t happen overnight. But nonetheless the last two years of employment have been a success in my book.

This blog isn’t all about me though; success is subjective;dependent upon your situation. I also don’t want this post to seem self centered or self pitying; I hope someone can read it and feel inspired by it and strive for their own successes. There may be someone reading this that has such severe depression they can’t get out of bed. They may spend most of those days sleeping or lost in their sadness; unable to get off the couch. Success to them may mean meeting a friend for lunch or joining a class. Success may mean going back into to therapy and having that safe place to express their feelings. Or someone could have a physical disability and they managed to get in their wheelchair and go to the grocery store or the park and that is success. Someone may have stomach problems like me and they finally managed to find a diet that works and go a day without being sick and that is a huge success for them. Or how about someone is bi-polar who manages to get hired at their first job and the pride that comes with getting that first paycheck after being broke for so many years. Most people without difficulties don’t look at these things as achievements because they take their health for granted. They figure I can work 40 hours a week; why can’t they?. Success is a personal thing and is not always measured in terms of money, huge achievements or relationships; it’s the little things. Am I a better person than I used to be? Do I handle situations better than in the past? Have I learned to take care of myself both emotionally or physically? Some of us face so many obstacles but we can’t give up and we can’t let the world dictate to us what success means. We have to strive for success on our own terms and be proud of our achievements; even if it just means getting out of bed today. So thank you for as always for taking the time to read my blog and take care of yourselves.

Dave

 

 

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Working with the disabled

It’s Autism awareness month and I wanted to share my experience working with those who have developmental disabilities. All my life I have been passionate about helping the disabled; it’s a population I have always enjoyed being around. In fact some of the nicest; least non-judgmental people I have known have been disabled in one sense or another. It doesn’t take much to be their friend; you just need to be kind and understanding and have to ability to talk to them on their level. I think that because I have disabilities myself and was in special needs classes for most of my schooling; I am more sensitive about it because I see myself as part of that community.  Like a lot of disabled people I had trouble in social settings; making friends and building relationships. I also had difficulties finding and maintaining work and even more problems getting the understanding of my supervisors and co-workers.  Just getting through the work day was a struggle; because I’d run to the bathroom every 5 minutes ( I have physical issues as well) or lose my cool at inappropriate times.  It felt like I had to work 3 times as hard and I still wasn’t as good as the person working alongside me; it was frustrating to the point where I had a breakdown and had no choice but to leave work and was unemployed for several years; feeling hopeless.  One day a thought occurred to me that maybe I should go to school and finish my degree but I had no idea what I wanted to do. I remembered a friend of mine worked with people who had disabilities and I thought to myself: Hey I can do that.  I looked through the program catalog and found a developmental disabilities degree program and before you know it; I was signed up and headed to class. I remember being really nervous because I kept thinking that I am disabled myself; how can I help others who are disabled if I am struggling so much? I soon found out I loved the classes and did exceptionally well because I was so passionate about this field.  I may not have been able to express myself in the class the way I wanted to; but I shone through my writing; the papers I wrote about developmental disabilities. I found a few teachers and counselors who believed in me and encouraged me to continue. After a few years and a lot of apprehension; I started my internship at an agency that serves the needs of the developmentally disabled in our community; I was really nervous.  I am actually on my second round of internship at the same agency.  To be honest; getting along with my supervisor and some of the other workers can be challenging. I find some of them to be rude and not willing to help me or guide me; I feel left on my own.  But what I do take comfort is the fact that I love working with the clients. I love to see them laugh and the smiles they give when they see me. That is my skill; the ability to connect with them maybe in a way that other workers can’t. I don’t bark orders at them and I speak to them at their own level; I never talk to   the client as if I am above them.  I try to be their friend and maybe that isn’t my role but I don’t know how to be anything but myself.   Yesterday I saw a client who has down syndrome who I hadn’t see since I was last there ( about 2 years)  He ran up to me gave me a high five; and said “DAVID!! I can’t believe it; you’re here; where you been? I missed you, man”. That brightened my whole day and that’s the reason I show up; to make a difference.  So when did I feel dismissed or not understood by staff I can take comfort in the fact that I care deeply about the clients and that my kindness is my gift. I know God placed me here for a reason and he doesn’t want to me to give up on my dreams.  It may be tough but I will continue my education so I can get a job in this field; I am determined.

Thanks for listening,Dave.