Daily Archives: November 17, 2017

I Get By With A Little Help From My (Famous) Friends

My most famous friend of all, Lucy with her new hedgehog “baby”   Happy Friday! I’m sitting at a table at La Placa Bakery. La Placa is an amazing pastry/gelato wonderland recently purchased by a family from Sicily. It’s responsible for my gaining at least ten (maybe 12 15) pounds. Yes, it’s all La Placa’s fault … Continue reading I Get By With A Little Help From My (Famous) Friends

Leap of Faith

Well, I’ve taken a big new leap into life: I just became a crisis counselor for the Crisis Text Line. Or rather, a trainee for the Crisis Text Line. This is a volunteer position, which is great because I’ve been looking for something I can do from home. A friend of mine from another website, who is a new counselor herself, encouraged me to apply for it. This is serious business; the application had a number of essay questions, there is a training period of six weeks, and I have to pass a background check (which I’m not the least bit worried about). In other words, it’s a real job, and not everyone who goes through the application process is accepted.

I love the idea of helping others experiencing mental health issues. Obviously, I have lots of lived experience and am in a good place right now, so I think I might be pretty good at this. The schedule is very flexible; counselors work no more than 12 hours per week, and I can work in two-to-four hour shifts at any time of the day or night. The only caveat is the time commitment; it’s a minimum of 200 hours or one year. I’m a little leery about that because I tend to start something when I’m feeling well, and then am unable to maintain interest in the project. My last job turned out to be a disaster for the same reason. But it’s time I took a chance at doing something meaningful to help my fellow man…that’s what I miss about nursing.

I know it’s going to be intense at times, working with people who are standing on the edge of the abyss and needing reasons not to jump. My job will be to listen and encourage; it will not be about me or my own issues. They don’t need to hear my story, they need to be heard. And I’m sure they’ll tell me things that will make my hair stand on end, things that may anger me, things that may be triggers. That’s why the Crisis Text Line has supervisors available to the counselors to help with difficult cases. They care about the counselors’ mental health and want to avoid compassion fatigue, which is very common among workers in the helping professions. (I ought to know.)

Yes, I have my reservations about all this, and I’m going into it with my eyes—and my mind—open, but I’m going to take a leap of faith and see if I can do it. That last job dealt a crushing blow to my self-confidence, but in working to build a new life, I feel the need to venture out of my comfort zone a little. I want to think I’m making a difference, which is another thing I miss about nursing. I know there will be texters that I cannot help, but who knows…I may even save a life someday.

It’s worth it to try, anyway. And I really believe I can be good at it. I start training after the first of the year. Wish me luck!


Interrupted Sleep In Bipolar Disorder

Not that it came as a shock, but recently in a friend’s blog (I’d link to her, my keyboard is not cooperating) she referenced how important it is for bipolar disorder patients to get good, solid sleep.

What is that, anyway? Because since my daughter was born, I can count on two hands the nights of uninterrupted sleep I’ve had and that’s WITH a sleep aid.

Last night I accomplished my goal of an early bedtime,falling off sometime after nine p.m. Only to wake every hour on the other. I am not embellishing or dramatizing. My phone is my alarm clock thus right on my headboard and every time I woke I would check the clock, thinking omg, maybe she’s late for school because I forgot to set the alarm…IMagine my chagrin to see 10:30 p.m., 11:15, 12:30, 1:15 and so on…And that’s not really the exception, it’s just the extreme form of what is regular for me. Perhaps some of it has to do with checking on our injured cat Shady but 8 years without good solid sleep is maybe what has helped bring me to the edge of breaking point.

Lack of solid sleep impacts mood, energy levels, emotional strength, mental equilibrium and that is in non bipolar people. So the toll it is taking on me is considerably larger, though I am certainly not trying to claim any special prize here on who suffers the most from lack of decent sleep. I’ve had a sleep disturbance my entire life, from age ten. Before Spook was born, for better part of two years, I had to take 300mg Seroquel and 400 mg Trazadone just to get to sleep. Down side was, I’d sleep 13 hours a day. And that got old so I cold turkey’d both of them even before I had my kid. I switched to melatonin, which is less harsh but also, loses effectiveness the more you use it and it’s not intended for indefinite use.

Nurse doc mentioned last appointment if the raise in melatonin dose didn’t help me sleep through we could explore some prescription sleep meds. THis is does not please me. INsurance does not cover stuff like Ambien or Lunesta which would mean old school anti depressants or knock out shit like Seroquel and I’m not ever going back to 13 hour comas. Life is hard, but geeze, sleeping life away is not living and it’s sure not a cure for insomnia.

I’m not sure what the answer is, but if lack of (uninterrupted)sleep does impact bipolar disorder so negatively, then I need to find a way to combat it.

I can’t get rid of my kid or cats. I can’t stop life from sucking. I can’t pretend the world isn’t about to implode. About the only thing in my control right now that I can truly do away with is the stress of the shop and being R’s little helper monkey. Because it has become apparent to me in recent weeks that I am little more than a marionette he rewards with bananas.He doesn’t give me Christmas cards or a birthday gift (his wife does, she deserves so much better than him.) He doesn’t care when my animals die or get hurt. He doesn’t listen when I reach out to him for parental advice. This is not a friendship. It’s an acquaintanceship and he just happens to trust me as much as the managers at McDonald’s trust their assistant managers. Except they could probably ask for a few days break to deal with their health issues and not get treated to a guilt inducing self esteem anhilating smackdown.

I am giving it til my kid’s christmas break in mid December and then i am done. I’ve pushed myself so far, I refuse to go any farther. At this point I am holding on because he agreed to help me buy my kid’s Christmas if I keep helping. ONce that’s done…I am taking some me time. Maybe the stomach aches will die down, I will be able to sleep better, hell, maybe at the end of the week i won’t be so mentally eviscerated i can’t even work up the energy to enjoy a meal and movie with my child.

I spend way too much time trying to please others and make amends for my past behavior before mood stabilizers. I try so hard to prove I am a better, different person than i was then. I let myself be manipulated and convinced that I am just being moody or insecure when frankly, someone who doesn’t even send you a happy birthday text really isn’t your friend. not after 20 years of knowing each other.

So let’s flip the script. Get my needs met then let the chips fall. If it destroys the alleged friendship, so be it. A friend would never drive you so far over the edge you feel the need to sign into a hospital anyway. THat’s what an employer would do and for that, I should be getting paid real wages and benefits. But if three months of not even half days has broken me…I don’t think work is in the immediate future.

TIme to reboot and heal have to be my focus for now. I owe my child, not the man child. Fuck a different car, I’ll drive my rust bucket til it collapses. It’s not worth it anymore, not when I am losing myself, my health, my mental balance, and it’s impacting my relationship with my child and ability to parent properly.

If anyone is gonna drive me into a padded room, it’s gonna be my child. I chose to bring her into this world and for better or worse, she is my responsibility, her behaviors my cross to bear.

Emotionally stunted fifty year old man children aren’t.