30 Days of Thanks: Day 5

Today I would like to extend my thanks to my friends M & J.  They are graciously allowing me to spend an extra couple of days with them on my trip out to a conference in August.  They even offered to throw me a barbeque!  These are friends I haven’t seen in years.  Not my closest of friends, but friends I would like to know better.

My closest of friends from that area don’t seem to want to be friends anymore – I hardly even see them on facebook.  It makes me sad.  We used to live out there.  If we moved back to the area, would we still have friends?  I have closer friends here.  My BFF is here.  But we can’t live here indefinitely – there’s no work. 😦

I need to focus on the great friends I do have out there, generous people like M & J, who are willing to open their home to me just to see me and spend time with me.  I would love to go out another day early and go shooting with J.  He is really a gun fanatic – well, both of them are to some extent.  I can’t own a gun because of my mental illness, but J did take me to a shooting range once.  It was so much fun!

I’m really excited about my trip now.  It won’t be all business.  Sure it means spending a little more on kenneling and parking fees, but it also means spending time with friends I haven’t seen since 2009.  I can’t believe they are willing to put me up for the weekend.  I am very blessed to have good friends in my life. 🙂

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Wham!

Some days you are just going through life, doing things that need to be done, thinking you are getting somewhere, ready to congratulate yourself on your progress when suddenly… Wham! You are hit up side the head with an irrational (or as in my case, rational but way out of proportion) thought generating panic and anxiety where you were calm and efficient only moments before.

Today was a double hit. I started today off great, with a (reasonably) early rise and a two-mile walk. Wimbledon was on, so I watched that intermittently while I had breakfast and waited for my turn at the shower. After DH left for work, I chatted with a friend about a photo shoot we are devising, then I set to work looking for a job. I couldn’t concentrate. All I could see was how filthy my carpet was and I wasn’t much better since I hadn’t showered yet. Wham! A whirlwind side swipe of anxiety sent me running for the Klonopin, and then the vacuum cleaner, to use up some of the spontaneous extra energy. After a nice shower and some lunch, I sat down to prepare for the job hunt again. I needed to check out some information on a conference I need to go to and went about preparing for that. I sent out some contact emails, working my network. I decided to check on my bank accounts to see how my finances were holding up, and I think that’s what triggered the next attack. But it didn’t come quickly, nay, it hid in the shade until my attention was turned elsewhere. It waited until I had logged off the banking site and logged back into my job search sites.

Wham! Trembling anxiety or is it panic? Thoughts raced through my head: we have to sell the house, we have no where to go, healthcare, food, shelter, how will we live? What about my pets – my children of fur? What will we do? What will we do? How will we live? How? How? How?

Every backup plan we had failed. We set new backup plans. Are those failing too? Something is failing… is it me? What’s next? What do I do now? COBRA is silently sucking away at my savings. This house needs repairs. Some minor, others less minor. Our mortgage is disproportionately higher than it should be… we can’t change it now because I have no job. Ironic, isn’t it? When you most need to readjust your finances, you can’t.

One car is paid for and we owe less than a thousand on the other.  I suppose we could live out of our cars, but it would be a cramped fit with the animals.  Sleep in the Walmart parking lot.  Can you do that?  I don’t know.

DH & I talked about today’s double hit.  We have enough savings for a few months but we will probably have to put the house on the market by the first of the year.  I hate owning houses, I hate switching jobs, I just want things in my life to be settled.  I want my emotional rollercoaster to settle and stop derailing me when I am doing well.  I was doing well until my mind side-swiped me.

Maybe try again tomorrow.


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Weekly Photo Challenge: Create

Street art

This image was taken in Toronto a couple of years ago and I recently found it in the archives on my hard drive. Street art is very common in Toronto and other major cities, where artists paint for pocket change. What I find most interesting about street art is that it is not permanent, unlike graffiti, although you can find some fantastic graffiti art around town as well. Most street art is painted with chalks and the next rain will wash the sidewalk clean again for another artist.

 

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30 Days of Thanks: Day 4

I am very thankful for my husband. He is my rock, my friend, my soulmate. He puts up with my moods, my episodes, my bad habits. He cooks, he cleans, he does dishes and takes out the kitty litter. He carries the chores when I can’t do them, and often just beats me to it.

We haven’t always been this close, and we haven’t always gotten along. We came near to divorce once. But as we both learned more about my illness, my triggers, and the reasons behind specific behaviors, we grew closer. I think we have gotten a lot closer just over the last year, when I have finally started getting proper treatment for my various psychological illnesses (bipolar, OCD, etc.). He started taking cooking more seriously when I was diagnosed diabetic two years ago.

Some days, I think I couldn’t possibly live without him, that I wouldn’t have the strength to go on if something were to happen. I depend on my husband so much, maybe too much, and I worry about him whenever he goes somewhere without me. I love him with all my heart, and I feel thankful to have him every single day of my life. (Yes, even when he ticks me off.)

I would love to be more eloquent in this post, but I’m afraid I’m at a loss for words.  My heart is full of love and thanks – that’s all I have to say.

 
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First Blog-o-versary!


Yes, I stole the term from Lulu, who recently celebrated her blog-o-versary. Thanks Lulu!

It’s both difficult and easy to believe that it’s been one year since my first blog.  I’ve talked about moods, work, photography, my family, my pets, my mental health, my physical health, and I’ve started working on the 30 Days of Creativity and 30 Days of Thanks projects.  I started out coming down from a mania, and plunged into depression, with glimpses of stability.  It’s been quite a ride.

I’ve gone from 1 reader to over 50 readers.  My world has expanded, my writing has expanded, and I’ve made new friends.  Thank you, readers, for sticking with me through out this journey of self-discovery.  This blog has become a large part of my world, it’s a support network, a place to vent or cry or whatever I need to do at the time.  A place to speak freely about whatever I want to talk about, whenever I want to talk about it.

I enjoy blogging, even though some days I am not up to it, but I do the best I can when I can.  That’s anyone can ask for.  Thanks for coming back after the silences.

Now I’m ready for ice cream.  Anyone want to join me? 🙂

Drive-In

We went to the local drive-in last night and saw a double feature: Brave and The Avengers. Brave was cute but not something I would deem worthy of seeing a second time. (This was our third time seeing The Avengers, which was good because by that hour I fell asleep during the last and unfortunately best parts.) But we went mainly for the experience.

I haven’t been to a drive-in since I was a kid. I vaguely recall sitting in the back seat of a car on a paved parking lot and trying to see some of the movie through the windshield. I was fairly young and don’t recall if I went with my parents or my brother and his girlfriend. My parents didn’t believe in going to movies. They thought movies were a waste of time and money so I didn’t see many, even as a teenager.

It was a beautiful night for the drive-in. The weather was warm, but not hot, and we sat on lawn chairs next to the car. A light breeze drifted by, softly kissing my skin as it passed. The picture was taken from our parking spot for Brave. Many people left before The Avengers started, so we were able to move up to a better spot between movies. Several people left during the second movie so there wasn’t a really long line to get out of the parking lot.

It was a nice evening, and I hope we will do it again. The drive-in is cheaper than a regular theater, especially if you stay for two movies. It’s a chance to be outside and take advantage of nice weather (assuming you have it) and just relax. You can bring your own drink and snacks (we didn’t because this was a spur-of the-moment decision) and just enjoy. Sometimes it’s the simple (and relatively inexpensive) things that can make for a great experience. 🙂

 
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Security Clearance

Security Clearance. A death knell for any mentally ill person seeking a job requiring one.

How many good jobs have I had to pass over because I can’t obtain and maintain a security clearance? Several. I just passed another one today. It eliminates any job related to the Department of Defense (DoD) and many Department of Energy (DOE) jobs which are places I could find work. Eliminate Boeing, Lockheed Martin, or any of the other companies with big DoD research projects. Reject some of the government labs, like Sandia or Los Alamos National Lab. I can’t even work in a simple position if it has anything to do with defense.

The mentally ill do have stability issues and are a security risk for projects requiring high level security clearances. I understand that. I’m just frustrated is all. Frustrated that I was born with this genetic pre-disposition that blossomed into something that taxes me daily.  Frustrated that on top of all that it limits my employability.  Even if I had never been diagnosed, it would probably come out in the mental health exams.  It’s a necessary discrimination.

But what would happen if companies found a loophole such that they could discriminate against you legally?  Disability discrimination cases are rarely won.  If I had told my last employer about my bipolar, I probably would have been out of a job sooner than now.  As it is, given that my FMLA ran out and they couldn’t find a place for me that I was qualified for when I returned, it’s nearly disability discrimination. I was discriminated against by my co-workers while my arm was injured, but I didn’t know that there was a statue of limitations on disability claims.  At this point, I have no legal recourse; I was told as much by a lawyer.  I was laid off from a previous job because of health reasons (I was recovering from a severe mania) and sued them unsuccessfully.  Oh yes, companies are tricky, and if they can get away with it, they will.  It’s why they employ such expensive lawyers.

But I digress.  My point was simply to express my frustration in the job hunt.  A job hunt that is already difficult enough with my background and education level, soon to be made more difficult by my age. It’s discouraging to be disqualified for jobs because of my mental health.

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Close

Nothing makes me think of close more than my two cats: Tux & Luna. Although Luna is no longer with us, the pair of them were pretty inseparable when she was alive. If Tux was sleeping, Luna would come up and nuzzle her way into his embrace. I can think of numerous times when you would need to do a double-take to see if there was one cat or two in the spot you were looking at. They were often physically close but they were also emotionally close.

All of my cats are indoor cats, and Tux in particular has no interest in the outdoors. Except the time that Luna ran away. Then he was at the door ready to brave the elements as if he were going to search for her. Fortunately, we found her a few days later and Tux never did leave the house. After Luna passed, Tux seemed to mourn her death. I was glad in a way that she passed in the house so that he could see and smell her death and not be forever looking outside for her.

In my opinion, the love between these two cats is a great example of close.

 

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30 Days of Thanks: Day 3

Today’s thanks go out to a very dear friend of mine, who I will call Simon. Simon is like a brother to me. We have known each other since we started graduate school together, and been good friends since I joined his research group a couple of years later. (I switched advisers and fields.) Simon was there to support me after I left a 7-year long abusive relationship. He was the first man to make me realize you could be friends with a member of the opposite sex without any sexual interest. He’s always acted like a big brother, helping me through some rough times and enjoying good times. For several years, our communication was sparse because until he met his second wife, he wasn’t much of a communicator. But we’ve gotten close again over the past 7 years. We communicate a lot on Facebook, and are starting to communicate more via phone. I once asked DH, “Why do I only call Simon when I am in (usually job) distress?” DH replied, “Because he’s your brother.” It stuck. Now I call him “bro” and he calls me “sis”. Simon is closer to me than I ever have or will be with my blood brother.

He’s seen me manic; he’s seen me depressed. He’s never judged me and he’s always supported me, even when I made some really stupid decisions. He’s done more for me than I could ever do for him. He’s always ready to boost my self-esteem and has written glowing things about me (on FB and in letters of recommendation) and it’s the latter that has brought me to dedicating this day of thanks to him. He is writing a letter of recommendation for me for the job that I just had a phone interview for and he sent me a draft to proofread. It is so supportive that I got choked up reading it. I told him that I hope that someday my self-esteem can match his opinion of me.

So I want to dedicate this day of thanks to my very good friend, my “bro”, Simon. I am very lucky to have him in my life.

 

© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.