Tag Archives: learning

Vast Reaches

The time has come
to search beyond fears
and trepidations of
long instilled torments
and reach for pinnacles,
scary but alluring,
rather than remaining
sequestered behind walls
built to protect,
to put the soldier,
always holding the fort,
maintaining structure
and security to rest
to experience peaks and valleys,
of knowledge and understanding,
loving and letting in,
sharing and fighting . . .

It is a time
for new beginnings,
an exploration of the sense,
questing for gratification,
in opening oneself up
to the frailties and strengths
never before explored.

The time has come
to love, to like, to play
… to be and be with,
to be at home
within the vast reaches
inside myself

Fundamentals to Getting and Keeping a Job for Generation Y bipolar people

Bipolar people may face an even more difficult time entering and staying within the workplace than traditional workers, especially older workers. Younger workers, those in Generation Y face unique challenges not necessarily experienced by those who went before you. This is especially true of Bipolar people.

In Nick Morrison’s article for June 4, 2015, “The Four Key Skills Generation Y is Missing”, he speaks to essential skills needed for any job.
1. Working “Life” Skills – turning up for work on time, dressing professionally. . . Understanding what a working professional is
2. Self-awareness and confidence
3. Learning how to communicate professionally with collegues either by email or voice. Look people in the eye when talking to them.
4. Ability to see things through the client’s eyes or the company’s rules and ethics

Inclusive of the ethics of seeking a position and holding onto it are some fundementals:
– Learn to listen carefully and respectfully to collegues and managers
– Follow-through – do what you are told to do or you set out to do. If filling out an application finish it, then send it. If called for an interview, show up, dress appropriately, listen, ask careful questions
– Weigh your current skills with what is asked for. You probably won’t be called in for an interview if you don’t have what they need. However, don’t discount skills and experience that don’t fit easily into the niche. For instance, babysitting teaches you how to deal with children and their parents. Landscaping for your uncle during the summer, demonstrates you have the ability to show up and work hard. Promote yourself.
– No matter how nice the day or what activity you want to do – SHOW UP TO WORK
– Do what needs to be done. If the floors need sweeping, counters washed, do it even if not asked
– Ask what the customer needs, listen attentively, smile and take them where they need to go or get someone to come over to do that.
– Be honest. There are no freebies unless otherwise specified.

In “Perception vs. Reality: 10 Truths About the Gen Y Workforce” in Quintessential LiveCareer by Randall S. Hansen, PhD., this generation is seen as entitled, arrogant, self-centered, impulsive and possessing a short attention span. This is partly based on parents who tended to over-praise, give what they themselves had not, and rewarding you for any little thing. “These parents stunted their children’s growth by proactively removing all obstacles and potentially negative experiences. ” This may be especially true of young people with Bipolar.

This generation has the reputation for being Lazy, with a poor work ethic, Little respect for Authority, too Individualistic, with Overinflated/Unrealistic Expectations. They are seen as being not committed to work, having no loyalty to employers, lacking social skills, and Needy. That’s a heavy load to face and the only one who can change it is you. Work based on your merits. Know you are more accepting of diversity than older generations were – an important skill. Use that understanding with everyone. Accept work is not like school or home – no one is going to praise you or pat you on the back everytime you do something well. That is something that is an expectation in the workplace. Don’t let your parents take control of your job. This is your responsibility. Managers are trying to help you, trust them to show you skills needed and attitudes expected. Don’t expect a promotion until you have paid your dues – pace yourself. Also, realize work is a combination of teamwork and individual assignments – learn to work both ways. Don’t question every decision made.

There is a lot of thinking to do about finding a job and keeping it. Be consistent and patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day. You can become a responsible, valued, progressive employee. Just work on the areas you fall short in and shine up your assets.

The volume of a voice

Sometimes I feel like a voice in the wilderness – not connecting or being heard. I’m not a screamer by nature so it’s more like “ah, hello, is anyone out there? can you hear me?” in soft whispers. I want to connect but I’m too often the scratching noise at the end of an old phonograph album. White noise with a mild irritation perhaps, but something that needs to be changed.

I wonder what to write about. What matters to others? Do I have something to say more than trite, banal quips? I fancy myself a writer . . . oh, I know I’ll never be Proust or Dumas. Not even Berry or Silva, or even some self-published, harried someone rushing from libraries to bookstores to get their agreement to let me read my writings or display my book. {mostly because I can’t afford it and maybe not have the guts – those copies would be gathering dust in boxes in my apartment} I’m more like a church mouse hiding in the organ pipes, head clanging away when the songs are played. I hide.

Today I mentioned to someone that I have maybe 40 or 50 followers – wait for it – 74!!! Okay, I know that’s not a lot by a lot of standards but considering not one or my friends or family read my site, it’s not bad. I worry about that. I write about some deeply personal things and have come under the forbidding glare of a relative’s eye when they read a paper draft of something or other.

So I’m not sure how to grow my site by conventional methods. Do I start a new Facebook page and link it? One I don’t give my family address to? And how does Twitter work? Perhaps that can stay out of the family focus.

I publish in a couple of newsletters, one being my church. Poem after poem went into it for a while and my sister never commented on them, even when reading it while sitting right next to me. When I asked her why she said, “What do you want me to say? I don’t go in for that kind of thing”. My kids don’t like my stuff either. And the worst part is, I let their comments and non-comments affect me. Shut me down a little more.

So please – be the voice who responds to my whisper. Give me your thoughts about growing my site while remaining anonymous to those near to me while remaining completely accessible to those far from me. Be honest with your feed back. Feel free to shout your answers, or whisper, I’ll be listening.

Impermanence

A book lies closed, it’s spine
and cardboard covers holding pages secure;
but a page is open, graced by the light
to be perused and hopefully cherished.
But fragile – too close to destruction
by the elements – fire, water, air . . .

How different when sheepskin held
precious words inked on by scribes
who toiled hours upon days
for a finished product that lasted
centuries – even then its words
could be scraped off for rewriting.

But the Egyptians, Jews, and Greeks
wrote upon carved rocks,
polished smooth and etched –
so many millennia later
we can still discern their meaning.

Turks and Mongols declared their
feelings and thoughts on stones, boulders
carved into mountain tops for the Eternal Being
to see – freely witnessing for any and all
who chose to pass their way.

Even our forefathers knew
to carve words into monuments
names onto stone
erect and solid for generations
to see and understand.

So many voices now clamoring
to be heard – tumultuous, tempestuous,
lost in the vastness of the system
meant to carry them to be viewed,
to be voiced . . .

Are our words so temporary now –
as fragile as the paper printed upon
or coded to be thrown across
the world wide internet –
which hackers could erase
by the touch of a button
or the crash of systems.

And on the Mongol steppes the stones lie
more than a millennia old, two even,
the caves of the Anasazi and Inca temples
holding images with stories behind them
while a ripped, wrinkled, tattered page
lonely flies down the street . . .

Fantasies of flavor and wisdom

As a child, I wanted more
than anything to spend the night within
the walls of an ice cream shop,
with lace covered dainty tables,
flowers everywhere,
one hundred tubs of
luscious, creamy, sweet savoring
goodness . . . and a big spoon.

I’d start wherever I wanted,
choosing the most interesting first
and go on from there,
until fully sated
with a morbidly swollen belly
and a huge smile.

As I grew older, the dream shifted
to that of being locked in at
the Library of Congress overnight.
Dusty books, new ones with shiny
covers and crisp spines. Documents
Histories, Bibles, books covering
every religion and school of philosophy

But I would head to the rare books –
the ones with pages so old they crackle,
don white gloves, and linger . . .
so much ancient wisdom
places and dreams I couldn’t
before imagine.
Ways of writing foreign to me
A world within a world.

It is there I would find succor,
sentient, satisfying completion. . .
until sated and then
entered the next room of desire.

Whatever shall I write?

Deciding what to print is a tricky proposition.  What do others like?  And do I write to be read or to give voice to my feelings and thoughts?  What is honest writing?  I stumble along in my daily life, knowing I am living a far too simple one.  There is complexity and intensity in some ways but are they writable? A part of me wonders if I give voice to certain things will they be read by those who wish me ill?  And I hate how paranoid that makes me sound.  But I listen to the news and those people who say the government is sequestering everything for potential use, even by people who do no wrong. I’m a person who writes from the heart and is perhaps too self involved in my writing. I need to branch out more but am not sure my opinions matter in the grand scheme of things.  When I was writing love poems or ones about the ending of relationships, my ratings were high.  But I am long past that part of my life and believe there is still meaningfulness in what I write.  So I’m asking you, what is it you want to read?  What tickles your fancy?  What makes you sit up and wonder or imagine or conceive?  I’d truly like to know, especially if you have read my words in the past. Thanks.

Platitudes and Analogies

There are times I feel so alone with these diseases and conditions.  It’s usually when I’ve been around “normal” people for too much time.  They just don’t get me and I’ve ceased to try to make anyone understand.  Sometimes I’m in a good space, sometimes not – but it is good to know I’m not the only one going through these issues.  I can get too wrapped up in my symptoms, people  tend to say things that don’t ring true for me.  I’m searching for some good analogies that get me through the tough times. See if they ring any bells for you.

When the going get tough – the tough get going. Don’t shrug your shoulders at that.  We are a tough lot.  We have t be.  Nobody can wave a wand and make the symptoms of our lives of our lives go away.  Medical Science has a way to go.  We suffer in silence or not, but WE are not the ones who have to go through this.  All the platitudes “normies” give us will not sufficiently calm us when we are in a rough place.  God bless them for trying, they just don’t understand what’s going on beneath our skin.

You can do it one step at a time. This is true. We can’t get out of bed and negotiate our days without moving exactly one step at a time.  Nevertheless, when our insides are racing and we can’t think a rational thought, when all we see before us is struggle, racing thoughts, nightmares and silent screams, you might want to backtrack, not move forward.  It is hard to bring ourselves to center.  We can do it, but not without skills and understanding.  And as much as we can, utilize the support people in our lives.  These are the people who understand where we are coming from.  Things will get better one step at a time.

You are the only one who can heal yourself. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?  However, we know we need help . . . even when we can’t reach out and get it.  I think it’s a phrase people say to absolve themselves of responsibility for ourselves.  We want to be self-sufficient, that is where frustration builds.  But sometimes we need outside intervention.  And though we are the ones who have to do the work inside ourselves, sometimes we need direction.   On the other hand, we are the conductors of the symphony of our thoughts, feelings, and actions that make up our lives.

Practice Joy.  When I am in the midst of adversity, joy is just three letters with no meaning.  I can struggle through the morass which can surround my life, but joy is something I rarely experience.  BUT, when I do, I rejoice in it and don’t take it for granted.  I don’t know how to practice it.  There is an artificiality in the word Practice.  I either wake up in a good place or I don’t.  Restarting the day sometimes helps, like when I look out the window and feel sunlight caressing my face on an otherwise gloomy day, its heat tickling my skin. Joy is a blessing always to be appreciated.

Nevertheless, there is always HOPE.  Nothing lasts forever.  Another Platitude but one of Truth.  We can put one foot in front of the other and each footstep gives us a new opportunity to step out of bad spaces and, at the very least, come to center.  With help, spiritual guidance, and the support of those who understand, we can change our circumstances. One Day At A Time.

 

Sifting through the Ashes

So many years since my parents have died and yet they walk through my life day by day, hour by hour.  Is this so for everyone? Sifting through our ashes, seeing the truths or remolding childhood witnessing into more truthful adult understandings. . . or should they be upended?  Aren’t my life experiences as a child as equal, or more so, than their adult counterparts?

Isn’t the fact my father and I played a game where he blew his pipe smoke in my face because it  made me exclaim for him to stop but we both laughed just as valid as my understanding that it was the underpinnings of my attraction and addiction to tobacco, and later COPD and asthma?  Or my coming in drunk from some beer bash and sitting up with him for hours talking about the world, the universe, my present, later to realize he had been drinking too and it was a tactic acknowledgement of drinking as acceptable, even essential?  Just as Christmas brings misgivings driven both my the year we snuck downstairs to see an entire kitchen and bikes our size as well as the one when Dad knocked over the Tree in a fit of alcohol fumes?

As an adult, I moved back to Connecticut, staying in my mother’s room while looking for a home of my own. Within those walls, Mom and I made peace with each other.  I finally felt her life, what made her, why she was such an angry person much of the time, overwhelmingly generous at others.  I understood why she was angry with me, frustrated at my weaknesses, as she co-dependently made right my many, many mistakes. I forgave her transgressions. And felt her presence at the foot of the bed and with the Shirley Temple collection, the first dolls she ever owned.

Yet these two people gave us such treasures.  As a Minister’s family, we moved frequently, as my Mom did, from one Brooklyn apartment to another when the rent ran out.  So when Mom saw a tiny ad for a 250 year cabin on 50 acres a 17 hour trip away, she bought it sight unseen  so we would, no matter how many times we had to move.

Every summer she would take off work, bringing us up to our spiritual center for 2 months, Father joining us under his vacation. Now I look back to see how hard she worked on the cabin, making it safe and livable for us.  Understand, as a mother myself, the frustration she would sometimes feel as a single mom for such a long time.  Laugh at when she sent my wayward brother to the garden to remove rocks when he did, frequently, something outrageous.

Memories fill the furniture in my apartment.  A teacart given from a barn in exchange for a loaf of bread, now well over 150 years old. The carved, wooden screen behind it, a much beloved piece from my grandmother.  My “distressed” childhood dresser and toddler rocker. The cut glass pieces my mother so dearly collected in a beautiful collection. The painting of “Uncle Willie”, an old hermit who closed off his beautifully furnished  home, save the kitchen, when his wife died; we picked cherries from his trees, mom making pies, jams, and bringing them to him.

My adult eyes stare into the inward memories of my brain to remember. In some places there are causes for anger displaced.  In order, wry comprehension.  In others humble gratitude.  They were not perfect people but they were good ones, who moved beyond the strictures of their memories and life experiences to give us so many precious ones.

Social Security Disability – Living in the System, or not

How many of us live terrified about money?  Not understanding it. Not knowing how to utilize it productively. Money is a vague anomaly, something that, for some, is easily quantifiable, for others a mind spinning process that brings little comfort, little stability.

I look at numbers and my head spins. That portion of my brain which controls numbers has permanently gone on vacation.  Has always been basking in the suns of Antarctica.  My father used to help me with math homework until “Modern Math” was established.  He bought a book on the subject and I remember nights when both of us would be crying trying to figure it out.

When I was a Paraprofessional in the schools, kids in grades 4 and 5 quickly learned to go to someone else for help.  If they needed to write, do geography, jump through hoops, learn history, read, they knew to search me out.  Math?   Computers they taught me. Why get things marked wrong when help had been asked for?

I have always found myself in trouble with my finances.  This year I am facing problems way beyond my abilities.  I was on Social Security Disability, very deservedly so. I was not one of those milking the system . . . I am someone who doesn’t understand the system. Never good in Math, Traumatic Brain Injury made it even worse.

I work as a caregiver/CNA.  Some cases are paid out of pocket, some as an employee, others as an independent contractor. Trouble is, how do you keep course over a year, month by month, week by week, what is too much or not?  How do you tell a client you can’t work for them anymore because you just discovered they are going to start paying by another format?  How do you handle it when someone, in June, decided to pay out of pocket but in January, determined a 1099 would be more to their keeping?  It isn’t a fair system. I know, I know, who said it had to be fair?

I don’t have the ability to work 40 hour weeks, if you can find a job that gives you that. Even 20 hours can, many times prove more than I am capable of. I am in a great deal of pain on a constant basis. I need the benefits offered to the disabled – the medical benefits.  I don’t abuse the system. I don’t use Food Stamps or other benefits because I pay for them myself.  I need Medical Benefits and to qualify for Social Security. I’ve never filed for unemployment benefits or welfare.  If only Social Security helped you understand the process and then, if needed, provide the help necessary to comply with in the system.  The system would be so much more organized and understandable then.

I contributed to the system for many years.  To go from being a national Business Management Consultant in Human Resources and Management Development to someone on Social Security over the course of a working timespan is humbling. What many don’t understand is, the vast majority of the working disabled are trying the best they can.  But they are in a system that penalizes you if you work even slightly over the set limit.  Problem is, you don’t know in the beginning of the year what your earnings will be, or maybe in what form as in my case.

So now I am not on Social Security. I need to apply for re-establishment which can take 3 years if granted at all. To obtain it I need to work less or not at all.  If I work not at all, not having Social Security, I can’t pay my bills or eat.  My family is talking about taking me in to their homes. I’m 60 for God’s sake!!  As much as I love them, I don’t want to live with them any more than they want me.  This is the American culture where each generation provides for itself and lives separate from the others.  It would be one thing if we did things the natural way and lived multi-generationally but we are not, and don’t have that thinking pattern.  I have lived by myself for almost 20 years.

So tough choices all around.  Happy New Year! (and I still don’t understand the system)

 

 

 

Listen to your Momma

He took the boy child’s face
between strong hands,
ones rough from painting walls,
pounding fence posts . . .
man hands – nothing soft about them.

“Boy, don’t ever treat women with disrespect,
but never, ever treat your Momma
that way.  She carried you,
gave you life, bore those labor pains
so you could live . . .

Listen to your Momma, and your Sister,
so when you grow older
women will love you
because you hear what they say
and understand.

He didn’t know if he deserved those words –
for they were words that
had never crossed his father’s lips,
and couldn’t be sure he deserved.

Even yet, the boy stored the words
inside his young heart.
And though he made mistakes here and there,
he became a man of shining example.

.