Emotional Labour

Carrie is done classes in 4 weeks, and her last final exam is on April 22. That's close to my birthday, so pretty sure I'm going to get blackout drunk for a week straight after that.

The Apple Store called me back. They said I'm near the top of their list, but they have to wait for vacancies. They're hiring their current people into new roles, so once those roles are filled, that will create room for me to move in. I could be doing anything, but most likely doing technical repairs. I have the dual skill set of having people skills and technical prowess, so it would fit that I could hold the customer's hand while I fixed their expensive computer. No idea when they'll call me back. It's not ideal, but it's something. I haven't heard back from anyone else, but at least I have something to go on, sort of.

I'm teetering on the edge of death most of the time. Not suicide necessarily, but I feel so weighed down by everything that I'm barely responding. I'm like Simba running away from Pride Rock and collapsing in the desert, with vultures circling overhead. My friends are like Timone and Pumba rushing in to save me, pushing death off by another little bit.

I talk too much. I felt silenced most of my life, so that's why I have to write. The dam has burst, and the resulting spillage has destroyed the surrounding infrastructure. One of my most annoying tendencies is how I interrupt people. When someone asks me a question, I feel the need to give two answers before letting them respond to the first one. I can drift toward TMI (too much information) and being overly honest because I feel triggered when I think I'm being stifled. It's not that people are necessarily trying to keep me quiet, but since I'm allergic to feeling silenced, I overreact. On the flip side, it is deeply touching when people genuinely listen, like when they share that they follow along with my blog. It makes me feel good. I'm still essentially learning that my words do matter, but even though it's a simple logical connection, it will take a while to feel like I'm being heard.

From my experience of trying to get help for my mental health, I would advise two things. If you have small to moderate problems, the system will be there to support you, so take advantage of it. That applies to 90% of people at some point in their lives. For the rest of you 10%, don't get help. It's a long arduous journey, and you need to create a lot of room for it. Nobody will understand what you're going through because it's an adventure all on its own. Stock up on supplies. Complete all of the tasks on the "Not Urgent" section of your to-do list, and don't add any new ones. "The system" isn't there to catch you when you fall, and it's probably only willing to do something once it's too late. Therefore, you 10%, don't get help until something happens. Let your mind snap. Have an angry outburst at work. Let your relationships dissolve. My experience in being proactive about my mental health has mostly worked against me, and I don't want others to have to suffer the same way. I've gotten about half the help I need, and for the rest, it feels like I'm getting worse. Maybe in a different country, in a different healthcare system, it would be as easy as walking into a pharmacy here and getting a Plan B pill or naloxone kit, no questions asked, no judgments. Instead, I feel like I've been stabbed in the back by smiling people. I'm the one that's been suffering my whole life, but now I have to be the bigger person to people who have all the power to help or destroy me? I don't have the energy.

Saw a psychiatrist last week. They were not helpful at all. Quite the opposite. After an hour and a half appointment, they determined that I was fine and should seek help at another counselling agency. She didn't think that I experienced trauma, something both of my counsellors said I had. They diagnosed me with adjustment disorder, which means that it takes me a little longer than most people to adjust to the big changes in my life. wtf. Couldn't everybody technically have that? I can understand why she thinks I'm doing fine and able to adjust, but I spent all my energy trying to get here. I'm wiped. I used up all my Turbo Boost. My stamina meter is empty. I could complain, I could find another psychiatrist, but my soul is weary.

Of course, the car acted up yesterday. It works fine when Carrie takes it, but the car must hate me. It wouldn't start yesterday, even with its fancy new Interstate battery which has a six year warranty and cost me $150. On top of that, the emergency battery booster was also out of juice (or I just wasn't using it right), so that was a whole ordeal again. Once we regain some semblance of financial stability again, we are getting a new car. Not a Tesla though. Rumour has it that Toyota is bringing back the Supra.

Breath of the Wild. Life saver. Such an amazing game. As a longtime Zelda fan, almost everything about it is incredible. It takes forever to cross the map, even with teleporting, but that's the fun of it. Each leg of the journey is its own adventure, trying to climb things, run across hills, fight or avoid enemies, collecting items. It's such a different take on a familiar concept. Wonderful.

Carrie is five weeks away from finishing her three year program. It's like that point in Lord of the Rings when Frodo gets to the border of Mordor and can see Mount Doom. It's not quite the end, but there's a pretty clear path forward. It's refreshing and terrifying at the same time. I know that Life won't hold back in any capacity, so I'm sure the wheels will fall off the bus entirely during this time. I've scaled back in the marriage recently as well. Instead of carrying 80% of the weight, performing a bunch of extra emotional labour, I'm limiting myself to what feels like half, then whatever's left over will be Carrie's problem. We fought recently, wherein I said that even though Carrie is crazy busy, I've been at least keeping the same pace if not running laps around her.

Emotional labour. I only just learned the term for what I've been doing. Wikipedia defines it as the process of managing feelings and expressions to fulfill the emotional requirements of a job. A server at a restaurant has to awkwardly smile when a customer says offensive things. A woman in an office has to endure sexist treatment and then is told to stop being so emotional or she'll be fired. A mother is expected to do all the cooking and cleaning, managing the entire family's social lives, etc. (It's usually women who are expected to perform the emotional labour.) I've been performing emotional labour for the past two years, much of which was procrastinated for two decades, and it's killing me. Most recently, Carrie has been hiding behind her school while I slowly die out in the battlefield alone, so I'm going to make her do more of the emotional labour moving forward. She's done more than her fair share of it across our relationship, but I think it's fair if I ask for a break from the additional burden right now.

I'm opening my 3D printer hub soon. It's not ready to accept orders yet, but once my account is verified on 3DHubs.com, people will be able to order 3D prints from me for money. I'm not one to ask for handouts. I don't ask my readers for much besides their attention and continued readership, but if you want to support me financially, one thing you can do is order a 3D print from me through 3DHubs.com and give me a review. It's not ready yet, but here's a link to my hub. It can be something big or small, a toy or a tool, something useful or pretty. Since the models are shared for free with a Creative Commons license, people use 3D Hubs to charge for the printing process, ie. labour, shipping, plastic materials, electricity, setup, troubleshooting and support, etc. The algorithm charges by volume of plastic filament, and I can set the prices based on what I want, like how confident I am in my printer's quality or how quickly I provide customer service and responses. I can't actually accept orders at the moment, but while we wait for my account verification to process, take a look at these websites for a model you might want. Here are also a few prints that are quite popular:

I'm also capable of doing 3D modelling as well, so if you want something custom designed, I can work with you on that.

I am not really holding it together right now. I'm trying to get back to a place of stability, but I am fading. I can't even anymore. Perhaps I will go back to my doctor and try to get back on medical EI. I don't know. I wish I could end on a happier note, but things are not looking up. I am making positive moves still, taking care of myself, applying for jobs here and there, seeing friends, keeping the house clean, but I'm...running out. Carrie can start managing the emotional labour moving forward.

Jonathan Phan Lê @jon_le