In a job interview I was asked to tell them about one of my weaknesses. Before I could answer the Dragon, my schizophrenic entity, told me so clearly he could have been on my shoulder: “Tell them about me.” This was the loudest and most clear I have heard the Dragon since they increased my antipsychotic medications months ago.
I’ve already learned that he lives in the quiet places in my mind. But now it is apparent that he feeds on my stress. And he is very well fed right now.
I am still waiting on the VA to finish with their assessment of my condition and assign it a percentage for determination of the disability compensation and for the Army to use that determination for my retirement compensation figures. This is a step that should take three weeks. It has been 7 so far. Once they complete their step it will be another 2-3 weeks until I see the results.
Because of this time lag I still do not know how much my compensation will be and how much additional money I will need to earn to support my family. I do not know my timeline for when I will be out of the service and in the workforce. And I still do not know if I will need to appeal the decision, which would add another month or more to my transition.
I am also stressed by a job search. Whatever my numbers from the VA are, I know that I will still need to work to support my family and for the sanity of having a regular job. I am terrified how I will handle the stresses of a regular job, will it be enough stress that the psychotic Dragon is still present like now? Will I be constantly on edge like now? I’m not completely convinced that I am capable of working a high-stress but well-compensated job. Maybe all I am capable of is a minimum wage job watering plants at a garden center surrounded by Zen. I’m a couple of months away from having a second graduate degree in a technical field. I should be getting an amazing job… but I have so many doubts.
These two stressors combine in the fact that I do not know what date I can tell employers that I will be available to work. This feels like a huge sticking point for a job search. In fact, the whole job search feels futile. Right now, I am at the key point to be applying for jobs if I am looking to start (maybe, that is) around the middle of May.
We also have an upcoming move across the country back to Kansas. Again, the timeline is unclear on this. We have tenants living in our house. Ideally our move will coincide with the end of their lease on the first of June. If our timeline is early, we’ll need to find a place to live for a short period. If our timeline is late, then we’ll need to carry the apartment rent and the mortgage payment without having someone paying rent to us. What if the tenants try and stay in the house longer and we need to chase them out? What if they damaged the place and we need to fund some repairs somehow?
And then there are all the regular stressors in life. Bills, children, traffic, things that need done, unfilled time (in which I sit around and think about all this), homework, dog and cat not getting along, impact on family, and on and on.
I am so stressed out by this transition that, even though the antipsychotics have been effective for me for months, the Dragon is digging its claws back into me.
At the interview, I paused and tried to gather myself from the surprise and distress from the auditory hallucination. I tried to play it like I was looking for an answer, which I was. But in that pause the people interviewing me had no idea what it was that I was trying to overcome. I wish I could say I came up with a brilliant answer, but I didn’t. I answered that at times I can suffer from a lack of patience with some sort of BS explanation. I wish I said my empathy can be taken advantage of or something that sounded somehow positive. But what did do was provide an answer without stuttering, and when the Dragon is digging in, that is a victory.
But my answer was very accurate. I do suffer from a lack of patience. Patience is what I need right now because all I can do is wait.