I applied for unemployment, like the suggested, and was approved. The problem with this was that no one in the office would help me except to tell me where the fax machine was. We had to apply for each check over the automated phone system, through which you could not connect to an individual. You had to type in the keys for whether you had searched for work or not; you had to say "yes" in order to get your check. But pressing the number for "yes" (1) yielded a consistent, automated `I didn't recognize that option' response from the system, so I never got a check. During this time I stayed with some friends attending a local college in lieu of staying in the awkward household and paying them rent while unemployed.
A couple of months went by and I didn't get a call. I decided to call them back, and they were already training people. They said I could join the next training session, and asked me if ###-###-#### was my phone number. I said yes, they told me they didn't call that one, they called my old number. This baffled me, since I erased my old number from my profile and added the new one; and because she mentioned the correct number first, yet for some reason they ignored it completely when calling people back. They said everything would be fine and I could come back at such time.
At the last minute, they called me up and said I would have to take a drug test either that day or the next, else I couldn't work for them. At this point, my car had broken down, and also at this point, my nerves were getting really wonky, and I figured it was just from the dense, college environment. I managed to get a friend to bring me to the drug testing place, but I was missing some crucial form of ID they needed in order to test me. Unfortunately, I missed my chance to get the drug test and so missed my chance at getting work. At this point, I figured it would be easiest just to move back to my family in New Jersey and get a fresh start there; find a new job and get a new car, then move back down. I talked to my parents, and they were okay with me staying there for a while to do just that.
As soon as I arrived in New Jersey, though, I knew there was something terribly wrong.. I felt this terrible sense of dread, and increasingly, I knew there was something not right. I didn't know what to do about it, though, or what it was, and so I kept doing small things here and there to try and accomplish anything at all with what energy I had. Increasingly difficult to handle symptoms were piling up, and it wasn't till after I'd been in New Jersey for about a year that I started getting checked out. My family is against doctors or most forms of modern medicine (except for 'alternative medicine', like things from GNC), and I certainly didn't have the money to support myself. Eventually, I just went and got myself checked out, and rialian helped me sign up for Medicaid (and the lady there signed me up for food stamps as well).
It turned out I had Lyme disease, and logically speaking, I'd probably had it in a dormant form since before I moved to Florida. (Lyme disease is epidemic in Connecticut and New Jersey, and while it exists other places, it isn't nearly to the same degree. I didn't have any tick bites while in Florida, and couldn't remember the last bite I had. I never got the bulls-eye rash). I spent a few months working with different doctors and getting different symptoms diagnosed and treated, while on antibiotics to help fight the Lyme bacteria. My parents all the while wanted their empty nest back, and helen99 invited me to stay with her and rialian in Maryland..
I decided to move to Maryland, partly because it seemed like there were a lot of awesome people in the area, partly because it seemed like the most responsible thing I could do for myself at the time, and partly because of an i ching divination reading I did. Maryland actually has several organic grocery store chains (small and large) which the area I was living in, in New Jersey, didn't have. One of the problems that arose with the Lyme disease is a gluten intolerance which was causing a lot of my symptoms. I can buy gluten-free foods now, which was much more difficult in New Jersey. Somehow, I left myself with the impression that Maryland also had good social services and that I could switch to a Maryland Medicaid program and be fine. This was unfortunately not true..
The Health and Human Services department gave me a small food stamp supply, saying that it was more than they should give me already since I had already been on food stamps in New Jersey, and told me to apply for Social Security. The people at Social Security were about as unhelpful. Thankfully, rangermorgiah helped me get a job where she worked, since she was planning on leaving to start a teaching position. So I started having a meager income almost two months after having moved, which unfortunately also inhibited my ability to receive any sort of benefits. I decided I would stick with it since after a few months of employment, according to the company policies as they were written, I should be able to get benefits. Unfortunately, they denied me on the bases of being part-time rather than full-time, even though their policies as written don't actually forbid this.
My boss actually tried to help me out by seeing if he could finagle me working in another department to get forty hours a week in and try and say that I'm full-time in order to get benefits. Literally, they day after I started training in this department (business day -- Friday to Monday), the person I was to be working for left the company. My boss said that I could potentially start working for this other woman, but made a comment to the effect of something very terrible happening to certain parts of his anatomy being preferable to working for this woman. I decided, as much pain as I was in on a daily basis, that it wouldn't be worth it. And so I decided, instead, to go to school.
I had been trying to get into school for the past couple of years, working out what would be the best plan, which schools I should look at, where I should apply. I'd already applied and been denied before, likely on the basis that I was applying to stat in the spring (since I was too late for fall). That was for a school in Florida, and now that I was in Maryland, I wanted to try something again. I was tired of putting off getting some real schooling, as opposed to the cheap business schooling I'd gotten before that didn't work out, and wanted to do something with my life. Since I was only part time (working about twenty hours a week), school shouldn't have been a problem. I applied for full-time (12 credits) so that I could get the Pell grant to cover everything, which it did (plus an extra $100, roughly).
I enjoyed school. It was a great feeling actually going, learning something, even giving good feedback, asking questions, adding things into the open discussions we'd have in class. I'm not a stupid person, and I can be wrong, but I'm not nearly as in a deep state of depression and self-oppression that I was in back in high-school (high-school was awful for me, but for a lot of reasons that didn't involve high-school directly). This was great. This was something I chose to do, rather than was required to do. I picked my classes, I was interested, I was useful, it was great. Of course, this is about the time that I started working around 35 hours a week at my job.
They say that for every hour (or credit-hour, depending) of class you take, you get about two hours of homework, on average, which meant that at this point I was working about 70 hours a week or so. While on a fresh dose of antibiotics and trying to cope with all the terrible symptoms of Lyme and gluten intolerance. Let's not forget that, as I'd intended since the year prior, I also participated in National Novel Writing Month. I only wrote a few hundred words, but attended all the local events, including the "Thank God It's Over" party, where I won a backscratcher (my official "pat on the back") for participating at all in addition to everything else I was doing, and the fact that I'd completed the prior year in half the time.
After all this, school let out in December, which allowed me to finally become full-time at work, because I could have a regular schedule which going to school had prohibited me from. Finally, full-time. Now I'd just have to wait a couple months in order to get benefits. I did what I could to relax during the six weeks of winter break, but it was hard, and I never quite got to a healthy place. It was really difficult after all the stress and pain I'd been through for the past couple of years, especially the past few months. I'd never worked so hard while being in so much pain before in my life, and I didn't know how to deal with it, but I tried.
Then school started up again. New classes, and things looked to be fun. I had a better schedule where I was going to class for three hours each morning, then had a regular schedule at work. I didn't care how tired I was during work, I care more about performing well at school (and I can perform well at the menial tasks at work no matter how tired I am, really). The schedule itself worked out better; I was getting up at 7:00/7:30 instead of 5:00/5:30, and I was getting up by 9:00 each night instead of 9:30 on some nights the prior semester. Still, between 13 credit-hours and classes, and a full-time job, I was working a good 79 hours a week apart from all the life maintenance stuff. Tiring.
What I didn't realize was that for about two or three months, on an almost daily basis, I'd been getting gluten into my system via the egg drop soup at the local Chinese buffet/takeout restaurant. Here I'd thought I was just stressed, it turned out that I was killing myself slowly about four or five days a week. I finally got rid of that, and I've been working on weeding out my diet more and more since, but at that point, it was the end of the semester. Unfortunately, final projects and finals themselves all coincided with the busiest time of year at work. And by the time it all finished, I was blind.
Sometime just before the end of the semester, just in time for finals, my eyesight started going. It turns out that my contacts agitated my eyes -- I have dry eyes (I've had a dehydration problem for a few years now, and I'm not sure if that's connected to anything else, though I'd guess it is). So I still can't wear my contacts for now, and since May I've been seeing a doctor and taking all sorts of eye drops and wearing glasses and trying to relax my eyes as much as I can to help them get better. It's really sucked, but they're getting better, and things are okay on that front. I'm getting used to the glasses.
Now, though.. it just seems like I've had all these problems constantly happening. I still haven't managed to finish my school schedule for next semester, and I'm not sure if I want to. It's difficult trying to find the right combination of classes, the Pell grant has shrunk, and considering how bad the past year has been on my health, I'm just not sure it's a good idea. In the meantime, I've had a lot to try and work on in my own life.
I've got the first part of that done. I got a new car (new for me -- it's a '98). Of course, the first check I wrote them bounced because I didn't realize Discover was sending me two kinds of checks -- one that could access my whole credit line, and another that could only access a small part of it. It was a hassle dealing with the guys to try and accept a new check, but it's done, and the money is on my credit card now (apart from what came out of my bank account). In the meantime, I'm dealing with Geico.
I haven't had insurance in a while, but Geico approved me cheaply in one night! Then they sent me a notice saying they couldn't write me a policy without knowing my Florida driver's license number. The ridiculousness of this is incredible -- they already have my driving record, because they shows the ($9) ticket I got in Florida for not having a muffler. I finally managed to get a hold of the Florida DMV through email and get my license number, and now Geico has it. But they've called me back saying that my Florida license is on suspension because I paid that ticket late (since my car had died before I could pay it, and I was living in another city where I had to arrange with a friend to get me to the station so I could pay it). Everything is taken care of except I never paid the fee to reactivate my license. So now all I have to do with that is somehow get a hold of Florida and get that taken care of -- before the 25 when my insurance runs out -- and fax information to Geico (even though I have no way of faxing anything to anybody).
So you know what else is fun? I recently upgrade my laptop to a gig of RAM from 256. Except not, because I can't have both 512 chips in there at the same time, for some reason, it gives me physical memory dumps. So I've been using a 512 and everything has been fine -- until today. My laptop will not boot up, I cannot access the BIOS because it won't listen to me, and it locks up at the boot selection screen -- where you tell it to load in Safe Mode or Normal or whatever. I switched to the other chip, and it just did the same thing but also made a very loud and constant system beeping noise.
Guess where the only place my Florida license number currently exists is? Can you guess?
And there are other things, but I just don't feel like getting into them now.. this is enough. This is already the longest post I've never made to LJ. And I'm too tired to do or say anything more right now.. I'm just so tired of being tired and in pain and things not working all the time..