Remote Control

Image: Toothbrush says “Sometimes I feel that I have the worst job in the world!” Toilet paper thinks in reply, “Ya…right!”

If a bully-of-a-boss screams in an office, and there is no Lavender around to hear it, can he still control her amygdalar fear response?

We’re about to find out.

I am now a 100% remote employee?!

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Where’s Whoopsie #14: Where’s it Hurt?

Traveling and being unwilling to bring anything I have actually invested time and effort in with me to Hell means I haven’t posted a Where’s Whoopsie since July! I suppose I could have posted some of my decidedly not-safe-for-work swear word drawings that I relied upon instead of geometric patterns to express my feelings during my time in the 9th Circle of Hell, but even I don’t care to see them, though swearing out loud feels like a great way of reminding myself I’m not in that place anymore. I’m fairly confident some of those swear words leaked into my blog posts anyway over the past few months.

However, I feel like posting something just because I need to mentally distract myself, and typing hurts physically even if it might help mentally. Thus, I’m using the fall back of pretty pictures to make up for a decidedly lackluster pain-fogged blog post. Something appears to be going “around,” and proximity to sick people has resulted in the inevitable acute illness coupled with massive amounts of all-over pain. I would dearly love to understand how bacteria and/or viruses exacerbate joint problems caused by defects in collagen, but they certainly seem to. Acute illness seems to have triggered a truly agonizing all-over EDS joint-pain flare. I’m exhausted but on my second night of painsomnia. The next time someone compares their cold to my chronic illness, I’m going to remind them that we get all the same bugs, then have to deal with another week of our normal symptoms being on overdrive to top it off.

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Absent without (Family Medical) Leave

I know the DSM-V no longer includes the term “nervous breakdown” anymore. I’m fairly confident even if it did include it, since the origins of my panic attacks, crying, dissociation, and depression are quite well known, I’d still just end up labeled with the “dissociative subtype” of PTSD (aka the compromise that is supposed to cover C-PTSD).

I have had to deal with the 9th Circle of Hell about this damn most recent abuse and medical-neglect-leading-to-multiple-medical-crises case three times within four weeks. I will have to go back to Hell again this month. I’m fielding calls on top of that. I’ve spent a quarter of my take-home pay for the past few months on that shithole, be it in travel fees, medical bills, lawyer’s fees, etc. I’m not even the only one financially contributing to fighting for “care”, but when the cost of failure is potentially life and limb, I’m not questioning it so long as I still have the money. The origins of my distress are not a mystery and fit neatly into the DSM-V trauma disorders bucket. I doubt I’d be said to be having a nervous breakdown even if the term was still diagnostic.

Add on top of the trauma situation itself a boss who lost it with me over email when I politely sent him a notice that I could no longer attend a scheduled internal presentation because I had to speak to state regulators in the 9th of Circle of Hell during that time and was given no choice of times, though, and – all technicalities aside – I think I’m having a nervous breakdown.

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Feed a Fever, Starve the Bully-in-your-Brain?

I very rarely think that dysautonomia is a survival mechanism, but I’m kind of wondering about that today. My mental and physical health haven’t been awesome lately, because C-PTSD is a sponge that sucks up ambient fear, but I thought I was holding it together okay. Thought being the operative word in that sentence. I pushed body and mind too hard, and I ended up making myself legitimately sick as a result. When I went to work on Tuesday, I ended up fainting again and having to head home befuddled and confused, only to find I was running another 100+ fever.

By managing to be incontrovertibly sick; however, I managed to somehow avoid the public dressing down that was promised on Friday. The team was asked to collectively assess what they thought the team failures were that lead to the breakdown. I’ll find out soon what they suggested, but I doubt it will be what I think I now diagnose the problem to be. We are operating under extremely ambitious growth goals in some areas, but without a clear roadmap for interim steps during a time when we are also underperforming in other areas. The rapid growth is supposed to help drive overall costs down, by just producing more for the same costs. Without a sense of what milestones we are supposed to be hitting along the way – or how we know when we’re really in crisis life-or-death project situations vs. just driven and pushing hard now to avoid the cliff later – what it has instead seemed to create is permanent crisis thinking. Crisis thinking, unfortunately, is scarcity thinking, short time horizon thinking and self-preservation thinking. When every project deliverable feels life or death, but no one is really sure how what they are specifically doing fits into the whole. Thus, team members overdevelop or underdevelop, because they can’t read priorities right. They react only to the most recent feedback, and only to avoid the short-term loss, not thinking ahead to six months or a year later. I come from a tech background, which not everyone in an office does, so I would describe it – if I were ever given a safe space to do so – as we’re facing a classic case of trying to have all three points on the engineer’s triangle and running up against the inevitable fear and hiding by employees when they don’t know how to deliver three when two are possible:

Image result for engineer's triangle

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I Love You More than Salt

Today has been lousy. There’s no other way to say it. Its lousiness has stemmed primarily from two causes: dysautonomia and C-PTSD. (I will write dysautonomia and C-PTSD officially, but I could just as easily have claimed dysautonomia and office politics. The two are kind of synonymous when C-PTSD views any perturbations in power dynamics that result in strong words being exchanged as an existential threat. The bully-in-my-brain helpfully comforts me while triggered with the alternative idea that office drama doesn’t always have to mean that I’m not safe. It could just simply mean that I am safe but suck.)

I’ve been in a dysautonomia flare the past three days. (Have we established yet if it’s appropriate to call an uptick in autonomic nervous system symptoms a “flare” when it’s not necessarily an inflammatory response?) I’ve been cycling rapidly between blood pressure extremes for the past couple of days. Today, I started out borderline high and watched it tumble after completing the rather physically demanding requirements – aka getting up and walking around for fifteen minutes as a break after a couple of hours on the computer – of my job. I usually don’t faint until I dip below 90 systolic, which fortunately is relatively rare with my meds now, but tumbling from 145/70 down to 92/54 in about fifteen minutes isn’t fun even if I do somehow manage to stay upright. (Also, yes, for those asking, I do keep a wrist blood pressure cuff at work. Those are real numbers. Not my worst, by a long shot, either. One of the two final numbers was technically in the human normal range, after all!)

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