I used to do dead-end retail jobs (this was partly tied into recurring undiagnosed depression), and then finally decided I needed to do something else.
I took the two-year Office Administration – Medical program at St. Lawrence College, and got awards both years for having the highest grades in my class (GPA=4.0). I graduated in May of 2004. I was a part-time secretary in a hospital, in a satellite clinic for outpatient psychiatry, for three years, starting in December 2003, doing transcription and reception and everything else. For a few months I did some cardiology transcription from home on contract. In January 2007 I got a full-time position as a transcriptionist in a hospital histopathology department (although more of the job was not transcription than was originally indicated, or than I was entirely happy with) and ended my cardiology contract.
That led to being off work for a long time due to my worst-ever depressive episode.
I took St. Lawrence College’s one-year Vet Assistant program from January to August 2009, and graduated with a GPA of 3.95 (stupid grooming classes). I did my final placement at the local humane society, which led to a part-time job, but I left due to some intolerable philosophical differences — let’s just leave it at that.
I was involved around this time with a local group called Spay Neuter Kingston Initiative, which formed with the intention of promoting a low-cost, high-volume spay-neuter clinic in the area. Due to need, this expanded into a TNVR program. I assisted in the transport of the original Bath Institution cats to the Newmarket clinic for spaying and neutering, and did much of the design work on the current logo.
An episode that was primarily anxiety rather than depression, this time, forced me to abandon that, a probably-unrealistic idea to do feline behavioural consultation, and job hunting. I stopped writing other than odd bits purely for myself, nothing worth reading.
In December 2012, I started doing weekly neurofeedback sessions, and that has made all the difference. My writing came back to life first, but with it came my concentration, my short-term memory, and all the other little things that you take for granted until you lose them for a while. For more about the writing itself, take a look at the Creatively page.
I have fostered felines, but at the moment no longer can, out of concern for exposing other cats to Cory’s calicivirus. To support two local rescue groups, SNKI (Spay Neuter Kingston Initiative) and KAR (Kingston Animal Rescue), I make cat toys for them to sell.
As of early winter 2014, I’m now much more involved with SNKI, and have started a new project that I hope will increase exposure and awareness locally: http://snkitails.wordpress.com/ about the personal stories of the cats and people of Spay Neuter Kingston Initiative. Being able to combine my skills with storytelling and with computers and websites with my intense love of cats (and animals in general) is rather exciting.
What’ll happen next? Who knows? The neurofeedback certainly helps, far more than meds have for many years, but will it get me back to a point where I can work? Currently, I doubt it. I can’t write for money: that would turn “work at what you love doing” rapidly into “work at what you resent doing but used to love” so that remains a labour of love, a part of the need to share the stories in my head. I’m never going to get rich, I know that, but then, what’s the point of being rich if you hate getting up every morning? Being me, I really need to feel like I’m doing something useful, making the world a better place somehow. On the other hand, having enough income to support my household and pay my bills is rather helpful…