Are you faking PTSD for attention? or is this a scam?

I have CPTSD (sexual and emotional abuse), and just hearing the word “fake” & “scam” was an enough to cause an actual trigger to my past, coupled with huge anxiety and intense anger.

Yesterday, while sitting in a coffee shop sipping tea and reading a book, two women around 30 – 40 years of age sitting behind me, actually had this conversation. True story. I’ll call them A & B.

A –Do you believe in all of this PTSD shit?

B –I don’t know what to think sometimes. I do know a co-worker who’s sister is going to therapy for it, I don’t know what exactly for, but she just said something that happened to her when she was young and has PTSD now.

A –Do you think it’s for real, or is she looking for attention? How old is her sister?

B –I think she’s in her 30’s, not sure. It’s something about molestation or something, I didn’t want to ask and be nosey.

A –Yeah right, like she can remember things that happened when she was a kid!

B –Well it’s her business

A –I’m just asking because I saw a show last night showing how some men in the military and some police are actually faking having this PTSD, just to collect disability. Some of them have collected $100,000.00, what a shame when people that have an actual disability need it.

And, their discussion continued……..

PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, rape, or other violent personal assault. PTSD is a real illness that causes real suffering. (source: psychiatry.org/ptsd) Continue reading “Are you faking PTSD for attention? or is this a scam?”

What happened next when you told someone about your sexual abuse?

There has been a secret you’ve been concealing, that’s most likely eating you up inside, however, you now have mustered enough courage to tell someone you trust. It’s rough, and you’re just a kid.

Protection and trust have already been shattered by your abuser; you just couldn’t take it anymore, now it’s time to receive compassion, tenderness and told you were so courageous for coming forward and that person will be punished.

It may perhaps have been very positive for you, you were believed, acknowledged, obtained love, affection, sorrow and apologies for this ever happening; possibly counseling. You went on to recover with perhaps some difficulty, but you received support.

OR

Instead, it was the most regretful day of my life.

Continue reading “What happened next when you told someone about your sexual abuse?”

I was incarcerated because I panicked

This was my first time “behind bars” taken via a police car and booked tonight just because I panicked. One feels this is jail, tossed into a cold cell awaiting the guard to slam shut the heavy metal door. Lying there frozen, shivering, alone peering down to shackled ankles. Why do I deserve this? Jailed because I have a mental illness?

Bolted down. Incarcerated.

Eyes open slowly and encircle a dingy room. Everything is bolted; windows, a desk, chairs, and including this bed. The windows have bars attached, walls are an ugly light pink and the curtain dividing my neighbor’s bed looks hideous also, but what was I expecting; a hotel room?

Is it daybreak? A rap on the door startles me, followed by a female voice stating, “breakfast and meds”.

I prefer not recalling what happened last evening, dialing the Distress Center, talking for what felt like hours with a counselor who had a monotone voice about my obsessive suicidal feelings. Thoughts danced in my head for days, dreaming of ways to carry out my demise. Then, at some stage in this conversation, I became irritated and slammed down the phone, prompting an unexpected visit from the police. Next a knock at my door where I was unconvincing as to my state of mind, and there a decision was made, I was to be transported somewhere?

Neighbors, who don’t as a rule, walk their dogs, now saunter by the police car, peering in, along with others peeking through window blinds and curtains. The back seat of this cruiser is larger than expected, however, I am seated with my mind in a muddle, confused, uncertain of the future yet despising the present.

Both police officers chat quietly in police jargon; I assume they are awaiting word of which hospital to take me, then suddenly I’m on my way. The drive is a speedy drive, yet for me, a lengthy one. A time to reflect… a time to sob…. a time to sit in wonderment. In the back of a cruiser – how can this be? Punishment? I’ve never committed a crime in my life. Will I go before a judge; am I to be sentenced and charged for suicidal ‘thinking’ and (to some) selfishly wishing to end my life?

Continue reading “I was incarcerated because I panicked”

Is your psychiatrist helping you, or is it time for a trade-in?

Wow, I have had my share of psychiatrists throughout my mental illness journey, both as an inpatient and outpatient, beginning in 1994. I won’t list them all, simply the ones who stood out.  

#1-Dr. C. I’m convinced this man was 80, coughed his brains out with every visit, and actually asking “are you sure this is depression you have”? Hmmm…..He left me feeling desperate, confused and asking myself if I did have depression. I know I did, others doctors confirmed the diagnosis.  He was the only doctor available at the time so I was ‘stuck’ with him for a couple of years.

#2-Dr. D. He was the lead psychiatrist who was responsible for my care during the severest years of major depression and hospitalizations. Opting for quick visits while an inpatient, his attention appeared to be given to more youthful patients. Dr. D. was forever ready with a script pad for a refill or new medications and believed in the power of useless ECT’s. Continue reading “Is your psychiatrist helping you, or is it time for a trade-in?”

My chronic migraines ~ I’m cranky

I’ll admit I’ve been cranky with an awfully short fuse lately, however, I’ve also been bedridden with ice-packs stuck to my head, isolated, and living in dark spaces for months. Winters in Canada aren’t kind to me, the barometer changing from day to day and week to week promotes wicked chronic migraines. Weather changes are my triggers.

I’ve posted previously about my 40+ year struggle with these crappy recurring headaches doing anything to prevent a trip to the hospital emergency for an IV drip to end the agony. The waits are lengthy (8-12 hours), torturous and almost always have some nitwit beside me who wants to chit chat.  Leave me be, please!

Currently, in my city, though, migraine sufferers cannot be treated with narcotics relief at any hospitals only providing Toradol which is comparable to placing a band-aid on my forehead.  Best to remain at home and suffer in peace.

Continue reading “My chronic migraines ~ I’m cranky”

My Teacher Wore Oven Gloves

Have you ever had someone enter your life that really made a difference when you were a child, validated your feelings or listened with concern when you spoke?

Perhaps it was a mentor, coach, Girl Guide leader; you get the idea. Reflect for a minute who that person was. For me, it was my high school home economics teacher, Mrs. Fox.

Each day I was greeted with a brilliant smile from her, and the only teacher throughout my entire schooling that I connected with.

I was emotionally abused by my narcissistic mother, forever feeling depressed, apathetic, sullen, despondent and isolated. Her home economics course, for grades eleven and twelve, included both cooking and sewing/crafts (this was back in the early 70’s when it was assumed girls who graduated would ultimately become secretaries or housewives!).

Continue reading “My Teacher Wore Oven Gloves”

If My Abusive Mother Came Crawling Back, Do I Owe Her Anything?

For me, I positively don’t owe my narcissistic mother anything. Here is the woman who spewed out vicious words, ignored me, displayed rare empathy, criticized, ranted, raved, and left me feeling worthless and undervalued.

My father passed away in 2012 and I (the scapegoat) only have one sibling (my brother, the golden child).

Our last conversation(s) were similar to this:

“Deb, since your dad died it’s been really lonely, I have no friends and have to do everything by myself. You have a husband there all of the time to help you, I have no one. It’s really depressing, all alone in the apartment with nothing to do but watch TV. Your brother is always there if I need him, but you never seem to come over very often. I know you don’t have the car much and I said I could drive you to appointments or to the mall, but you always say you take the bus. We are family and we should do things for each other.

She wants and needs me now, yet she hasn’t changed her narcissistic personality at all, and most likely never will. Am I expected to ‘be there’ for her now that she’s so lonely, yet ignored me throughout my childhood?

She can’t have me now, it’s too late mom you blew it.

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I really enjoyed reading this article today titled “The Debt” in which it asked just that, do we owe parents who have abused us during our lives anything when we are adults?

See article @ Slate.com written by Emily Yoffe “The Debt” When terrible, abusive parents come crawling back, what do their grown children owe them?

Written and copyrighted by Deb/2016

Originally on my blog niume.com (Deb-Living in Stigma)
https://niume.com/profile/25982#!/posts

Depression: Am I here in this black hole forever? Huh?

I used to ask myself, almost every day throughout my depressive illness; is this it?  Does it get ever any better?  Am I stuck here in this black hole forever?

Sounds pessimistic, but my history of recurring hospital admissions and medications that were ineffective, coupled with suicide attempts and unrelenting depression, didn’t illustrate a positive picture.  At separate hospital admissions, I was frequently greeted by the same bed, same patients and same nurses who precisely dispensed my medications.  Many years ago, hospitalization was a sort of an incarcerated life; that of daily rituals, set meal times, social activities, lights out at 11:30 pm, and scheduled visits from visitors.   Finally, discharge, after serving my “time”, which meant adjusting to home life all over again.

With zilch changing; I’m asking “is this as good as life gets?”

It’s both upsetting and scary, no one should ever have to endure this type of life, and depression, for me, proved a dreadful existence.  After spending months in the hospital, I would continually sense that I was one footstep away from hospital waters every waking day.  Continuously, just a step away from hell; surviving only on the surface.

Continue reading “Depression: Am I here in this black hole forever? Huh?”

What about the Funeral? ~ When Your Abuser or Estranged Relative Dies

Yes, what about the funeral.  Are you expected to attend, expected to pay for costs, feel guilty and makes excuses for not attending?  It’s a crappy time for everyone.

My narcissistic mother is not in the picture anymore, however, if she passed away how would the funeral be handled?  (I’ve already answered that, but will keep my answer private).

Searching high and low for a detailed answer, I came across this well-written article:


One of the biggest dilemmas faced by escapees from abusive families is what to do when our abuser or estranged relative dies. Should we make an appearance at the wake and funeral, or not? Should we go to the burial?  Should we send flowers? Should we offer our condolences- and if so, to whom?

To the very people who took our abuser’s side against us or shunned us from their family?  What kind of an act will we have to put on if people offer condolences to US?  How will we be able to pretend that the death of our abuser was a great loss, when we can’t even come up with one nice thing to say about him?

See the remainder of this article at:
http://www.luke173ministries.org/655609

(reposted with editing)

MOM, WHY DID YOU HAVE ME?

Mom, why did you have me?

A question I often ask
making no sense at all
for a woman so resentful and hateful

Bringing children into this world
as her own emotional punching bag
used for criticism and anger
against the daughter, who only craved for
a mother to love her

Mom, were you unhappy as a little girl?

I’m sorry if you were
but for you as my mother
you’ve damaged two lives now
that wonderful opportunity at a relationship with me
and my fantasy mom that I forever aspired you to be

I fantasized that we would bake cakes and chocolate chip cookies together,
perhaps getting flour over each other and laughing
Sewing, cooking, reading stories and joking
trying on your clothes, lipstick and shoes
going shopping like two girls together and giggling
but you seldom had patience for me and
I just appeared an annoyance in your eyes

your cruel words brought tears, unable to ever do anything right
starved of empathy and hugs, and hearing only critical remarks
sitting in my bedroom closet where there was peace and no yelling
I tried telling myself, why do I always make her so angry?
I ask once again

Mom, why did you have me?

~~ Deb

“Once a Victim ~ Now a Survivor Award” for Everyone who is a Warrior

I created and designed this “Once a Victim, Now a Survivor” award in March/2015, as I wanted it to represent and award those who have struggled with mental illness, and especially everyone who is living with C/PTSD (complex/post-traumatic stress disorder).   PTSD includes those dealing with trauma, abuse and for many childhood sexual abuse.  We were victims once, but now we are Survivors

So pay it forward if you’d like and nominate others; it’s a way to recognize some of the bloggers you’ve discovered who are worthy of this award OR accept it for yourself.  You can display it on your own blog and be proud of it.  Congrats!

Deb

 

When Your Abuser or Estranged Relative Dies ~ The Whole Funeral Thing

My toxic mother is not in the picture anymore, but the question still remains, what about the funeral? The response would be ~ NO for my abuser if he were still alive.

Searching high and low for a detailed answer, I came across this well written post. My intention is not to shove religion down your throats believe me, as this article was written by a minister on a religious site, however, it answered my questions and more.


One of the biggest dilemmas faced by escapees from abusive families is what to do when our abuser or estranged relative dies. Should we make an appearance at the wake and funeral, or not? Should we go to the burial?  Should we send flowers? Should we offer our condolences- and if so, to whom?

Continue reading “When Your Abuser or Estranged Relative Dies ~ The Whole Funeral Thing”

PTSD ~ Controlling My Terrifying Nightmares

Image Source: mommysurvivors.com

I’ve had problems with dreams and nightmares for years, and never gave it much thought that it may be connected to trauma (PTSD).  After, discussing memories and flashbacks in therapy, I’m beginning to understand how much trauma can have an impact on dreams.  My psychiatrist has prescribed a medication to alleviate the nightmares, and it has been fairly successful so far.

Those terrifying, nighttime dreams in which you show up at work naked, encounter an ax-wielding psychopath, memories from childhood trauma or other tribulations may become a thing of the past thanks to a discovery reported on Reuters.com.

Continue reading “PTSD ~ Controlling My Terrifying Nightmares”

SUICIDE: THE TABOO WORD

Suicide: definition…is an act of willfully ending one’s life.

Males die much more often than females by suicide, while females attempt suicide more often. U.S. Caucasians commit suicide more often than African Americans do.
People commit suicide more often during spring and summer.

Suicidal ideation produces the perilous side of mental illness, acting as both a friend and seducer. Even though thoughts of dying encapsulate our mind on one hand, we yearn to remain living on the other. We desire just to feel better.

Continue reading “SUICIDE: THE TABOO WORD”

MOM, YOU’RE STILL TOXIC & YOU’LL NEVER CHANGE

Who was I kidding, reuniting again with my mother.  I should have left things alone after no communication for three years, but no I had these grand ideas in May of this year of reconciling.  How many times have I attempted to make it work before? Three, perhaps four?  I’ve never truly had this woman’s tenderness or support for fifty some odd years, and it ‘aint ever going to happen.

Why can’t I get this through my thick skull and I allow myself to be disillusioned repeatedly?  But, was craving for parents, namely a mother who truly loved me instead of criticizing and showing my brother the same affection that I deserved, too much to ask for?  I don’t think it was.

You constantly told me to lose weight, criticized me too many times, making me feel worthless and sub-par.  I lost weight when you saw me this May, I thought you’d be so proud of me and things would be different; guess it didn’t matter.

But mom, you surpassed yourself this time, with selfish words again, and presented the “toxic mother” that you are, sent in reply to an e-mail a few days ago.

Continue reading “MOM, YOU’RE STILL TOXIC & YOU’LL NEVER CHANGE”

FOR ME: THE END OF MY SEXUAL ABUSE

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This year was productive in therapy.  I can breathe after 51 years.  Yes, I can finally breathe now with no fear of a meltdown, flashbacks or sudden tears as I know for certain that the man who abused me when I was six was a bad man.  I can watch Dr. Phil when he has a guest who was sexually abused, not have nightmares, and therapy has helped me recognize that it wasn’t my fault.

The numerous articles i’ve written about my abuse on this blog, described how my next door neighbor gratified his needs, yet sent me onto a hellish future.  He deceived me, pretended to like me and tricked me into thinking I was ‘special’, yet planning and taking advantage of every chance he could get to abuse me.

Continue reading “FOR ME: THE END OF MY SEXUAL ABUSE”

Always The Fat Girl

In 1997 my weight ballooned to 285 lbs.  That was the heaviest I had ever been, and the reason I recall that number is….my vacation to Disneyworld in Florida.

It was a humiliating situation, to say the least, and one I will never forget; too portly to enjoy.  For one, I couldn’t schlep my enormous girth up onto the horse Carousel, and that not being the worst, the long, arduous wait to experience the “Space Mountain” roller coaster ended in a calamity.  Hubby and I squeezed ourselves in, but there was no way I could do the seatbelt up; no way that sucker would clasp, so we were booted off of the ride.  And that was that.  I felt so miserable and it certainly put a damper on the entire trip. I vowed under no circumstances to be that hefty again and never was, but certainly, I wasn’t all that slimmer.

I have forever been the 200+ lb. girl for most of my adult life; the one who always shop in the plus-sized section, loathed visiting the doctor’s office for fear of getting weighed and knowing how much my weight increased. My weight usually fluctuated between 220-230 lbs.  Also, I was and of course, the yo-yo dieter.  The unsuccessful diets throughout the years, losing then gaining back extra.  I failed to ever reach that my magic goal weight (180 for some reason), therefore, constantly considered myself a failure.

Really, at age 56, I faced the fact that I’m fat, will probably remain fat and that’s all there is to it.  My clothes were always clean and neat, and strived to look as good as possible, but that fantasy of being thinner or even the thought of being thin was so far away that it was….just a dream.  An unattainable dream…until I became very ill….

To be continued…..See “THE GALLBLADDER FROM HELL

Written by:  Deb

THE GALLBLADDER FROM HELL

In November 2012, I had slimmed myself down to 185 pounds. I hadn’t been that low since my 20’s. Mental illness, namely depression that I have dealt with for decades, now reared its ugly head and caused difficulties with my personal and work life.  I had years where I was hospitalized on and off, and now found myself repeating this with an admission to hospital on the psychiatric wing in March of 2012.

I lost some weight prior to the hospitalization, and then quite a bit throughout the 3 ½ week stay, and managed to keep it off; remaining at 185, but then disaster struck…

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YES, the extra-large SAUSAGE/HAM/GREEN PEPPER/ONION/BLACK OLIVE/EXTRA CHEESE pizza started the ball rolling into gallbladder hell…

My whole gallbladder story is a nightmare.  I had my first attack on Nov 19, 2012 (didn’t know it was my gallbladder, in fact didn’t know where the gallbladder was in my body, but soon found out).  That pain was the worst pain I have ever experienced, a rush to the emergency, and they were going to perform emergency surgery, however, after extensive tests (CT scans, ultrasound, x-rays), decided to wait until things settled down and sent me home.  Two days later, another attack.  Identical story, further tests, blah, blah, blah…but this time they admitted me where I was on  a heavy course of IV antibiotics for a week, and then sent home.  All was settled in the pain department.  I was warned:  No fried food and no rich desserts.

Continue reading “THE GALLBLADDER FROM HELL”

Brown Bagging It (part 1)

Mental Illness and Work

 When discussing mental illness and work, “work” can mean a number of things.

 It can mean the workplace, as in where we go to do our jobs. It can also mean the act of working, what we do at our jobs, as a volunteer in the community, or what we like to do in the garden, kitchen or workshop to relax.

The relationship between mental illness and work can be looked at in a number of different ways, including:

 ·         the stresses and strains today’s workplace places on us

 ·         the incredible pressure placed upon people to continue to perform at work when an illness strikes, and the extra strain this places on their families and friends;

  ·         the difficult barriers those persons diagnosed with a mental illness face in the working world;

  ·         the strain encountered by people who work while they care for someone with a mental illness at home;

  ·         the therapeutic role the act of work plays in helping to reduce stress and improve mental health; and the benefits work can bring in guiding people diagnosed with a mental illness toward recovery, rebuilding their self-esteem and hopefully returning to the jobs they left when the illness struck

 Mental Illness in the Workplace

 Of all persons with disabilities, those with a mental illness face the highest degree of stigmatization in the workplace and the greatest barriers to employment opportunities.  Persons diagnosed with a mental illness are more likely to experience long term unemployment, underemployment and dependency on social assistance.

 Many employers and employees have unwarranted fears and see persons with psychiatric disabilities as unskilled, unproductive, unreliable, violent or unable to handle workplace pressures.  This stigma creates climate in which someone who has a problem and needs help may not seek it for fear of being labeled. 

  Undiagnosed mental illness also has a high cost in the workplace. If left undetected, overall work quality and productivity can be affected by an ill employee’s misunderstood behavior. Mental illnesses and the fact that they can be successfully treated must be understood by employers.  Only then can they begin to recognize and accept the symptoms of a true condition and know how to establish an internal management program to accommodate their employees.

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

MY STORY:

Ten years of ping-ponging between home and hospitals, untreatable bipolar disorder and with life heading nowhere, my luck changed after a new psychiatrist entered my life. With correct meds finally, and great encouragement I began to take two steps forward.

I followed all of this doctor’s directions; volunteering, participating in the out-patient occupational therapy program, taking meds as prescribed, and finally I was on my way to wellness.  Moods were reasonably stable and I wanted to return to the workplace (this was 2005).  My dilemma though found me with limited computer skills caused by years of unemployment, non-usage of computers and coupled by memory loss from ECT.

My psychiatrist though, advised only returning part-time, but my bull-headed nature had me applying for full-time positions.  Tenacity prevailed with the computers; working daily on my typing skills, escalating my speed and relearning the computer programs.  I dejectedly sat back at times, recollecting when I used to instruct computers at my office prior to becoming ill and ending my career.  But, I regained the skills and thought I was finally ready.

At the outset, I had a spotty resume caused by years of illness.  Using my volunteer work, as well as, a short stint with self-employment, filled in the ‘experience’ section of my mottled resume, which began looking presentable.  Next came the job hunt.  I always felt, the search for a job is far more problematical than performing the job itself.

To be continued……. (stay tuned for part 2) 

Brown Bagging It (part 2) – The Long Awaited Interview

Part 2 – The Interview

In Part 1, I discussed Mental Illness and Work and Mental Illness in the Workplace.  Also, discussed was my experience reentering the workplace (in 2005) after many, many years of illness – mental illness.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So I had my polished resume in hand and now I was prepared for the next step.  This was comparable to waiting at the bus stop…for the bus.

How times have changed compared to years gone by.  I’m ageing myself, but way back when, the procedure in my city entailed catching the bus downtown to Manpower on a Monday morning and scouring their job boards.  Once an enticing ad placed on a recipe sized card was found, you presented it to the recruiter who in turn would with any luck forward your name along to the prospective employer.  Nowadays, everything is so much easier; sending resume with cover letters via electronic mail.  Speaking of which, that was another aspect of the computer I had to get the handle on; e-mail and the cut/copy paste method.

I was essentially new at this job search, and concentrated my efforts on the personnel agencies and employment internet sites such as: monster.ca and workopolis.com.

Months of e-mailing, telephone calls and mainly waiting for ‘that call’, at last paid off. I received ‘that call’, but yet felt frozen facing an actual interview.  Years had passed since an interview was necessary of me, only that of doctors requesting information on my well being in hospital.

Continue reading “Brown Bagging It (part 2) – The Long Awaited Interview”

Brown Bagging It (part 4) – Keeping the Job – Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches

In Part 1, 2, 3 – I spoke about Mental Illness in the Workplace, Seeking Employment, the Job Hunt, The Interview, Looking for a Job, now part 4.

 

I was sort of in a quandary and very nervous; do I seek further employment or take some time off.  It was November of 2005, and pdoc and my husband were in cahoots, both advising me to wait until after Christmas.  But, I resisted and applied for some positions.

There was a hiring blitz at two financial institutions and I e-mailed my resume.  One never called, the other phoned the next day and an interview set up the following afternoon.  I wondered what was happening here, and surmised that having the last position’s experience counted for something on the resume – perhaps all of that turmoil was possibly worth it.

The interview went smooth, the manager pleasant, no tests and they advised me “we will let you know by next week”.  I thought “I’ve heard that before”, but by the next afternoon – I HAD THE JOB.  Wow, I was to start in two weeks – but….there was a two week training session to be completed first.  My heart sank.  Here we go again.

The training session was taxing, but this time around, I wasn’t filled with as much panic.  As usual though, adapting to their computer system was again complicated for me to grasp.  Also, learning their policies and procedures also presented somewhat of a challenge, and at the end of the two week session, a quiz was necessary.  I froze at the very mention of a ‘quiz’, failed the first time out, re-wrote and passed.

The monthly reviews I dread so much though; always expecting the negative, and ultimately surprised by the positive.  I feel sometimes like a little kid waiting for a pat on the head saying “good girl, you did a good job”.  Self-confidence and self-esteem have returned to some degree, but I’m still working on it.  I am meeting company stats and competing with the younger folk there – I’m in the running every month.  Depression leaves a scar, but I have learned that a scar can fade.

I do not share my past with co-workers, due to the fact of **stigma.  I recognize I would be treated in a different way, as the general public does not comprehend mental illness.  In secret, I wish my co-workers/management to be acquainted with my triumph.  Existing under a veil of blackness for so many years, then at last standing upright and functioning in the ‘working world’, I feel,  is something of a phenomenon.  I do experience a sensation of gratefulness for this company, as they took a risk hiring me with a resume packed with holes.  They apparently saw the potential I forgot I possessed.

So there are steps: having the strength in preparing to look for a job; the job hunt; the interview; landing the job and most of all keeping the job.  Every step is a difficult step.