Close Encounters of the Carrot Kind

Well, despite hardly sleeping due to nightmares about paintings of one of my evil exes and the spread of every physical symptom my anxiety could throw at me I did it.

What’s funny is that the current acting store manager turned out to be someone I’ve already met (sometime within the last two years) and thinking back I can’t tell you whether I liked her or didn’t at the time. It doesn’t matter though, because I feel like we’ve started this new relationship out well and I have made it a point to be as open and honest as possible.

She asked me particularly how I intend to cope if I start having difficulty functioning again (she used different words but they had the same meaning), to which I replied that I have a game plan -and gave a miniature outline of how the hours I have provided in my availability schedule will help keep my sleep regulated, which will greatly improve my chances of success.

As soon as we started plotting out my work schedule for the next two weeks she asked if I wanted to work inventory.

(Already my first carrot!)

Just a little background, I was initially diagnosed at 16 with obsessive compulsive disorder. I have an uncle with this illness and I displayed a lot of the usual traits as a child, but nothing particularly harmful. Mostly I just spent a lot of time categorizing and organizing things instead of playing.

As a teenager I began to have some trouble with obsessive thinking, which doesn’t surprise me now given the fact I’ve spent a lot of time with the racing thoughts of bipolar disorder. Well, those racing thoughts sometimes become obsessive which became dangerous to me for a time, mostly when my hormones were going all willy-nilly and I had the typical (albeit brief) moment of being “boy crazy”.

(I sure put the “crazy” in “boy crazy”! Hehe, sorry I couldn’t help myself!)

Anyway, that’s when the diagnosis came along and wham, bam, boom… it led to one mental health professional after another until the magical diagnosis of bipolar disorder came along.

I grew out of most of the OCD sorts of things I used to do, though I do have the occasional obsessive racing thought that usually takes the form of a portion of an arbitrary song (the last one was “Zuckerman’s Famous Pig” from the animated classic Charlotte’s Web -which I haven’t seen in at least ten years) playing over and over and over again in my head on high speed for days. Frustrating as heck, but not particularly harmful.

I do still feel an overwhelming sense of gratification when organizing or categorizing, something which has lent itself well to employment in the world of retail. You want size stickers on folded denim exactly 1″ from the edge? Then it shall be so!

When she brought up inventory my heart skipped a beat. I can think of little else more exciting to me than getting paid to run around an empty store and count things. The last time I worked at the store I worked closely with the store manager to help set up for inventory, I was the inventory right-hand-woman (for that very reason).

Unfortunately the inventory team starts around 8pm and doesn’t quit until at least 3am. That sort of time frame is exactly what I need to avoid because sleep is key. I have to have a regular sleep schedule or waves are created, waves that expand and throw my mood into flux. Sleep is a huge trigger.

It was a good thing I had already told her about the importance of sleep in regard to my health because I really, really already wanted to grab myself a carrot. A big juicy inventory carrot.

But after she brought it up, she realized on her own and said to me, “oh, actually that probably isn’t a good idea is it? That would really mess up your sleep schedule.”

Thank god for her presence of mind because the temptation was almost too great for me.

I guess I will have to forgo inventory, it really is better that I do anyway. For the first time in a year(?) I’ve had three days with a stable, normal mood. I haven’t been here in a long time, but every time it happens I feel a little bit of hope. The horror of the last 12 months is melting away and I can feel that my actions, my feelings, and my thoughts are 100% genuine. It is an exceptionally beautiful place.

I start work Wednesday.

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5 responses to “Close Encounters of the Carrot Kind

  1. apocalypseweather

    I think it’s great that you found a work environment where you can be honest about your situation and they’ll back you up and even work your schedules to best suit your sanity.

    How did you bring up your bipolarity with your employer? How long has/had it been since you worked?

    Yours bipolarly,
    Emily
    bolderandbolder.wordpress.com

  2. Thanks Emily,

    I don’t think it is necesarily that I’ve found a work environment where I can be honest, I simply decided that I need to be honest and that my workplace can take it or leave it. I’ve had some bad experiences with workplace discrimination, so I figured if my employer is going to discriminate I’d rather be open with everyone in my workplace so everyone can see what is going on. This way I’m hoping my fellow co-workers will help hold my employer accountable. Just a theory at this point, I don’t actually start until tomorrow.

    I have a pretty long history with this company, I left the job I had with them a year ago and they knew I was having “health problems” at the time. When I applied this month I made it very clear up front that I was returning from a six month period of unemployment due to these “health problems” -and then I waited until my final meeting/job offer with the store manager before dropping the “bipolar” bomb. She seemed pretty receptive.

    For more info on my decision to go back to work, you may want to check out the post “Reintegration Intimidation”

    Thanks!

  3. It sounds like your store manager is a very aware human being – willing to think of you as a person and not a commodity, which is a great sign in and of itself. I hope your first day went well, I haven’t gotten quite far enough to see if you had a chance to blog about it or not.

    • She is excellent, I can usually make a bit of a splash with other over-achievers.

      No post on that yet, I need to get a little distance on the subject and think it out first. 🙂

  4. Good luck with your job……..it all sounds positive and I look forward to following you!

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