when it comes to personal problems. They're difficult to write about. And I know there are folks who've far worse problems and who are in far worse shape and in far worse situations than I am. And I'm grateful that I'm not in their shoes.

And more important things are going on in the world–things about which I've often been writing and will be writing more. So I'm not a whiner.

But currently I'm in a situation where I can use some support and friendly advice…

About a month ago, I lost my job. Others were also let go. But I got a bad write-up at the end of 2007 that said in effect that I hadn't been fitting in well, hadn't been doing my job right or in a timely manner or following directions well, hadn't been showing much creativity (when this had been the sort of job you couldn't show much creativity in–if you did, you weren't following directions!) And that I hadn't been showing a positive attitude or been pleasant or shown an optimistic outlook. Or been playing well with others. (O.K.–the last is made up, but you get the picture.)

This was all news to me because I'd worked at that company for 20 years. While it wasn't the perfect job and I hadn't been perfect, I hadn't thought I'd been that bad, either. I'd never heard or gotten any complaints. The write-up I got at the end of 2006 had been much better.

I've been wondering if some of the problems in the latest write-up at my old job could have been due to untreated depression and/or bipolar symptoms. I've been at least mildly depressed for much of my life–though I've never had it looked into or been treated for it. Or I may be bipolar–I'm not sure because I can be at times irritable and impatient, not have much tolerance for frustration, and get angry easily. In fact I nearly got into trouble (by almost being kicked out of a group I'd enjoyed participating in) because I'd blown up. While I most often feel "down," I've occasionally felt very "up"–not the sort of mania you hear about where one runs out and buys a flashy sports car and does other wild things–but just enough to be feeling unusually good.

For about the past 2 1/2 years up to now, the depression has been at its worst. This is due to the emotional impact on me of a certain event and its aftermath with which I've been obsessed and that I want to go into in more depth at another time when I feel up to it, because it's a separate diary in itself that will be difficult to write. I hadn't seen anyone for this problem when I was working because I doubted that the company's health plan would have covered mental health treatment. And now I don't have any sort of health insurance.

I also have AD/HD, which had been diagnosed in the Dark Ages of the late 60's when it was called a "learning disability" Interestingly, cases of bipolar can be confused with AD/HD and vice-versa, because of similar symptoms such as low frustration tolerance, irritability, and impulsivity. Or one could have both. As Jon P Bloch, Ph.D, writes in ….<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Everything-Health-Guide-Bipolar-Disorder/dp/1593375859">The Everything Health Guide To Adult Bipolar Disorder,</a> <blockquote>Frequently, bipolar children are misdiagnosed as having AD/HD. What makes this especially unfortunate is that the medication often prescribed for this are stimulants that exacerbate the bipolar symptoms. It is also possible for a child to be both bipolar and to have AD/HD.</blockquote> Ritalin didn't work  for me so I was prescribed Dilantin and phenobarbital for it for about six years. And I've mild cerebral palsy that makes my speech sound strange and affects my motor skills. I often have trouble with pain and fatigue. In spite of these things, I managed to hang in there at my old job, where accommodations had been made for me and most of my co-workers had been kind and understanding–but I guess I hadn't been doing as well as I'd thought I was.

Now I feel physically and emotionally wiped out. I just haven't been feeling up to the stress of job hunting (nobody around here with the sort of work I can do is hiring, anyway.) or the demands of a full-time job. Low energy. When I had been working, I'd come home with so little energy left I often didn't even feel up to making myself dinner–all I felt up to doing was reading or watching TV or a DVD.

I also don't think I'd be very good at a new job because of some of the symptoms (besides having a short fuse, I've lost it by crying over little things or nothing. This has happened pretty often lately.) So I've been wondering what there is out there (about 2 1/2 hours from Chicago) when it comes to getting disability or other sorts of help after my current means of support (details confidential) runs out after a few months.

I also wonder–how legitimate are those websites there are ads for that offer work online? I don't own my own computer–are they worth investing in a computer for? Can one really make a decent living from them, or are they the equivalent of those envelope-stuffing and other work-at-home ads you used to see in magazines?

Also, I recently started a <a href="http://spiritofla76.blogspot.com/">blog</a> and once in a while have been seeing this little ad that says you can earn extra money from having them place advertising on your blog. I don't recall the company name offhand–in fact, when I tried to have it come up, it didn't. But "Google" was part of it. Is it really affiliated with Google," or a soundalike company? Also, how well does something like that pay, if the blog doesn't get much traffic? I mean, I don't think anybody's been reading my blog because nobody's posted comments or anything. And since my daily computer time is limited, I haven't had time to add too much to this blog yet. It's only about three weeks old.

Well, thanks so much for reading this far. I hope I haven't bored you. Hoping for some good suggestions, advice and ideas….


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