Sunday, April 13, 2014

Lingering insomnia

Forgive the long absence. My computer crashed, so I've been online less than usual. A friend was good enough to loan me his second-best laptop.

My new job will start May 19, not May 5. My last day at the current job is May 9. I came back to work on April 2. It was supposed to be April 1, but I burned my hand pretty badly on the metal handle of a pot I wanted to use to make hard-boiled eggs. The handle was too close to the kettle I had used to make my coffee. I showed the burn to the Employee Health doctor and reminded him that I'm expected to type and sign charts all day, so he gave me an extra day to recover. It still looks kind of bad, but since I'm not a hand model, that's not really important.

I gave notice on April 2. Nobody in my clinics was surprised, but almost all of them appeared to be sad that I'm leaving. I don't think the clinical director is sad -- she seems relieved. I have been out for several extended leaves of absence, so I can't really blame her.

Since giving notice, I've been walking around with a smile most of the time. I did have one episode of extreme anger: my disability paperwork took a few more twists and turns than I thought I'd have to go through. It's been a huge inconvenience and annoyance. When I learned that one page of my paperwork had never been signed by the department office manager, I got really angry and frustrated. I had to keep faxing pages and pages to the union, human resources, the clinical director... It felt like I was being deliberately sabotaged, and I was furious.

But I didn't do anything. I didn't yell, I didn't freak out. I sat down, reminded myself that feelings pass, tried to breathe, and put a cough drop in my mouth to distract myself. Later I went to the soul food salad bar down the street from the clinics and had some banana pudding. I like to think that it's a two-stage soother. First you have the sugar rush and the creamy mouth feeling, both of which give me a hit of instant gratification. But bananas and milk are themselves soothing foods -- so when the sugar rush crashes, you're sustained by the bananas.

Not sure how valid the science is, but it worked for me. And supposedly the disability payment is on its way.

I'm also a little frustrated with the CASAC process. CASAC stands for "credentialed alcoholism and substance abuse counselor." It was created to enable people who'd survived substance abuse and didn't have college degrees to become counselors. It's the lowest level of credentialing, but CASACs are Qualified Health Professionals (QHP). I've been a QHP since passing my LMSW exam in August 2008, but many social workers obtain the CASAC  to show that they have knowledge and experience in treating substance abuse.

To get a CASAC, you need a certain amount of education and a certain number of hours working in the field

In order to become a CASAC in New York State, you must: (1) meet specific competency and ethical conduct requirements; (2) meet specific work experience requirements; (3) meet minimum education and training requirements; and (4) pass the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC) examination for Alcohol and Drug Counselors. All the stated requirements are overseen and/or coordinated by the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS).

If you have a master's degree, that's 2000 hours, which I've easily surpassed. The education was a bit more complicated to achieve.
  • 85 clock hours related to Knowledge of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (must include a minimum of 4 clock hours related to tobacco use and nicotine dependence); 
  • 150 clock hours related to Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counseling (must include a minimum of 15 clock hours specific to cultural competence); 
  • 70 clock hours related to Assessment; Clinical Evaluation; Treatment Planning; Case Management; and Patient, Family and Community Education; and 
  • 45 clock hours related to Professional and Ethical Responsibilities (must include a minimum of 2 clock hours of Child Abuse and Maltreatment Mandated Reporting and a minimum of 15 clock hours specific to ethics for addiction professionals).

Even though I have two master's degrees, there were certain courses I needed to take to fulfill the required education hours. Unfortunately, I never took a course entitled "ethics" in either program. In 2009, I asked the dean of my social work school to write a letter explaining how ethics is emphasized in every course in social work school:

I am a 2008 CUSSW grad working as a substance abuse therapist, and I want to obtain my certificate in alcohol and substance abuse counseling (CASAC). CASAC certification requires coursework in ethical and professional responsibility. While that was not the sole focus of any of my CUSSW courses, it was integral to almost all of them. One of my colleagues told me that if my department head writes a letter to OASAS explaining that the CUSSW coursework covers professional and ethical responsibilities, I won't have to take another course specifically to meet that criterion, especially since I have already obtained both my LMSW and my MA in forensic psychology.

I have taken the liberty of drafting such a letter, attached herewith, and would greatly appreciate it if you could help me obtain this certification. If you have any concerns regarding my proficiency in this area, I am sure that CF, who knows me well, can allay them.

About six weeks later she very kindly complied. But about that time I was promoted at work, got very busy, and didn't submit the application until December 2012, because OASAS was threatening that in January 2013, all prior coursework would not be eligible. They also required me to pay $100 for fingerprints.

So -- disappointing to learn, in April 2014, that prior coursework isn't being zeroed out, we will no longer be charged for fingerprints (but of course won't get a refund if we already got them), and OASAS thinks I need 43.5 more hours of ethics coursework.

After two master's degrees, including my MSW? Seriously? I don't need more coursework in ethics, because it's emphasized in every course during social work school. So I emailed my dean again:

3/14/14: Dear Dean Smith,

I hope you are well. A few years ago, you were kind enough to write me a letter in support of my CASAC application to show that I had completed sufficient coursework. When I was finally able to submit my application last November (I decided to prioritize obtaining my LCSW first), I received a CASAC-T and a letter informing me that I had not taken sufficient coursework in ethics.

I called the CASAC office and was told by reviewer JF that I need to submit an estimate of how much time in each relevant course was devoted to the discussion of ethics, including at least 15 hours of ethics for addiction professionals (which OASAS does recognize social workers to be), totaling at least 45 clock hours. The reviewer told me that an email from you detailing this would suffice to prove that I studied ethics while at Columbia. Her email is JF @oasas.ny.gov.

I reviewed my transcript and came up with some estimates.

[list of course names and suggested hours of ethics discussion]

If you agree with my approximations and could email Ms. F at JF@oasas.ny.gov to let her know, I would greatly, greatly appreciate it. I am sorry to take up more of your time, but I am very reluctant to take more coursework on ethics when I've already been very well taught. (Not to mention the added cost, on top of the $100 application fee and $100 fingerprinting fee.)

Thank you so much,

Ayelet Survivor, MA, LCSW

She wrote back asking for some clarification on the hours requirements, suggested a few changes, and asked where I did my fieldwork. I wrote back to clarify:

3/19/14: Thank you so much for getting back to me. Basically, I have to show that I had at least 45 hours of instruction that were solely devoted to the discussion of ethics. So it could be portions of several courses that add up to 45 hours. 15 of those hours have to come from "addiction counseling" courses. I don't think they count internships.

I would suggest, based on your changes and questions:

[list of courses and hours]

That totals at least 45 hours of ethics coursework, including at least 15 covering addiction counseling. If you agree, you can send this to JF@oasas.ny.gov and I'll be eligible to schedule the exam.

Thank you so much for taking the time to help me with this. Once I get my CASAC, I hope to advocate that social work education be taken more seriously as providing sufficient ethical coursework for earning the CASAC.

And... silence. On April 4 I sent a brief reminder email:

Hello, Dean Smith. I apologize for bothering you again, and I know you're extremely busy this time of year, but I was wondering if you've been able to email JF at OASAS about the inclusion of ethics discussion in social work coursework. I greatly appreciate your assistance with this matter.

No such luck. She wrote back the same day to say:

Sorry, I haven't. I need to know definitively if they will accept the courses in field education. It seems like they should accept these courses.

"Field education" is what social work school calls an internship. I didn't think it really applied to the coursework requirements, although I definitely think it should apply to the work requirement. So I wrote back on April 6:

I don't think they'll consider fieldwork to count toward the ethics requirement. They might allow those hours to partially fulfill the hours of experience (2000 for people with a master's degree). Since I've been working for several years, I have more than enough hours. My two master's degrees, as well as several courses and trainings I've taken over the years, fulfilled all the course work requirements except for "ethics," since I didn't take a course entitled ethics at either program. I am trying to avoid having to take (and pay for) courses in ethics when the courses I took at CUSSW gave me a thorough grounding in ethics. The CASAC application processor said that if you will attest that several of the courses I took at CUSSW included some hours of discussion of ethics, including 15 specifically relating to ethics for substance abuse counseling. 

I am sure that if you email JF at JF @oasas.ny.gov and let her know that certain CUSSW courses include ethics discussion, and ask her whether field education could be used as partial fulfillment of the work hours requirement, she will get back to you quickly. 

As a reminder, this is how I think the ethics hours could be presented: 

[list of courses and hours]

Thank you so much. I've spoken with JF and she is very open to making the CASAC application process easier for social work school graduates. Your participation could go a long way toward making that happen.

And... silence. I am trying to be patient, which is not easy. I had to wait a long time for the job offer to become official; waiting for them to verify past and current employment dragged on and on. I've been waiting months for my disability payment. All I do in life is wait, even though I take as much initiative as I can.

Maybe that's why I'm still not sleeping well. Despite taking a very long walk yesterday afternoon and going to bed at 10 p.m., I woke up at 1 a.m. and could not fall back asleep. I'm not sure why the insomnia's persisting after Daylight Savings Time and beyond my recovery from other serious depression symptoms, like suicidal ideation, lethargy, and inability to shower. But despite a high dose of Trazodone, which is an excellent aid in falling asleep, I cannot stay asleep, and it's frustrating.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm grateful for a lot of things. I'm grateful for my new job and for the expressions of affection so many current co-workers have expressed. I'm grateful to see my nieces and nephew for the first two days of Passover. I'm grateful that the Apostherapy is progressing, although I still have moderate pain and discomfort. But I want to take that damn CASAC exam already. To maintain the LCSW and the CASAC, you need to take a certain number of continuing education hours. I want my license and certification to overlap so the courses I take will count toward both.

Patience is a virtue, and I am remarkably poor at it.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Alone is loneliest when you're sick

I have bronchitis. AGAIN. Very annoying. But at least I'm not congested, because I'm layering Sudafed on top of maximum-strength Mucinex. Assuming I don't have a stroke, I'm okay. Not great, because I'm still coughing and weak. I went to the drugstore for a few things -- four blocks there, four back -- and got home exhausted.

Sorta happy, though, because I got a new job. More money, less bullshit. I start May 5, so I have plenty of time to get better. But I don't intend to go back to my old job. At all.

This could be tricky, because I haven't gotten any disability payments yet. I'm not sure why. I thought I did all of the complex paperwork, and the disability company told me that on March 6 they approved me through March 12. It's now March 23. I emailed the department secretary and hope she can make things happen. And at some point I'll have to tell them I'm not coming back.

I'm too tired to go out and do things. Fortunately, I wasn't too sick to go to a Purim party. Aside from that, I've been a hermit. And now that I feel emotionally stable but physically weak, I'm bored out of my mind. I've been corresponding with three or four men from Jwed and OKCupid, and they all have my phone number, but they're not calling. They prefer to email. I'm trying to respond with brief messages so that they'll understand they have to call me to learn anything of substance, but that's not really working. At least not yet.

Being single sucks when you're sick. Even when you can order in chicken soup and chat with people online. I just want someone to lie down with me and hold me, and I can't have that.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Friday, March 07, 2014

Too young to be viable

Before you judge me for deluding myself into thinking that I could seriously date and marry a 30-year-old man when I'm 43, in my defense I'd like to submit Exhibit 1: my email correspondence with the Even Younger Guy.

EYG first wrote to me in early February, before I renewed my Jwed subscription:

Hey Ayelet,

It's THAT time of the year again! If you're interested, let's chat online and get to know each other a bit. If all goes well, we can meet up in person and have something to look forward to this February. Talk soon I hope...

EYG

He's cute in his picture. Seriously cute. Full head of thick hair, dimples, blue eyes, great smile, nice build. I thought... what the hell. But OKCupid is full of 20- and 30-somethings who want to tap Ayelet. So I decided to let him know upfront why I re-subscribed.

Hi EYG, 

Thanks for writing. Sorry that I didn't re-up in February, it was a busy month. But I have to say: I'm only looking to date men that I could marry.

Ayelet

He wasn't put off.

EYG: hi,
Never too late, ...
I like your line but how would you know if you would marry that person before u actually date?

Ha ha. Of course you have to actually date someone before you marry and reproduce with them.

A: That's a good point ;) I guess the age difference seems kind of drastic to me. I don't like dating men who are more than 4-5 years older than I am, and I've never dated anyone 13 years younger.

He wasn't fazed. Or pushy.

EYG: That's up to u, I have only dated over 30 I don't like younger, I'm mature and belong there, we getting along well, I own a company.
U still planning to have kids? 

He's pretty much as blunt as I am. Fine, I'll be honest as well.

A: I would like to try to have at least one child.

Because I honestly don't know if I can. I don't know if I have any eggs left, or if my body and brain could tolerate pregnancy.

EYG: Your time is clocking... now days u can still have, would u have even u aren't married?

That is something I would never consider.

A: No. My father died when I was very young, and I would never bring a child into the world without a father. Also, raising children is a huge undertaking, and I don't think I could go it alone.

His response was realistic.

EYG: Thats very true, so that means u have to get married within the next year

I didn't answer how unlikely I believe that to be. I want to exude a gentle confidence in my own desirability. But... sounds like he's looking to get married sooner rather than later, right?

A: Pretty much ;)

So he made it official.

EYG: With hashem's help!! I'm also looking to get married soon

A: Well, then we have at least one thing in common :)

EYG: Lool
Now we have 2, sense of humor ;)

A: Kaboom! ;)

EYG: Hahaha almost 3 things in common keep going:))

I've already emailed too much with this guy. Guys tend to email ad infinitum and not proceed to phone calls and actual dates. So I'll try to subtly steer him in the right direction.

A: We could keep guessing, or we could meet in person and find out for sure ;)

EYG: Yea that's ideal... maybe will find out we got 20 things in common, maybe a baby will be soon lol

Subtlety isn't helping.

A: Well, before we conceive a child, maybe we should talk a little ;) And it's not just about what we have in common. I think we'll have a lot in common, but also a lot different, and it's how we negotiate the differences that matters.

EYG: How about to conceive without talk? Lol
Yes we sure will find differences, its normal, we after all 2 humans, but will work on those and negotiate,
How r u today, working? What's the menu....

He doesn't need to know I'm out on leave. Not yet, anyway.

A: Gotta work if I wanna eat ;) It's been pretty quiet. How is your day going? What do you do?

EYG: Chick don't eat, haha
I'm working now, free in after Noon to conceive if u like
I have my own business, imports, company is in NJ, what do u do?

I am not meeting him the same afternoon of the morning he emails me. That will lead him to believe that I'm always available at a moment's notice. Something that's always available is less desirable than something that's available only sometimes.

A: This chick likes to eat ;) I have a doctor's appointment and then a shiva call after work. I'm not sure I'll be in the mood to conceive.

EYG: Wow shiva call? That's sad, old person?
What doctor u going to see? To stop the BC?
What do u like to eat?
And if not today let's conceive tomorrow!
Do u use whatsapp?

I'm not ashamed to say I have no idea what whatsapp is. But I'm pretty sure it involves texting, which is my least favorite means of communication. So I am not signing up.

A: The man who died was 97. Lived a long, full life. He's my good friend's father-in-law.
I've been getting whatsapp spam but I don't use it. I don't even really know what it is. What is "the BC"?
In terms of what I like to eat: Noodles (especially Japanese), fresh fruit, interesting salads, steak, Mexican food (which you can't find kosher in Manhattan, which is probably a good thing), and melted cheese. 

EYG: Haha do u eat non kosher too? I love Mexican spicy food!!! Yumm. I love steak and pasta :)
BC mean Birth control lol
Do the whatsapp it's amazing I love. It we can chat easy on it,!!

I'm going to ignore his allusion to birth control. After all, we've been talking about conceiving, so it's not a tremendous boundary violation -- more like a minor border skirmish.

A: Nonkosher dairy, not meat. I don't have a smart phone, so I don't think whatsapp would work for me. And I prefer chatting in person :) 

HINTING... but it only led to more emails.

EYG: I also do dairy, not a big meat person anyways..
Yea chatting in person is real, I agree!!
And u can only conceive in person lol
How was your night? Freezing away here, had a large coffee to warm up my engine, heading to work now.

A: I don't eat a lot of meat, but when I do I loooooooove it ;) My night was okay, but I hate going outdoors. Brr.

EYG: Do u drive? I don't mind going out have warm in car....
Whatever I eat I love!!!! Haha getting now lunch,
What's ur deal today?

A:I know how to drive, but I don't have a car because I live in Manhattan. I don't think I've actually driven since 2000, but my license is current.
Today I don't have any appointments after work.

EYG: Wow that's a while, when u go out of town u also don't drive?
Isn't it fun to... im enjoying it,
So this evening u are free to meet up and conceive a baby?

Not sure what he meant by "Isn't it fun to... im enjoying it" -- driving? all this damn emailing? Whatever he means, he's not getting closer to calling me, so I'm going to be a little less subtle.

A: I haven't had to drive when I go out of town. I usually am visiting people with cars, and they drive me around. How about we talk this evening and make plans to get together soon?

EYG: That sounds good if u give me ur # ill call u later in evening

So I did. And as you may remember, he tried to call me at 11:16 p.m.  I wrote back the next morning.

A: Sorry -- I get up at 5:30am for work (starts at 6:45am). so I turn my phone off at 9.

I’m actually not sorry. I'm annoyed. This isn't going well.  Or going anywhere.

EYG: That's ok.... can I call u now? I would if maybe we can meet this evening

Again: NOT going to make plans for a same-day first date.

A: Sorry -- this evening won't work. 

Not because I have plans. Because I want you to call me, dammit!

EYG: Ok, what about tomorrow eve?

A: Sure -- as long as we're not out too late. Getting up at the butt crack of dawn is exhausting ;)

I don't want to sound too annoyed or control-freaky.

EYG: Hahahha u cracking up my butt.... what do u call late, 11 ish? or 9 lol

A: I'm a funny chick ;) If I take a nap when I get home from work, I can stay out till 9:30pm or so. Could we meet early-ish, like 6:30pm?

EYG: Haha like funny chicks..
6:30 is early I get back from work late I work in NJ, wow 9:30 is fast to be done conceiving
Can u do longer nap and stay out little later?

A: It's our first date. No conceiving ;) How early can you meet me?

EYG: 8 because the traffic from NJ crossings is so bad till 7 I never leave before that.
No conceiving? I already scheduled OBGYN appointment,
(being sarcastic i'm sure u realize)...take a deep long nap! Ull be good, we can meet for a drink?

I'm disappointed. Not because he joked about making an appointment for me to go to the OB/GYN. I thought after all this damn emailing we'd go out to dinner. But I'll play through the pain.

A: Sure, we can meet for a drink.

EYG: So we cool for 8? Let's meet close to u since u don't drive, what area r u?

A: Upper West Side. Do you like frozen yogurt?

EYG: Love it, dono about winter though... why u like it?
There are so many places on the upper west to drink!!

He named a street/avenue intersection -- something like Amsterdam and 92nd -- where, presumably, there is at least one bar. Didn't give me a name.

A: Because it's fun :) Even though it's cold outside. The store is very warm, and you get to choose from a bunch of flavors & toppings. I like it. Also, I don't like drinking during the work week because my schedule is so demanding.

EYG: I hear ya, even beer? Lol
What store is that? Where?

I gave him the name and address.

EYG: Is it Kosher? Lol

A: Yes. But I still think we should speak before we meet. 

And... silence. The evening came and went. I didn't hear from him -- not an email, not a phone call or voicemail. No specific plans were made or confirmed. I didn't know if we were having drinks or frozen yogurt. At 7:00 p.m. on the night we were allegedly supposed to meet, I decided it wasn't happening and made myself some pasta with roasted garlic marinara sauce.

But I heard from him the next morning:

EYG: Hey, what's doing
Totally forgot about our date?

Don't be rude, Ayelet. Don't be judgmental, don't be bitter, don't be mad or sarcastic. Just be factual and calm.

A: Sorry, I didn't know where we were meeting.

EYG: Oh ok, not a problem, make up sex is always the best :))))

Another border skirmish. On the plus side, I can tell he's easygoing and forgiving. On the minus side, he's careless and not a gentleman. I just can't take him seriously. So I haven't responded, and I don't expect to hear from him again.

I realize I shouldn't have dived into that blizzard of emails back and forth. I shouldn't have responded to his messages as quickly as I did, and I shouldn't have been as chatty and expansive. Less is more when you're trying to get a man to call you. Men will email back and forth forever if you let them. That's not my opinion: those are The Rules.

Did I screw this opportunity up, or was it never really an opportunity? In any event, I haven't really lost anything. I'm still corresponding with two men in their 40s, and that might lead to a date. If I don't even get a date from renewing my Jwed subscription, I'm going to feel like a colossal idiot.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Ayelet is not looking for booty calls

While recovering from this depression, I haven't closed the door to dating. I thought it might help me ease back into life while not rushing into sexual intimacy. So far I've gone out once each with two nonreligious Jewish men from OKCupid.

It feels strange to me to think about eating in a non-kosher restaurant. Or going out on a Friday night. Even though I'm completely not shomer shabbat at home. But I don't generally go out shopping or to entertain myself (movies, clubs, museums, etc.) on Shabbos. Especially weird since one of the nonreligious guys lived and taught in Korea, where he ate everything, including dog. I still can't eat non-kosher chicken.

So we probably weren't compatible, and he definitely agrees because he hasn't called. The other went on one date with me, scheduled another, canceled it, called me three times without rescheduling, and that was it. Although he still looks at my profile from time to time.

A few days ago, when I was awake at 12:13 a.m., I thought it was a good time to rejoin Jwed because I would really get the whole day's value. I had twenty unread emails in my inbox. Most of them were from men I didn't find remotely attractive, but three seemed interesting. Especially the 30-year-old.

I'm going to call him "Even Younger Guy" (EYG) because one of the other two is a year younger than I am, so he's "Younger Guy" (YG). The third I didn't recognize (his photo is password-protected). I could see we'd emailed back and forth years ago, but honestly could not remember who the heck he was. Which I like to think is evidence of how many men I have dated and not early-onset dementia. Call him "Guy from my Past" (GFMP).

So I re-upped, read my emails, and answered the three of them. GFMP didn't respond; he currently has a free membership. But he gave me his phone number in the email he sent me, so I called him. Turns out we went out more than five years ago, and he wants to set me up with a friend of his, an Egyptian Jew.

That's not a problem; I love Sephardim. But the first thing GFMP said, and kept emphasizing, is that the guy has a good neshoma (soul). Emphasized it several times. That does not bode well. It's like telling a man, first thing, that she has a great personality. Sure, it's important to be with someone who has a good soul, but if that's the only attribute emphasized, you wonder about the rest.

"What does he do?" I asked.

"He has a limo," said GFMP. "Makes six figures. He makes a lot more money than a lot of people with master's degrees." Including, I am not ashamed to admit, myself. But... what would we have to talk about? "How was your day, dear?" "I drove people around."

"What does he look like?" I temporized.

"He's... a... little chubbier than me," minimized GFMP. I began to get an instant mental picture. Not a good one. An obese one. So I am reluctant. GFMP pushed hard for me to consider this option. I started remembering more about our date five years ago -- and remembered that afterward, he'd tried pretty hard to get me to go out with this guy as well.

Most of my friends -- Harriet, Boaz, Alona, to name a few -- tell me I'm beautiful, despite being somewhat overweight. Not Margalit, who has a passion for the truth:

Hate to break it to you, but you aren't trim and fit either. You have advanced degrees and earn a fraction of that. Who are you to judge? None of that has any bearing on who he is as a person. If you are looking for a mensch who will take care of you, at least meet the guy.

I love her anyway, but I did have a fairly decent response:

Money isn't everything. Also, I'm not grotesquely obese, and my face is very pretty. From the way the "shadchan" kept emphasizing that he's a good neshoma, I worry about how he looks. I'm going to ask for a picture, and if I find him repulsive, I'm not going.

Margalit, fortunately, found that reasonable.

So what's up with the other two? Well, we've been chatting up a storm, and both have indicated an interest in taking me out to dinner. Problem is, they're not following up. Both promised they'd call me last night. By 10 p.m., neither had, so I unplugged the phone and went to sleep. By the time I woke up at 1 a.m. (fucking terminal insomnia), they'd finally both written me:

10:52 p.m., YG: erev tov Ayelet
how was your day? how was/is your evening?
my apologies for not calling tonight. I came home not long ago with mom who is not feeling well from the doctor. hope you understand (atleast you know I have done a good deed today :-)

That is a reasonable excuse. Although part of me does hope he doesn't live with his mom.

11:16 p.m., EYG: are you not home or what, am trying to reach you

That, as my friend Sheina noted, is a booty call:

To me that is a sign that he is looking for play, nothing serious.

I don't know what I was thinking. EYG tried hard to convince me that he wants to get married and start a family pronto, that he never dates girls under 30 because they're not serious about settling down. And I bought it. Shame on me.

Part of me wonders if I'm deluding myself that either of these guys could ever really accept me with my illness. I think I know better than to let them read this blog. But could they really love and want to marry an older woman who has bipolar disorder? The frum world is, in large part, much more unsympathetic to psychiatric illnesses than the non-religious world (Russians, of course, excluded).
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Slow recovery

Apparently it's been about 40 days since I last blogged, according to my friend ET. It has been a real struggle to climb out of this most recent depression. Only in the past few days have I felt anything like close to normal. Most of January and February were spent hiding in my apartment and coping with insomnia almost every night. (It's 2 a.m. as I write this.)

I didn't get the job I applied for in January, and messing with The Man didn't get me another interview. I still haven't gone back to work -- Dr. New extended my leave of absence through the end of March, although that hasn't been officially approved by the disability insurance folks. If they don't approve it, it's possible I could be ordered back to work, although since I had to disclose bipolar disorder on my leave of absence paperwork (along with serotonin syndrome), the administration hasn't been pressuring me like they have during past leaves for knee pain.

I did have a job interview at a different agency -- one that made me fill out an application before the interview, which I resented but did anyway. The interview went well and they've instituted criminal background check proceedings, which is a good sign. I hope all my references answer their phones and say good things about me. It would be so unbelievably awesome if I didn't have to go back to my current job.

I also saw an endocrinologist, and I have a follow-up appointment in a few days: more blood tests and a thyroid ultrasound. I don't think there are nodes or tumors on my thyroid -- I kind of think I'm getting ultrasounded because I have excellent insurance -- but it doesn't hurt to be thorough. It's likely my thyroid is slowly being rendered out of commission from the years of lithium therapy, but the last time I saw the endocrinologist, she said I might be able to get away without hormone replacement for a while yet.

For a while during my depression I stopped using the Apostherapy devices. It just got painful, and I knew I needed an adjustment but couldn't leave the apartment. Fortunately, when I finally was able to reschedule and attend, I learned that I kept most of the progress I made before my recent depression and I'm right on track. My physical therapist is very proud of me, and the pain is manageable.

Speaking of pain, I'm going to my sister for the sedarim. Yes, my mother will be there. No, this doesn't change anything. I'm going for the children. Malka called me to talk about colleges and said the kids are thrilled I'll be there. We had such a nice conversation -- apparently she has a friend who likes writing and has long dark hair. "Every time I see her I think of you," she said. She's thinking of me! She still loves me! She hasn't forgotten me! This makes me extremely happy. I have a ton of makeup I bought for her and her sister and can't wait to put it on them.

And then there's dating.

I went on two first dates through OKCupid. One guy seemed to like me, but he's distracted by work issues and his ill and elderly Shih Tzu, so we haven't gone out again. The other was very cute and extremely, extremely polite -- so polite I was fooled into thinking he was attracted to me. The compliments sounded sincere; he said he was having a great time. But at the end of the date he gave me a hug and cheek kiss, and hasn't contacted me since (it's been more than two days).

So I rejoined Jwed, hoping it won't be good money after bad, because I had a number of emails in my inbox that I couldn't read. Among them were three non-repulsive men who have expressed interest in me. One is only 30, so I doubt that will go anywhere, but the others are close to my age.

All of them are orthodox, which feels kind of weird. But dating completely non-religious Jews felt weirder. For example, the extremely polite gentleman spent a few years teaching English in Korea. While there, yes, he tried their national food: dog. Only once, but that is traifer than traif. I'm not sure I could share a kitchen with someone who might not want to give up pork, shellfish, and octopus. Although I reminded him that octopi are intelligent and fascinating creatures that we maybe should admire rather than consume. Perhaps that's why he hasn't called.

I don't know how I'd feel about going right back into the orthodox community. Part of me thinks it's moot since these guys will probably never be able to accept me with my bipolar disorder. Then again, Ivan the Terrible couldn't accept me completely and he's definitely not orthodox.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"