Mental drabbles!

The meanderings of a mad mind!

So, here we are, at the end, ready for new adventures ...
cathy1967
I've been on sick leave for three months. Am I stress-free now? I don't know. I'm over the anger, I'm over the urge to bawl my eyes out, and I am so so happy to be out of there and ready for new things. I'm a little apprehensive, but not nearly as much as I maybe should be. After all, I'm facing an unknown period of unemployment in times where jobs are not easy to come by. I feel strangely settled and convinced that everything will work out, though. And I'm going to cling to that feeling for as long as I can.

31 January 2016 was my final day and today, 1 February 2016, I'm free. And it feels right and good. Whatever the future holds, it can just bring it on. I'm ready. As long as it means I find a job where I'm treated like a human being and won't have to put up with braindead little turds like in my previous gig. I'm actually inclined to write a book (fictional) about this lunatic asylum, but right now it's still too close. I need more distance to it. Maybe then I can write a vaguely humorous story about how crazy a workplace can be without anyone stepping in and doing something about it. Technically, it's a bit like that movie, Evil Bosses. The boss wasn't the biggest issue for me, but his inability to step in and stop the behavior of certain employees made it his problem. So, even if he had a good reason, it still does not justify why he didn't do anything about it.

But, ah well. I'm out, so it's time to get over it and move on with my life. And if I along the way realize that it has left deeper scars on my soul than I thought, I'll have to look into some serious help. I don't feel I need it right now, but there may be things I'm subconsciously repressing and ... well ... we'll see.

I had the entire day planned out, that I had to go to the unemployment office and sign up for unemployment benefits etc., but found out that I could do it all online. Go figure. It's a lot easier than the last time I was unemployed. So, all the paperwork has been sent in. Now I just have to wait to be called in for a meeting with my union and figure out what their decision is about whether or not I'm going to be quarantined (sounds worse than it is) for three weeks or not. When you quit a job yourself in Denmark, you don't get money for the first three weeks you're unemployed, unless there are special circumstances. Being on sick leave with stress for three months might be that. We'll see. Either way, I'm going to be okay for a bit. I get a severance benefit of 6 month's pay, so I should be fine if they decide on the quarantine.

Either way, I'm happy to be away from that toxic environment for good. There was a brief moment where it looked like I would get sucked in again, because the guy I worked closely with wanted me to deal with the office website from home. I was kinda open to doing it to do him a favor, but the leadership started making waves about payment and contracts etc., so I decided to pull out and leave completely. When they wanted to do it off the books and just pay me and leave it up to me whether I told anyone I got paid for the job or not ... I backed out. That would get me in way more trouble than I ever want to be in. So, despite getting a new boss, the office is still as corrupt as it's ever been. I'm better off far far away from that place. And I can feel it in my bones that it's the right decision to make. So yes, I'm out and I'm happy to be free. :)

I'm angry ....
cathy1967
I'm angry. Actually, I'm pissed off like nobody's business.

I know it's a part of the stress-deal I'm going through right now and I know it will eventually pass, but right now I understand perfectly well what drives someone to murder. This kind of anger is not healthy.

When it rises up in me, I go for a long walk with my dog. I get out of breath in no time, my heart is hammering, and I'm sweating despite the temperatures, and I'm so frigging pissed off, I want to strangle someone.

In the wake of that comes the sadness. Sadness that I'm that far out, sadness that I've allowed myself to be pushed this far out. I'm angry at myself. I'm sad that I couldn't stop this sooner. I should have, but what does that help? It's not like I can go back and redo it. It's not like I have the option of turning back time and doing things differently.

I feel like a screw-up. I feel like I've been driven into the ground and it's my own fault. Technically, I know that's not true either. I know it's not my fault. Well, some of it is. I cannot point fingers at that office and say it's all on them. Because it's not. I should have left sooner. I should have packed my stuff and gotten out while I still had a shred of sanity left. But I didn't and that's on me.

My fault is that I let them abuse me. I allowed it to get to that point despite knowing better. So now I deal with the aftermath. The sleepless nights, the anger, the sadness, the acid reflux that is driving me nuts despite the pills I'm taking to keep it to a minimum, the colds and flus that keep hitting me like clockwork, the low self-esteem, the feeling of being useless, of being undermined.

"You're not good enough." That's what I take away from this job. "You're not worth anything. You only work here because we feel sorry for you. You're not good at anything. You don't deserve anything. You're not a valuable member of this company." How the hell am I supposed to rise above that? I know I'm good enough, but that part of me that believes them has been growing steadily and I'm at this point where every time I think about applying for a new job, the first reaction is "why bother? They're not gonna hire you. You're not good enough. You can't do what they want. You won't even get an interview." And, so far, it's held true. I've sent countless applications and I never make it to an interview. "Sorry, but we decided on someone else." So, why is that? I'm a woman. I'm almost 50. I don't have any courses under my belt. I don't have any papers that document what I can do. I do have recommendations, but they make no difference.

I don't know if this is part of the stress-thing, but I feel worthless. I feel despondent. I feel like a failure. I can't do anything right. I write a book and publish it and nothing. I do the damned best I can at work and nothing. I salvaged the website after the biggest moron to walk the earth nearly drove it into the ground and then I'm told "websites are hobbies." In other words, the two years I've spent cleaning up that piece of shit were wasted.

In my darkest hours, I wonder why I bother breathing at all. I'm a failure to my family. None of them are proud of me. I've stood on my own two feet since I moved away from home, have never done drugs, don't drink, don't smoke. I haven't run from one failing relationship to another, I've never lost an apartment because I couldn't pay the bills, I've never had to give up my pets because of that either. I've always managed to stay afloat, to have a good life. I don't hurt people, I don't hurt animals, I help my friends when I can and I try to be there for them when they need me. And yet it's still not good enough.

I have better friends now. I've shed the ones that kicked me in the face when I was down. But you can't shed family, can you? My mother seems the happiest when I'm at my lowest. It's like she feels useless if she can't save me. Not that she ever has. My father … oh, don't get me started on him. He's always been an outsider in this family. He's not, nor has he ever been, an authority figure. He's struggling to stay alive at the moment (bad heart, bad health, bad everything) and I can barely bring up the energy to care. Why? Because he never cared. He was never there for me. Anything that happened in my life, he was never a part of it. He was busy working a job that treated him like crap. Yeah, I don't get that from strangers. I've repeated his mistakes. My brother … well, I don't know about him. He has his own family, his own issues, and we've never really gotten along that well. Not as adults, anyway. I told him not too long ago that I would not have chosen him as a friend. And I meant it. He's not friend material for me. Up until a few years ago, the only thing he could do whenever we got together was push my buttons until I saw red and flipped out. Then he was happy.

The more I think about it, the more I think I've been in constant stress for the majority of my life. I used to not care. I used to be able to shrug things off and get on with my life. But now they stick. Now they fester. And I can't shrug it off any more.

I need to get to that point where I don't care about other people's opinion of me. It's hard when you're surrounded by nay-sayers every day, though, so I think that once I've quit this job, things will turn around. I need to find out what I want to do with the rest of my life, because I cannot handle another job like that. If I end up in another abusive situation like that, I think it will end me. And no, I'm not being overly dramatic. I'm trying to see reality for what it is. I'm trying to find a way out of this morass, one that will lead to me living a healthy, happy life for the rest of my days.

So, what makes me happy? Right now? Not much. I distract myself by watching a lot of television, by reading a lot of books that have nothing to do with reality. I don't like reality. I feel sucked dry by reality. Probably because my reality has always been … sad.

I can't enjoy being away from that office yet because I'm still tied to it. As long as I'm on sick leave, despite the knowledge that I will not go back, I'm still tied to that place and I feel bad about being on sick leave. Yes, I know, I shouldn't. But I can't just stop and get over it. I have a sense of responsibility. They pay me, so I should be working. I'm not 'sick' per se. I'm not in my bed all day long, feeling crappy, throwing up or whatever. I'm up, I'm walking my dog, I'm going shopping, I'm trying to organize my house. Technically, I am able to work. Just not there. The mere thought of ever setting foot in that office again nauseates me. I get short of breath, my heart hammers away in my chest, I break out in a cold sweat.

It's a double-standard, isn't it? And it makes me feel guilty, even while I know it shouldn't. I don't contribute, so I don't deserve anything. And we're back to that feeling of uselessness, of being broken.

At the same time, I know they don't give a shit about me or my health. I'm a nuisance to them, have probably been for a while now. After all, I complained about the working environment. I complained about that moron of a colleague. And I kept complaining. It made no difference. He wasn't put in his place, he wasn't reprimanded, he wasn't fired. He just kept on making life miserable for everybody around him.

It helps knowing that I'm not the only one who left because of the setup in that place. But unfortunately, it doesn't help enough. What would help would be a good job with a good working environment and a boss who's able to appreciate good workers. But where the hell do you find that in this day and age?

I have good friends I can talk to about this. It helps. It's a benefit to have someone who understands the situation I'm in and doesn't think it's great when I'm down so they can save me. I don't think my mother does it on purpose. I don't think she's like that. But she seems to thrive on it when others 'need' her. I don't need her, though. I don't need her to butt into my business and tell me I should shut up and just go with the flow. Basically, that's what I've always been told by both my parents.

I left a previous job because of a depression and my father's response to that was that I should call them up and tell them it was a mistake, I was coming back. I left because they didn't appreciate me or any of the other secretaries working there. I left because I felt that my talents were completely wasted on that place. Yet that was the only response I got from him. I told him to take a hike, there was no way in hell I would ever go back to that place, and he got pissed off at me and wouldn't talk to me for a while. And then he pretended like nothing was wrong the next time we spoke. But that's the way he is. His opinion doesn't matter in this. Technically, neither does my mother's. But I would like to have some support from family. Aren't they supposed to be the ones that support you when things go wrong?

It's everything, isn't it? There just doesn't seem to be very much light in my life. I used to thrive on feedback on my fan-fiction, but since I don't write any more, I don't get that pat on the shoulder anymore. I write because I love to write, but my imagination is stunted and dying at this point. I have ideas, I just can't find the drive to sit down and write. That little voice in the back of my head that is making me miserable is also killing my creativity. "Why bother? You'll never be good enough. Nobody cares if you ever write another word." If you hear that often enough, you begin to believe it. And maybe it's true. Maybe I am no good at it. There are so many out there that a way better at expressing themselves verbally and in writing than I am. Why should I gain any recognition for my mediocre abilities to tell stories?

It's a pity-fest, isn't it? Maybe I should shell out the money for a shrink. I don't know. I just can't afford it right now. I need to break the ties to that emotional vampire den that's sucking me dry. My plan is simple. I have another doctor's appointment on 17 November, where I will get an extension on my sick leave until the end of December. I will have another appointment in December sometime and will get another extension on my sick leave until my one month's notice runs out after I quit. I will hand in my resignation letter right after the December appointment and then stay home for another month. Unless they fire me, of course.

I believe strongly that my mood with improve considerably once that resignation letter is sent and I know where I stand. Once I can start sending out applications again (I can't do that while I'm on sick leave, unfortunately), I may be able to muster a more optimistic approach, which will hopefully land me at least a few interviews. Even if I don't get the jobs, getting the interviews would be a step in the right direction.

Until then, I guess I'll clean up my house, take care of my pets and wallow in self-pity. Seems to be the thing to do right now.

"Out of order"
cathy1967
Yeah, that's me right now. Last Monday, I went to see my doctor and now I'm on sick leave because of stress. The first week has been okay, considering that a flu knocked me on my ass and has kept me level for most of the week. Now the flu is receding, I'm beginning to struggle with a bad conscience. Am I really that sick? Wasn't it just brought on by this oncoming flu? Can I justify staying home while my colleagues have to work?

Logically, I know that the answer to all those questions is yes. But that doesn't shut up my mind. I keep thinking about what I can do with the time I have off and then immediately feel guilty. A part of me insists that I should stay in bed and be miserable and cry my eyes out and be oh-so-sorry that I'm not going to work every day. It's insane, though.

Let's look at the facts.

In 2008, I quit this job because I needed breathing space. The office and the complete lack of rules that follows along with it, is death to anyone with half a brain. There is no HR department or anyone in charge of dealing with the employees and whatever issues they may have. There is no one you, as an employee, can turn to if something's bothering you.

And still, I returned in 2010, because I was down on my luck, out of a job, and desperately needed something to do. As per the unemployment office, take whatever you can get. So I did. They rehired me as a temp. My immediate notion was ... stick it out for six months (I was doing copy work) and then find something else. Yet six months turned into a year and then into a permanent position. But not a defined position. It was more a free-for-all kind of deal where anybody could basically tell me what to do. My contract, if you can call it that, stated that I had to do whatever the Secretary General wanted me to do. Technically, the guy could have told me to scrub toilets and I would have had to comply. At the time, I was just happy about a steady paycheck and the demands weren't ridiculous, so why not, right? I did, however, not get a raise. I was still working on temp salary. That said, I was also still doing the copy deal (they were working on digitizing the physical library and it was my job to copy the documents that our then librarian made ready for me).

The deal was that the librarian (or document’s officer, as she was called) would retire and that would open up her position, which I was kinda a shoe-in for. So, I figured I’d hang in there and take a step up the ladder at that point.

Right! So, in 2011, we moved offices. Only problem was … there wasn’t an office for me. I had to sit in the corridor, in a nook at the end of a corridor, while everybody else got their own little glass box to sit in with a door and all. Well, fine. It was only going to be a little while until the document’s officer retired.

And now comes the fun part. The second she was out the door, the offices’ biggest dick (pardon my French), who also happens to the son of the boss’ best friend, whom he apparently owes one humdinger of a favor, convinces said boss that he should have the office (he had so far been sharing an office with the communication’s director and obviously thought he was entitled to one of the biggest offices in the place) and promptly moved into it.

I was disappointed, to say the least. Especially considering that this little shit for brains really is a shit for brains. He can’t do anything right and apparently can’t learn. He will take credit for other people’s work whenever he can (for some unfathomable reason he has been put in charge of the interns and has made a lot of changes with regards to their papers, namely making sure they don’t put their names on them so he can put his on them). Besides that, he is an alcoholic and has an assault charge in the States, that makes it impossible for him to find work there, which apparently is why he has been shipped to Denmark. Thanks a lot. He is also continuously sexually harassing the female interns and any and all attempts to put a stop to him have been shot down because the boss won’t discuss him or his conduct.

Well, fine. I got along well with the communications director and with that little windbag out of the way, I got over the disappointment and continued doing my job.

In 2013, it became painfully apparent that shit-for-brains, who again for some unfathomable reason had been put in charge of maintaining the website, wasn’t at all up to the job. He had no frigging clue what he was doing. Since I had originally built the damned thing, I was asked, in a roundabout way, if I could take a look at it. Shit-for-brains had previously asked my advice on a few occasions (in a way that would make it look like any changes I would suggest would then eventually be his idea, of course) and I was just too slow to pick up on where he was going with that. Obviously, he wanted me to fix the site and then wanted to take credit for it in the end.

Well, I took a look at it and my jaw dropped. 50% of the site was none-functional. 50% of all picture links on the site itself were broken. 50% of all incoming and outgoing links on the site were broken. Superficially, the site was still somewhat functional, but if you took one step further than the front page, things fell apart fast. Considering that the website is this organization’s face to the world, that was a downright disgrace.

I made a report, suggesting changes, and was then of course promptly asked by the leadership to work alongside shit-for-brains to fix the site. I tried. Heaven knows I tried. But working alongside that little asshole is next to impossible. I would make a change in a text somewhere and he would promptly change it back, without notice. If I called him on it, he got rude and basically told me it didn’t look good.

I think that this is the point when the stress levels started creeping upward. I finally managed to convince the leadership that I could not do what they wanted me to do as long as shit-for-brains was still allowed to call the shots. I bluntly suggested that if they wanted me to fix it, it would be without his interference. In other words, I wanted him banned from the site. But no, that’s not how they do things, because heaven help them if they would actually have to confront that little shit. This is not the boss I’m talking about here, by the way, but his deputy. Because none of this would have happened if the boss had been involved.

So, instead of telling him clearly that he was off the website because he just didn’t know how to maintain it or fix it, they told him it was better if I was in charge of it since I had originally built it. So, of course, he thought he was still in charge and that I had to run every change by him. I cut back on his privileges on the site, but he still fucked things up. Everything he posted, he posted wrong. It undermined the site, caused constant breakdowns, and he constantly blamed me or the communication’s director for this. None of it was his fault, after all.

We got a new communication’s director, who also turned out to be a great guy, and he was willing to take extra steps to make sure the site worked properly. Shitty’s involvement was cut down to a bare minimum and all but one of his posting privileges were suspended.

So, essentially, I took over half his job there. Maintaining a website is not a five-minute-gig here and there. It takes constant supervision, constant checks to find broken links, fixing texts from present to past tense, replacing them, updating photos, creating slideshows etc. etc. etc. None of which shitty had done previously. Yet now, since I had ‘taken away his work’, he turned up the bitch factor to 100 and picked on everything I did. There wasn’t a day when he didn’t bitch about something on the site.

Both I and the communication’s director started complaining about him, but nothing was done. He wasn’t told off and if he was, he didn’t give a shit because it didn’t come from the top boss.

For two years I have struggled with the site, cleaning it up and making it fully functional again, and for two years, I have had him bitch at me every fucking day.

About one and a half years ago, I started complaining about my ‘office space’. You see, I was sitting right outside the door to a corridor that held the bathrooms and the door to the basement. The corridor did have a door, but nobody shut it when they went to the bathroom, so I could hear everything. Not appetizing. I continuously asked for a door closer and that took several months before I was finally allowed to call someone in to install one. That helped with the sounds, but there were other issues. As it turned out, the basement, which the leadership considered my domain since no one else wanted to go down there, turned out to be infested with black mold. It got so bad that I got violent coughs every time I went down there and had to dig in my heels. And again nothing happened despite continued complaints to the leadership.

Eventually, I got in touch with the Danish Parliament (who owns the building) and that changed things. But man … considering the health trap it was to sit there, right outside the door to the basement … I don’t even want to know what kind of damage this has done to my lungs.

I upped my complaints about my lack of office space, that I couldn’t concentrate there, that I was sitting in the fucking corridor, and eventually, someone was called in to take measurements for an office in the big open office space at the other end of that corridor I was sitting in. That was about 8 months ago. Since then, nothing. Why? Because the boss is finally retiring and nobody wants to upset him, so they’re not going to do anything about it until the boss is gone, which is in January.

The biggest issue, and probably what hit the nail on the head for me, was a) the total non-appreciation I get from the leadership about all the hard work I’ve put into the website and b) the fact that mostly everybody treats me like I’m an annoyance.

The communication’s director, at one point last year, told me that I should make the leadership aware of the fact that I am working from home, working nights, etc. Whenever there’s an election observation in another country (yeah, that’s actually what this place does), I would be on standby weekends and nights. Well, I did so, basically making it clear that I was working from home both weekends and nights on these occasions and who I should report this to. Well, the response was … painful. I was technically told that I was worth nothing, that I deserved nothing, and all because I, as opposed to most of the other staff, didn’t travel. And if I didn’t like it, I might have to look for a different job. Well, the not travelling part wasn’t my idea. If they told me I had to, I would have. But it just never came up. And I was also ‘kindly’ reminded that nobody gets paid for working late. Which was not what I had asked about at all.

I had a bit of a breakdown at that point. I couldn’t stop crying and stayed home for a few days. The deputy who wrote me that charming answer in return assured me he hadn’t meant it like that (which is hard to believe since it was, technically, worded that way) and that I was appreciated blah blah blah.

Yet a year later, still no raise, still no office, still no appreciation.

There are other rude people in the office (not many, grant you, but enough to make your life miserable if you have to work with them) and when I was told by this chick half my age how to do my job and then reprimanded by her supervisor for being rude to her when I retaliated in kind … my already precarious hold on my sanity kinda snapped.

That was a Friday morning. I emptied my computer, grabbed my stuff and went home after sending a message out that I was feeling unwell and needed to go home.

Saturday I started coughing up a lung and, with the help of a good friend, decided that enough was enough. Monday morning, I wrote an e-mail to work, saying I had the flu and would not be in for a few days. Then I called my doctor and said I feared I was stressed and I needed a sick leave. At which point I started crying. He gave me an appointment a few hours later and there was no discussing it. I laid out my plan for him, namely that I wanted to be on sick leave for at least a month. Once that month had passed, I want an extension for another month and then I will quit, extending the sick leave for a three-month period, which means I won’t have to go back to that lunatic asylum.

And then the flu hit me over the head full force. Since Tuesday, I haven’t been able to keep anything down, and all I really wanted was for someone to shoot me. My friend took care of my dog during those days. Since yesterday, I’ve started feeling a bit better. I can eat again, which is a blessing, and I can walk my dog again, which is also a blessing, but I’m still coughing like there’s no tomorrow.

Guess now comes the time when I really need to face my demons and look forward to a life free of this degrading working environment. Because, while I know I’ve made the right decision about leaving, I haven’t quit yet, so it’s not entirely over yet. And as long as I am still attached to that place … I’m afraid I won’t be able to lose the effects of the stress completely. So, why haven’t I quit yet? Because of the money. It’s a bit of a trial and miss thing here. I may or may not be eligible for a Christmas bonus this year. Personally, I don’t think I will get it. And if I don’t, it will just be another dunking for my ego (I don’t deserve it, after all. *rolls eyes*). But on the off chance that I do get it, despite being on sick leave, I have to give it that shot. It’s a lot of money. And since I will be unemployed from mid-January … any little bit counts.

So, this is my sad tale of woe. I will try and get the sleep I’ve missed for the past many years (yeah, I’m borderline insomniac these days) and see if I can’t get my life back on track before I have to find a new gig and hopefully avoid any more situations like this one. Because one more like this … I don’t know if I can survive that without going completely nuts.

So, it has come to this, has it?
cathy1967
Yeah, I guess it has. The final straw that broke the camel's back has been cast. I have, irrevocably, hit rock bottom with stress and have been put on sick leave for at least the next month by my doctor. And it's about damned time too. After months and months of not being able to sleep, of catching every bug out there and feeling lower than dirt every damned day I had to get up and take the long trek to work, it finally got too much to handle. I wanna bawl my eyes out every five minutes, I don't feel I amount to anything, and it really doesn't matter if I live or die, nobody cares. Yeah, I'm kinda there. There's that part of my ego, that's still kicking, that keeps telling me: Scew them, what do they know? But it's hard to hold onto when you're being treated like shit every day by people who are half your age and think they know everything. Those people who step all over you, call you names, undermine you, and then claim they didn't mean it like that if you call them on it.

I've had to fight every damned day for the past two years to avoid being slandered and bullied by this little piece of shit who has dirt for brains and only works there because he's the boss' best friend's son. Continued complaints about him have been ignored and the only advice my so-called supervisors could give me was: ignore him. That's pretty hard to do when I'm forced to work with that slimeball daily. I've pretty much been hanging on by my fingernails for the last year or so and last Friday, it finally got too much. The day before I had a bit of a row with a self-centered bitch who thinks she can talk down to people and treat them like shit if they don't do what she says. Since I'm about 20 years older than her, I decided to tell her off, that this type of behavior was not acceptable and that the help I had previously offered her was now revoked. Friday morning, I get reprimanded by her immediate supervisor for a) my tone towards her and b) my unwillingness to be helpful. And that made me snap. I cleaned out my computer, grabbed the few belongings I still had in the office, and went home after sending a whereabouts out that I was feeling shitty and had to leave.

Fortunately I have a good friend and neighbor who knows what I'm going through in that place and she realized I was home because my car was there, so she called to check up on me and came over for a cup of tea and a chat. And even then, my mind was made up. Monday morning, I was going to my doctor. I need to get out of that lunatic assylum before it buries me. And I mean that literally.

Saturday morning I woke up with a sore throat. Sunday I felt so-so, but still sent an e-mail to work saying I was coming down with the flu and wouldn't be in most of the coming week. After a nearly sleepless night with lots of coughing and aching limbs and feeling the need to bawl all the time, I called the doctor and told him what I was going through. He told me to come over and that was it. I told him about the circumstnaces I'm working under and he immediately asked why I hadn't asked for sick leave before. What can I say? I kept hoping I'd be strong enough to survive this without having to hit rock bottom. Turns out I was wrong. I'm not strong enough to survive in a hostile environment like that. And I don't want to. Yeah, the money is good, but that's just about all that's good about that place.

The plan is simple. I have my next appointment with the doc in late November, where my sick leave will be extended by another month and at the end of December, they will get my resignation. I'm through being abused. And yes, that's what this place is. It's abuse. The way they treat people who don't like to walk all over others ... it's appalling. That place should be shut down immediately.

Anyway ... I am going to spend the next few weeks sleeping and recuperating and then we'll see. I'll probably get fired for this, but at this point in time I really don't care any more. I just need to get out, clear my head, regain a little faith in the world, and hopefully find a better job somewhere closer to home.

Decisions or not
cathy1967
I seem to make life-altering decisions at random these days. :) Then again, I've always been a firm believer of the fact that you have an opinion until you get another one. :)

So, here's what's new in my little tortured world:

Something tells me that I'm not digesting bread very well any more. So, to test that theory, I'm going to go without bread for a week and see if that changes this bloated, painful gut of mine. Because ... I didn't eat bread for two days (didn't have any and couldn't be bothered to go shopping) and I started feeling less stressed and bloated. Then yesterday, I had two buns for breakfast and a pizza for lunch and bam! there's that bloated feeling again. So yeah, I'll try to avoid bread for a week and see how that pans out. If it works ... well, I'll cut back. I won't stop completely. I love bread. But I generally have a habit of avoiding things that make me feel sick. Like booze. And cod.

My job situation is a pain in the ass, so to speak. Much of the stress I'm experiencing comes from working where I work. I wish I could quit right now, but being out of a job is not desirable. And things are about to change here. We're getting a new boss, which in and off itself should be considered a good thing. Problem is ... I don't know if the new boss will improve things or make them worse. He used to be an intern here and didn't exactly behave exemplary. Then again ... he's younger, which makes a difference already.

What gets my pantyhose in a twist is that I don't know what will happen. I don't know if it's going to get better, stay the same or get worse. I don't know if I should quit in January when the new boss starts or wait a few months and see what happens. The problem is that I don't have any faith in that things will get better. There are a lot of rumors flying around about what he will do, but nobody knows and that's apparently a big deal to me. In other words, I like security. I'm not really opposed to change as such. It's the waiting I can't stand.

So, my plan for now is that I'll give it a month. Originally, I was going to hand in my resignation on January 4, but since I get so many conflicting bits of information ... I've halfway decided to postpone the quitting until Febrary 1 and just give it a chance.

One thing I've learned from experience is that my first gut instinct about any given situation usually pans out. And my gut tells me to get the hell out while my sanity is still running in its normal track. Of course, I get no moral support from my family. They all think I should just shut up and put out, because ... well, I'm a woman and I'm not worth a damn. Sad, but true. It's obvious that my mother doesn't think I can get another job. And if I do get another job, I probably won't be able to hold onto it.

Let's see. I got my education as a Information Assistant and one month later, I landed this job. I stayed with it for 15 years before quitting. I was unemployed for half a year (half of that was voluntary) and then got a job that I had for 8 months, but had to quit because it was stressing me to death. I was on sick leave for month before I left. Then I was unemployed for another half year, which also brought one of the biggest sorrows in my life when I lost Max, my dog. After being stressed half to death, that one nearly killed me. If I hadn't had the cats, I think I would have just faded away. Yes, it was bad, but I got over it. And, upon insistence from the unemployment benefit office, I took the first job I could get, which just happened to be back where I started. 17 years ago. In January 2016, I've been her for another 6 years. I think I've given it enough of a chance. I started as a temp for six months. When they offered me permantent employment, I didn't get a raise. A little over a year ago, I had to take on the website (which I originally built and maintained before I left in 2008) because the clutz in charge of it has no frigging clue how to maintain a website and is just too damned stupid to admit it. I took on half of his workload, which basically has consisted of revamping the entire website from the roots up because it was such a bloody mess, I almost felt inclined to scrap the whole thing and start from scratch, and I didn't get a raise.

On top of that, I've been sitting in the frigging corridor for 4 years because said clutz managed to worm his way into the only free office that was supposedly going to be mine when our librarian left 4 years ago. Did I mention that he's only working here because he's the present boss's best friend's son and has a criminal record in the States and therefore can't find employment there? Yeah, nepotism in all its glory.

The working conditions in this place are appalling. The leadership does not give a flying f**k how the employees feel. The boss is senile and seems hellbent on making our lives miserable until he leaves in December. The clutz is still here and nobody is putting him in his place because he's protected. And I don't see any of it changing with the new boss.

I may be overtly negative about all this, but I do think I have a reason to be. Diplomats are generally douchebags. Sorry, but the majortiy of them are just in it for the money and the travel.

Anyway, I'm in a wait-and-see position right now and I will give it an honest chance, but if my gut tells me to drop the hot coals and get out before I get seriously burned, I will.

Apart from that ... well, things are good. I love my house. I love my pets. I have a new friend in my neighborhood and we're going on vacation together next year. We went this year and it was great. We are very much alike, which makes things so much easier. And I've found the moral support in her that has been lacking from my family all my life.
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I'm up for a major overhaul of my life
cathy1967
And by up I mean I'm ready for it. The idea of being out of a job after January doesn't scare me any more. It thrills me. It means I get to leave the negativity of this job behind me and, hopefully, find something that is more rewarding. Granted, I haven't been lucky in regards to jobs. I've never had a job where I thought: Wow, I look forward to going to work tomorrow. Not once. And that's a bit of a downer.

At times I've thought it was me, that it's my attitude or something, but honestly ... I don't think so. If anything, I'm attracted to the wrong type of job. And I take the first best thing that's offered to me, which is not helpful. I will have to be more critical from now on.

That said, I've found a side-job that is actually fun. I write seo-texts for websites. Basically, it's rewriting what's already out there in my own words. And it's amazing how easily I can do that. Even on topics I know nothing about. Of course, there's examples etc. so I don't have to research it (unless there's something I really don't understand, of course), but still. And it helps pay the bills. :) Or rather, it helps my vacation fund. :D

I've started seeing a dietician again and it hasn't been going that well. My own fault because I don't stick to the frigging plan. :( But that's about to change. I mean, I did it before. I lost 20 kg in a year. I just need to get my act together and settle back into the mindframe that it's good for me, good for my body and it will make my life easier, simpler.

It's tough, though. I stress eat, but I also eat when I'm happy. But mostly if I'm stressed. That's when I reach for the bad things, like candy and soda and cake. I do love all the sweet stuff, but I also have an addictive personality, and that basically means I have to quit cold turkey or it's not going to happen. I seem to be able to drop the coca cola fairly easily, which is good. I just need to keep cutting it out of my life. And white bread. However much I love white bread ... I have to stop eating it. First and foremost because it's bad for me. But it also lies like a damn brick in my stomach. And it's not very digestible, is it?
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Lots of thoughts in my head
cathy1967
And there's not much room left. Or so it feels at times. Man, I'm tired. I'm tired most of the time these days, which is a bit of a downer, to be honest.

So, my dad. He's not doing well. The doctors give him 3 months. That was 2 months ago. He's not fine, but he's not horrible either. It's the will-he-won't-he-scenario right now. And I'm feeling ambigious about the whole thing. Sure, he's my dad and I care about him. But he's also been one of these absent fathers who didn't seem capable of caring and was more interested in doing his own thing than dealing with his kids. Technically, I haven't had a dad. I've had a slightly autistic older brother. It's a weird relationship. I can't explain it. I have no idea how I will respond when he's gone. The sad fact of life is, of course, that we're all going to end up there one day. My dad's just going sooner than the rest of us.

My job is a pain in the neck. Not the work as such. I like that. It's interesting, it's versatile, it never gets boring. But the working environment ... that's a bitch. And it's taking its toll on my health. Not a good thing. I have psoriasis, which is a way of measuring stress. Right now, my fingers are a mess. I feel like I have no skin left on my index fingers and my thumbs. The thought of having a week off makes it better. The thought of my summer vacation in August keeps me going for now. Three weeks in a row is going to be amazing. I really need to get out of here. I keep sending out applications and hardly ever get a response other than, sorry, someone else is better suited than you. Thanks. Does wonders for the self-esteem. Not! Either way, my mind's made up. If I haven't landed a job by January 2016, I'm going to be unemployed for a while. I will quit, though. I can't do this corrupt, caustic place any more.

On the upside of things, the co-op where I live is an amazing place. We're finishing paying off a loan this year, which means a reduction in rent. A serious one. And we just got new front doors and a few windows replaced. The geek in me is super-happy about my remote-controlled skylights. :) Yeah, it doesn't take much to please me.

My pets, Mickey and Gizmo (dog and cat respectively) are doing great, so no complaints on that front either.

So, I guess my life's kinda 50/50 right now. The things that really matter to me are the things that are going well, so there's that to be happy about. I would love to write again, but that seems to have gone down the well. I think the disappointment in the lack of interest in my first official publication has put a spoke in my wheel, so to speak. I keep trying to come up with a new idea, but I have a translation hanging over my head that is taking forever to complete. I don't think I'll be doing more of that. It's too difficult to concentrate on when I have a full time job and a lot of chores at home. I'll finish it (hopefully soon) and that's it. Although ... if I'm going to be unemployed for a while, I might consider more gigs like it because it would keep me occupied and prevent me from vegetating. :)

Things will work out. I'm convinced of that.

New year, new ideas, new goals ...
cathy1967
It's January 1, around 3 pm, and I'm sitting here at my computer, slightly bored, tired (didn't get much sleep since the neighbor's teenage daughter had a party last night that didn't quiet down until 4 am and for some damn reason I was wide awake at 7.30) while I'm contemplating a dream I had in the early morning hours and the general decision that 2015 is a year of change for me.

It has to be. My health is in the toilet and though a lot of it has to do with my apparent inability to eat right, a lot of it also hinges on the fact that I hate my job, I hate the way I'm being treated there and I hate that I put up with it. So, come Hell or High Water, April 1 will be a defininig moment for me unless the pshyco I work for decides to pull the plug and fire me before then. I've never considered myself psychic, but I have had the distinct impression since starting my Christmas vacation that this will be the outcome. There are obviously hints, which negate the psychic aspect of it to some degree, but the fact that it keeps circling around in my head and won't leave me alone makes me think it's equal parts preomonition and wishful thinking.

Obviously, I would like to wait until April, because that's when my salary insurance kicks in (it's an insurance you pay for that guarantees you 80% of your previous salary for a year should you either lose your job or quit). But for my own peace of mind and my health, it would be better if I got kicked out this month. One of my colleagues (the boss' right hand man) decided on the last day before Christmas vacation that I should come visit him at his summer house before we go back to work. Obviously that didn't pan out because he's been too busy, but he seems very insistent, and since he's never done something like that before, it kinda tipped me off that something's brewing.

At first I was pretty pissed off about the idea. But after letting it settle for a bit, I came to the conclusion that he's not going to get a rise out of me for this one. I will be super pissed off at him if he's decided to do it in private because he's afraid I'll have a breakdown or something. I won't, but I will be pissed off at him for not telling me sooner. That said, if I do get fired, all I can tell him is that I'm very happy with it, but they can forget about me staying the month's notice. If they fire me, they get a note from my doctor that I'm out sick for the month because of stress (or depression or whatever excuse the doctor wants to use). After the way I've been treated the past few years, there is no way in hell that I'm giving them any more of my time. And, at this point in my life, I don't even give a shit if I don't get that damned severance benefit. The boss won't pay me for the vacation time due to me and if he takes this away too, he can go jump in a lake. I'm through being a slave.

Yes, I'm pissed. Not about the possibly impending firing, but about the way I've been treated. Mostly, though, I'm pissed at myself for putting up with it. I should have quit long ago. I should have asked for help from my Union long ago. But, all that doesn't make a lick of difference, because ... I can't turn back time. I can only move forward. And the thought of never having to set foot in that lunatic assylum again makes me almost giddy.

Obviously, getting fired is never nice, but in this case it will make life easier on me. I won't have to worry about timing it right and doing whatever I can to get out of there in a good way. Getting out of there in a good way means making compromises I'm really not willing to make any more. I don't want to leave this bridge unburned because I really honestly do not ever want to come back to this place. The last four years have actually been the worst of my life and it's time I get the hell out of there and hopefully find a job where I feel comfortable and accepted. Hasn't happened yet, but one can hope. :)

So, yeah, I've got plans. I'm tired of settling for second or third best all the time. I want more out of life than to just getting by. I've been sick too much, depressed too much. I did consider a law suit, but what's the point? I don't have the money to drag it out and psycho is most likely leaving this year anyway. That doesn't mean there will be a better boss waiting in the wings. If it's either of the two I've heard suggested, it could either go on as it is or get worse. Hard to believe, really, but I think it's a possibility. This is my cue to bow out and get off this sinking boat before it sucks me down with it.

Generally, I do hope to be unemployed for a bit after I leave. Why? Because I desperately need time to get over that pit. I need to be able to wake up in the morning and know that I will never have to go there again. I think getting away from that place will also improve my health, help me lose weight and just generally improve on my mood. Which is why I will not settle for just any job. I will apply only to jobs that seem interesting for me. And if I do get an interview or a job is offered to me, I will make sure that all the t's are crossed and all the i's dotted before I sign any contract. I will not settle for the salary they suggest (unless it's insanely reasonable, of course) and I will make it damned clear that open plan offices are not my idea of fun. If I get the severance benefit (and that's a big if with the boss being as senile and evil as he is), I have time to wait for the right job. If I don't get it ... well, then I will have to sign up for temp jobs until I find the one for me.

I have leased a car from mid January and one year forward and even if I do get fired, I will still get it. It's cheap and it will help me get around to interviews and temp jobs much easier than if I have to take public transportation. Besides, I really, really, really want a car.

Either way, I think 2015 is going to be very exciting ... once I'm away from that pit, of course. :)

A New Life - Week 1 (11 Dec 2014)
cathy1967
Weight: 113,7 kg (ouch).

I had a pretty low-profile day yesterday. My BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo) reared it's ugly head again, making me dizzy and nauseous, but it was a minor attack and seems to have withdrawn again. Last time I couldn't get out of bed for a week and suffered bouts of dizziness for months after.

I've also found that I get dizzy if I take too many vitamines, so it's time to cut back on the Vitamine D tablets I'm taking again. They don't make much difference in whether I'm tired or not anyway.

I went to bed late (because I slept in) and have on that account (it's now 6.24) slept about 5 hours. Not nearly enough. I need to fix that. I don't function well on anything below 8 hours.

I also seem to be coming down with a cold. My nose is getting stuffier (could also be the black mold from the basement at work, of course. I seem to be super allergic to that crap) and I have a slightly scratchy throat.

What I need to do now is use my juicer every day and make what Joe and the Juice call a Go Away Doc. It's juice of ginger, apple and carrot. I had one yesterday and didn't eat after 6 pm, which was extremely beneficial for my stomach. At least It's not as bloated as usual and I don't feel like I have to struggle to breathe.

I need to get used to going to bed at 10 pm every night (or at least as long as I'm working where I work), so I can get up at 6 am and utilize the time in the morning. I know that the general advice is that you should go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends, but I am a night owl and having to go to bed at 10 pm and get up at 6 am on weekends ... that is beyond my capabilities at the moment. Besides, I need to focus on one thing at a time and right now, correcting my diet is the first step. So ... on that count I will have one slice of toast with cheese for breakfast and I will pack a lunch of Tandori Chicken with Jasmine rice. Already prepared, so it's not a big thing to bring.

Between Christmas and New Year's, I'm going to focus on changing my diet to something that contains a lot less bread and more vegetables. In other words, more salads. I can do it.

A New Life
cathy1967
I hate my body.

Now, a lot of people immediately feel the urge to jump in when someone says something like that. When someone overweight makes this claim, there are many different responses to it, both negative and positive, but no matter what anyone says, that statement is usually true. And I'm among those who will claim to actually hate their body.

To make you understand why I say this, I think a little background history is probably needed.

First off, I did not start out as fat. From the pictures I've seen and the stories I've heard, I was a fairly normal-sized kid. I had an eating disorder, though. My mother has told me countless times that I would not willingly eat anything that even resembled normal food. If she stuck a spoonful of mashed vegetables in my mouth as a toddler, I would spit it out. I was breast-fed and went straight on to spoon-fed. No bottle for me. I didn't have a highchair, but sat on a normal chair so I could shovel whatever food I liked at the time directly into my mouth.

In other words, I was stubborn and independent already then. I don't remember my childhood apart from irrelevant flashes of scenes involving mainly me. I do remember some defining moments that play into the person I am today, but knowing what they are and how they have influenced me is not a negative thing. Some might say it is, but we all have different opinions about things.

What I mainly remember foodwise is the need to gag when I got a piece of meat in my mouth. As a teenager I didn't much like food. I was skinny to the point of being anorexic, although I never stopped eating at any point. I didn't eat much and generally the wrong things, which has obviously messed up my metabolism to make it impossible for this otherwise finely tuned machinery that a body is to give me even a hint of what was right and wrong in connection to nourishment.

Now, I could point fingers at my parents (mainly my mother, since my dad wasn't all that involved in ... anything, really), but since I consider myself a rational individual, blaming others for things I have had plenty of opportunity to straighten out myself would just be wrong. This isn't a game of blame, because placing blame will not help me move forward.

So, I went from a fairly normal-sized toddler to a skinny-as-hell teen to an overweight adult. I must have been around 18 when food started to matter to me. Before that, I couldn't care less what I stuffed in my mouth, as long as it had nothing to do with health or anything cooked.

That said there were no absolutes in my life when it came to food. I would eat processed meats (lunch meats), I loved cheese (but only mild cheese), I liked dairy products (yoghurt, milk, cheese), and I hardly ever skipped a meal. But the combination of what I ate made things difficult.

As a teen, I was anemic. I took iron supplements to keep my blood count up. I don't really remember being tired all the time, but I must have been. That's usually a side-effect of being anemic.

And then, I started to eat. For two-three years after I realized that I could actually eat cooked food without dying of it, I could eat anything. Granted, I was still very picky about what I ate and still am to this day, but I took in real food, inhaled it, and didn't gain an ounce. And then I started laying on the pounds. At various intervals after that point, I considered myself fat and tried to lose weight. And boy did I try. And I did it the wrong way. I've tried every damned diet on the market (apart from those that included vegetables) and even though I did lose weight, I always gained it all back.

Now, you might think that I would give up the fight at some point and just give in to the fat, just let it pile up until it killed me, right? Well, no. Because, in my mind's eye, I'm still skinny. Even to this day. I have been overweight at varying degrees for the past 27 years, and yet that image, that feeling, in my mind has never changed. This is why I am revolted at my own reflection every time I have to look at myself in the mirror. That's why I avoid looking at myself whenever I catch my reflection anywhere. So yes, I can say with no small amount of certainty that I hate my body.

What I hate more is my inability to deal with it. And it has nothing to do with laziness either, as some of you skinny chicks out there might think. Sugar is my hell. It's my drug of choice. If I'm sad, I crave sugar. If I'm happy, I crave sugar. And no matter how much I try to rationalize it, I still crave sugar. I have tried countless times to beat the sugar, to rid myself of its influence, and the biggest success was when I lost 20 kg over a period of about a year. But 20 out of 40 Kg is not enough and when I gave up and reverted back to my old ways, I didn't even think about what regaining the lost kilos would do to me.

Stress is what will eventually kill me. I know that without the shadow of a doubt. I don't handle stress very well. I get sicker and sicker, have various side-effects that all go back to stress. And why? Because I have realized a very important thing about myself. I've been raised to turn the other cheek, but deep down I'm not a cheek-turner. I have never learned how to face a conflict head on, but rather to bend until I break and not fight back. But that's not who I am. This overlayed personality (the cheek-turner) is fighting my natural urges to stand up and fight for myself. I have that stupid little voice in the back of my head constantly yapping away that I need to back down, I need to consider other people's feelings before I consider my own, I need to be the 'bigger person' and let others have their day.

Okay, fine, I agree that in order to co-exist with others, we need to consider each other's feelings. But since I seem to be attracted to people who treat me like shit, who walk all over me, drain my energy and then leave me spent and unable to cope ... I think it's time for me to look out for myself first and foremost.

And the first step on that road is shedding those goddamned pounds. I want to become the person I am in my head. Not skinny, per se, but ideal in weight. I want to be slim. I want to be able to walk into any clothing store and buy the fucking shirt off the rack and not have to search far and wide for a store that carries plus-sized clothes that look okay.

I want to get rid of all the side-effects of my overweight self; the achy knees, the bad digestion, the acid-reflux, the constant illness, the constant fatigue. I could go on and on.

I want to be able to apply for a new job and have the confidence to let it shine through that I'm an okay person, that I know what I'm doing, that I have nothing to hide. Because that's definitely not what I've taken away from home.

I think the lack of faith my nearest family has in me is what kills me the most. I no longer feel any urge to share anything big in my life with any of them because all I get back from them is negativity. I don't want to tell my mother that I'm planning on buying a car. Why? Because she won't support it. She'll immediately think that I don't know what I'm doing and will end up in financial ruin and will lose my home and my pets and whatever. And this despite the fact that I have never in my life been in a situation that warrants this kind of thinking.

I don't drink, I don't do drugs, I don't go from failed relationship to failed relationship, I've never been registered as a bad payer anywhere, I have never hurt anyone. Yet my mother thinks every bigger decision I make in my life is horrible and my brother doesn't seem to think I'm capable of living a good life because I'm not frigging married.

So I've decided to ignore their input and live my life according to my own beliefs. Better late than never, eh? So, here's the plan:




  1. I am going to shed the weight and this time I will keep it off.

  2. I will buy a car and yes, I can afford it, even if I lose my job.

  3. I will live a healthier life for however many years I have left.

  4. I will publish another book.

  5. I will find a job that I actually like.



Not necessarily in that order, since it's pretty difficult to put a timeline on any of it, but this is the plan and I will stick to it. Why? Because I am sick and tired of feeling the way I do. And I will do it for me. Not for anyone else.

Starting tomorrow, I will publish my weight and what I plan to do for the rest of the week. And, from now on, I will publish my results and plans every week. Not because I expect anyone to add their two cents (which you're welcome to, by the way) but because I need to motivate myself and by letting others in on what I plan to do, I kinda force myself to actually stick to this.

The worst part will be shedding the sugar cravings. Let me warn you ahead of time. I will most likely be depressed and whiny for a while here. So if that's not your thing, feel free to leave. It's okay. I can do this on my own. I will do this on my own.

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