Saturday, August 01, 2015

Getting Better All the Time

This is exactly how I feel my first day without a milligram of Lamotrigine.  Technically, given the drug's half life, I still have 6 milligrams fucking up glutamate in my brain but I didn't take a pill this morning which is what counts.  I also worked today!

We had two sessions of testing and I volunteered to help the staffing department.  I get a comp day out of this which will mean another beach day for me.  The morning session was absolutely mobbed with hundreds of people - the most I've ever seen in a single testing session.  I helped check people in and proctor the test.  I really like the check in and check out process.  I think it reminds me of the time when I was the personnel manager for my college marching band, aka Band Mom.  Last month, someone was hired from an earlier testing session and they remembered me! That's the circle of life for hiring right there.  Of course there are interesting personalities who show up and varying testing abilities so that either amused, saddened, or horrified us.  By the afternoon session, we were getting a bit slap happy.  I joked that as we ask for people's testing id's, I basically hear every number in existence but the one they are saying.  Also, number rhythm is essential!  Say "twenty, one one seven" or put a pause someplace.  I had a lot of fun and met a bunch of people.  Now, I am wiped so thank goodness for new "Wet Hot American Summer"!

This work week was pretty good thanks to a fabulous co-worker who clued me in on how to show up to work without being drenched in sweat - take a bus that drops us off literally a block away.  Arriving, primped, clean, and dry every morning definitely helped set the tone for the week.  Ironically, I got to see Super Boss not pressed, clean, and dry for the first time one morning.  He was running chronically late and showed up looking like he had walked through a rain shower - poor guy!  Since I am Sweat Queen, I gave him my packets of facial cleansing cloths and body cleaning cloths.  Those, copious amounts of drinking water, and a fan will get you presentable, I guarantee.

Of course there was one day that wasn't so awesome and surprise surprise it was a Thursday.  I swear every single bad day I've had for the past four months has been a Thursday! I've been at my job for almost 11 months. I have learned a lot and if I don't know an answer, I know where to look and what questions to ask. So, I have been feeling pretty confident but there is one stupid, basic task that I always have trouble with - finding job descriptions.  There are five different places to look and dozens of different ways to look up the file. It's one of those tasks that you can't document steps, you just have to know.  So, I sent the wrong job description Thursday and Super Boss had to call me to let me know. Using his instructions, I found the correct one but the stupid critical voice in my head would not shut up.  

I have tried to nail down where that voice comes from. It isn't the usual "You're a worthless fucking bitch" voice (I call that Dad). When I make mistakes, it sounds like a scared tinier voice saying, "Oh god, you are brain damaged and dumb."  And since my emotional reserves are basically powering every waking second of my life, Tiny Scared Voice can't be dealt with so I just cried when I got home.  Tiny Scared Voice is basically every emotional beat I had in inpatient and outpatient rehab after my stroke.  I swear, all the testing they run you through does more emotional damage than help diagnostically. It's almost like I am still being tested now and after every mistake some doctor will show up with a clipboard. It's easy to fight off the Dad voice because I have a sense of humor about it. I internally roll my eyes and think, "Oh God, this guy? Seriously change your tune." Tiny Scared Voice taps into a visceral fear so crying is the only method I have to wear it out.

This has also been a stellar week of Fuck Up Analyst fallout.  I had my big reveal Wednesday.  Super Boss had his Friday.  My reveal is during a regular chat with Super Boss, I found out back in October Fuck Up Analyst told Super Boss and the other analyst guy that I did not want to work with them.  That I only wanted to work with her.  Firstly, I NEVER said that!  Secondly, keeping me under her wing made the learning curve so much more difficult for me. In Super Boss' office, my mouth was agape, I shook my fists at the sky, said "Argh!" and clarified things.  The sad thing is he thought he had done something wrong that made me not want to work with him!  You know what?  Fuck Up Analyst's name is Michelle.  I am done using aliases for this psycho.  Friday Super Boss was training me on compensation audits now that I have had HRIS audits under my belt for months. He found out Michelle did not do HRIS audits the way he had trained her (and me).  His face turned a purple-ish red, he hung his head, and his shoulders drooped.  Both of us were pissed but what can you do with someone who has left the company?  I suggested we call her She Who Will Not Be Named.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Subtle Understanding

At the end of today, Super Boss pointed out that I shouldn't go home for the weekend thinking I didn't accomplish anything. We talked about everything we got done and the obstacles which made Super Boss state that the obstacles didn't take away a win. Then he brought up another thing we can tick off our To Do list. I squinted at him and asked, "What's up with all the cheerleading?" He said that he knows that I had a hard week. I reassured him that the last couple days things got better.

Then he started talking about his old roommate who was Bipolar and had to go off her meds cold turkey since she lost her job. How hard it was on her and what it felt like. So, my subtle vagueness wasn't as obscure as I hoped but that turned out okay! In fact, if more of us talked about our struggles with mental illness, the stigma would lessen.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

How to Lose Your Grip and Alienate People

I had two days off from work last week. For one day I went to the beach and I didn't get burnt to a crisp thanks to UV bands and disappearing potion sun lotion. The other day I had an appointment with Dr. Quackowitz. I sat in the waiting room for an hour. Pissed off, I wrote a note to slip under her door. She was there and she hadn't written down our appointment. Ladies and gentleman, this is the same person who I allowed to mess with my brain chemistry God help me.... The good doctor got very defensive when I listed all the medical problems I have being on Lamotrigine. She kept repeating, "That isn't normally reported..." My response to that was, "My brain isn't normal! I have less gray matter and my neurons aren't connected the same way as normal people's." I had to yell this at her several times. Look up what a stroke does to a brain- geez...

I went down to half my dose on these days off. It felt fine on non-work days but this work week has been rough. Monday was horrible not just because it was my first day back but also because Super Boss was out and the entire department collectively forgot how to do their jobs. I finished fixing all the mistakes from Monday today. To give you a slight taste of the insanity, Monday at 8:00 AM I had to show a woman who had worked at the company for 20 years how to print a report she has been printing every week. The lesson is that I will never take time off.

Super Boss got back and was pissed about what I had to deal with on Monday. Things were so screwed up, there were potential legal implications. Since this is a roller coaster week, I had an awesome Tuesday with accomplishments up the wazoo. Wednesday is when shit hit the fan as I started worrying if the Lamotrigine was the reason why I like my job. I screwed up on a report and revised it to what I thought was right but it wasn't. Super Boss called me and said that I needed to redo the report and he could show me what happened. I was in the middle of three things and it was after 5 so I asked him if I could be over in a minute and mentioned that I have been having a horrible week. Fast forward to me venting in his office. But do you ever hear yourself and just get so sick of yourself? So I trailed off saying, "Blah, blah, blah my feelings..." Super Boss insisted that how I was feeling was important. I waved it off, he insisted, and I replied, "Okay, how I feel is important to you."

As he was showing me how to do the report, I had to get up, go to the bathroom, and cry. The weird thing is I wasn't upset I made a mistake, I just felt like a raw exposed nerve. When I got back, I decided to give a very vague head's up that I was getting off a medication with difficult side effects and I am really trying to keep it together but I do know I've been off. Super Boss looked a bit overwhelmed/scared at the info but he did point out that I have been doing all this stuff to help him on top of doing all Benefits analysis, then taking on more. I appreciated hearing that I am actually helping then he informed me, "That's crazy." The irony was so strong, I had to laugh. 

I felt a lot better but when I got back to my office, dark thoughts started creeping in. The idea of possibly starting back on SSRIs while getting off Lamotrigine popped into my head. Right after that thought, the evil Depression mantra kicked in saying that I am a broken weakling. I sat crying in my office for an hour until I realized that I was in no shape to take a train home. Luckily, my brother was able to come pick me up and listened to me cry and feel.

Just a general overview of the side effects I have been riding; I am very dizzy, I have trouble sleeping, my thinking is foggy, I have jolts of nerve pain randomly, and I sweat buckets. 

Today started rocky since I got no sleep. It was a combo of being upset and discovering rusty brown water coming out of my bathroom faucet at 3:00 AM. The idea of calling my landlady the next day and being screamed at about how I broke the bathroom kept me up. I have been blamed for every repair needed in my shitty apartment BTW. 

I cleaned up a big billing process at work and Super Boss pointed out something I will need to check every month, so I got snippy with him because what he wanted to be done would take me months to figure out how to do so it kinda negated all my cleanup work. I got back to my office, sat down tried to start figuring out what Super Boss wanted me to do, and decided to go and apologize for being snippy. I explained that what he wanted was something I had no idea how to do so he said, "Okay, let's set aside some time and try to work on those queries." I told him, "You don't need to waste your time on this. I don't need you to be in the Benefits pit where everything is awful." He pointed out that I report to him, so yeah he does need to know Benefits, that me being alone in the pit and not accepting help won't work. He said, "You don't need to be a martyr." Yeah, Benefits isn't a live grenade I need to throw myself on. I got really badly dizzy so I had to sit down, apologizing. He said that we're human and I murmured, "No I'm not, I'm a super hero." It's a running joke explaining my crazy need to be all things to everyone and do everything perfectly surpassing expectations.

This is my favorite description of what we need to get out of our holes:

Friday, July 10, 2015

Go Big or Go Home

This week I discovered what I had suspected but ignored for years - my psychiatrist is a horrible quack. I came to this conclusion not just because I was prescribed Lamotrigine that has had side effects that mimic PCOS, hypothyroidism, or a pituitary tumor. The discovery occurred after I left a message detailing these problems, Dr. Quackowitz told me to completely stop taking the medication. If I was a naive medication newbie, I would have followed her directions and have been hospitalized. Since, I knew her directions were absolute insanity, I am titrating off on my own. Day 4 was tough because I stupidly reduced too fast. The idea that Lamotrigine is poison to my body makes me want to get off as soon as possible but I need to make sure I am not sobbing all day, in pain, while I murder people.

Tuesday, Super Boss and I had organized a group to do Pub trivia at the Elephant and Castle. I had never done pub trivia or been to Elephant and Castle. The group consisted of my brother, Super Boss' wife aka Super Wife, Fuck Up Analyst, and the most recent departed analyst. Something I was not told when I made reservations is that groups greater than 4 cannot be seated together. So, we got two tables near each other. My table was the pub trivia team - Super Boss and Wife, me and my brother. I also had Poutine for the first time with Sam Adams Red Brick Road. Everything was so good! The trivia was really good and just hard enough. Super Wife is freaking hilarious and smart as a whip. The first question we got right, she hopped up and walked towards the trivia DJ expecting some kind of prize - ha! It was tough to chat since the music was loud but I got to exchange some pleasantries with Fuck Up Analyst. It turns out she doesn't like her new job. She didn't ask a single thing about me. At one point in the evening Super Boss and I turned to each other and realized how hard it is to talk to the ex-analysts without mentioning work. Super Wife also did some recon at the other table which she reported back at the end of the night. She is well aware of all the work her husband and I have had to do and who is responsible for it. The ex analysts don't give the work any thought but miss the people. Our team came in second and got a $25 gift card which we used that night. As Super Wife said, "We came in with nothing and leave with nothing." The walk back to South Station took us under the floating net art which is so much prettier at night!

Thursday, since the week had been going so well with going down to 7/8 dose, I decided to go to half. Hello vertigo, fuzzy thinking, speech problems, and weird shooting nerve pain. Plus, me freaking the fuck out on Super Boss, snapping at him, shutting down any attempts at teaching, making him leave my office so I can cry - which scared Baby Analyst. After I calmed down and had some alone time, Super Boss and I talked. What I perceived as a judgmental comment was just him trying to jog my memory. He pointed out that the only person judging anyone in my office was me. Which was valid. I said that sometimes I feel like I am completely useless and know nothing. But the cool thing is after our talk, we reviewed a bunch of billing processes since I had caught a couple problems. In this review, I had not made a single mistake! That helped with my mood for the rest of the workday but I did cry all the way home on the train. After a call with my unpaid therapist, my mom, I upped my dosage to 6/8.

Today was very awesome. The monthly bills were calculated and mailed with only a couple of errors. I have the whole process down to a science. When Super Boss got into the office, I was smiling ear to ear with pride. I took a completely broken process left by Fuck Up Analyst and made it work! Later in the morning, I made sure to tell Super Boss that he did absolutely nothing wrong Thursday and it was just me and my stupid hang ups. This is how stupid I am. Dept supervisor encourages me to apply for Super Boss' old job and when Super Boss trains me, he says, "You need to know this when I'm not here anymore." Rather than appreciate having so much professional support, I went into I Need to be Super Boss NOW mode. Super Boss shook his head hearing this and said, "I just want you to be happy working here." Aw! In the afternoon, I got the vibe that Super Boss was fuming after finding out he needed to create a table load that was not our responsibility by end of day. I took care of a bunch of reporting requests sent to us and volunteered to help with the table load. It seemed really daunting at first glance and Super Boss admitted that he had been supremely pissed but luckily our deadline wasn't so tight. At 5:30 tonight I had cracked how to create the table in an amazingly easy way. Super Boss was impressed. He also made sure that what I did for billing deserved a stone in our accomplishment jar. 

P.S. I saw Leslie Jones and Kristen Wiig in Ghostbusters jumpsuits in Chinatown this week!

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Szerencses Reconaissant Durchgefuhrt

I don't think there are words in the English language to describe this past week. It was so good, I branched out to French, Hungarian, and German.

For almost a year I have been dealing with an odd constellation of symptoms that my primary care doctor couldn't pin down so I got a referral to an endocrinologist. My personal theories were PCOS or hypothyroid. Back in March I did a big series of blood tests and a 24 hour urine collection. I had to reschedule my May endocrinologist appointment because work became crazy. I finally had my appointment this week and everything was ruled out except a medication I am on. Plus the endocrinologist said, "At least it isn't a tumor." So, unbeknownst to me, that was a possibility!!!! And I cancelled the May appointment with a possible brain tumor. I am so glad this is news to me when it isn't a tumor. The up side is I don't like the medication I'm on so titrating off would be a relief. Yeah, anti-convulsants suck, hello SSRIs!

Monday, with the help of Super Boss, I was able to figure out how not to be upset about a couple errors I made last month. The key is to put it in context. Super Boss caught the mistakes and just let me know with zero judgement. All the judgement was in my head. So he shut my office door, sat down, and talked me through my crazy. I remembered what was going on when I made the mistakes. Four errors out of everything else I did right in the midst of the shit show around me, is pretty much a win. Huzzah conquering a big psychological hurdle! It's all about perspective. When I thanked Super Boss at the end of the day, he said I've done the same for him. Yup, propping up each other's sanity should be put on our resumes. I think mistakes should still bug me but not to the point where I get so upset I doubt myself. 

We have an Analyst II on our team who started mid-May but she is still working her old administrative job since the whole department is so understaffed. I'll call her Baby Analyst. I really love her and when she is able to help us out or sit with us to learn, I can see how overwhelming it is for her but she is picking up a ton.  It's also a lot of fun for me because I enjoy training people and she seems to enjoy learning from me. This week, she seriously stepped up to the plate work wise and saved our bacon.  I have tried to pass along her frustration over being half an analyst to Super Boss. He got LIVID when I told him that Baby Analyst got roped into covering the front desk for lunch. I think that being a teacher isn't just passing along knowledge, it's also looking out for student/trainee. So, when Baby Analyst got upset about making a mistake, I passed along perspective. 1 mistake out of thousands of data fields with both of us not catching two inverted digits. Walk it off.

Wednesday, there was a huge process deadline that affected thousands of employees. Three departments were involved in testing Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday was all in production. No pressure! At around 7:00, there was a huge issue discovered but since Super Boss and I were the only people left at work, we couldn't get it fixed immediately. But thanks to Super Boss asking to make sure that all the work I was doing was in production not test, I came up with a solution for that night. I was clutching my head laughing saying, "You do not ask me if I'm working in test at this time of night" If I had spent hours adjusting thousands of employees in the wrong environment, men with nets and a straight jacket would be called! We worked until 9:00 and Super Boss offered me a ride once we got back to his place - saving me a dicey walk to South Station in the rain and getting me home earlier.  Super is the same in English, German, Finnish etc. So Super Boss earned his pan-lingual super status!

He has a really nice condo and I got to meet his wife again. The embarrassing thing is one of the side effects I mentioned above is really bad sweating and that night was 100% humidity so I had beads of sweat running down everywhere while I stood in his nice home chatting with his wife. Maybe some of it could pass as rain drops? I discovered that Super Boss has horrible sense of direction. He lives one town over from me and grabbed the GPS. I said, "Oh you just need to hop on 93." Super Wife shook her head and leaned over stage whispering, "He's horrible at directions." Ha! Since Quincy doesn't have a hospital, Super Boss randomly announced "Erectile dysfunction" on the drive. There are signs posted everywhere for the Emergency Department that is the leftovers of Quincy Medical Center. Very weird and funny tangent. 

Thursday everything was done and every goal was met. I have a mason jar in my office that has about a dozen green decorative stones. Each stone signifies a win. Something we're proud of or something that went right. I feel like this huge process going well deserves something more than a green decorative stone. So this weekend we'll grab a stone from wherever we celebrate the Fourth and put it in the jar. We did extremely well this week!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Supernatural Superserious

Super Boss was on vacation for three days the week before last. In those three days I was in charge of a quarterly process that had been migrated to our HRMS system for the first time. I had just seen this process from a data entry/auditing perspective twice offline using Excel. So, needless to say, I was freaking the fuck out and stressed. I also resolved not to email Super Boss while he's away to encourage his actual being away-ness, Dude has checked his work email from his own honeymoon! Three days of stress and being on the phone with IT for hours later, it was done. Impacting hundreds of employees across the organization.

The department chief this same week encouraged me to apply for the senior analyst position that will be posted - the same position Super Boss had before he became Super Boss! So, for all of you keeping score out there, in the past year I have gotten a job that is a perfect fit, got an amazing boss four months ago, and am being encouraged for a promotion! I also was asked out by a random 59 year old employee. It was flattering yet very awkward. I have a fake ring now in my desk to throw on for future walk-ins.

That process I was in charge of? There were only 3 errors and I got a high five from Super Boss when he got back. This past week was time for both of us to stress out about fiscal year end deadlines. We decided to split the workload by type. This has been kind of awesome knowing that I can actually help and lessen the burden in our department. Super Boss has been in tears a couple of times in my office the last couple of weeks. Maybe that's why we work well together? We both get overwhelmed with different breaking points but find comfort in similar ways. I call it "talking out the crazy".

Also, this past week has seen huge swings in temperature and humidity which means a lot of pain for anyone dealing with injuries/nerve damage. Monday was the worst day for me. It was so exhausting dealing with my left hand/arm going completely numb plus my right foot and leg losing feeling and strength. The arm/hand issue was lingering nerve damage from my 2012 car accident. The foot and leg were sciatica due to a bone spur in my spine from my discectomy in 1997, I believe. Or it could be my sneakers crapping out with a sole worn down so badly I am supinating almost 45 degrees.

My brother got to meet Super Boss Wednesday night. Bro swung by the office before we went to a show. There was a moment between the two guys that was hilarious. It was a perfectly choreographed switch from saying really nice things about me to really on-point teasing. If I had a roast, those two would be openers.

Friday, June 05, 2015

The Dark Place

Ever start a week finding out a computer server melted over the weekend crashing the company's HCM system? Yeah, that was an omen. Plus there was a full moon this week. 

I had a full on break down at work Thursday - body shaking sobbing and Super Boss offering to let me go home for the day. It was a long time coming and there is no fix but I was heard and understood. 

The biggest factor, besides working long hours and not sleeping for two months, is the account billing system I inherited after Fuck Up Analyst left. I am the only person who spends hours a day working on it: fixing years of mistakes over hundreds of accounts, on the phone with pissed off employees with the shame knowing the entire system has been broken for years and Fuck Up Analyst was a complete asshole to employees. I had a huge deadline Thursday. I am also very achievement oriented and "doing my best" means I will achieve perfection while surpassing expectations. There is only 24 hours in the day and I have absolutely no help at work. Super Boss wants to help but he's in the same boat and doesn't have the knowledge I have amassed over the past nine months.

As I was sobbing in my office, after I had declared that I had put my life on hold for this job and I felt like I was being pushed off the glass cliff, Super Boss asked over and over, "How can I help?" He has also been having a horrible week thanks to the server meltdown. So he was next to tears seeing me cry. He observed, "I knew it was bad, but I didn't know it was THIS bad!" As a way to halt my spiraling, he crouched in front of me and pointed out all the things I have achieved then ordered me to leave at 5:00 that night. Yeah, he doubly earned the title of Super Boss. I even told him about that nickname! I'm training him on the account billing system now. That was the only way I could think he could help.

Friday was a lot better - a burden had been lifted and feelings were validated/expressed. As I was training Super Boss, I thanked him. He told me he had been to The Dark Place last year. I sighed, "Man, I had no idea how dark it can get." He wound up working until 10:00 Thursday night which was horrible and I chastised him about it. But he got sucked into trying to fix an account calculation query that has been apparently wrong for over a decade. He was trying to fix another broken system on my plate and as usual, found out it has been completely wrecked. He was trying to help me. If I break Super Boss or send him to The Dark Place, it will be awful

I am working on having a life outside of work now. I am seeing two comedy shows this summer and have four vacation days booked. Oh yeah, getting vacation days approved after a breakdown at work is CAKE! Plus some low level apartment searching can happen.