Too broke to work.
April 13, 2017 Thursday
I had to give up the job search. I'm not too thrilled about it. But it would seem my sensory issues have finally gotten so bad that there are very few places I could work without getting triggered.
- Lights too bright or things darting in front of my face? Can't see, and easily turns into painful headache. Trying to read with hands waving in front of my eyes takes me about a minute to readjust before having to try again. Often having to redo the entire page.
- Too loud or too much chaotic noise? Can't understand anything I hear, even at close range, and easily turns into painful headache. Phones are a nightmare. I might be talking to the adults off of Peanuts, I might get a normal conversation that I strain to understand.
- Chemicals such as cleaners, perfume, or lotion, or even vinegar and fluoride? Anything from nausea, to severe nausea, stomach pain, and heart trouble.
- Unstable temperatures? See chemical reactions.
- Light touch such as touchy coworkers constantly brushing up against me, or fans blowing? Shocks of pain up my back, and potentially a nice round of nausea.
Then if it all goes on too long, hello overload! I actually had to leave work early because the air conditioner made the office too cold and then the afternoon sun made me too hot. I almost didn't make it home in time before getting violently sick. Took two hours to get over the worst feeling and then another four to put myself back to normal. Touch and smell can have the same reaction if I can't safeguard against it properly.
Every morning I feel like I run the sensory gauntlet to get to my desk. First step into the office I get bombarded with noise. My coworkers like to stand in the waiting room or hall and talk to each other at the top of their lungs, if they're not also having a political argument.That makes me a bit dizzy, so I just try to get to my desk. But on the way, I have to pass through the cloud of lotion and perfume surrounding them and wherever they've walked. And of course there is no telling how cold or hot they've let the office get, so I dress in layers to counteract to that. By the time I get to my desk, I'm already a bit disoriented with nausea and a headache. When that woman tries to bring that damned scratchy broom in my office during business hours, I'm almost always covering my ears until it's gone. I hate, hate, hate that scritch-scratching broom!
Not to mention cranky. I don't really match the cute little pain charts at the doctor's office where the patient is crying. I get angry. The worse I hurt, the angrier I get. So I just hide away for about an hour and try to stabilize myself before trying to deal with anybody.
Where the hell could I even work with this lovely little cocktail? I can't do any kind of cashier or food job, because even though I can handle the noise in that workplace, there are the strong cleaning chemicals to contend with. Even as mild as glass cleaner is, I have to be careful with how much exposure I have to it. Any kind of janitorial work is out of the question. I could push through it at sixteen and a bit at twenty, but now it's severe enough I can't. Laundry and dishes are about the only cleaning jobs I can handle at the house. Sweeping seems easy enough, but, my visual comprehension is worse than my hearing, and I kinda can't see dirt to the point that even careful and methodical sweeping can't compensate. Office jobs are dodgy because of my hearing comprehension, and it's almost a guarantee anywhere you go requires answering the phone. I can handle dealing with a wide variety of people despite my other lovely problem of social anxiety, but if they've got on too strong cologne or perfume, here we go again! Body odor at least doesn't bother me out of the ordinary. I can handle body odor, grease, and other outdoor or blue collar smells. But as sensitive as my dang hearing is, I can't go work at a shop somewhere. Mechanics and wood workers have very loud tools, that often are used in rooms that echo.
Clothes are a whole other ball game.
Any preppy job that requires fancy female clothing is a no go. All the slacks I've found have four hooks, two buttons, and a zipper, and that's a gamble I don't want to take if I need to go to the bathroom. Sometimes my fine motor skills are very good, such as being able to make arts and crafts, but sometimes they're gone and I'm very butterfingered and struggle with small tasks. Slacks are also very fragile, and considering I once ripped a shower handle out of a bathroom wall by accident, I don't want to risk having to walk around with a gaping hole in my trousers because in the process of trying to latch or undo those vile hooks, I slipped and tore my pants.
So blue jeans only. No dresses. Dresses have skirts, and skirts is a light touch disaster waiting to happen even with using leggings as protection. I refuse to sacrifice my mobility by getting a tight skirt. With how many times I've been physically attacked by coworkers and as many death threats I've gotten, no, I have to be able to kick or run.
Finding anything comfortable other than a tshirt is a chore. Most of your fancy clothes have bitingly sharp seams or course sewing threads that itch and poke. And everywhere are either deformed runty sleeves that don't make it past the shoulder or three-quarter sleeves! Makes me itch just thinking about it. Polyester is a temperature control nightmare. It's always too cold or too hot. I pretty much wear just cotton or a cotton/rayon mix all the time. Otherwise I'd be constantly pulling and tugging at my clothes. Cotton is also the least nauseating of materials. The feel of some of those fabrics brushing against and rubbing my skin just make me feel bleh.
On top of it, it's not constant. Some days I'm fine, some days it's one or two senses, sometimes it's the whole kit and kaboodle. I never know if it's going to be a sensory day or not. Is today a day I can just roll out of bed and get dressed and groomed, or is today a day I hide under a blanket for two hours so I'm not sick from the wind off the ceiling fan or from just walking at all? Do I have a sense of smell today or do I smell everything to the point of constant nausea? Can I see today or am I keeping the curtains drawn and lights off for a few hours until I can cope with the brightness?
I'm pretty much used to having a mild headache and a bit of nausea all the time. It just depends on how severe they get during the day. Some days I'm fine, but they're not that often.
This year I found out stress and lack of sleep increases my chances of hyposensitivity and hypersensitivity both. Yay.
Sometimes I think about that Star Trek episode where Deanna Troi had the music playing nonstop in her head because they had irritated some all-powerful alien. Or that episode on Charmed where a demon had gotten the powers of an empath and become a recluse because he could feel everything, even another person's toothache, and then it transferred to Prue. I'm not exactly wadded up into a ball on the floor or a corner of the room begging for mercy, but I do sympathize with the reaction to constant bombardment.
I really, really hope this year is the lucky year I can finally get a referral to an occupational therapist to get these damn sensory issues evaluated. They're getting worse the older I get. I know fairly well how to manage them well enough to handle daily life or being a parent, but I still need a written diagnosis to hand over to people like dentists. Rude, snooty dentists that refuse to believe that anybody would have trouble with fluoride or that having their teeth polished could be painful. I haven't been to a dentist since I was eighteen, and my sensory issues hadn't gotten too bad by that point. I can't imagine what it'd be like trying to go now.
But I refuse to seek disability! I ain't that broke yet. I'm going to keep trying to cobble together whatever odd jobs I can to pay for things myself. I don't want a monthly check from the government until I'm wrinkly and senile and drawing my social security check as a reward for making it to old age. This article just hits too close to home and a scary reminder of where I'm heading if these dang sensory issues continue to get worse the older I get.
Although, along those lines, I'm seriously considering going back and trying to earn my black belt so I can start teaching martial arts or at least being an assistant. A gi never triggered my light touch, and almost all contact with other humans is firm. I can handle that. Even though I haven't set foot in a dojo since 2007, I've kept practicing the basics off and on all these years. I was a very quick study when I was there, and I know it wouldn't take hardly any time for me to pick up where I left off memorizing the katas and becoming familiar with the weapons. Weapons require a good grip and not too much with the fine motor skills. Hrm...
I may be too broken to work a normal job, but I can still kick ass. Literally.
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