Growing into Me with Bipolar

Posts tagged ‘Animal welfare’

Something’s Wrong Here, And I Think It Might Be Me


A few posts ago, I said I had done some training to do some different jobs at the Animal Shelter.  And I had no problems remembering when to go in for the various trainings, or getting there, or anything that might usually hold me up and make me late or just not able to get there.  And if you know this, you also know this is the first kind of ‘work’ I’ve attempted since I before I became disabled.  That means its been 6+ years since I have done anything at all resembling work.

So, why am I bringing this up now?  Because the last 4 consecutive times I was scheduled to work at the Animal Shelter I have blanked on it completely until it is too late for me to go there and do any good.  I even wrote myself notes.  I mean lots of notes.  I went to bed, and knew I needed to remember going to the shelter the next day, so I left myself a note by my clock on my bedside table, on my kitchen calendar, on my coffee pot, on my computer monitor.  I thought, good.  I won’t be able to miss seeing all of those notes, and I’ll remember to get to the shelter on time.  But what really happened is that I got up the next day, and never saw a single note, even though those are all places I go to each morning.  I never saw a note or remembered any thing about the shelter at all for each of the 4 occasions in a row.  Well, I remembered eventually.  When I would have been coming home from the shelter, if I had remembered to go in the first place.

So, today was the 4 time in a row that I forgot that I was scheduled at the Shelter.  4th.  I didn’t even remember at all until 5, which is when I would have been finished.  I can remember the whole week until the day I ‘m supposed to go.  Then the whole day I’m supposed to be there, I have no recollection at all that I even volunteer there ever!  Something is totally wrong here.  And I can’t blame it on anyone or anything except my own brain, my own self.  Maybe I’m too scared still to try to be doing any worklike activity at all, even volunteering with the animals.  Maybe its just too much stress to have an obligation to be somewhere and have people and animals relying on me.  Maybe there are more others that I don’t know and they don’t want to work or volunteer.  Maybe somehow volunteering or working is so triggering that I can’t go.  I have no idea what is going on, what is wrong.  I only know I can’t seem to do anything worklike right now.  I don’t know what I should do….just stop for now?  Or push myself harder to do it?  GRRRRR.   This time, it’s my own fault, and I am perplexed.

I Did It!


A few weeks ago, I made what is for me, a HUGE decision and applied to be a volunteer at an Animal Rescue center.  It is also the same place I got my precious Sunshine from, who is my faithful ESA (Emotional Support Animal).  Anyway, this marks the first time in 4 years that I have made any kind of ongoing commitment to any one thing.  About the biggest commitments I have made in the last 4 years are doctors appointments and therapy sessions.  So, for me, this is a huge step forward and also quite a bit of a leap.

I heard back from the shelter last week, when they sent an email letting me know that today would be the next volunteer orientation.  So, I was excited looking forward to it all week.  But when this morning came, and I had to get up at 7 am, I started second guessing myself, saying to myself, I can’t function this early, I’m worthless this early, I can’t do it…..etc, etc, etc.  Nonetheless, I managed to get through my morning routine and get ready and get out the door.  That in itself is a HUGE victory.

So, I stopped to get hot coffee, cold coffee, water and soda.  And, oh yeah, a couple of donuts cause since I had to leave so early, I didn’t have time to eat or make coffee.  And all the drinks?  Cause I get terrible dry mouth from all my meds and cause I am always dying of thirst thanks to the other meds that don’t give me dry mouth.  I made it to the shelter with time to spare–so, so far, so good.

Then I went and joined the people milling outside the shelter, and realized the orientation was to be held outdoors.  Which is fine most of the time here in the desert.  But it is winter–and yes, we do actually get pretty chilly weather here in the winter–and it was only about 37 degrees.  So, a 2.5hr orientation outside.  I really started doubting myself.  I was cold, shaking from it even, uncomfortable and really doubted whether I could even make it through the orientation.  I started to think, if I have to come at this time in the morning and do animal care, or walking, or cleaning out dog runs, its gonna be cold like this–I’m not sure I can really actually do this.  I started thinking this might be too demanding, too stressful, to difficult for me to stick to.  But the whole time I was sitting there, freezing my tushie off, I managed to stay put and not get up and run away, not chicken out and give up, and, amazingly enough, I got through it!  Yes, that’s right, I managed to get through until it started, and once it started I managed to stay present and focused and get through that too!!  And now, I’m officially a bona fide volunteer at the Animal Shelter.   Whoo-hoo!  I know it’s only a start, but I feel like I did something big, like I moved forward  a giant step.  I am now able to give TLC (ie, to come in and play and cuddle with the animals)  for any of the dogs or cats anytime.  And every week they have basic sessions on how to be an animal caregiver (exercising, walking, feeding and watering, cleaning the runs, etc) and on being an adoption counselor (to help make sure each prospective owner gets matched with the best suited dog or cat).  So,  soon I will do that too, and be able to do even more!  I really hope I am not getting my hopes up to high, too fast, too soon.  I really hope I can keep up with this commitment and not have to drop out.  I think I have failed so many times at so many things, some my fault, some just situational, that I am so afraid of failing again I am almost to afraid to even try.  So even though this a big step forward, I’m terrified I’ll let myself down again, or discover I just can’t handle the stress or the commitment after all.

So, here I go, fingers crossed!

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