Building my support network

Lately my social media has really grown, I have added thousands of people to my Facebook, most of them life coaches therapists, other advocates, those in the recovery field and it has been such a blessing to connect with them. I have found it healing being able to share my thoughts and feelings across and get all of these amazing responses, unimaginable 2 years ago, I finally feel like I have a sizable support network and for me that is important and when it comes to support, it makes no difference whether I personally know someone or not. In fact it’s a lot easier to me to talk about mental health or advocacy with those I don’t know personally. I am talking to interesting people and in only a matter of a few weeks, I have really grown as a person. and have never felt more connected/

This week is going to be quite the busy week in regards to advocacy. Today I went on my first Facebook live discussing mental health, I was with another advocate/life coach. The discussion went very even though I was a little nervous, especially sharing my story and being so open about my struggles and past but she listened and I felt like she understood, I was honest and raw in my discussion, which I always am, I don’t usually do on video, so it was nerve wracking. But people seemed to like the broadcast and I got a lot of good feedback from everyone, it was healing, therapeutic even. I talk about mental health, my issues with disabilities, my health issues my brother taking his life and spirtuality. . It can be overwhelming to get this sudden attention, to go from feeling very alone to being connected with all these people who want to talk me, it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around it, I am anxious about all of it but also excited. I have felt rejected for so long, I have trouble understanding why anyone would want to hear me talk. But I feel this is important and I will continue to speak out on mental health and disabilities.

I am also participating in an online anxiety workshop on top of everything else, I am very busy. But this is a time of finding myself, healing and I hope maybe this might lead to a career somehow. I really believe that I have the ability to reach people and help them with my story and experience. I care, I like to listen, I encourage others and I want them to feel less alone, those are valuable skills in that field. I am not working right now and I can’t go back to retail, I want to do something that makes a difference and working retail is soul crushing and it was so difficult and emotionally draining.

And I that leads to one more thing. In talking about the past and my issues with mental health and disabilities, I have mentioned several times how I felt I was treated poorly, in school as a child and in the workplace as an adult. As I was talking live on Facebook and i recounted my issues of disabilities and mental health struggles at work, I felt angry inside. I felt angry how they put me down, made me feel inferior and never took my disabilities into account when my productivity was slow. And when I was telling this story, the other person just listened and for first time I felt like someone was as angry as me about it. Like I knew I had been treated fairly but usually people just brush it off and say ” Everyone hates their job” It was different for me, I felt isolated and helpless, I was dealing with really bad stomach and bladder issues and it was creating emotional distress and all they could do was mock the fact that I wasn’t quick enough, that makes me angry, I was treated unfairly. I realized that part of advocacy is speaking out for those who are in similar situations but are afraid to speak up, much like i was, not too long ago. But instead of letting my anger fester and destroy me, I channel it and use it make a difference, that is what advocacy is all about. In a sense I feel vindicated, all of that pain and anquish lead me to something good, something better and maybe in a way it was worth it.

I feel advocacy is my calling and I will continue to share my story, I will continue to speak out especially when I see injustices in the world. I feel God is working in my life and he is giving me all these opportunities and my life is changing faster than I could have imagined a few weeks ago, I’m really optimistic because I feel people are listening. I feel like this is my turn to shine and make something of myself. So I thank all of those that hurt me because they thought i was weak but they actually made me stronger, I rise above them and prove them all wrong. Thank you everyone who has always supported and listened to me

 

Note- I have been much less active on my blog lately, I apologize,  I have been communicating with a lot of people and dealing with an influx on comments, messages and reactions.  I am going to make more of an effort to blog more because I enjoy it.   And as soon as I can, I will post the link to the broadcast

 

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Learning to advocate for myself

I want to start off this post with a little bit of gratitude; I am so grateful to  even  have this seasonal job; the pay is great; I’m getting better hours; I am not dealing with same kinds of frustration at my old job; I don’t have be in 10 places at once and that reduces my stress. Even if they decide to let me go; the bright side that I made a nice amount of money for the holidays and it will help me while I look another job in a few weeks; so that’s good. That being said; I am so exhausted; today was another long day at the bakery; very busy and frustrating at times. Working in the bakery drains me completely; I get overstimulated by everything I need to do and all the noise around me; it’s hard to communicate with others because I can barely hear myself think and having ADHD really doesn’t help.  I also found yesterday that they are sending me back to assist the cashiers after Christmas; which has lead me to think I have done something wrong; when maybe I am overthinking things too much.  I really am self conscious about the job I’m done and I feel anxious a lot of time; although I try my best to hide it. I also want to point out that I didn’t tell them I have any kind of learning disability because there is so much stigma and ignorance regarding learning disabled people that I didn’t think it would make a difference; and it might mean they’d give me less hours or single me out; so usually unless it becomes a major issue; I keep it to myself and I hope my followers understand that logic; it’s a very tricky situation for me

I try to get along well with people at work; I try to be friendly and smile and say hello to everyone I see; partially because I really am happy to be there and proud I work there; sometimes someone  will greet me back with a smile and some ( mostly dudes) don’t even bother to acknowledge my presence ( and that’s never a good feeling).  I get the sense that the people in the bakery are frustrated with me at times; it takes me longer to learn things or I may ask a question that seems like common sense and they me give that look. You know that look that says ” You should already know the answer”.  Most of what I get from is a sense of frustration or they realize I’m a little slow but they aren’t rude or disrespectful; with the exception of one person. She’s an older lady from Russia and I can barely understand her; so right there it creates a communication issue.  She’ll try to tell me something; I can’t understand her and she gets annoyed when I ask her to repeat it.  But this woman just criticizes me at every turn: “you’re too slow”  “you’re not doing it right”  “You don’t listen”  It goes on and on and on. She isn’t training me or directing me; she is bullying me and trying to make me feel stupid. I’ve been there 5 days straight and that is all she has done. I have reacted at times and have been really trying to keep calm and not create issues.  I pray; I do self talk; I try breathe in and out; every tool at my disposal; but I always have a knee jerk reaction to bullies and it’s hard not to react.

Finally at some point; she refused to let me use the machine to print out labels; she said “You can’t use it; you’ll break it” At that point I couldn’t take it anymore so I immediately turned to the other woman that had been training me and I told her ” Can you please tell her to leave me alone; she has been criticizing me non stop and I am getting really frustrated”   She said “Ok, I’ll talk to her, for now just try to ignore her” and that is exactly what I did from that point on.  And a few of the ladies who were making cakes talked to me and let me know I was doing a great job and she had a bad attitude and she was like that with everyone; I felt much better.  I vented a little bit because I needed to get that out; she has been treating me unfairly and I shouldn’t have to put with that. Within 10 minutes or so I was putting some bread away and she started criticizing me again and I sort of nodded to one of the other ladies in the bakery and she was like ” Let him work and leave him alone”; it was nice someone stood up for me. Eventually the supervisor of the bakery talked me as well and I told her what was happening and she said that was unacceptable and that they’d talk to her. Luckily I only have one more day in the bakery but at least they know what was happening.  It was much better than me losing my cool; insulting the lady and getting fired; I opted for standing up for myself and now I feel better.

I share this story because I know so many who have learning disabilities or  those who are on the autistic spectrum experience this daily; whether it’s a child in school or an adult trying to make a living at their job; there is just so much damn ignorance about those who are developmentally disabled and that ignorance can lead to cruel behavior. We as the disabled have to stand up ( myself included) and say ” No, this isn’t right, I don’t deserve to be treated this way”  I don’t like to create problems or go to supervisors about these things but if I don’t say anything; the abuse will continue and they’ll get away with it. To be honest I don’t trust management to really take care of the problem but at least they are aware of it.   I think a lot disabled people are fearful and there is shame attached to our disabilities and it keeps us from advocating for ourselves.  We have to attack that shame and get our needs meet in the workplace. For me yes, I am disabled and maybe I’m a little slower but  I work 10x harder than anyone else; I have to in order to keep up and yes, despite my disabilities I want to work as much as the next guy; don’t give  me a day or two a week. I don’t want to be treated any different; I just want the same opportunities as a non disabled person has and of course the same respect as well.

Whether they keep me as permanent employee or not; I will tell them about my learning disabilities; how hard I worked and how much I want to be a part of the company. This isn’t only for me but for future employees that may have learning disabilities; there are so many of us.  I find it so interesting that as I am writing I realized that I was talking to another employee in the breakroom about social media and how addicted people are with their phones and I jokingly said ” no wonder we all have adhd”   And then he started telling me he had adhd and just saw his doctor etc; I was huh, I am definitly not alone in this. So I hope that this post inspires anyone who has been through what I have in the workplace.  It does get better; don’t give up and don’t let anyone put you down because you are disabled; be bigger than them; don’t stoop to the their level and if you finally reach your breaking point; report it to someone and let management handle it. You shouldn’t have to face it alone.  That being said I am going to enjoy the rest of my holiday season and take a few deep breaths…. calming down

 

Thanks for listening,

Dave

A year in review 2018

This has been such a wonderful year for me; a life changing year; really. I can’t even begin to describe or list all of the wonderful blessings I have had in 2018 but I am going to try. I started out the year still working at Sears and starting an internship related to my degree in developmental disabilities; it was actually kind of rough and I had doubts about my ability to work in the disability field; I had a lot of stress and anxiety and felt overworked with both my regular job and internship; I turned to only comfort I knew; prayer and my writing; I just had to go on faith that I’d get through this period in my life. I found myself turning to God more and more and growing in my faith; even if I couldn’t make it to church. And I was blessed to have so many caring and supportive friends on social media; it made such a huge difference; I really appreciated all the comments and messages from people. I felt I became a better writer as well ( and began calling myself one); I wrote blog post after blog post and it really helped me to cope with some of the anxiety I felt. My blog grew like crazy; it went from 300 or so followers to over 1200 followers in less than year; you don’t realize how grateful I am to ALL of my followers; just to know that people can relate to what I am saying; just vindicates all of these feelings I have had for years and I no longer feel as alone; this blog has been my saving grace. This is such a great community and not only did I connect with writers on my blog but my instagram has also grown and I connect with so many writers, mental health advocates, educators; its amazing. My social media feed is full of positive messages and I love interacting with people; it makes my day.

In 2018 I also was able to take a trip back to where I grew up; after not being there for 10 years. I left in 2008; feeling like I never wanted to go back home; too many painful memories. But I decided that I wanted to face the past and see my old friends; it was very emotional leading up to the trip; I was sort of reliving all of those memories and it hurt; and people around me didn’t understand it; so I kept it myself; I only expressed it through writing. I went back to DC in July of this year and stayed with a friend and I think a lot of the memories of the past came flooding back; I was gone for so long that I had forgotten what the area looked like and it was like being a tourist in my own city. But I did have a lot of fun; I saw many of my friends and family. They even had a welcome home party for me; which was crazy because all these people showed up and I just felt loved; to see those faces again was indescribable. I was happy but anxious at the same time; these are people I really care about and they all showed up to welcome me home; I think I was just overwhelmed; and I am already overwhelmed at social events to begin but it turned on out nice. I went back to my old church where I had spent a lot of time and I just broke down crying; thinking of all those memories; the good and the bad. It was painful but healing; I finally let go of all that pain and anger and sadness in a matter of minutes; it’s what I needed. And I feel God was watching over me the whole trip; comforting me. I will never forget that trip and I hope in 2019; I can come back again and hopefully it will be less emotional.

About 3 months; I finally had a Sunday off and I was able to attend church. They were talking about something called the Rainbow Ministry; which serves the needs of the developmental disabled in the community. I was impressed and I asked the pastor about it and he told me that he wanted me to be a part of this ministry. Before I knew it; I met with the leader and her daughter and we talked about volunteer opportunities. I helped with this lunch called “Feast with friends” which is where the young adults; make and serve lunch at the church; the crowd can be up to over 100 people on some days. I helped a young man dry dishes ( we make a great team by the way). I got to know all of the young adults and the volunteers and grew to care about them and I think they feel the same way about me. I started spending a lot of time with Rainbow; I went on a trip to the mountains with them and it was such a wonderful experience; I bonded with a lot of people. Again it helped grow in my faith in God and gave me a purpose; I no long felt as depressed or anxious. We have done activities at church and at the cabin in downtown Matthews; just a lot of fun. It was one of the biggest blessings of this year and it has changed me; I am different person because of this group and I only have God to thank for it. It also has given me more confidence that I can do well in the disability field; with the right guidance.

And lastly I recently just started a new job; my old job was closing it’s store and I had to scramble for a new job quick and by the grace of God; I found one and it has been so much better for me. I have about a 6 dollar raise, I am treated better; have better hours; am more productive and have so much pride in what I do. Yes, there are challenges but it wasn’t like at Sears where I got paid nothing, was treated terribly and it just made my anxiety and depression 10 times worse; I felt antagonized most of the time and I felt stagnant; I prayed for God to get me out of there and he delivered on that promise. I am so much happier in this new job and my confidence has increased; both as a worker and socially. It’s seasonal and I have anxiety about whether they will keep me or not but I leave it leave it God; it’s in his hands at this point. I work hard every day and can only do my best.

So yes, 2018 was a life changing year and sometimes I just sit back and I can’t believe all of the good things that have happened; it feels like a dream to me; like it’s not real. All the wonderful friends and people who have actually come to Charlotte to visit me. I get overwhelmed by the good things sometimes and I tell myself I have to take it a day at a time and learn to accept praise and love and to be easy on myself. I pray that in 2019; my life will continue to be good and I can grow as a person and hopefully help and inspire others; through my words and videos. Thank so much for all the support friends; you guys mean the world to me. Please take care of yourself in the year to come and I hope we continue to connect and support one another

Your friend,

Dave

 

 

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I’m feeling less anxious these days

I was driving home today and I thinking to myself; how tired I was from working non stop in the bakery;  I am on the go; all day; wrapping bread, making cookies trays, placing pies in holders, placing baked items on the tables and rotating baked goods; aside from my breaks; I literally do not stop; I take a second to catch my breath and continue onto the next task.  I am not complaining; I am just busy; it’s not like my old job where I checked my phone every few minutes;  In fact I keep my phone on airplane mode and only check my social media on breaks.  My old job I  was anxious all the time  and I was so emotionally drained from all the negativity; at work; now it’s more mentally draining and it’s something I have never experienced. In fact I keep my phone on airplane mode and only check my social media on breaks.  Even other workers who don’t have disabilities tell me that they heard the bakery was brutal; and they have no idea that I have learning disabilities or ADHD ( Although I’m sure some suspect it); so I am really working hard.

So as I was driving I realized that since working this new job ( and working 40 + hour weeks); I have felt less anxious and depressed. Hold let me take that back; I feel anxious but about different things; I have less social anxiety or thoughts about the past; the anxiety is more about trying to keep up with a face paced environment and whether they will keep me after the Christmas season; all normal anxiety.

But it’s anxiety that I can handle and it doesn’t make me feel bad about myself; in fact I have more confidence than I ever had in my life.  I have never gotten along with my co-workers and supervisors so well in a job; no one has really criticized me too much; they seem to enjoy seeing me and I make sure I say hi to everyone and they seem genuinely nice.  Even a lot of the women seem very friendly with me; which is a first for me in a job situation.  Obviously I am going to stay focused on my job but it does feel nice; and for whatever reason it doesn’t make me anxious; which is the past would have created so much anxiety; I am really not sure what’s happening but I seem to be comfortable around people in general and more sure of myself.   I am just happier right now than I ever been at a job and I think that all the praying; the support from my friends; my writing and my growing social media accounts ( the blog included) has made me more confident in life and people around me are picking up on and responding more positively to me than in the past.  I also think perseverance is really starting to pay off; I hope to inspire others never to give up.   Anyways this is all I have the energy to write tonight; I have the day off and I am going to get some much needed rest and recharge my batteries.  Thanks for all the support; it really makes a difference in my life.

Thanks for listening

 

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Unrelated but music helps me to calm down; this is what I am listening to as I write this; first track is great!

 

A hard day at work

Lost in the abyss of exhaustion; bones ache, brain breaks, can’t keep my eyes open and the pain on my flat feet, I have no energy to do anything but to sink into oblivion in this uncomfortable chair and listen to the music to soothe my tired soul. But if you think I’m miserable; you couldn’t be more wrong.  I have enough strength to smile; knowing I completed a hard day’s work; I made a decent wage ( for the first time in my adult life) and I take pride that I was busy and productive and not thinking restless thoughts;  I had a good time and the time flew by faster than a jet airplane and I know God is smiling on me today; finally things are looking up and much like my work; he takes pride in all the good things he does for his children; all he asks is for us to trust him and keep picking up our feet.  So while I’m exhausted; it’s the kind of exhaustion I crave;  I just know I’ll sleep well tonight and hey, I earned it.

An ADHD poem

I wrote this poem after a long day of dealing with ADHD symptoms at work; I feel exhausted

A flow of ideas; a stream of my imagination;information overload; the clutter of  too many noises all at once drains my mind’s battery and I’m  left exhausted; in a state of helplessness ; the wheels in my head constantly turning like the whirring of the industrial machine beside me. Too many conversations create a blur; a whirlpool and confusion takes over; i cant decipher the coded message coming the loud speaker and I wish my brain was like yours How you do process of all this constant information without feeling overwhelmed? Why cant people understand I am working as fast as my brain will allow me? Why do i feel dumb when i know i’m not. And why don’t i give myself a break; shrug my shoulders and realize i’m doing the best i can?

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

 

 

Work anxiety

Today was just such a bad day at work; I feel overwhelmed and depressed beyond belief that I am going to lose my job and I am having difficulty just dealing with other people;  I feel tired and anxious all the time; it has really affected my mental health because it is such a negative work environment.  Sometimes I feel like the environment plays just as much of a role in my depression/anxiety as a chemical imbalance does. What makes matters worse is I know most people are off on Sundays; they get to go to church and relax and just enjoy their day; I have to work in this terrible place and frankly I feel trapped.  I decided to write down a stream of thoughts during an anxiety anxiety. I am hoping someone can read it and relate and I can make sense of my thoughts. I am writing exactly what I wrote on my phone.

Overwhelmed and overstimulated.  This Christmas music at work. Store packed and the customers don’t stop. So anxious right now and my depression seems to be getting worse as the store gets near to the end. I feel angry and have no patience for niceties. Can’t even have a lunch break without being bombarded by loud people who need the television on at all times. Can’t I have quiet while I’m on my break? Is that so much to ask? Maybe it’s being on the spectrum but i am so mentally drained. I just want them to shut off the music and give my ears and brain a rest. Again is that so much to ask? I don’t think it is. I feel like I’m losing it here and I need to contact my therapist and talk this out; maybe she can help me.  I check my phone for a sign of support from my social media and my blog; it’s my window to the world. I feel shut out from the world here; I feel like nothing; like I have no value. God give me some reprieve; get me the fuck out of here because this is killing me spiritually, mentally and emotionally.  Help me NOW; this is soul crushing and I’m better and smarter than this.

I write this in hopes that someone in a similar situation can relate to this; it’s jumbled and negative but those are thoughts that go through my head when I’m extremely anxious; I just feel trapped and hopeless and writing is my only refuge when I feel alone.  I truly believe that kind this of anxiety has some to do with depression itself but it’s mostly the environment and my inability to cope with it. I wish I had better coping skills at work. I try praying; I seek out support online while I’m there but I’m still at work. I’m still in this crowded noisy environment and I’m stuck here all day. I just tell myself that it will be over in 2 months and if I just write it out  I’ll feel better; it’s the only healthy coping skill I have at the moment. Thanks to all my followers that have been supportive so far; I really appreciate your comments and know that I will get through this on the other side.

Thanks for listening to my crazy rant

Dave

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Some music to calm me down after a stressful day

It’s not me; it’s them

I am really starting to look at my store closing as a blessing in disguise; I have been surrounded by negative people for a long time; it has been so bad for my mental health.  I’ve gotten to the point where I feel so terrible about myself and I have started to believe most people are just mean spirited and that I am totally unworthy. Half the time I feel constantly watched at work as if I am the worst person in the world and I can’t trust anyone. It feels so lonely; with this exception of this new guy who is a youth pastor; I have no one to talk to.  I have a store manager who lives to make my life miserable and is one of the worst micro managers I have ever come across; I can’t blink or eat or run to the bathroom without him asking me what I’m doing; even the customers hate this guy. In fact he is a real life Bill Lumburgh with the same drive monotone voice; devoid of empathy for anyone; and the smug passive aggressiveness of this guy needs to be seen to be believed; it is simply a toxic place to be and only adds to my anxiety and depression.

I try to be positive and tell myself I have the support of my friends; I reach out on social media and text people but it’s not enough. I try to pray and and ask God for help but I have yet to find comfort at work.  Work is too noisy and I am too busy with customers to find any peace. I have this scanner with me and every few moments ( even when Im sick in the bathroom) this fuckin thing beeps and I have to drop everything and run like a chicken with it’s head cut off and get an item for a customer or retrieve an item for an online order ( which could be anywhere in this huge department store) or I have to get a huge refrigerator from the floor or a stove or whatever the hell and lug it into some ungrateful customer’s car ( all the while having to pee) and not even get a tip ( and even if I did I’m technically not allowed to take tips).  What an insult; so you pay me $8 dollars in hour and I can’t take a dollar or two from a customer once in a blue moon? (The nerve of you) So I feel  no relief; living with this constant anxiety of having to be on my toes for 8 hours; never getting  a moment’s rest.

But there is an upside the store will be closed in the next few months; good riddance; I hate them all and I shed no tears for them.  But lately I am starting to realize that people I met outside of work really seem to like me. They think I’m a nice guy; I care about others; I’m sensitive; I write things that resonate with people; I am passionate about helping those with disabilities and knowing that touches my heart. I realize that I am not unworthy; I have friends ( old and new) that love me. I am a human being with value and like anyone else I deserve dignity; sadly I have not gotten that at work. I realize that people are good and they can be trusted; it may take some time to recover from being in this almost abusive work situation but I will get better as I surround myself with good people who care about me.  I just say to myself it’s you; it’s them; they’re the one with the problem. They’re the ones who are ignorant and insensitive and have absolutely no social skills except to insult those around them ( most times for no reason). I am bigger and better than that.

Today i had a long phone conversation with a woman that I had known from church when I was younger; actually I didn’t know her very well at all.  First let me say I am so anxious about talking on the phone with anyone; I have avoided it for years. She is going to help me prepare for this suicide awareness walk. Normally phone conversations are abrupt and pretty uncomfortable.  But I called and we really were having a nice conversation; which is a rarity for me. Having an intelligent conversation with anyone is just not something I have the luxury of doing. But we talked about the walk and my brother and the fact we both had anxiety. I realized that I was really connecting with this woman in a way that I couldn’t with most people; I felt I was talking to someone who understood me and this could be the start of a friendship. I’ve  been here 10 years and not been able to meet anyone that I could see myself talking and low and behold I meet someone through facebook who knew me when I was younger but now is living here with her family; amazing.  I then thought about my work with the disabled ministry and how well I enjoy being with them and how they like me and it just keeps hitting me. I have been with the wrong people; I didn’t do anything wrong; I’m not defective; people like me. I know it sounds silly but for the first time in my life I am connecting with others in a positive way. And then I feel that elation and have to face my co-workers again; the negativity and them looking at me like I’m nothing; giving the lowest job to do; like I’m an idiot. I’m a man, treat me like one.

So again this store closing could be the best thing that could have happened to me; I need this break. I need to start fresh because I’m worth it.  I deserve friendships and love like any other person.  No one likes to be under suspicion all the time as if you’re some kind of criminal. No one likes to be mocked or talked down to.  I will try to keep my head up as long as I am there and they can try and take away my dignity but I won’t let them; they don’t have power over me. They can’t take my writing away from me or my friends or my relationship with God.  All they can is rob me of my time; but not for long because time’s up; I’ve done my shift and I’m going  home.

Dave