Monday, November 10, 2008

Sacrafice for family

Have you ever had to give up two thirds or more of your belongings for the sake of moving your family somewhere safe? I have. From 1998 to 2004 I served my city as an Animal Cop. I did my job well and always made my raises. I didn't change my work habits but when I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in early 2004, causing me to start taking medications to control it, my superiors decided that I was no longer worthy of my badge. They started to harass and discipline me even outside of company policy. For example, they wrote on my last review that I was afraid of dogs. Line that up with five years of prior service, decorated service. Does that make sense to you? Not me. I was forced to leave a job I loved and it started a whirlwind three year exchange of misery. My conditions were worsened by stress to the degree that I may never have a regular job again (never mind that my conditions have become degenerative due to other factors). If not being safe at work isn't enough, let's remove safety at home as well. I didn't live in the best of neighborhoods and one of my neighbors made a complaint against me for taking a snapping turtle away from her. You can bet they used that against me. The took the word of a crack snorter with a six page criminal record over mine as an officer with no other witnesses. She lived four houses from me on the other side of the street. That's no where I caught her with the turtle, I can get more into that later. This woman circulated a petition to have me evicted from my home. Fortunately the landlords knew about her and laughed her right out of the office. She rallied neighborhood kids and encouraged them to yell slurs at me and my young son whenever we were seen outside. Terrible and gross pranks started to occur, such as leaving used condoms on our front door handle and sickening medical rubber gloves on our porch. Needles were found in the yard on more than one occasion. I did try to find another job, but everyone who called my prior employer, even though I told them there was a legal disagreement (pending court) wouldn't hire me. Three of them told me that the city called me "unstable" and directly said not to hire me. Yes, that's illegal, but I couldn't prove it. It took over a year for the Equal Opportunity Commission to finish their investigation. They never questioned any of my witnesses, but still gave me a right to sue letter. Attorneys were afraid of fighting the city but I finally found one who seemed promising. After another year of back and forth garbage the judge miraculously decided he didn't like my evidence and dismissed the case without trial. My attorney dropped me like a hot rock. At home we were being bullied and threatened by a neighbors drunken son. I had to avoid a fight with him for legal reasons. Police weren't helping, since I tried to sue the city. It took three years to start getting my disability pay. By then, I was diagnosed with my Autism along with Loss of Identity, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (for the second time in my life), and a long list of comorbid factors. We had to leave, not just the neighborhood, but the city as well. We needed a safe place, that could handle our medical factors and my son's autism along with the possibility that one day, I might have a new career. We had already done a great deal of research and that landed us here in Sheboygan. There are still so many jobs that I cannot do because of my limitating conditions, but I still push to do what I can, especially for my kids. My son, is in a great school and doing well. We are finally safe from all the threats. A noise outside can still make us jump and we aren't doing as well as we would like (but who is?). So that's our story of why we moved in a nutshell. I'm open to questions and I hope that my posting this may help someone out there. Have a great day.

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