Small Steps Forward

I had a performance evaluation at work today.

I normally dread these evaluations because my frequent absences and lateness leave a lot to be desired in my employer’s eyes. However, this time I passed with flying colors! My manager praised me for how hard I’ve worked to improve, and even noted that I use my Spanish-speaking skills to help customers who don’t speak much English. I was so proud of myself, and it felt good to have my hard work noticed.

Today is my third hallucination-free day in a row. My doctor is taking me off Clozapine and starting me on Abilify. When I was on the Clozapine, I felt hazy and muted. In my mom’s words, I “wasn’t Katie.”

The Abilify is a bit of an improvement, but my anxiety is through the roof. I keep telling myself things that I know are lies, yet I believe them. (In the words of Death Cab for Cutie, “Oh, instincts are misleading/you shouldn’t think what you’re feeling.”) I tell myself, “My coworkers hate me. No, everyone hates me. I’m ugly. I’m stupid. I’m a bad writer.”

The bad writer thing made me realize something was up. Whenever anyone asks me, “What are you good at?” my instant answer is, “Writing!” I’ve always joked that writing is the “only thing I’m good at.” Being a writer is a HUGE part of my identity.

Last night, I was feeling very depressed and just wanted a hug from my mom. I went over to my parents’ house, sat on the living room couch with Mom, and talked. She pointed out that although these negative thoughts are not in any way desirable, they are just kind of normal for me, that perhaps I am more like myself with these thoughts.

My dad also made a good point a few nights ago. I was telling him how unbearably anxious I’d felt at work during one particular shift last week. I was cashiering on the express register (the one for ten items or less), and there was only one other register open. The line was at least eight people deep, and the customers were getting impatient. The front-end coordinator was nowhere to be found, and all the other cashiers seemed to have disappeared. I couldn’t just shut off the express register and move to another one, and I didn’t know if I should’ve just taken a larger order on express, or waited for a small order.

Dad noted that this was within the realm of a normal reaction. It meant I care about my job, and that I was frustrated with the lack of support. Maybe the level of anxiety was abnormal, but anxiety in general was not.

I’m starting to realize that I do actually have friends. My friend Ezra from high school and college wants to hang out with me. It’s hard to work around my schedule since my hours at my job change every week, but Ezra has been very persistent about spending time with me, which I really appreciate.

I also have friends from AA who support the lifestyle I’m trying to lead.

Recently, I deleted all the dating apps from my phone. I’ve decided that I want to focus on my platonic relationships and my relationship with God. I certainly don’t believe that “No one can love you until you love yourself,” nonsense. (I feel that it implies that those who don’t like themselves are not worthy of love.) But before I can be in a romantic relationship, I want to get in touch with who I really am. Oftentimes, my romantic relationships eclipse the rest of my identity. I get so caught up in being someone’s girlfriend that I forget who I am.

Because I’m spending more of the daytime awake, I actually get to do things! I’ve been going to a Spanish club that I found online. They meet at a cafe not far from my house. There are only a handful of people who show up, and they’re all men, and a bit older than I am, but they’re very nice. I actually felt comfortable sitting at a table with three other men, which surprised me. I love the Spanish language, and I don’t want my skills to get rusty.

I’m planning some photography projects, and I even have an idea for a new fiction piece. Life is pretty okay sometimes.

2 thoughts on “Small Steps Forward

  1. This piece is so hopeful, Katie! Its tone is entirely different from your other ones. I’m really happy that you’re getting some daylight back in your life and that you’re using it to have some fun. Everybody wants peace and happiness for you, and this writing says to me that it just might happen.


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