Saturday, October 31, 2009
I feel really rattled right now. I just had a most uncomfortable interaction with my landlord and I cannot shake the feeling that he is spying on me and came to my door to interrogate me. The conversation was very stilted, sounded planned, and awkward. I wish I just had the courage and conviction to tell people things are none of their business.
My landlord, "C" rang my doorbell. I answered,as my door was open and he could see I was in...I probably wouldn't have answered if that weren't the case. I would have shrunk into the shadows and pretended I was not home, because he and is family scare me.
When I answered he asked me how I was doing...but the tone wasn't a polite, light conversational opener type "how are you"...it was more demanding information sounding. The reason I say this is because upon my saying okay he immediately asked me if I was working.
This question caught me completely off guard...though it shouldn't have because I stress everyday about him, or his family learning I am on a leave from work. He was just so blunt. It was weird. I didn't have time to think of how I could protect myself, and maintain my privacy...so I blurted out, yes I am working.
Immediately I thought ...He is asking me these questions in his professional "insurance adjuster" capacity. This belief was further enhanced when his next question immediately popped out of his mouth: What do you teach?
I could feel myself getting increasingly stressed...how do I answer without being dishonest, but also without telling an insurance adjuster I am working. The last thing I need is for him to think I am being dishonest by being on disability, but still working.
Note:(In reality I am not "working" in the sense that would be construed as fraudulently collecting disability insurance and working on the side. I "work" (volunteer) in an art clubhouse where teaching classes is a part of a mental illness rehabilitation program)
Regardless, of what a big part of me understands is my rehabilitation as opposed to my fraudulently working...I am so scared by all his questions.
I told him I teach printmaking and mixed media art classes. His questions kept coming...he asked twice how my boyfriend was...and he had an look of concern/perturbation on his face that was so strong that I asked him if everything was okay with me as a tenant.
Am I doing okay as a tenant? Are there any problems with my being here?, I asked. At this point I was almost on the verge of tears, and could feel myself overheating because of the stress. He said no, I was a perfect tenant.
Why then is he asking me all these questions? (His Dad has asked me about my working, and a couple times asked me why I am not at work too. I feel so uncomfortable with these questions, but I cannot think of what to say to avoid answering)
Then he asked me if I had the internet hooked up. I did this morning I told him. He then asked if I wanted to share the connection with him; me paying half and he the other half. Immediately I became intensely paranoid again. I asked him about how that might affect my privacy, i.e. if he had access to my connection via wifi/or shared connection could he see what I was doing online? Does anyone out there know the answer to this? How secure is my browsing/laptop info if I share with him, especially given he has the computer skills to spy?
When "C" left I almost got sick. I am freaking out right now...I revealed so much...told him I was working, said I'd think about a shared connection etc. He then asked me if I had my new computer. I told him I was getting one soon.
He offered to help me get a computer saying he had vendor connections. He asked me what I used it for..and I overshared and gave out too much information. Rather than say it was none of his business, I said that would be great...but inside I kept thinking he was doing this so he could install some kind of spyware on my computer so he could monitor me/spy on me.
Every time I see him, or his sister or Dad I freak out and hide in my suite until they are gone. I think I do this because I feel scrutinized and criticized at best, and spied on at worst.
I want to think I am imagining all my fears of spying, and I keep trying to reassure myself and act like I have a right to be off work and taking care of myself without fear of getting in trouble for doing things "worklike" to try to rehabilitate myself, and get back to real work and a life worth living...but more and more I think I really am being spied on.
Am I being spied on? Or am I delusional? What do those reading this post and my recent experience think?
Note: He works for a giant insurance company, has seen me receive mail from my employer's HR department every two weeks, lives in the house my suite is in so sees me home all the time, always seems uncomfortable around me and way too snoopy.
This is so stressful. Every time I leave my suite I look first to see if anyone in the house is here to see me at home (again), because I am so afraid of being seen as not working. I try to plan to stay away for at least 1/2 days if I go out...so it at least looks as though I might have at least a part time job. I am getting worn out by trying to pretend all the time...or by trying to reassure myself that it doesn't matter what his family, or him know about me. I really don't believe it doesn't matter, and I really believe something weird /nefarious is going on.
Going completely offline for a month and a half was eye opening. During that time I accessed the Internet only a couple of times. It surprised me how easy it was to disconnect. I thought I would have withdrawal.
If you had asked me before I stopped accessing the Internet, if I thought it were possible to "electronically disconnect" for such a long time I would have said no.
I am glad I did disconnect because it showed me a couple things:
- I am much more aware that given my low mood I have limited energy to use and I need to choose carefully the activities that provide me real life value.
- Far too much of my available energy and time was previously spent online.
- That "real" life activities and interactions are extremely important to my helping myself manage my mood. This does not mean "online" life activities and friends are not extraordinarily important to me...they are...it just means that I cannot spend all my spare time online. It isn't good for me.
- I missed my online friends, but I did not miss the Internet very much at all...I wasted a lot of time online just surfing to nowhere.
The biggest and most surprising discovery:
5. I always wondered if my spending time online focusing on my depression, its symptoms, my difficulties, pain, fears etc. via my blog, and through reading, and interacting with other blogs/bloggers, made me stay depressed, or fed my depressive symptoms.
I do not see that it did at all. My mood did go up a bit this past month and a half, but I started a new medicine and I think it lifted my mood. The past couple weeks, despite not having and online influences, my mood crashed again...so I think it is my brain that is the biggest culprit in terms of affecting my mood and mood cycling.
Anyways, I really did miss interacting with my online friends, and I missed the creative process of writing. Now that I am "connected" again I am going to focus on staying connected with others here and on your sites. It might take me time to catch up, but I will.