Daily Archives: August 24, 2014

Hope Springs Eternal

I think by now we’ve all figured out the common theme for the past few days. The proverbial chips have been down for some time, but I’m feeling my optimism rising again even though nothing has changed on the surface. I’m like a robin with one end of a ten-foot earthworm in its beak…..a little nibble keeps me trying.

I am SO not ready to quit. I thought I was, but all it took was being invited for that job interview and I realized that surrender just isn’t an option…..not yet, anyway. I’m still filing for disability—the attorney papers are on my desk as I speak—but I can always cancel the application if I find a job I can live with, and in the meantime I feel like the paralysis has been broken.

All summer long I’ve been in a funk, unable to make more than the most basic of decisions (and sometimes not even those). Now I seem to be throwing off my lassitude and even if I still can’t decide what to do in a given situation, at least I’m considering things. I couldn’t even do that up until a couple of weeks ago…..all I was doing was over-thinking while spinning my wheels uselessly.

Granted, I’m coming close to the end of my unemployment benefits and I’m feeling the pressure; but I also suspect that talking with Dr. Awesomesauce about disability just might have lit the fire under me. I also suspect this may have been the purpose of that particular little chat—he can be manipulative like that—because he knows how I behave when my back is against a wall. I tend to come out fighting!

But I think I’m also becoming more realistic about what I can do even though I still resent my limitations, because otherwise I’d still be nursing and making good money while being overworked and hating the politics more with each passing day. At least now I have hope that I’ll find a job I can live with. When I was looking only at nursing jobs, I felt that was my only option and was secretly fearful I’d wind up in the same miserable situation that made me leave all my previous nursing jobs. I didn’t know how to get off the merry-go-round.

Now that I’ve done it, I’m really hoping for the county job I applied for. I want that one so badly I can almost taste it. Who could possibly be better to support people dealing with mental illness than somebody who has one? Of course, I probably should be careful what I pray for, but I’ve looked over the job description at least a dozen times and there’s not a single aspect of it that I couldn’t do. Yes, I’m sure it’s stressful in its own way, and I can see myself having some guilt feelings if someone I’m trying to help were to commit suicide. But holding the power of life and death in my hands as I did when I was a nurse? Not gonna happen.

So it’ll be interesting to see how all this settles out. Even though my interview on Friday didn’t go the way I’d hoped, I have the feeling that I’m close to a breakthrough…..but in the meantime, I’m going to keep looking and I’m not giving up!

 

 

 


Precipice

It’s cooooming….
I am on that precipice, looking down, feeling my feet wobble and my knees tremble. The slightest breeze will push me over the edge and then it will be free fall until I go splat.
Every. fucking. year. I won’t go fully down the rabbit hole til Octoberish but it’s starting. I’ve learned to recognize the signs. No matter how hard I try to fight it…I get my ass kicked. I keep trying because submission is not in my nature. Depression doesn’t care, it just keeps beating you down until you don’t even realize the descent has started.

I am becoming hypersensitive, taking everything as some sort of insult or personal attack. I feel the suspicion boiling up, telling me no one gives a damn, they just tolerate me.
On one hand, I generally don’t care what others think.
On the other hand,I do care what I think and the shifting chemicals as summer draws closer to the end are sparking up the epic bucket of crazy.
How can something not bother me on Monday but my mood shifts and by Thursday the emotional shrapnel starts flying for no reason?
Example: When I was 17 and hanging with some male friends, they told me I was just one of the guys. I was flattered to be seen as more than my gender and some body parts to sexualize.
The other day, Kenny told me I’m just one of the guys and it kinda stung.
Another example: My friend Jason (RIP, dude) used to call me emasculator of men. I found it funny and not far from the truth when men did things worthy of being emasculated.
Kenny calls me a man hater because I have no problem declaring the belching and farting and sexism most men display asshole male traits. And it makes my two and a half feelings hurt a bit.

WTF is wrong with me? How can I take a simple statement and assume someone is insulting me or complaining about me? What makes me so apathetic or amused one day yet so defensive and fragile the next?
The only thing I can come up with is the yearly fall from grace. The change of the seasons that serve as prelude to the seasonal depression.
I had a good run of stability and thinking correctly.
Now it’s abandoning me all over again.
I’m hanging off the cliff, digging my fingernails into cling to the rock and not fall…
But someone is standing there, crushing each finger under their boot until I can no longer grasp and go flailing into the abyss that is mental illness.
My own mind is my worst enemy.


The high price of high functionality

I was lethargic pretty much all day. It was 93 and even with air and fans, we were marinating in sweat and the humidity made it hard to breathe.
I did get a bit functional before it got so warm and that was good.
Then WHAM. My mood slid downward and I could barely keep my eyes open, but I slept last night so it was wtf.
But I know what it is.
Five days of functioning highly has left me mentally overdrawn. People fail to understand that while yes, mentally ill people can function highly at times…It takes one hell of a toll. You hit the wall and feel drained and emotionally bankrupt.
I can feel myself straining to maintain this high level of functioning and it feels like a repeat of last summer. I drove myself hard right into the ground and slowly started slipping, becoming less functional, more down, and processing stress poorly. (Emotional shrapnel was flying.)
This scares me. I try to roll with the high functioning cycles but I think I am pushing myself way too hard. But it’s what’s expected of me. No rest for the wicked or mentally wonky.
The time is coming where I am going to have to put my foot down and make my own well being take precedence. Many will not like it, but that’s their problem.
I hate it. It turns me into this fragile psyche weakling. I am not anything like that when at my best. Unfortunately, I spend more time at my worst than at my best. I don’t think the shrink has a clue that as much as my medi go round and cycling frustrate her, this is my life, every single damned day. I’m tapped out, frustrated, stressed out, and pissed off that it has to be this way.

O, well, Tomorrow is a new day, let’s see what the wheel of moodmisfortune has to bring me.


Jokes and Coping

I’m one of those people that most in the online mental-health community hate. And by that, I mean hate vehemently.

I have CDO

I have a little wall plaque that says this on it, that I keep hanging on my closet door in my room. And I joke about my OCD constantly. I think that my friends and coworkers all just think I have it in the sense of the phrasing, “I’m so OCD, I had to organize my books in order today.” You know, the usual joking that makes one wince because they clearly have no clue what OCD really is. I don’t think any of them realize that I really do have OCD and on some days, even with medication, I really struggle to play at being normal so I won’t be bothered by them about my “weird habits”.

And lest anyone think I’m only making fun of one of my disorders, I will joke about my bipolar as well. I live in the larger Seattle area (people outside the area think it’s all Seattle, but it isn’t). It’s a pretty well-known local joke that the weather here is crazy, one minute it is rainy, then its sunny. So I’ll even joke about the weather reflecting my moods and how they change. Of course, friends will say the weather is “bipolar”. I usually just laugh them off, there isn’t a point to explaining it every time someone makes a crack comment. And sometimes I just don’t feel like trying to explain what bipolar really is.

It’s always put me off a bit about the vehement hatred towards these jokes.

Now, on the one hand I get just as annoyed when I see some idiot teenager who is online “lol-ing” it up about how they’re sooo bipolar, because they were upset they got into a fight with their boyfriend. Or the ones who joke when they post a photo of a restaurant tiled floor pattern with one tile out of order and then say they hate it, so that makes them OCD. I get annoyed as anyone else with this, because their playing light about it is something that takes away from everyone who really does suffer from these things. And teenagers are just generally idiots (gods, and I know I was just as bad as them a few years ago)–so their moronic posts and circling the wagons to protect their self-diagnoses of normal teenage emotions is just annoying.

On the other hand, for those who truly do suffer from mental illness, I do not see something wrong with them having a joke. For me, to make light at times of my OCD and bipolar–of exactly how much they affect my life–helps me keep myself in perspective and helps me stay positive about the fact that I am never going to be cured. I can cope, get help and manage my mental illnesses, but I’ll never be cured. There’s no hope of that. And to really think about that is rather depressing. So I joke about myself to lighten the mood for myself, and to make myself remember that the world does not end…that I can function and be a productive member of society, even if I am odd in certain ways.

And yet I’ve seen dozens of people lambast others with diagnoses, who are clearly not teenagers just playing for attention, for choosing to joke at times to help cope with what they deal with on a daily basis. I guess it just disheartens me, because I know how much a lighthearted joke on occasion helps me feel normal. It is so rare that I ever get to feel that way, that my little jests at myself help me feel like I belong to society at large. Especially considering how little my friends and family really understand what I have, sometimes these jokes help them to see that I’m not just “crazy”, I’ve still got normalcy to me.

I know I’m probably in the minority there, because I really do not mind the jokes, and I use them to make my life feel a bit happier.

I guess this has just been weighing on me for a while, and I wanted to put my thoughts out there.

I have to hope that I’m not the only person out there who genuinely has a mental illness and will at least occasionally joke about it as a coping mechanism.

The Return

I’ve been absent for a while, things have been crazy to say the least. For now, it seems my health issues are starting to get under control. My antipsychotic medication reduces my white blood cell count, and as a result, I got a virus over a month ago that I’m still getting over. Add into that one visit to the oncologist to determine what was going on with my blood cells and two broken friendships and you have a recipe for a depressive episode. Surprisingly, I’m doing well mentally. The support I have from my family and (true) friends is amazing and God is always there for me. 

I’ve really made some strides in regards to my own self worth and the impact I allow others to have on me. This has caused me to view a lot of things differently, and I hope to reflect those changes in upcoming posts. The topics range from serious to goofy and I’m excited to start blogging more frequently. Thanks to those of you who reached out to make sure I was ok, I appreciate it!

Filed under: Wellness Warriors Tagged: bipolar, medication, support