Yesterday was our wedding anniversary.
After another bad day at work we went to an overpriced gourmet burger joint and were sat in a part of the restaurant that had the ambiance of an industrial cafeteria in East Germany circa 1965. Loud music pounded our ears from the speaker above us.
That was bad enough, but the worst part was that I was in no mood for celebration and my wife knew it. I tried, but could not get myself to enjoy anything and I’m sure my face showed glumness as I can never hide my moods.
After a while I got angry. Not just at myself but at the situation I’ve found myself in at work – a situation that really began within a year after starting work there.
I’m mad that, even with Borderline Personality Disorder, I find myself unable to manage my disorder because of my work situation. Others, finding themselves in similar situations, can focus on the positives of their job and deal with it. After over three years of continuous misery, I know I can’t.
I have tried an array of medications, breathing therapies, distraction devices and every Jedi mind trick sold to me by my therapists. None of them work on my hopelessly reality-focused mind. The big issue is not just the BPD but the PTSD – that which I carried from childhood and that added by my employer which I believe has left me with Complex PTSD.
I simply can’t shake it. I dread going into work, my anxiety arrives when I pull in to the parking lot. I spend the entire day behind a cubicle waiting for some inevitable disaster, worried that my work is being overly scrutinized and recorded to fire me. The reason I can’t shake it – these things and more have happened to me on this job and management here is notorious for the shitty way it treats employees.
I have good reason to be paranoid. Believe me.
Well-meaning people have advised me to look for another job. Believe me, I have. I have tried to stay with the Federal government to protect my 20-year investment in the civil service. In the past three years I have been flown to Raleigh NC (the CDC) and Columbia, MO (VA) at government expense and interviewed in person in Cleveland (NASA) and here in Pittsburgh (Mine Safety Administration).
In every case I was left baffled by not getting the job. In every case I had great interviews. The VA in Columbia even put me up for two nights. Do I radiate some form of crazy in person, or, perhaps did someone from my current employer make a little phone call? As a test case, if it was my online activity I don’t think I would have made it to any of these places.
My wife now has a great job in Pittsburgh so it would be unfair to ask her to move again. She’s already moved twice on my behalf.
I feel I’m reaching a breaking point. The anger over dinner boiled over. I formulated a strategy.
I told my wife I would set January 4, 2019 as my last day at work unless I (1) found another job locally or (2) was in the process of applying for another job within the VA in Pittsburgh.
“Where will we live,” she asked.
I was finally willing to sacrifice a house I loved. We can only keep it with both current incomes.
Forget disability retirement. I can’t count on any meaningful help from my mental health team, it’s almost impossible to prove a disability you can’t see and it would take years and money for lawyers that could break us anyway.
(this is becoming very difficult to write)
I told her I felt this was necessary to keep me alive or at the very least, not have a total psychotic breakdown.
I would take a job in retail if I had to bring in some money. I have worked since I was 16 and want to work.
But by this morning I felt I had many another crazy plan that was unfair to her – like other crazy plans that were equally unfair to spouses past. So, I took it back.
She said it wasn’t crazy. But she really didn’t sign up for this. I don’t think either of us, when we got married, thought it would come to this with me. When I got this job, I was ecstatic and thought our future was assured.
I don’t know what will happen now. I’m almost too numb to worry. I’m almost resigned to a bad ending. When I go to sleep every night literally praying I won’t wake up, I know it’s serious. I don’t need a therapist to tell me that.
This morning I’m looking at the card my wife got me for our anniversary.
‘I knew right away
that there was
in your SMILE,
I just want you to know
I still feel
that something special
whenever I hold you close,
kiss your lips,
and think about
I do not recognize me in these words. I have failed her in so many ways. I am not ‘incredible.’ I am too weak-minded to put up with the on-the-job shit millions of Americans do every day. I was (closer to) this person once. I am not now and am distraught that after all that has happened, I probably will never be again.