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CoffeeBean

Higher functioning but kind of traumatized

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My pdoc currently thinks I have schizoaffective disorder. I think I am higher functioning than most people with this sort of diagnosis. I know that I am capable of working, so disability is out of the question. This means that one of these days (probably soon, as my folks are becoming impatient with me), I need to get a job.

However I am terrified of getting a job. If there were jobs available to me where I could just do physical labor and not have to interact with people, that would be find. But because I have no car (limited area to choose), no higher education, and must choose from what is available here, basically the only jobs I can get are customer service / retail type jobs. Examples include fast food, cashiering in grocery stores, customer service in retail settings (hardware store, pet store, etc). 

Basically I will have to interact with people, especially customers, the whole time I am on shift wherever I will work. Interacting with people in general is very stressful for me, and when it's a constant flow of strangers whom I have to rapidly and flawlessly respond to, it's just like 10,000 times worse. Not to mention that it's not unusual for customers to communicate poorly, be angry or otherwise stressful/confusing. 

I know because I dealt with it at my last job while working in a gas station. My stress level was so insanely high that it triggered hardcore insomnia and eventually a psychotic episode, and I was throwing up almost every day before work.

The reason it's stressful is because I can't keep up. It's like there's no time for reality testing or slowly analyzing situations, which is what I typically need to do with people. I've had so many horrible experiences with socializing because of my mental health issues, that I'm just terrified of it now. People's faces freak me out, I can't make eye contact, it's hard for me to make out what people are saying half the time, and sometimes I "lose my thoughts" where it's like my mind is just suddenly blank and I am frozen there with no idea what I should do or say. 

At my last job at the gas station I became extremely paranoid of everyone, people's faces started to look really messed and the grand finale was that I hallucinated someone having no eyeballs, walked home shaking and never went back.

This is really more of a rambling vent but I just needed to spill it out. I know that people think I am lazy and just don't want to work, but the reality is that I'm just terrified of working with people. If I could just walk around a store cleaning with headphones and sunglasses on that would be great. 

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I think if you've been diagnosed Schizoaffective disorder you have a fighting chance to get disability. Talk to a pdoc, therapist, or social worker about it.

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25 minutes ago, CeremonyNewOrder said:

I think if you've been diagnosed Schizoaffective disorder you have a fighting chance to get disability. Talk to a pdoc, therapist, or social worker about it.

My pdoc said she thinks I should work with animals. I'm not sure how I'm supposed to do that, but it gave me the impression that she, too, is waiting for me to get a job already. My anxiety about it is so bad that I'd almost rather be dead than working somewhere like fast food or a gas station again (not a threat, just a feeling). The other day my mother told me flat out that she is only helping me because she knows that soon I will be getting a job, and that is her way of saying that I had better get a job soon.

Right now I'm cycling through meds trying to find the magic pill. If one doesn't seem to be working after a few weeks, or has a bad side effect I know I can't stick with, I get panicky and want to try a different one. My next pdoc appointment I'm doing it again, because Risperdal has made my crotch practically numb and I have been crying almost every night on it. I'll have only been on it for like 4 weeks though when I ask to make a switch. But my pdoc doesn't understand like I have to find something that makes me not emotional at all or I won't be able to cope. And I should at least be able to masturbate for some stress relief for goodness' sake, that's like a basic human thing.

I don't know how anything is supposed to work out long term anyway, I can't even drive. 

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2 hours ago, CoffeeBean said:

My pdoc currently thinks I have schizoaffective disorder. I think I am higher functioning than most people with this sort of diagnosis. I know that I am capable of working, so disability is out of the question. This means that one of these days (probably soon, as my folks are becoming impatient with me), I need to get a job.

However I am terrified of getting a job. If there were jobs available to me where I could just do physical labor and not have to interact with people, that would be find. But because I have no car (limited area to choose), no higher education, and must choose from what is available here, basically the only jobs I can get are customer service / retail type jobs. Examples include fast food, cashiering in grocery stores, customer service in retail settings (hardware store, pet store, etc). 

Basically I will have to interact with people, especially customers, the whole time I am on shift wherever I will work. Interacting with people in general is very stressful for me, and when it's a constant flow of strangers whom I have to rapidly and flawlessly respond to, it's just like 10,000 times worse. Not to mention that it's not unusual for customers to communicate poorly, be angry or otherwise stressful/confusing. 

I know because I dealt with it at my last job while working in a gas station. My stress level was so insanely high that it triggered hardcore insomnia and eventually a psychotic episode, and I was throwing up almost every day before work.

The reason it's stressful is because I can't keep up. It's like there's no time for reality testing or slowly analyzing situations, which is what I typically need to do with people. I've had so many horrible experiences with socializing because of my mental health issues, that I'm just terrified of it now. People's faces freak me out, I can't make eye contact, it's hard for me to make out what people are saying half the time, and sometimes I "lose my thoughts" where it's like my mind is just suddenly blank and I am frozen there with no idea what I should do or say. 

At my last job at the gas station I became extremely paranoid of everyone, people's faces started to look really messed and the grand finale was that I hallucinated someone having no eyeballs, walked home shaking and never went back.

This is really more of a rambling vent but I just needed to spill it out. I know that people think I am lazy and just don't want to work, but the reality is that I'm just terrified of working with people. If I could just walk around a store cleaning with headphones and sunglasses on that would be great. 

You are far away from HIGHLY functional, you can't fulfill a basic need that is human interaction and you're highly paranoid, specially when socializing.

I followed your early topics, sorry if this disappoints you like your current diagnoses.

From my point of view you experience impairing social anxiety, lack of self awareness, you are highly paranoid and sometimes it seems that you're delusional on your posts.

I don't want to be harsh but you just contradict yourself and I think would be better to evaluate better you current situation.

You thought that you tdoc didn't like you, that was making fun of you, you have some sort of social paranoia, I would not throw away this DX so easy.

People diagnosed as schizoaffective disorder aren't highly disable, to be honest, right now the worst MI that you can imagine under stability is probably more functional than you're.

Sorry to be the one to tell you.

Edited by uncomfortable thoughts

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33 minutes ago, CoffeeBean said:

My pdoc said she thinks I should work with animals. I'm not sure how I'm supposed to do that, but it gave me the impression that she, too, is waiting for me to get a job already. My anxiety about it is so bad that I'd almost rather be dead than working somewhere like fast food or a gas station again (not a threat, just a feeling). The other day my mother told me flat out that she is only helping me because she knows that soon I will be getting a job, and that is her way of saying that I had better get a job soon.

Right now I'm cycling through meds trying to find the magic pill. If one doesn't seem to be working after a few weeks, or has a bad side effect I know I can't stick with, I get panicky and want to try a different one. My next pdoc appointment I'm doing it again, because Risperdal has made my crotch practically numb and I have been crying almost every night on it. I'll have only been on it for like 4 weeks though when I ask to make a switch. But my pdoc doesn't understand like I have to find something that makes me not emotional at all or I won't be able to cope. And I should at least be able to masturbate for some stress relief for goodness' sake, that's like a basic human thing.

I don't know how anything is supposed to work out long term anyway, I can't even drive. 

The vast majority of the meds around will take more than a week to work and unfortunately all of them have side effects.

Hmm, am I the only one that having a reduced libido is a good thing?

Damn' without meds my sexual needs just takes too much of a part of my life, I'm not talking about dysfunction, I'm talking about a lower libido.

You need to see this desperation if you have any MI most of it is chronic so you'll have all your life to deal with it.

If I were you I would prioritize and focus on neutralizing your current symptoms.

Edited by uncomfortable thoughts

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I think part of the paranoia comes from my parents, it's hard to tell the difference between psychological paranoia and mental illness paranoia. 

I just know that when I first started to try anti-psychotics, the first one was Zyprexa. I was on it for one month when my mother and her husband started pressuring me to get a job. I had too much brain fog, and when I was offered the job at the gas station, I felt desperate to get and keep the job to get my mother to stop being stressful to me. So I went off the Zyprexa to try to get rid of the brain fog and slow thinking / memory issues, but I just got worse symptoms on the job and then lost the job anyway. 

So now I have started trying medication again after that failure, and they are starting to pressure me about getting a job again. I feel like they are trying to sabotage me? Like they want to stress me out so that the medication will fail. I feel like I am getting cognitive dissonance problems because one minute I feel like I should just try to get a job and hope for the best, and the next minute I feel like no I have to not let them manipulate me and just take my time finding the right medication. And the whole time I feel so stressed out it's ridiculous.

It's hard to work on recovery with my mother, I don't think she believes mental illness is real. Or something, I don't know. I was homeless for a little while due to a psychotic episode and when my mother took me in I was dirty and had been assaulted and wasn't eating, I could hardly talk and the first thing she did was take me to JCPenny to get clothes for interviewing. She only took me to a therapist when I started to have "hiccups" and become hysterical. Then after I was in therapy for a couple weeks she asked me if I was getting better yet.

Sorry I know I am just venting a lot here I am just stressed out. 

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As MI is new to you, maybe your family needs time to realize your current incapability to deal with basic life situations.

There's a difference between having a reason to be paranoid and being pathological paranoid by every single person on earth.

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Some thoughts, and some based on above posts:

Could you work in the grocery store with an overnight position?  You don't need to deal with people that way.  Most of the re-stocking is done at night (from what I remember).

About working with animals, is there an animal shelter nearby, where you could start out by volunteering to help take care of the animals there?  You might not get paid, but it could give you experience with animals, and might even help you relax some.  Animals just have that way of giving unconditional love  IMO).

Also, could you and your parents have a therapy session together, so your tdoc can help explain why you can't work and talk about how it takes meds more than a week to work, or not?  Sometimes hearing things from a third party will clue in the people pushing you to get the job.  From what you write it seems like your parents are a cause of a lot of your stress.

I agree with above posts about it seeming that you have some sort of anxiety disorder and paranoia (I'm not a DR though, just IMO).

Does it seem like with your parents, sometimes they don't believe until they "see" that something is wrong ("seeing is believing")?  I can relate to that.  My mom accepted what I was going through, but it took a huge psychotic episode for my father to say something like, "Well I guess she does need to take the medication."  And he backed off. 

Are your meds worked out?  A med can take up to 6-8 weeks to give you the full effect and there are also side effects sometimes.  And then there is adjusting the dose to one that will help you.  So if you are going through med changes it probably would be best if you did not work (IMO) until they helped. 

But I do think you need to work on getting your anxiety and stress level down.  If you have lack of sleep and you know you are stressed, that is a great cocktail for a psychotic episode, with more hallucinations and delusions.  I hope you can get things resolved soon.  Hang in there.

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7 minutes ago, melissaw72 said:

Also, could you and your parents have a therapy session together

Thank you for your suggestions. This is the only I wouldn't feel comfortable with. The last time my mother came with me to a session (over a year ago), she told my therapist that everything that is wrong with me is my father's fault because he didn't like me, she made stuff up and wouldn't even let the therapist get a word in. I think my mother is a narcissist, she's not evil or anything but she has to always be in control and manipulate people, bringing her with me would probably be a disaster. About every other week she offers to come with me to an appointment, I know she wants to but I always say no thanks because of how she behaved last time. I need at least one safe, sane place on the planet even if it's just 40 minutes every other week in someone's office. 

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50 minutes ago, CoffeeBean said:

Thank you for your suggestions. This is the only I wouldn't feel comfortable with. The last time my mother came with me to a session (over a year ago), she told my therapist that everything that is wrong with me is my father's fault because he didn't like me, she made stuff up and wouldn't even let the therapist get a word in. I think my mother is a narcissist, she's not evil or anything but she has to always be in control and manipulate people, bringing her with me would probably be a disaster. About every other week she offers to come with me to an appointment, I know she wants to but I always say no thanks because of how she behaved last time. I need at least one safe, sane place on the planet even if it's just 40 minutes every other week in someone's office. 

You're welcome. 

I'm sorry that the appt with your mother was such a bad experience. I can totally see why you would not want her to come back with you.

You're right, having a place for you only, no other influences, is a really great idea. 

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Ok, so when you are alone and not stressed out by a lot of people you are functioning better, almost as normal. And when working, relating to a lot of people, it freaks you out, and really it make you so ill you not only freak out, you dont get sleep, you eventually get psycotic and seriously ill. Get it.

Id say you demonstrate a very clear insigt into both your limitations and what may work for you as regards to work-life. As most work nowadays do include a lot of contact with people, lower functioning regarding contact with people really is a deal breaker for you.

I understand where you are coming from and what you say. 

What is in the past, Im really sorry you had to go through those things, this desease is a real challenge, and Ive seen it happen to the very best of us, you are not alone. 

Your mother is a typical well mening relative that love you and just want you to be normal, but she does not understand the slow, systematic, careful  and intelligent approach one must choose in order to move on to the next level. Moving on to fast will just make you ill. Thats just the truth of it, so jut regard her as a wellmeaning, but not at all an authority regarding how to solve this. She is to uniformed and primitive to realize the full severeness and intricallity of how to deal with this situation. So if she can be ignored without it casing your situation to get worse, like she kicks you out or something, then thats the best, if she cannot be ignored, then perhaps she needs to be informed by a professional on this issue, and that issues at hand has to be sloved in the correct order.

In my opinion, work life beeing as it is has lots of interaction with people. You cant do physical work be fore the mental stuff is fixed.

Anyway, she is not too important in this in my opinion all that matters is for you to get well, and if getting well is not possible, find a solution that makes your life better when ill. Thats really all that matters now, your well beeing and getting well.

Really you might find some work at a distant wildlife forrest station, but I really think you are a wonderful person with a mental issue to solve and you should work on how to cope and deal with your emotional issues towards others first. Interacting with people is so very mutch a part of beeing a human beeing. So before you turn to the working night shift, washing or portier at a hotel or whatever other lonely and isolated life workplaces, work on the mental issues. These jobs will be there anyway, if your mental,issues dont get fixed, right.

So no worries, dont stress too mutch, start working on solving this in the logical order.

When I was ill, my medical advicers knew little about me, but they do know a lot about stress and psycosis. And their good advice was to move slow. Very slow, in fact we are talking years, not weeks and months. Id say you should attack this problem from the right angle. You have IMO to work on getting better from your social phobia. I thought the people at work was in a secret society, and that they may wanted to kill me. They, and other scared me shitless, to a deegree I couldnt not sleep. Ofcourse it was not they, but my mind and my own paranoia and illness that scared me shitless, iow, it was all me, not them, or their falt.  So I had to examine what is it with me that makes me think this way about them? And really it helped me a lot in my work to identify sick / illness related thoughts towards others, and how to stop/deal with these paranoid thoughts even before birth. Today, one year later, Im actually working together with the people that freaked me out bigtime, so it is possible to fix even the worst paranoia and work among those who freaked you out the most.

But how to get there is another question. You might never get there. Since work and social interaction wo freaking out is rather basic Id say thats what Id analyse and attack. Its all about emotional really.

So if it does not make you ill, Id look into how to identify sick/illness related thought and if at all possible, how to deal with them. For me I labelled these thoughs as illness, and logically eradicated my own feelings and reactions to illness related thoughts and behaviour, simple by telling myself, this is me, it is not real, and ignore this, move on, think on some thing else.

And if its not me, well, I have to stay healthy and so if what they thought was a bit evil or malicious, well then that was their problem and not mine really. None of my business, I just had to work on my stuff and my focus. So if after a long time you think your thoughts and yourself can really handle and cope with socializing with others, then, and only then are you ready for making a desicion on if you shold work.

And if the answear is yes, then my advice wold be go slow and methodical. Like 10% work for 2-3 months, or 25% etc. Perhaps 100 % work is obtainable but really, as you describe your situation, dealing with the mental problems and the illness is 1 pri, and even thinking about work right now is out of the question right now. This has to be done in the right succession and in logical steps. Carefully and realistic approach.

Be victorious in one field of this mental battleground before you move on further to the next hill. Theres always gonna be another mountain, so choose your battles carefully and in the right order and really I think you have a fighting chanche to be Okay. 

With or no work is not even important right now - first solve the mental stuff at hand thats my clear advice.    

Edited by Beemray
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Beemray, please would you take a minute to insert paragraph breaks in your response - few of us here can cope with big walls of text.

Thanks, Mia (mod)

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I agree with Beemray with taking things slow, one thing at a time, and to treat your MI first, before taking on work.  Also to get you on a stable cocktail of meds can take anywhere from weeks to years. 

I also agree your mother needs to see a tdoc of her own to get some sort of point across that you really need help and get a reality check.  She doesn't seem to understand anything about MI, from what you have written in this thread starting with the OP you wrote.  That must be so stressful and what you do not need any more of. 

Does your tdoc know how stressed you are right now about being so pressured into doing things you can't do?  Maybe your tdoc could help you come up with key phrases you could use to tell your mom right back when she starts in on getting a job, or anything else that you can't do right now ... and stuff that stresses you to the point of vomiting?

9 hours ago, CoffeeBean said:

So now I have started trying medication again after that failure, and they are starting to pressure me about getting a job again. I feel like they are trying to sabotage me? Like they want to stress me out so that the medication will fail. I feel like I am getting cognitive dissonance problems because one minute I feel like I should just try to get a job and hope for the best, and the next minute I feel like no I have to not let them manipulate me and just take my time finding the right medication. And the whole time I feel so stressed out it's ridiculous.

It's hard to work on recovery with my mother, I don't think she believes mental illness is real. Or something, I don't know.

I don't think anyone is trying to sabotage and stress you out on purpose (if they are trying to do that to you on purpose that is just sickening to think about). Like you said, you don't think she believes MI is real.  I also think she really has no clue about anything related to MI and at the same time is not receptive to learning anything about it.  I could be wrong, but (IMO) I don't think I am.  At least you can see a pdoc and tdoc who you can trust.  I'm really glad about that.

 

Edited by melissaw72
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1 hour ago, CeremonyNewOrder said:

Maybe you could show your mother literature on mental illness from a group like NAMI which convinces her you need more help.

I think it's more like my mother gets the concept of mental illness, but she also has massive denial problems. She is an extremely smart woman, impressive career, etc. I have a hard time believing she is too dumb to "understand" mental illness, but she acts that way. It's like when she doesn't like something, she pretends it's not real. So when she is dealing with me personally she acts like mental illness isn't a real thing. Like when I had to go off the Latuda and she asked why, I told her it gave me akathisia. She said she didn't know what that was. So I explained it to her, and she just walked away without saying anything like she was mad. 

Thanks for all the suggestions from everyone regardless, I appreciate it. I just needed to vent really bad. 

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