Wednesday, February 22, 2012

It's all too much

Things have gone from bad to worse I'm afraid. The last few days have been pretty trying all round, and especially at work. My attempt to meet that work deadline last Thursday by putting in some extra hours was all in vain. I'd got work done alright, but it was all wrong. I'd based everything on the eighth version of a previous spreadsheet - the supercharged V8 - when there was a V9 I should have used that I hadn't even noticed. Then I'd updated the figures using a file with dodgy data in it. My boss asked me how confident I was of having everything correct by 3pm the next day; when I said fifty-fifty he promptly took the task off me.

On Thursday I picked up a cold which got worse during the night. I'm not sure if it was flu or just a bad cold, although I did have a slight fever. I hadn't slept much and the next morning I wasn't in any state to go to work. I listened to the eight o'clock news on the radio in bed. About the tenth news item was the horrific prison fire in Honduras that killed 359 people. Because they were prisoners that nobody cared about in a country that nobody cares about, the NZ media weren't going to care either. The Guardian however did that horrific event justice. I needed to call in sick but I didn't know any of my colleagues' desk phone numbers, couldn't get through on the big boss's mobile, and couldn't email (I had no internet). I found the reception number in the White Pages and got through to my boss (it is a bit crazy that I don't know any of those numbers but I never thought to write them down or commit them to memory).

I had a doctor's appointment booked (for my other problem) and somehow made my way over to Brooklyn. It felt swelteringly hot outside that day but it was probably only 20-odd degrees. I saw a woman doctor this time; from experience (small sample size) female doctors are more understanding of mental health issues. It perhaps helped that on Friday I also looked sick. After I rambled for a bit (I can't remember what I said), she increased my dose of Efexor from 300 mg to the maximum 375. I said I could probably take the whole packet and it wouldn't make any difference. She then wanted me to see a psychiatrist next month; she thought my bipolar diagnosis in 2009 was a load of tripe (I happen to agree). She also mentioned Asperger's without any prompting from me, although I must have given her a few clues.

I picked up my extra pills from the pharmacy near the surgery; they had a set of scales which still measured stone and took two-cent coins which haven't been in circulation since the late eighties. I didn't happen to have any obsolete coinage handy but the scales weighed me anyway. I was twelve stone two; the scales agreed exactly with my digital ones at home. That's a perfectly fine weight for my height (nearly six foot) but it's where the weight is that I need to watch. I've now got a spare tyre which I didn't have before I came to Wellington. My new place has a gym and I need to start using it. Realising my food stocks - and petrol - were low, I went to Pak 'n' Save. After buying a few groceries I tried using their totally unmanned petrol station. It was bad as trying to figure out some of the spreadsheets at work. I felt completely washed out by the time I got home. That day I really just needed to rest. Then one of the new tenants at my old flat - she's Indian and eight months pregnant - came round to look at my fridge. I ended up with two fridges and she wanted to buy the older one off me.

I was able to recharge my batteries over the weekend. I worked on the PowerPoint presentation for the business idea my cousin has for me, read large chunks of Tony Attwood's book on Asperger's, but best of all didn't see or get phone calls from anybody. Not having the internet had its advantages too. The most strenuous thing I did all weekend was pick up some fruit and vege from the market. I still have a whole load of boxes that I've yet to unpack.

I felt far from 100% on Monday but went into work because after what had happened the previous week, and the whole Friday/Monday thing, I didn't want them to think I was skiving. I still didn't have a phone in my flat then - Dad rang me at work having returned from his not-exactly-a-holiday. I went to the Asperger's group that night. Nine of us were there. We decided to make a list of all the subjects covered in the meeting. I started off writing on the blackboard but I couldn't keep track of all the topics, such is my memory (or forgettory) at the moment. Tracy, who has an almost photographic memory, took over and put me out of my misery.

Tuesday was a bad day. I slept through my alarm and got up just before eight. I still got to work at an acceptable time but felt quite disoriented. I was functioning on 10% of capacity, knowing that I'd need to be at 200% to keep up with my boss. He got me to do what I thought was just a copy-and-paste job but ended up being a lot more. I was doing my absolute best to get it done but I couldn't remember where things were and it was like I was running uphill backwards through treacle. There seemed to be a lot more noise than usual and of course so much Mandarin. The incessant talk from the three women in Finance about the Big Four accountancy firms was becoming repulsive. I feel more and more isolated with each passing day in that place. I also feel exceptionally stupid the whole time I'm there. I had to come home at lunchtime to get my phone connected. In the afternoon I asked my boss something about the job I was trying to do. He asked me when I'd have it finished. I told him I really didn't know. "But you've already spent four hours on it!" "Look. Just coming to work is a success for me at the moment." "WHAT!" I spent the next few minutes in the toilet, then calmly said to him that I really wasn't that well and that I was going home. He just laughed at me. "What about work?" "I could be here all night. I won't make any difference. As I said, I'm not very well." Again he laughed. "If you don't understand that, you're obviously very ignorant." Then I went home. He gave me a sarcastic wave.

As soon as I got home my bloody mobile rang. It was an 09 number. Phew. It happened to be Vodafone, not my boss or anybody ghastly like that. Five minutes later it rang again. This time it was my boss, or rather the big boss. I ignored it. Then he rang again. I picked it up. He was a bit more sympathetic than my other boss. He told me to take two days off work and even asked if I had anyone in my apartment block I could talk to. I wish I did. After dinner my other phone rang and it was Julie, hoping that my number hadn't changed. She said she was in a bad way. I tried to listen and agreed to meet her on Thursday. I managed to end the conversation, then my mobile rang again. Who can this be? I'd totally forgotten about the people coming to pick up the fridge. Three blokes came round, gave me $170 (I think they got a good deal), and would somehow lug the fridge the 500-odd metres back to my old flat. They had only just hauled the fridge into the lift when Mum and Dad rang me. I didn't mention work.

Many organisations offer an external counselling service; I was advised to make an appointment which I had at 12:30 today. My cousin rang me at about 11:15 to talk about the business idea but I couldn't take in half of what she said. It was quite a long phone call which meant I was running late for my meeting. I did make it on time but must have looked quite dishevelled. It was a useful meeting if only to get one or two things off my chest. He did say I need to learn to say a particular two-letter word. This afternoon was a bit of a write-off although I did send a useful email to my cousin saying that we need to back off from the business thing because I'm clinically depressed and struggling to cope. Tonight I went to the tramping club. I met Danielle and signed up to a day trip next month but there were hordes of people there and it was good to get home.

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