Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Softer Mental Illness to Reveal…

“I lived in Germany for years,” Kim told me this morning as she smiled her cute little chubby Drew Barrymore smile. “My ex-husband was in the military.  I was your average housewife taking care of our apartment and the kids.  Living abroad can really give you a different perspective on things.”

“Oh, that must have been fascinating,” I replied with great interest. “I’ve been to London twice.  I love Europe.  My ex-wife and I traveled a lot when we were married.”

I have found myself seeking out Kim on my breaks and slow moments – extremely enjoying our conversations.  She will smile broadly when she will see me walk up greeting her.  Today, she revealed to me she was bi-polar when I told her I was on disability and that’s why I could only work four hours a day.  We talked a little bit about medications.  She is on Lithium which I also take 3 capsules of every morning. 

“I have anxiety issues,” I said not wanting to reveal I was schizophrenic and scare her away just yet. “I think I have generalized anxiety disorder.”

Anxiety seemed like a much “softer” mental disorder to have, and I really don’t think I am schizophrenic these days anyway.  I’ve had so many diagnosis over the years that it is dizzying.  I don’t know what to think really.  I certainly know I am not schizophrenic in the classic sense by any means.  My current official diagnosis by my psychiatrist is schizoaffective – having both symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.  I think it is a load of rubbish!  I honestly think my overbearing family has just about driven me crazy over the years and that was where most of my problems stemmed from.  Generalized overbearing family disorder!  Dad just about put so much pressure on me over the years it about broke me as a man.

This morning started out fast and furious as I had to get caught up with the overnight barrage of shopping carts.  Once I got caught up, I had nothing to do but to wander the store aimlessly again.  The grocery side of the store keeps me the busiest.  I will occasionally go out and bring carts in during breaks from my wandering – ever mindful of how the carts are piling up.  My supervisor is fully content with my wandering as long as there are plenty of carts at the ready for customers.  I worried at first she would get on to me for doing so or would send me home early, but she seems happy with how I am doing my job – often bragging on me.

During my free time today, I bought some shirts for work that were on sale for $7 dollars each.  I badly need a new wardrobe – my current wardrobe being years and years old.  Even my nicest shirts have some minor holes in them.  It embarrasses me.   I don’t want to look like the hapless bachelor.  I also only have one pair of  pants that fit me so buying pants is next on the agenda.

As I was leaving work, I stopped to see Kim one more time to tell her goodbye for the day.

“Can I call you tonight?” I asked in a moment of great courage. “I would really like to get to know you even better.”

She smiled as she gave me her phone number and told me she would be home after eight. “Be sure to call me!” she said as I turned to leave. Now, if I can just get up the courage to call.  It will be a big step for me and my phone phobias.   I am so intrigued and want to know more about her.  I have found her a fascinating creature so far.  I am frankly quite smitten.

The Representative Payee Dilemma…

By all your advice, I have decided to hold off on changing my representative payee.  I have researched well, though, and could change my payee at any time to any person I chose without having to have dad’s permission.  I wasn’t thinking clearly, though, on how much responsibility would be thrust on Mrs. Florene as one commenter posted.  That worried me.  Social Security also doesn’t recognize power of attorney I learned the other day so that is good to know.  I will let that be my ace in the hole.  I will just concentrate on both my jobs with the goal of getting off disability completely in a few years.  I still have my nine month trial work period where I can draw a full paycheck and still get my disability.  I also learned I can keep my Medicare benefits for up to seven years after getting off disability.  That is comforting to know.  Thanks be to Clinton!

The Benefactor Calls…

When I arrived home, I had a message on my answering machine from my benefactor to call him.  I called him immediately hoping for work after calling Mrs. Florene and calling off the trip to Opelika.

“I need you to clean out my drainage ditch that runs the length of my backyard,” he said. “Water is pooling in my backyard.  It’s brick, but you haven’t been able to see the bricks in years from all the dirt that's accumulated.  It’s just not draining anymore.”

“Sounds like a tough job,” I replied, ever wary of my anxiety attacks.

“I’ll pay you $50 dollars,” he said. “It shouldn’t take but four or five hours to do.”

“It’s a deal,” I replied. “I’ll see you in an hour and get started.”

Well, here goes another big job consisting of shoveling dirt out of a ditch for hours. It is going to be a two Klonopin job.  I hope I can do it.  I would really like the money.  I will write again tonight to let you all know how I fared. 


PipeTobacco said...


I am happy for you in getting to know the female co-worker! Do try to call if you can... it will likely make you feel even happier.

The designated payee issue is one that is indeed good to think about, but you are correct in that it is likely too much responsibility for Mrs. Florene. And, while you do not need do anything about it for the foreseeable future, if it is something you wish to eventually pursue... perhaps making a list of potential people who could be the designate would not be a bad idea? Then you could further contemplate the pros and cons for each person.

Hope the drainage ditch work goes swimmingly (pun intended). I actually hope it is easy to accomplish and as enjoyable as possible.


Tee said...


If you play your cards right you can have the best of BOTH worlds--drawing your disability to pay for your basic needs of life, and your new extra income. Basic needs would include the cost of your home, the taxes and insurance associated with home ownership, the cost of owning a vehicle, the cost of taxes and insurance on that as well, food, and your medical care. Believe it or not, even though you have Medicare it doesn't cover all the costs, plus SSA probably deducts the Medicare premium out of your disability income. Let your dad continue to take care of those expenses with your disability income and then you can spend your money from your part-time jobs on luxuries. You have a list of things in mind that you want to purchase with your earned money, write that list out and as you get those items mark them off your list (kind of like a to do list) and as time goes on you can add items to it. This additional income will also allow you to eat out if you so choose, or take Kim out for a nice dinner, this list goes on and on of the possibilities for your part-time income. Leave the headache stuff with your dad and prove to him you can be responsible with the money you earn. Then maybe he will spring for the cost of having your car repaired from the accident with the deer. While you are on breaks from gathering buggies, check out all the good stuff in the grocery store and then ask your mom for those items you really want to be added to your grocery stash for the week. Just keep in mind, you CAN have your cake and eat it too, if only you operated in moderation as Pipe suggested. Also, I suspect if you continue to do a good job for Mr. Drainage Ditch you will have an endless supply of work at that one house. Just remember, moderation in ALL things.

LM said...

Very well said, Tee.

You are making great strides, Andrew. Way to go!

Sharon said...

Change is good, but baby steps my dear. Get used to one or two new things at a time. Then you can continue moving forward. Don't overwhelm yourself all at once.

This IS The Fun Part! said...

Hi Andrew!

Please re-read that note from Tee! I like that idea of dad going to all the trouble of keeping up with taxes, bill payments, insurance, etc. and you taking care of all the extras.

Sit down with a cigarette and cold coke and call Kim - it will just tickle her to death. If you don't call, it will really hurt her feelings. If you start to get uncomfortable, just tell her that you have to go take Maggie out!

Sounds to me like Tuesday is turning out to be a really good day for you!

Love ya,

Amy said...

You have made so much progress in the past few weeks. I hope that you find the courage to call Kim. From what she said, it seems as if she would be looking forward to it!

geelizzie said...

I've been following your recent progress with great interest. I'm really amazed at what you have been able to accomplish in just a few weeks. As an ex-employee of good old walmart, it's interesting to read about your workday there. I really hope you give Kim a call, and I'm really hoping things continue to go so well for you!

justLacey said...

Wow, I missed a lot! I have to agree with Tee for now. Let your dad handle the complicated matters and enjoy your extra money. It may shock you to know how little is left over after expenses and that could be very depressing. I would however look into finding yourself a new dr and trying to get a diagnosis on what is really wrong and learning to live without all the extra meds. You might just need 2 or 3 which also cuts the cost down for you.

I am glad you are making new friends. Kim sounds nice and you might have a lot in common. Give her a call and maybe ask her out for coffee - decaf of course.

glittergirl said...

i am, of course, pro chubby girls with tattoos. she sounds perfect!


kristi said...

Sounds like a busy day! Hope you get that phone call in. :)

Lena said...


I know you are inundated with advice and opinions on so many things. But there is one thing I would like to bring up and I apologize ahead of time if I am out of bounds.

Have you ever researched Asperger's syndrome? I work with children and adults with Aspergers.

Many of them were misdiagnosed with mental illness as the medical profession didn't know a whole lot about it just a few years ago.

Aspergers is a mild form of autism, and people with Aspergers are very high functioning intellectually, but have severe anxiety in social situations. There are other characteristics as well, but the social piece is the most challenging.

People can be diagnosed as having Asperger traits even if they don't completely fit the profile.

It may be something you could explore as you move forward to find an appropriate psychiatrist.

I know the last thing you need is another label, but the right label can help you get the right treatment and support and change your life.

I am happy for you as you are doing so well in so many areas right now. Glad you are re-thinking some things.

Good luck.

Mary K said...

I'm pro-chubby girls too. :D Call her! :p

Syd said...

It all sounds good. Go for the call with her. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.