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Why I Didn’t Take the Job

By Myra Sue St. Clair Baldwin

Wanna know the reason I didn’t take the part-time job at Big Lots a few years ago? First of all, I didn’t know what a grocery “recovery” person did, so I went with Sean Stoudt, staff member from The Evergreen Club, to check the job out. After seeing the amount of physical labor I’d have to put into kneeling, bending, and reaching, I was afraid of having a fibromyalgia flare-up if I worked there. That’s for starters. The reason I didn’t tell people this was because I had been mostly pain-free for a long time, and wasn’t even sure it was Fibromyalgia, as I’d also been diagnosed with Somatoform disorder. But since I wasn’t super anxious about my health at the time (as I was trying to keep my mind off my physical health as much as possible), I didn’t want to have to explain that reason to others. Besides, people are ignorant about both Fibromyalgia AND Somatoform Disorder.

Another reason I didn’t want the job was because I was afraid of not making friends and being treated by other workers as being “special” for having a schizophrenia diagnosis, that or being met with disbelief, since I wasn’t obviously schizophrenic so long as I kept my mouth shut about the alleged spy-op. On a side note, I question the schizophrenia diagnosis myself and believe their WAS a real spy-op.

A third reason was that I was afraid of who I might run into while working there, including my ex-husband or his ex-wife. My ex-husband used to threaten me when we were married, and once he threatened to throw me out in the middle of the street outside the bookstore I owned (this was about three years after our divorce). Both my ex-husband and his ex-wife used to bully me, causing me severe anxiety whenever the phone rang.

As if that weren’t enough, I didn’t think the job would keep me distracted from my painful memories of the alleged spy-op, and I’d be on the bus for two hours both ways in addition to a 30-minute car ride with my dad each way (as my parents live out in the country). That’s a two ½ hr. trip each way to work at a four-hour job! And what would I spend my time thinking about while I was on the bus? But of course, the alleged spy-op. No thanks! I was much happier spending my time volunteering at The Evergreen Club doing a variety of mentally engaging activities in a safe and comfortable workplace, around super nice people.

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My Story of Mental Health Recovery & Clubhouse

I sound nervous half-way through this speech, but it works, because I’m talking about my anxiety. When I was on the E.W.U. panel, I was afraid of sounding anxious. Then I heard someone talk who’s speech was full of anxiety and emotion, and realized that she was the most powerful speaker that afternoon. And part of my anxiety is about not sounding perfect. To address this anxiety, I actually need to put myself out there DESPITE not sounding perfect. With time, I will perfect my skill, and hope to realize my full potential.

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Chasing the Police

On the way to the bus stop, following my counseling appointment, I came across a couple of police on bicycles, who were riding around in the parking lot of Seven Eleven, at the corner of 2nd Avenue & Division in Spokane, Washington. As I continued to walk, they started following some guy. They didn’t seize the guy or force him on the ground or anything, but they were trying to direct him to turn. So, I decided to follow and make sure the cops didn’t get violent, as the guy was totally nonviolent. I had to keep turning the corner to follow them, and at some point I had to run a little, in my denim skirt with a bell-shaped bottom which folded up in the middle, my lavender long-sleeved hippy shirt w/ a couple of buttons, my green and white flowered bandana tied around my head like a headband, and my big red-framed sunglasses and mask blocking my face (it was 50’s, 60’s, & 70’s day at The Evergreen Club). I kept up for a while and happened upon my niece Katie’s x-boyfriend Justin, who I had seen earlier in the day on my way to the counseling appointment, on a litter-filled street near the mental health buildings and the House of Charity shelter for men. So, I stopped to say hello to Justin. I don’t know how he recognized me earlier in the day, come to think of it, underneath the mask and the sunglasses. He must have recognized my voice. He had asked to buy a cigarette earlier and I offered to give him one. He said he liked my outfit. Then he said, “Are you Myra?” and I was like “Yeah.” I didn’t recognize him immediately. I hadn’t seen him since maybe 2012 when him and Katie were together and lived with me and my ex-boyfriend Adam for a month, so I was like “Who are you?” He said “Justin.” I was like, oh wow, Katie’s ex-boyfriend. He was doing some work on his old car and his hands were all greasy. He presents as super nice, but this guy, when he got back into meth years ago, he got to the point where he was selling black-market AK47s. So, you know, he’s kinda dangerous. I wasn’t afraid of him though. The way it works on the street, generally, is that so long as you don’t fuck with someone, they won’t fuck with you. Now, narcing on someone is dangerous. That can get you beat up or even killed. But Justin was being nice and pleasant and had no reason to fuck with me, so I wasn’t afraid. And he didn’t seem manic or anything. If he was on drugs, I couldn’t tell. Anyway, when I saw him earlier, I didn’t say much as I told him I had to hurry off to my appointment. About 1 ½ hours later, when I coincidentally saw him again, I stopped and chatted for a bit. I told him I had been following the police to make sure they didn’t hurt anyone. If they did, I planned to film it. That’s how George Floyd’s perpetrator got busted. It was all caught on tape. So, I told Justin this, and told him to keep an eye on the cops. He said he would. He told me that a man outside the House of Charity had gotten shot by a police officer 17 times, after pulling out some sword or something. Yeah, so that guy died. There was nothing to see today, however. No news is good news! Anyway, the 2nd time I saw Justin, he started talking about his car and some car part. That’s when he lost me, and it was hot outside, and I was sweating in my long-sleeve blouse, so I told him I had to jet off to catch my bus. I went to the wrong bus stop (the bus was on detour), but I did see the police circling around in some parking lot. Then I caught the bus and that was the end of my adventure. I guess I’m not much of a street journalist, because there was nothing to report! Oh, but I did do my TOTALLY brave thing for the day, my “alternate rebellion” as they say in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy treatment for treating addiction.