the caged bird sings.

written, designed, and edited by Bee Butler

I hit a wall.

Bee ButlerComment

All day I have had "Sledgehammer" by Rihanna stuck in my head. Maybe this post will make more sense for you if you're listening to the song while you read, so click here and do that.

I am losing my battle right now.

These lyrics resonate. I hit a wall. I'm using all my strength to get out of this hole. I prayed that I would find myself.


I have to be totally honest.
My last job literally and completely broke me.

I left/was let go because the stress of that job caused a gastrointestinal issue AND put my heart over the edge. I walked out of that godforsaken building with ulcer symptoms and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, as well as vasovagal syncope. I left with two heart medications and a handful of GERD and anti-nausea medications. I spent several days in the hospital. Not the mental hospital, which might have made more sense, because at the end my doctors said, "This was 100% caused by stress. You need to get out of there and find something else, because this will kill you, and you are 26, and this is insane. I have only seen this condition in middle-age men with high profile jobs and COMBAT VETERANS."

I swear to God, I was told that. Verbatim.

I am NOT, in ANY WAY, comparing my stupid desk job to the very real and very dangerous work that our military does. I am saying, though, that my job triggered the PTSD I had managed to get to a dormant state, and my physical heart, blood vessels, valves, esophagus, stomach, and mind were irreparably damaged for having worked in that fucked up environment for a mere three months. I was physically ill. I baffled my (newly needed) cardiologist. We did a tilt-table test and she told me to sue the company. Shit was MESSED UP.

I'm about to walk into a new job on Monday, and I am terrified. Today I could not get out of bed. I lay here, paralyzed by depression, anxiety, and the thought that one more job like that last one triggering a heart attack before my thirtieth birthday. I eventually was able to sit up (at 3PM, mind you, for the first time all day) and take my meds and slowly right myself, but dear God, this is not how anyone should have to live.


I have battled severe depression which has been labeled "chronic depression", then "manic depression" (which is also commonly referred to as bipolar II, but that diagnosis has been taken back multiple times, so who knows?), and then made more complex with severe PTSD resulting in depressive episodes that physically confine me to a bed. Then, general anxiety disorder, then social anxiety, then, no, it's chronic anxiety that can only be treated with medication AND therapy, and then we dealt with the eating disorder and other shit going on. While all of these labels have been accompanied with stomach issues (nausea caused by anxiety is what got my eating disorder going, actually), I have NEVER had a heart condition. That job pushed me past a barrier I never imagined breaking through, and now I have to be careful of things that people my age shouldn't be thinking about. I got a fitbit, not to count my steps, but to track my heart rate. Consistently. 

When I lost that job, I lost my insurance, and one of my heart meds is no longer covered. I am off of it. I have to be careful when I move from lying to sitting and from sitting to standing. I have to be careful when I drive. I have to manage my panic attacks very carefully and try to head them off, because my heartrate will jump and my blood pressure will drop and I will lose consciousness.


I'm not doing well. I'm scared.
I have hit a wall.
But I am not giving up.