Thursday, September 17, 2009

As My Time in Solitary Comes to an End

I don't write much about my job on this blog, for obvious reasons, but after a particularly grueling week, where I have been working extra days, I am compelled to compare my job to being in solitary confinement.

I work in a retail-type establishment where on some days I do not see a soul. The phone barely rings except for the occasional sales call from India.

I cannot place outgoing calls, since we do not have call waiting and I don't want to run up my cell phone bill. I must listen to classical music, no entertaining talk programs.

For all intents and purposes, I am in "solitary" for 7 hours a day. And I am going stir crazy...

According to a study of women in solitary confinement, here are some common effects:

perceptual changes
affective disturbances
difficulty with thinking, concentration and memory
disturbances of thought content, and problems with impulse control
severe depression
blunting of affect and apathy
appetite loss
weight loss
disturbances and heart palpitations
talking to oneself
irrational anger
headaches and problems sleeping

I've been in a "funk" all week. Although I am an introvert and loathe crowded places, I have discovered that I miss people contact!

I have not yet started talking to myself, but I have experienced difficulty concentrating, which is why I visit a couple of blogs and then I'm off to something else. Given all the "free time" I have you would think I would be productive, but it has in fact been the opposite! Nervousness is essentially a constant state of mind for me so it is hard to tell how much that has been affected.

As far as delusions, I often think my blog will be a big success. Irrational anger, hmmmm....maybe when I blew the "bully" situation completely out of proportion. Headaches -- yes, yes, yes!! I rarely get headaches but I was telling MB on Tuesday that I had a horrible headache when I got home from work. Restless sleep - affirmative. Rage (I plead the fifth ;-)

Appetite and weight loss - negative. Disturbances - I am often disturbed.

Here's how I've been spending my 7 hours a day in solitary:

(1) reading a book
(2) until I doze off
(3) wake up and read for a few more minutes
(4) write useless stuff on Twitter and become obsessed with entering contests with ridiculous odds; yet I think I will win so I keep at it (delusional?)
(5) working on blog for maybe 3-5 minutes - a day (disturbances of thought content - yeah, I'll blame it on that!)
(6) ruminating about everything that I could be doing instead of sitting here
(7) obsessing about minutiae (everything seems worse when you have so much time to think it over)
(8) going to check the mail - my only time outside!! This is a biggy! I stroll to the mailbox at a snail's pace
(9) reading the local free paper that comes in the mail; what's this, the son of someone we know got into a little trouble with the law, oh my! 67 speeding tickets issued at the local speed trap- the bastards; a performance at the local theatre (please tell me it won't be "over-acted"....)
(10) applying makeup (I've decided to do this at work since it cuts another 5 minutes off the day - except for the day I FORGOT TO PACK THE MAKEUP BAG!!! I looked ghastly- but, luckily, no one came in - no surprise there!
(11) checking out the local community college schedules for a new degree (phlebotomy - a possibility except for the blood, cosmetology? but then I need to style hair, Speech therapist? Don't you need to hear well to do that?)
(12) getting in a little "shut eye" out of sight of the door; (taking advantage of the loud door buzzer)

Thank God tomorrow will be my last day of this marathon of solitary confinement and then it's back to my normal schedule.

If this all sounds dreamy to you, I challenge you to try being on your own for 7 hours a day with little human contact and see what kind of a mood it puts you in.

On a brighter note, I got a little surprise in the mail from Joy, who blogs at Joy to the Blog. It was an Artists Trading Card, handmade by Joy! And she made it with me in mind *smiles*

(ATC cards are original artwork created in a small scale that are collected and traded.)

Please check out Joy's blog. There is a link to her Etsy store that features more of her inspirational artwork. She is very clever and creative, as you can see!

Just looking at this quirky card (as I type this from "solitary") - my spirits are lifted :-)

P.S. if any of you have installed my sparkly new blog button on your site, I'd like to reciprocate! If you have a button, just let me know. I just put up one of those scrolly gadgets :D

photo credit ~my aim is true~


Tammy Howard said...

Oh Carma! I am a SAHM of school aged kids recovering from surgery. I am so lonesome and stir-crazy I don't know what to do. I don't have to sneak my naps, though.

Randi Troxell said...

i am NOT one of those ppl that must have others around me to make me happy BUT i know if i were you it would totally get to a point where i would need someone! i don't really need others... though truth be told i can be around my husband all the time.. but i do need someone to keep my brain churning!!

Kathie @ my net finds said...

I can relate...I was around people at my job, but it was like solitary because no one talked to each other! and I did this one endlessly (ruminating about everything that I could be doing instead of sitting here). I found out that I did need some contact with others even though I'm not really a people person.

on my blog, towards the bottom of one of the sidebars, I have a link to a super easy tutorial on the scrolling's better than if I tried to explain it to you. I have your button scrolling on mine, of course! ;-)

Yankee Girl said...


Sometimes I like being alone in the office, sometimes I would rather have the boss man here with me. I guess it all depends on the day.

Though if I was stuck in a place with no interaction at all, I would probably go crazy. At least when I am alone the phone rings nonstop.

And I started talking to myself a long time ago!

Janna Bee said...

yes, I know exactly what you mean, the more bored and useless my job becomes- the less able I am to concentrate! It's been REALLY slow, and I have been bored, yet unable to write. (Thus why I am commenting on your blog instead of doing what I am supposed to be doing at work.)

Vodka Logic said...

Working alone is one thing no interaction at all is another.. As much as I like classical, I would need some of "my" music once in awhile.

Hope you are out of solitary soon.

Joy said...

Oh honey you are the last person to be stuck in that kind of job!


Secret Mom Thoughts said...

I understand the stir crazy feeling. Glad you are getting out of solitary soon.

Amanda said...

I'm sorry, but you totally lost me after I read
possible side effects:
weight loss

Amanda said...

OK. So I really did read the rest. And I gotta tell ya... me thinks you are on to something.

I might just have to mull this over a bit more... come back and read it again... ya know.

Digest it.

Ok. I'm still stuck on the weight loss thing. Really? You can lose weight? Why have I not considered this as an option before?



Tater Tot Mom said...

Okay, I have trouble sleeping and I talk to myself incessantly, does that mean my house is solitary confinement?!? LET ME OUT! :)

I don't think I could be without human contact that long! That's just not humane!

That's so funny you said something about the button because I just did that earlier today! Would love if you grabbed mine too!

blueviolet said...

That sounds so horrible! I like being alone but that does seem like solitary confinement. Ugh.

Even playing on the internet doesn't help, huh?

BrnEyedGal said...

I'm so glad your marathon of working endless hours by yourself is coming to an end...that is just so hard!
As a SAHM with no car I get how you feel though...

So nice to see your blog after awhile...I missed reading and checkin in everyday. (Not to mention you having me laughing quite a bit of the time!!!)

Smile...Today's Gonna Be A Good Day!!! :) :)

~Kristen~ said...

There are a LOT of days at work when I would LOVE to be alone (like today! grrr!) but I can see how it would be hard every day all day.

Kristina P. said...

I spend about 7 hours of my 8 hour work day blogging. I am an excellent employee.

Laura said...

Horrible, yuck, blah!! At least you have internet though, right? Just trying to find a plus but I gotta tell you I would have totally went nuts and ended up in a little padded room if I were you! You're awesome, glad the nightmare is close to an end!

Melissa B. said...

Oh, poor Carma! I have several dozen essays that you can help me grade...

Melissa B. said...

Oh, poor Carma! I have several dozen essays that you can help me grade...

Leproust Vintage said...

ohhhhh I am sorry to hear that! I tend to feel WAY over stimulated at the end of my work day...I am a home health speech therapist (funny you should mention that in your post!!), and sometimes have 45 minute drives between patients in traffic, seeing 5-8 patients a day. I was JUST thinking today, that the perfect job would be one that has about 3 hours of down time, away from other people and stimulating environments, and the remainder of the time would be social interaction!

I think we should fuse our jobs to create a perfect balance! Glad to hear you are getting back to your normal schedule soon though!! :)

angelcel said...

Being alone has to be done at home, where you manage your own day. Being alone at work with little or nothing to do is a nightmare. It does make you feel trapped. I did temp jobs for a while and one was as you describe, except there was no internet in those days (when dinosaurs roamed the earth). I was a receptionist so I couldn't sit there reading a book, couldn't do my nails, my hair, my makeup...or anything else 'creative'...I just had to *look* industrious, even though there was sweet F.A. to do. People think that sounds great but, seriously, it was the longest two weeks of my life. So yeah, I sympathise with you. *Big time*.

So you're 'out' soon eh? Time off for good behaviour. I'm so pleased for you. You're out. Free. Released. Yaaaaaaaay! :)

prashant said...

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Housewife Savant said...

According to the list it seems I am a mom in solitary.

I'm also a speech therapist. With hearing loss.
It probably compounds my suffering.

Yep. It does. I checked.

I have your button. I have my button. Do you?

shraddha/april@theselfloveproject said...

i can totally relate!!
i can be happy alone..but NOT all the time


Adrian's Crazy Life said...

Oh my gosh, I can totally relate. Even though I don't have the physical isolation on my job, I do have a very similar emotional isolation. Most of the people around me work from home all the time, or there's empty desks and those that are there don't seem to want to socialize.

Some days I don't speak to anyone other than the cashier in the cafeteria. And I've been doing this for eight YEARS! I listen to music, books on tape, visit websites and blogs. Anything I can do to keep myself sane!

JamericanSpice said...

I would definitely go crazy in one way or the other. The least you could get to do is listen to some stimulating talkshow where you talk back to the radio...wait. I do that.

I talk to myself too...hmm


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