My work history is a storied one, fraught with tales of woe and absolute impossibilities of the mind.
Things first started to go sour when I was working for Thrifty foods. I had a position in both the front end department, tending to customers at the till as a cashier; and I also worked as a cake decorator in the bakery department. My hours were random and unpredictable. My moods were as well. This was a period of my life where I was, as of yet, unaware of my adjustment disorder, so my depressions were unexplained and confusing. I decided it would be a fantastic idea to simply increase my dose of anti-depressants, since my mood was so low for no reason (yeah right…) I took handfuls of Venlafaxine, instead of the three or so capsules I was prescribed. And you’ll never guess what the consequences were (or perhaps you already have)… My mood skyrocketed, due to my innate bipolar brain chemistry. I became very hypomanic and was reckless and increasingly impulsive. At work I wore tons of makeup, greeted every customer with the enthusiasm of a long lost family member reunion, and excitedly scanned all their purchases with a scary determination. I also was in the midst of disordered eating, so I wouldn’t bring food with me to work.
I eventually was hospitalized for all of my hypomanic symptoms. I was sent to Cowichan bay hospital in Duncan, and I was forced to quit my job. It was the most ungraceful affair imaginable – I was in hospital so I had to get my dad to quit for me. I didn’t return to work.
My next job was the summer after this one. I had just completed a full year at university and I was doing fairly well, or so I thought. In retrospect, my symptoms were worsening and my diagnoses were, in reality, more complex than ever before. I took a position in plant maintenance at Foxglove farm and Garden supplies Ltd. It was a dream come true. I am a “plant nerd” so being in an environment where I could spend all day tending plants – that was an incredible opportunity for me. It started to go sour around my fourth week on the job. Up until this point, the novelty seemed to help me coast through the changes that were bombarding my adjustment disordered brain. However, the novelty didn’t last, and with that, my sanity abruptly disintegrated. I began to be unable to bear completing the simple tasks of watering the plants. Simply the idea of going into work made me incredibly suicidal. I was absolutely a mess with my eating during this period – I was fully engulfed in my bulimia at this point. I was hospitalized for an overdose of my prescription medications, and after this incident, I decided that I was simply too mentally unstable to be able to continue my work with Foxglove. I quit via email, with no notice.
Fast forward a couple of months, and everything has changed. I am currently couchsurfing in Victoria, spending my time with my friends and boyfriend, waiting for September the first when I can move into my own, new place. I have obtained a position at Walmart Langford, where I am part of the fulfillment team, stocking shelves. I had my first shift yesterday. It was a strange roller coaster of an experience – but overall it was a positive time for me.
The first scary thing was when they handed me a box cutter. I understood that it was an extremely necessary part of my job as I would be unable to open boxes of product without the tool, however, that fact didn’t stop me from being triggered in a big way. On my hour long lunch break, I resisted my urges as best I could, but couldn’t help “testing” the blade on my ankle the absolute tiniest bit, just to see how sharp it was. I eventually ended up leaving it in my locker at work instead of bringing it home with my vest as I would have normally done.
I also “forgot” to bring food with me. I was moving boxes and stocking shelves for seven hours, without any lunch or any dinner. I was running off of my breakfast of that day, which was two rice cakes with peanut butter and jam… I’d be lying if I were to say I wasn’t proud of this.
But what makes me even more proud is the fact that I survived. Yes, I cried in the bathroom on all of my breaks. Yes, I consumed only water for nearly a whole day. Yes, I cut myself, albeit barely visible marks. But despite my adjustment disorder wreaking havoc on my brain, making me feel desperate and impulsive and slightly suicidal even; I didn’t quit. I made it through the day, and even enjoyed the work while I was engaged in it. The eight hours simply sped by and by the time I knew it, it was time to clock out. I worked with some really nice people, I got complimented on my customer service skills, I felt a huge sense of satisfaction at looking at the work I had completed just on my first day.
I am incredibly proud of all of this. I’ve decided I want to try and stick this job out. The stability will be a godsend – with all of my shifts being regular and the same every day. I get good hours – about 37 a week, which is more than I was even expecting. I get paid better than I was hoping as well, a full 11.20 an hour! I enjoyed the work, with everything speeding by and me never being bored by the tasks (it was almost like a puzzle – trying to find where items were supposed to go on the shelves etc.). I had a huge sense of importance and accomplishment yesterday while working. I am excited to go to work again today. I am excited for my work to, perhaps finally, work out for me.
Wish me luck world. I’ll try not to need it though…