Texas spaz looking for guidance.
April 13, 2010 7:31 AM   Subscribe

How do I act less spastic?

Oftentimes I am overcome with emotion. I can't organize my thoughts easily, or interpret what others want (or don't) from me. I have a thyroid issue and no support or the chance for it in my locality. In finding out about that last year I've found some inner peace, but not lasting or much. Initially I blamed everything about my behavior on this issue, since becoming medicated (solely to treat this thyroid issue) I've come to think that this is not the case and my actions are really my own.

I spend money like water and live paycheck to paycheck in the service industry, relying on the minimal support of others for living. My coworkers avoid me and I am constantly suspicious that they think I'm crazy. At previous places of employment this has caused me to act odd enough for me to decide that quitting was the answer so that nobody would know me at the next place and I could start over fresh.

My roommates find my behavior odd and avoid me as well. Even my hair stylist mentioned that my previous haircut looked crazy when I saw him last month. I suspect this was a slip and what was really crazy was our conversation.

I've tried being quiet but even that seems to creep people out, they expect at least something out of me. Without any feedback this is what I will resort to so that I can survive longer. It seems like my voice is uncapped when I'm engaged in conversation with anyone.

Finally, I've gone a year without ruining my latest job. However, now I'm starting to get weirded out at work again. I really need to find some way to make this go well so that I can afford some kind of lasting mental help. How do I get through this, and act professionally while doing so?

My one thought right now is to confide in my boss. He is a great guy and might understand, though this has gone poorly in the past. The last time I confided in someone about this issue I was driven from that job soon after.

A close relative has had the same issue for all of their life and has never overcome it, he is older and has been seen by medical professionals fairly consistently for some time. I would like to not be this crazy at that age.

I was raised catholic and have considered returning to the faith so I can find some kind of guidance and regularity in my life. Though it didn't seem to help much when I was younger, perhaps it might help more now?

I am a 30 year old college drop-out living in Houston.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Don't talk to your boss. He would like you to show up on time and do your job. If you continue to do that he can continue to be a great guy. Counseling you is not in his job description.

You mention that being silent creeps people out. How do you know? As adults, we can get used to all different sorts of personality types without getting creeped out.

I think a lot of this (included perceived reactions to your "crazy" behaviour) are all in your own head.

If you can get counseling, whether it be via a priest or social services, you should do so. Talking to a professional will help.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:45 AM on April 13, 2010

I would not confide in your boss at this point -- I think your previous experiences should guide you on this rather than your instincts.

I think that you really need some level of professional guidance -- while you have said that money is an issue here, you should look into reduced-cost or no-cost options. Catholic Charities might be able to help, even if you are not a member of that faith. Also, you might be able to swing some sort of reduced-fee or sliding-scale payment. Here is a list of mental-health resources for the state of Texas. Additionally, Googling for sliding-scale counseling in Houston brings up this site -- IANAD and I have absolutely no information about this practice or this counselor, but she does offer sliding-scale fees, which is what you're looking for. You should also look to see if you are eligible for Medicaid or any other form of insurance to see if you can get coverage for treatment. While I don't think you sound "crazy," you seem like you could use some outside help in clarifying your thoughts and emotions and presenting yourself to others. Some form of behavioral therapy would probably be really helpful to you.

I hope things get easier for you and that you're able to resolve your issues.
posted by kataclysm at 7:47 AM on April 13, 2010

you might try the Mental Health America of Houston organization. it looks like they have a Free Mental Health Counseling Program. i don't know anything about them, but places like this exist to help people find the services they need and help them with things that can be overwhelming when faced alone.

Texas Dept of State Health Services

see if your county is on this list.
if not, call one of them close to you.

in my state (PA) there is usually a 4-6 week wait, but since you are in service, you might be able to go in during a weekday when your restaurant is closed or if you don't work lunch and might get in sooner.

you may qualify for some types of medical and medication assistance. please do not be ashamed to take this. your tax dollars support these programs, they are there for you.
posted by sio42 at 7:48 AM on April 13, 2010

It sounds like you need a professional to help you work through behavioral issues that are impacting your ability to make and keep friends and acquaintances, and which are significantly impairing your ability to operate in a normal workplace.

There are a couple of top notch facilities in Houston for this sort of thing, including the Meninger Clinic. There are plenty of other options for someone living paycheck to paycheck. I would first speak to someone at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) They, along with the Texas Department of State Health Services (which houses the former Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation (MHMR)) will be able to put you in contact with the professionals whose help you need for a proper diagnosis and treatment, in a manner you can afford.

As for your own suggestions, I wont suggest you DON'T go back to the Church, but I would say that they are unlikely to accomplish what you want. They wont teach you how to use your inside voice. As for having a conversation with your Boss, I would warn against that also. At this point, all you seem to be able to tell Boss is "I think I'm crazy, and it's making me paranoid that nobody here likes me." That's not a productive conversation to have with Boss. Tell that to the professionals you speak with when you contact one or all of the organizations I've provided you.
posted by greekphilosophy at 7:49 AM on April 13, 2010

If your job offers some sort of Employee Assistance program, take advantage of that. Those services are strictly confidential and can get you set up with mental health professionals, and can often work out payment plans that fit your income.
posted by xingcat at 7:55 AM on April 13, 2010

In addition to the great advice above, you might want to try yoga, it will help you learn to relax and focus.

Have you considered going back to college? Your work may not be a good fit for you which could exacerbate any communications difficulties you have with co-workers.

Good luck!
posted by mareli at 8:03 AM on April 13, 2010

ooh, I was just going to suggest yoga, along with therapy. Any kind of regular exercise would probably help. Swimming has done wonders for my nerves.
posted by bearette at 8:05 AM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Just dropped in to say that don't go back to the church because you think that it will help with behavioral issues. Being Catholic is not a low-stress proposition these days, and religion isn't a magic wand that will solve all of your problems. It takes work and thought. For the most part, you will be disappointed if you come in expecting a miracle.

Nthing therapy and exercise. Also, you talk a lot about imagining that you know what other people are thinking of you. You may be right about your perceptions, but chances are what you think other people think of you is a lot worse than reality.
posted by _cave at 9:19 AM on April 13, 2010

My roommates find my behavior odd and avoid me as well. Even my hair stylist mentioned that my previous haircut looked crazy when I saw him last month. I suspect this was a slip and what was really crazy was our conversation.

I think you should really consider seeing a therapist, because the feelings you're describing are getting into the arena of paranoia; there is no rational reason to believe your hair stylist thinks you are crazy, and every reason to believe that your hair stylist noticed your last haircut getting out of control.
posted by davejay at 11:05 AM on April 13, 2010

It is SO HARD when you want to access mental health assistance, but you feel like doing so puts a big neon sign over your head with an arrow pointing to you that says "THIS PERSON IS CRAZY. IGNORE."

I think the first step is to have someone you can trust to confide in and get feedback from. I think it is perfectly reasonable for this to be a minister or pastor, if that would help you. This could also be a trusted friend or relative, a therapist, a support group in your area, or similar. I don't think talking to your boss about it would be the best way to go; at least not as a starting point.

You'll get a lot of anti-Church sentiments here, because many-but-not-all Mefites have a mental idea that absolutely equates speaking to a pastor or engaging religion in any way, with brainwashing. I think it is more important that you feel you have access to help; a pastor or minister or priest or religious counselor can be a GREAT source of help. I was raised Catholic, too, but I don't practice. I have confided in pastors when I had a big problem, and it helped. Confiding in a person unrelated to your employment is a GREAT idea. You are on the right track with confiding in someone. A therapist or a minister is a good first step. Don't segregate yourself from others and feel alone. It makes things seem very frightening and out of control when you feel you have no one to turn to.
posted by bunnycup at 12:02 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm going to 2nd this comment: "Don't talk to your boss. He would like you to show up on time and do your job. If you continue to do that he can continue to be a great guy. Counseling you is not in his job description."

That's so true.

"I'm starting to get weirded out at work again. I really need to find some way to make this go well so that I can afford some kind of lasting mental help."

What you have to do is find a way to go to work each day and do your job well. That's what they pay you to do.

Best of luck.
posted by 2oh1 at 4:02 PM on April 13, 2010

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