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Quo Vadis?

June 11, 2013

What do you mean, “what’s that mean?” OK, fine—I thought the Latin sounded more elegant than “where are you going, and why are you in that handbasket?” As the saying goes: an ounce of pretension is worth a pound of manure. Deal with it.

Anyway, that is the question I am having to ask myself now that I’ve been excommunicated from the working world, at least temporarily. I’ve been sending out resumes and online applications for every nursing job that even remotely sounds promising (and doable), and I haven’t gotten so much as a phone interview. I’m already on my fifth week of unemployment benefits, which last a maximum of 26 weeks, so essentially if I don’t find a job by early November, my dearly beloved and I will be out on the street before Christmas.

This has, of course, induced some mild anxiety and convinced me that I need extra help in finding suitable work…….or at least some kind of direction. As it is, I’m chasing my tail and becoming frustrated, knowing that the economy hasn’t yet recovered in my part of the country and feeling every single DAY of my almost fifty-five years on this rock we call Earth.

Thus, tomorrow morning I get to go down to the state Vocational Rehabilitation office and talk to a job counselor about my bipolar disorder and how it affects my ability to hold down a job. I am NOT looking forward to it. But, as with some therapy sessions where my pdoc brings up a really touchy subject (and the man is an absolute bulldog when he spots a weak area in my armor), it’s crucial to my personal growth, and in this case, my financial survival. I really don’t relish the idea of spending the winter begging like a refugee from an old Charles Dickens story: “Please, sir, may I have some more?” Sheesh.

Yep, it’s going to be a fun time…..said no government-services applicant, ever.

It’s not like I haven’t talked about my illness, ad nauseam with people in a position of authority before. It’s just that the last time I did it, the discussion didn’t end well for me. Memories of that terrible, final hour in my director’s office keep coming back to me whenever I put in yet another application or write yet another cover letter. I’ll never forget how it felt to have my entire tenure at that facility condensed into a single, six-word sentence: “It’s not your fault; it’s chemical.”

So, is biology destiny? Am I doomed to forever wander from job to job, dogged by the specter of an illness that can yank the rug out from under me at any time it so chooses? Or can I learn to stop worrying and love the damned thing for the energy, the imagination, and the wild creativity it lends to my life….and by extension, my work?

We shall see. In the meantime, let’s hope my counselor is a nice fellow who doesn’t think I’m a wuss for letting my disorder slap a “disabled” sticker on me. I’m NOT disabled….I merely have a disability. There’s a big difference. And never has it been more important than right now.

Where am I going? I haven’t the foggiest idea. But it’s gotta be better than where I’ve been these past few months.

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