Daily Archives: December 7, 2013
Three weeks. I only needed three more weeks to complete the semester. One more semester after that then student teaching. My original goal was to teach social studies at the high school or junior college level. My husband said I was crazy (HA!) but I even liked the idea of teaching history at the junior high level! I wouldn’t just teach out of a book, reading, blah, blah, blah…but we would reenact battles! Reenact moments that changed the world! Make videos, interview the great minds of history after researching together…it would be an interactive class.
After moving to Poplar Bluff, in order to obtain the degree needed to teach social studies I would have to attend school at Cape Girardeau. For those who don’t live in the Bluff (that’s what we locals call it, the Bluff), it’s an hour and a half drive. I was dealing with depression pretty well at that time, thought I’d kicked it’s butt, but I had a family to consider, and occasional dangerous driving conditions. So I settled. The requirements for an elementary teaching degree were taught by two different universities on the campus of the local community college, Three Rivers College. (Do my Cali peeps see a connection with the whole “Three Rivers” thing?) I decided to complete my courses with Southeast Missouri University (SEMO). I could get a cross categorical degree that would allow me to teach elementary education and special education. Even better, I wouldn’t have to take college algebra. I’d literally seen adults in tears over that class. SEMO it was!
Teacher ed courses are taught in blocks and all the classes for a block have to be taken at one time. Block I went well. I was taking the regular elementary ed classes plus the special education teaching courses and was loving it. It was a lot of work, but I enjoyed it. Block II started well, then I began to slip. I didn’t see it, but it was happening. I found myself studying into the early morning hours then sleeping late into the day. I know now it was a survival mechanism. I just couldn’t deal with everything but had to take care of school. By adjusting my hours I could avoid the household needs but keep up with the school load. I pushed myself Monday through Saturday then collapsed Sunday and slept almost all day.
I’m not proud of this, but anyone who’s ever felt depressed can relate. “I’m busy, busy, busy so don’t have time for…” whatever it is that needs to be done. I did cook most nights, or put something in the crock pot on the nights I had class, but it fell to my hubby to take care of the kids, do the laundry, do the housework. I felt ashamed even as it happened, but didn’t know what to do. I just didn’t have the strength for it all and had too much invested in school to quit.
Three weeks left to go. Just three weeks. And suddenly I didn’t think I could finish it. My father had died a few months earlier, other family matters were affecting me, the workload of Block II with the addition of the special ed courses was intense, and there was the worsening depression. I had become dependent on Darvocet prescribed for my fibromyalgia pain and I began abusing it, needing the relief it brought mentally. That’s something else I’m definitely not proud of, but anyone with a mental illness can likely relate. Self-medicating is a common theme. Whether through alcohol, street drugs, or prescription drugs…anything for a change in outlook.
But I knew how to put on a good public face. I’m kind of a champ. My psychiatrist at the time was in St. Louis, a two and a half hour drive. Oh, that’s right! I haven’t told you about having a psychiatrist yet, have I? Well, I had one, and have one, and now you know. There’s something called “presenting”, a term docs use to describe a patient’s appearance. For psychiatrists, it’s a clue as to the patient’s well-being. Only once did I go up there to see him without doing my hair, make up, and dressing nicely and that’s when I had a melt down after the first ice storm I experienced in ’07. A quick call, need to see him, it’s an emergency, and off I went in sweats with barely combed hair. We had no electricity for water (we have a well), and I was told to be there in an hour and a half. I flew up there with ice on the windows an inch thick. Seriously. The ice looked like those thick glass blocks. I felt like I was driving a giant shower.
In that case, I looked like I felt, but usually at least looked like I cared. And when I went to school I also “presented” like someone who felt well, was full of confidence, and cared about her appearance. Until those last three weeks.
Somehow I made it through those last three weeks. Then I crashed and burned.
During the holiday season, it’s easy to forget that not everyone is equally blessed in regards to finances, education, freedom and opportunity. There are so many different charities that all seem to crop up at this time of year and it can be really hard to determine who should get your valuable charitable donation. You can research most charities, which can be time-consuming, frustrating and confusing. I’m not going to provide you with a list of ideal charities/gifts because it’s just too exhausting and it’s been done by countless blogs before. I will instead explain why I chose the two charities I donated to this year.
The first charity I donated to was Heifer.org. They provide so so much it’s impossible to explain in a single sentence. Everything from animals to education, access to clean water, sustainable farming resources, Heifer covers a wide range of opportunities to help impoverished countries. This donation was a no-brainer. I like the fact that they explain what the gift will entail, rather than an ambiguous statement about financial donations. Your gift has a direct, positive and lasting impact on the recipient. I donated a gift of honeybees and the recipient will not only be able to feed their own families using the honey, but provide a source of income through selling the honey, pollen and wax. At a very low $30, this donation will also help local agriculture by introducing a pollinator. Gifts with Heifer can be a one time gift, a monthly donation or through funding a project. It’s a great option if you don’t have a lot to give but you want to make the most impact for your dollar.
My next donation is a little closer to home for me, literally and figuratively, what with my paramour being a firefighter. (I’m a sucker for the turnout gear.)
The second non-profit I donated to is the Leary Firefighters Foundation. Founded in 2000 by actor/comedian/writer/producer Denis Leary, the foundation provides equipment, training materials, new vehicles and new facilities to firefighting crews across the United States. As we’ve heard on the news, massive cuts are being made to public safety departments across the U.S. as we struggle under the economic turmoil. As a result, crews either don’t have what they need or the equipment they use is old or broken. (I will expound on this topic in an upcoming post). The donations you make will go towards repairing and replacing the equipment, as well as funding valuable training for crews. As Mr. Leary states, their one ultimate goal is to make sure everyone gets home safely.
When it comes to charitable donations, make sure the cause you’re contributing to is important to you. That’s really the best advice regarding donations that I can possibly give. If there’s a cause/organization you’d like people to know about, please share the information in the comments!
Yeah yeah yeah, still reputedly alive. It’s just buried under a layer of brain fog and chronic fatigue and ‘people are existing and bothering me’ stress.
Part of the dealing with people was good and fun — I took part in a 24 hour knit-a-thon this weekend. I ‘only’ did 13 out of 24 hours (I needed to go home and get some sleep), but I can take pride in knowing I helped raise over £2,000 for charity. I got to spend the better part of a day hanging out with my one social group locally, and didn’t seem to drive anyone too crazy with my talking too much on random points of societal philosophy.
However, bless ‘em, many of them drove *me* around the bend. I had my first scan of the fetal invader on Monday, and I spent too much of Sunday being told that I was wrong about my body, my child, and my pregnancy. Even if it was meant in jest, it was *insanely* stressful and unfunny. Towards the end of the night, someone pegged me in the face with a small bag of candy (a pub regular, not one of our group), and I ended up slamming it back into the head of the friend sitting next to me — whups. Thankfully, she is quite possibly the sweetest, most understanding human being in the world, and while I could tell she was initially miffed, she understood what trigged my response and was most forgiving. I gave her a mountain of hugs, ’cause hey — I felt bad about even slightly harming a friend!
Of course, I was righter than right about my body, my pregnancy, and the lot. The scan showed me that hey, it was one kid (not the twins ‘everyone’ felt the need to tell me were there (which isn’t funny, it’s fucking cruel to tell someone with a mental disorder who can only JUST handle the idea of a single baby that)), and that I was a grand total of one day off what the midwife doing the scan measured. When I told her what my measurement was, she was impressed — it’s apparently incredibly uncommon to be *that* accurate. I think my fellow bipolar folks can appreciate though — we *HAVE* to know our bodies. We *HAVE* to know our minds. We need to know ourselves as thoroughly as possible so that we stand a chance against the Bipolar Bullcrap™®.
Mind you, I understand part of why it bothered me so much, and it’s not something I was able to articulate at the time because I was so stressed. Basically, I grew up being told I was wrong about everything going on with me. I define for those who may not know the term, Gaslighting:
Gaslighting is a form of mental abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt his or her own memory, perception and sanity. Instances may range simply from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred, up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim.
Scary crap, isn’t it? And probably something that most of us are all too familiar with. While I have hit a point in my life where I can stand up against it better than I ever could, the scars of it are still there, and let’s face it — they might never heal. I’m doing the best I can, but I resent even a humourous implication that I might be wrong about what I know to be true of myself and my situation. I won’t do the laundry list of what I was ‘wrong’ about with myself growing up; suffices to say, it’s very long, and I’m trying to let go of it.
Anyways, between those two events, I’ve been too fragged to brain. Honestly, I’m surprised I’m managing this. I don’t think it will translate to getting anything else done, which is frustrating — I’ve *STILL* not managed to handle my emails, and the oldest is almost a month old now. While I’m trying to not beat myself up about it, it’s still frustrating to be so wibbly as to not be able to handle something that should be a simple task.
But ey, I’m *mainly* okay… just such low energy brain and body that even doing this has stressed me to the point of my eye twitch making an appearance. So I’ll sign off wishing all of you well, and yanno, hoping that I’ll be back in the saddle here and ‘professionally’ shortly.
I definitely have a feeling I have been here before. Because I have so many bloody times. Almost two years of high functionality, enough to appear well to everyone…And from out of nowhere, the slip and slide starts..and before I know it, down the rabbit hole. Meanwhile everyone around me is standing around with their judgments and declaring me lazy or unmotivated or not interested in helping myself.
For fuck’s sake if I could help myself, I’d never experience a depression again. It’s called an illness for a reason.
I am so tired of the pressure to perform, to be what they want me to be when it has nothing to do with who I am. It’s started another war again because I shut down and of course certain people think they are far too important to be blown off for something as silly as me facedown in the mental gutter. People who think this is a choice.
I forced myself to go to Wal-Mart today. First time in three months. I didn’t factor in the holiday thing. It was packed and I began to freak out. My heart was ricocheting off the walls of my chest. I became hostile and agitated and my kid of course chooses that time to act out..And I see all these happy people buyingg all these christmas gifts and they are so calm and cheerful and patient with their kids…
And I felt about the size of a flea.
Came straight home.
Things get much better when I am in safe space, at least anxiety wise.
The depression is still there.Fuck the holidays. (Hellidays, as I call them.) Fuck everything. I see no light at the end of the tunnel, no hope, everything sucks and it is too hard and pointless and…
Of course now I’m going to psychoanalyze myself over my own feelings and slap some happy little personality disorder label on it because no one cuts me any slack therefore I can’t cut myself any.
I curse the day that ANY of this mental stuff was introduced to my consciousness. I’d have been perfectly happy to go through life assuming I was just a weirdo. Weirdos get more consideration than the mentally ill.
Right now, it’s just a black abyss of hate and sad and depressed.
But the voodoo is that in a few months, like magic, it will all lift and I will once again be a totally different person, this shell of negativity and misery forgotten for a few months.
I will however have burned so many bridges by then it won’t matter. Yet if these people calling themselves friends and family would BACK OFF for awhile and let me do the struggling thing that is called depression, then when I emerge all could just move on as usual.
Yet that is not allowed, they dictate that my functionality must be consistent, must be up to their level, must be must be must be. MUST MUST MUST!
There have been certain points as of late when I have pondered whether signing into the mental ward might be a viable option.I am floundering her and I have no help, no support, and I am trying so goddamn hard and yet surrounded by those who say I am making no effort…If it weren’t for my kid I probably would have already done the hospital bit. But my devotion to her and my cats is pretty motivating…I don’t get why it can’t motivate past the depression but then, it never could. I would go two weeks without a shower, wear dirty clothes, live on nothing but chips, but my cat never went hungry and always had a clean box.
I excel at taking care of everyone but myself.
My current ocd thought is the whole borderline personality disorder versus bipolar disorder thing. I hate that counselor for putting it into my head after I had already discussed it with two doctors and another counselor and been assured I was pure bipolar. That little twit tells me I meet all the criterion and now every single thought I have, every action, EVERYTHING comes back to “did i get the wrong diagnosis again?” I mean, what if the meds never work long because the problem is just that I suck?
Speaking of her, I haven’t opened any of the mail the counseling place has sent because well, the mail thing makes me panic. I avoid. Not healthy or mature, but it is what it is. I wonder if she’s reporting me as uncooperative therefore I can’t truly be ill. But between the borderline thing and then her sending messages to me via my family because she counsels my brother…there’s no way in hell I am going to cooperate. I like to keep my mental health issues separate from my family and I can’t very well do that if she sees my brother and tells him and my stepmom to relay a message to me. Technically it violates my confidentiality rights even if we all knew about it.
It’s like, can one more thing go wrong to make 2013 suck even more?
And that concludes the bitch and moan portion of the afternoon.
At least the part any of you lot have to be subjected to :p
This quote comes from the New England Journal Of Medicine -
“Using marijuana can certainly contribute to or worsen depression. Low motivation, fatigue, and withdrawal from positive activities are central features of depression and marijuana can worsen each of those problems. Some people do say that marijuana dulls anxiety or negative feelings. But it also dulls energy and motivation. And we know that activation and engagement are key parts of recovery from depression.
Marijuana can be even more troublesome for people—especially younger people below the age of 40 and above the age of 18—who live with bipolar disorder. In addition to worsening depression, marijuana can increase the likelihood of experiencing symptoms of psychosis—like hallucinations or paranoid ideas. In younger people who are at higher risk for bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, using marijuana increases the chances of developing a severe or disabling”
stole this from: http://theobsidiansinners.wordpress.com
what do you believe…?
I love this song. It helps me relax and want to take a long vacation, while the sun is shining on me in an old car I love.
I hope this song brings you down out of your cloud today…
Good luck my friends…
So today I decided that since it snowed and we can’t get out of our driveway, it was time to tackle the Christmas tree decorating chores.
Used to be that I’d have the thing up and decorated by dinnertime the day after Thanksgiving, but this year I’ve been dragging my feet for some reason……partly because I was in that depression, but I’ve also been busy with other stuff. Namely, trying to wrap my mind around the concept of actually having gotten my dream shot at becoming a state inspector for long-term care facilities. Or, as my name badge will read, a Client Care Surveyor.
Even now, two days after getting the call, I can hardly believe it. I was so down on myself there for awhile that I couldn’t even imagine anything beyond my current station in life, which is what I’d call humble to say the least. And it’s not that I’m going to get a big head or anything, but it is so sweet to have attained this long-desired position at a time when I desperately needed objective affirmation that all my struggles in this profession have been worth it.
Now I’ll have the chance to bow out gracefully from clinical nursing and put all these years of experience to work for the vulnerable elderly and disabled citizens in nursing homes all over the state. You see, even as old and jaded as I am, I still have some idealism left, and in this position I’ll be monitoring the quality of care they receive, as well as enforcing state rules and regulations governing the delivery of that care. That’s right: I’ve gone over to the “dark side”. And God willing, I ain’t coming back. They’ve got cookies AND hot chocolate!
Now where were we? Oh yes, the Christmas tree. Being rather OCDish, I’m pretty particular about the way I put the lights and decorations on, and tonight I reached a level of annoyed that under certain circumstances would have made me positively apoplectic: I don’t have enough colored twinkle lights.
I’m SERIOUS. I have three big plastic boxes full of lights, and not one single strand of colored twinkle lights. To my dismay, several strands have gone to wherever dead Christmas lights go, and then I have colored lights by the score….but none of them twinkle, and I must have twinkle lights all over the tree, not just on 7/8ths of it. All I have on the very bottom of the tree are white lights, and none of them twinkle. This is, to say the least, totally unacceptable, so I can’t finish decorating the tree until I obtain another strand of colored twinkle lights!
There’s just one problem with jumping in the car and running down to Target for more: We have several inches of powder snow covering our looooooong, sloping driveway, and under that snow is about an inch of packed ice. It’s also about 18 degrees out and it’s not going to warm up until next week; and from everything I’ve heard today, the roads are all but impassable. I know for sure that the only vehicles going up or down our road have been 4-wheel-drive, and there have been maybe a half-dozen all day. In other words: nobody is going ANYWHERE.
So now I’ve got a Christmas tree that’s not decorated because I don’t have the proper number of lights, I can’t get out to buy more, and I can’t put the 10 boxes of decorations away that are cluttering up the dining room and driving me crazy. It’s a fine fix we’re in, and all because I refused to put the tree up the day after Thanksgiving like I have every other year but this one……and yeah, okay, because I’m anal-retentive about the lights. Craptastic!