My best friend is a Cop

My best friend is a Cop.  You wouldn’t know it to look at her.  She is a pretty blue-eye blond lady in her mid-twenties.  She is one of the sweetest people I know.  She always says sorry for things that aren’t her fault, and she’ll do anything she can to help you out.

But there is another side of her.  The cop side.  A side I’ve never really seen.

She took me to a movie tonight called End of Watch.  If violence triggers you, then DO NOT GO SEE THIS MOVIE.  If, however, you can handle the violence (or cover your eyes like I did at some points) then it’s a very good movie. And from what my friend tells me, pretty realistic.  People really do some crazy shit.  I don’t know if most cops swear that much.  I can’t imagine the f-word coming out of her mouth every sentence or so, but this movie is based on LAPD, cops who work some the most gang-infested areas of the country.  There’s probably a little more f-bombing there than in small town middle-America.

I know she carries a concealed Glock when we go out to the mall or to dinner.  I just don’t think about it.  She even stopped by my house one time in her uniform (not dress blues) with full gear on – vest and a Batman-like belt containing a walkie-talkie, gun, flashlight and who knows what else.  Knowing it was her was a little less intimidating than being pulled over by a police officer for speeding.  (I am very easily intimidated by people in positions of authority.)

I confess I was a little freaked out by the movie.  Seeing it on the big screen means it’s big and bold and in your face.  The entire movie is shot as if it was done by a video camera.  In fact, the premise is that one of the cops is videoing everything for a class project he’s working on.  But the movie makes you think about what our policemen and policewomen go through each and every day.  It might be a boring day of writing tickets, or you might find yourself discovering a dead body or a meth lab.

I told her afterwards that I am afraid for her.  She said not to worry, she is Orozco (played by America Ferrera) the tough, street-wise police woman who knows how to handle herself.  I should also tell her that I am proud of her for putting up with the strung-out druggies, and locking away the bad guys.

I am proud to call her my best friend.

The Cost of Mental Health

I’ve written a post on the costs of mental health on A Canvas of the Minds WordPress blog, which is a multi-author blog about mental illness. I can’t figure out how to reblog the post here, so you’ll just have to go over there to read it. Sorry about that, but there are lots of other really cool posts for you to check out while you are there. 🙂

The Cost of Mental Health.

Enjoy!

-MM

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. 🙂

© 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.

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.

Finally caught a break…

COBRA is finally in place! After a third phone call, I spoke to someone who gave me more new information, but helped me straighten it all out. Turns out, you can’t make a payment if you are set up for direct deposit. So the nice fellow who helped me yesterday removed the direct deposit, allowed me to pay for one month with a credit card, then processed a rush with the insurance companies so that I am now covered and back covered. Additionally, my check was processed as well, which catches me up through the end of June. The same nice fellow who helped me yesterday also called me back today to tell me that everything was set up. I picked up my Paxil today and only had to spend $1.25 instead of $33 for it. *whew!* Finally!!

This week has been a little crazy, but hopefully things are settling down now. I wrote about the incident with my niece in Runaway and Runaway Part II.  She seems to be herself now, but I will track her facebook statuses more carefully from now on.  They seem to be a good indication of how things are going with her.  She doesn’t seem inclined to talk to me, and I think it’s because she is afraid that I will tell her what she doesn’t want to hear: partying is bad for her. I know how she feels.  But you have to make choices in life and some of those are related to your health.  Others are related to your career and if she keeps this drinking and partying up she won’t have the career she wants.  It’s hard to get through school with a science degree.  It’s harder to get through school with a science degree and good grades, even if you are smart.  It takes a lot of work.  She’ll tell me that she knows and is prepared, but her behavior speaks to the opposite.  There’s a big difference between a beer or two on a Friday night and being too drunk to walk without falling down.  Maybe I sound like a stick in the mud, but I’ve been where she is and I know it doesn’t work.

On to other news… I got called a BFF this week! 🙂  I’ve never been called a BFF before.  I was out shopping with a friend of mine on Wednesday, and we were looking at pillows for her new couch.  I picked up a cute one that had BFF embroidered on it and that’s when she said I was her BFF.  It took a few moments before it sunk in, and I said it back.  (It’s sorta like the L-bomb, isn’t it?)  I think a million things went through my head in those few moments.  First, I’ve always thought of myself as a loner inside.  My friendships aren’t fake, but they are limited.  For example, this friend doesn’t know I am bipolar.  She probably never will.  Which is another part of the reason why I hesitated.  Can I call someone a best friend if I can’t tell them I am bipolar?  I probably could, but I don’t want to.  You see, she is a police officer.  And I don’t want her thinking that someday she might have to be the one sitting next to me while I’m handcuffed to a chair awaiting a psych eval.  If the situation ever warrants it, I would tell her, but there’s no need to blurt it out just because we’ve determined we are BFFs.  Oh, and lastly?  I never thought I was cool enough to be called a BFF.  😉

That rounds out most of this week.  I am so happy to have insurance coverage!  And I am so excited to be called a BFF!  (I feel cool now.)  Next up – I need a job!  In the meantime, I hope everyone has a great weekend!

 

24 hours

It’s amazing what 24 hours can bring: happiness or despair or complete apathy or sheer boredom.  Sometimes all of the above and then some.  Twenty-four hours can crawl by at a snail’s pace or it can fly past quicker than you can blink.  For those of us with mood disorders, we can feel everything and nothing in that amount of time.

Let me tell you about the last day or so…  yesterday I was so depressed that I couldn’t even finish an email to a friend of mine.  I had to drag myself into the shower because I was meeting another friend after dinner for crafting and ‘catch-up’ time.  We had a great time, and I felt my depression ebbing.  I even revealed to her my bipolar disorder.  She took it in with a simple nod and then acknowledged how difficult it must be to have BP and do all the things that we have to do as scientists. Especially working with the crowd I had to work with – who would drive a sane person crazy any day.  We talked about my illness, my medicines, and other things completely unrelated to mental health.  As we were wrapping things up, her husband came in.  He is basically a nice guy with no social skills.  We discussed how things were going and he was trying to cheer me up with compliments that also included potential insults, but knowing him I didn’t take the insult aspects because it was in reference to my job not my person.  But what bugged me was that he started asking about a job that’s posted in my former department.  I know the job, I know the hiring manager, and so he asked about all of that.  We even went through his stack of business cards from his last interview there four years ago so I could tell him who was still there and who wasn’t.  I think in part he wanted to make sure I wasn’t applying for the same job, but I can’t imagine why that would make a difference. Even though he apologized, I was angry that he brought it up.  I felt used.  Two hours of fun, followed by 30min of grilling about my former employer and group.  I came home nearly as miserable as when I left.

This morning, we went to see DH’s doctor who (at long last) is doing some blood work to see if we can narrow down what is wrong with him.  But both of us were so tired that we fell back asleep after we returned home and slept for another 4 hours.  I’d been dealing with anxiety and depression all day, then I got an email in the afternoon asking if I would like to come in next week for an interview.  I have to teach a class (it’s for an instructor position) and meet with the rest of the faculty.  I was a little bit floored to get the email, and once I picked up my jaw, I was excited.  But then I started thinking about it, and now I’m nervous.  Sure, I can go through the motions of teaching but am I really any good at it?  A friend of mine tried to cheer me up on that point saying that there were students who loved me, so I must have been good, and there were students who hated me, which also means I must have been good.  However, it all boils down to I still had crappy evaluations. 😦

Well, this conversation turned because this same friend just got a job with my former company, and she started ‘picking my brain’ about benefits until I told her I didn’t want to talk about it anymore.  I begin to feel like I am nothing more than a source of information for a company that threw me out in the garbage.  Will people please stop talking about the company before I start screaming?!?!

Now I am in some sort of mixed state of anxiety, depression, and self-worthlessness.  How can I wow them next week when all I can think of is: will they see how stupid I am?

Anyway, that’s how the last day went for me. From utter despair and depression to fun and a lightened load, quickly back to anger, frustration and depression, then excitement, fear and worthlessness, back to frustration at my other friend who won’t shut up about her new job.  And now I’m just tired.

Too many emotions in too short of a time.  I want to get off this ride.

 
© 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.

100th post

It’s been nine months from my first post until now. Long enough to have a baby. And this blog is my baby. A special place where I can vent, I can laugh, I can cry, and I can know that some of you are listening, laughing and crying with me. From 1 follower to 37 followers. And I cherish every single one of you.

My first few posts were often ones of anger. I don’t regret them, but it shows where I was emotionally at that time. Since then, I have dipped into depression, and it was only through this blog that I was able to watch my emotional spiral. I discovered that my darkest hell had a name: dysphoric mania.

I found a doctor I can rely on and a useful therapist. And I found you. This amazingly supportive community. Where you more about me than most of my real life friends. They may know my name, but you know my struggles, my triumphs, my innermost thoughts and feelings.

Thank you for reading my blog. I wouldn’t keep writing it if you weren’t. And I wouldn’t have seen so much of myself if not through your eyes.

 

© 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.

Pay it Forward

I’ve been blessed in my life with some very wonderful friends.  Most of them don’t know about my illness, or if they do, I don’t trouble them with my ups & downs because I don’t wish to invade their lives.  Perhaps it’s not fair of me to rob them of the chance to support me, but it’s how I feel about my bipolar.  (I can be quite stubborn about suffering alone.)  I do allow my friends to support me on other medical issues or when I have a family emergency.

I have one friend who is wonderfully supportive.  When my mom had a heart attack and bypass surgery, she picked my husband and I up at the airport and let us stay at her place.  She was single at the time and living in a small apartment, so she gave her bedroom to my husband and I, while she slept on the couch.  Another time, during a family emergency, she gave me the keys to a spare car in addition to the keys to her house and said, “I’ll see when I see you.  Good Luck.”  When my mother died, she did the same, except she didn’t have a spare car at that point.  She apologized that she couldn’t go to the funeral because she was already committed to a different funeral that day. (Bad time of the year, I guess.)  I love this woman more than she will ever know and there is no way I could ever pay her back for her kindness and support.

Another friend texted me the other day and asked if I had some time to talk to her.  She was scared because she was being tested for a medical problem that was similar to something I had gone through.  We spent two hours on the phone and by the end of it she felt much better, less worried, and we’d even worked out a game plan for how to approach her doctor.

A couple of months ago I spent two hours on the phone listening to a friend who was going through a divorce.  I also listened (read?) via IM.  He was very grateful and listed my name (along with all the others who supported him) on his Facebook page in a big thank you note.

There have been many times when I’ve listened when someone needed to talk.  Friends or even just acquaintances, and of course, there are times when I can’t.  Times when I am in a “bad headspace” and need the support myself.  I’ve looked for support, but only for more typical things – work relationships, personal relationships, medical issues, etc.  But when it comes to my bipolar, I only look for a handful of people: my husband, occasionally a friend, but mostly my therapist, pdoc, and you, dear readers.

I have sort of gotten off track with the last piece, but what I am trying to tell you is this:  you can’t always pay it back, but you can always pay it forward.


© Manic Monday (manicmonday123). 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.

Lost friends

I’m having a rough time of it lately.  (Okay, we’ve already established that with the last post, but life hasn’t gotten any better since then.)  I found out yesterday that a friend of mine from high school passed away.  Until I found him on facebook, we hadn’t seen each other in 20 years.  My husband and I saw him two years ago, just before he had gastric bypass.  The surgery went great, he lost a lot of weight and was doing well.  Yesterday, he died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 41.

For some reason, I feel the need to eulogize him.  He and I weren’t really close – he didn’t know my deepest, darkest secrets – he didn’t even know that I am bipolar.  But he wouldn’t have cared.  Jeff had a way of making you feel comfortable no matter who you are.  Jeff was so proud to be gay.  Jeff even hit on my husband, whom he had never met until then, telling my husband that should he ever decide to switch sides, just let him know.  Jeff was always laughing; I think his favorite facebook comment was: ROFLMAO.  He had been through so much – lost his entire family over the past 20 years and still he was a happy person – he didn’t let life get him down.  If it ever did, he never let it show.

I have facebook to thank, once again, for being the bearer of sorrowful news.  First there was Tori, a sweet young lady of 26, who we hadn’t seen in six years.  My greatest regret is that I didn’t talk to her more since we reconnected.  I had no idea what was going on in her life.  I knew she had gotten married, but I didn’t know her husband or what she was doing these days, or anything.  At least a mutual friend of ours contacted us and asked us to call her quickly, I guess before we saw it on the facebook grapevine, so we were spared that.  Tori has been gone over a year now, but it still makes me sad.

Next, there was our friend Jason.  He passed away a few months ago.  Jason’s death struck me pretty hard as well.  He lived neared to us than either Tori or Jeff, and we saw him semi-regularly.  He wasn’t a really close friend, but a good buddy.  Jason was only 31.  I found out about his passing while I was chatting with a mutual friend on facebook when he said, “Did you hear about Jason?” No, I hadn’t heard about Jason.  I knew he had been quiet on facebook but I assumed he was on another trip.  Jason loved to travel.  He was always taking cruises – Italy, Greece, the Caribbean.

The odd thing about losing a friend that you interacted with on facebook is that it feels like a life on pause: full of half-finished conversations, one-sided games, missing pieces.  The last thing I heard from Jeff was a message: “Hay sweetie, I’m well and you?? Sorry I didn’t get back to ya before you signed off.”  Jeff was a vibrant person, who loved people, and they loved him.  He had hundreds of friends on facebook, I simply followed the trail of status updates to his facebook page filled with notes of remembrance and rest in peace.

Jason’s death was quieter.  Shortly before he died, he had decided to start using the facebook “poke” function.  I remember his status saying: Jason wonders if a FaceBook “poke” is the equivalent of a “quickie”. Please tell me I’m not the only one who has pondered this.  He started poking me daily (facebook style).  I took it as a compliment.  But I noticed his pokes stopped and his Bejeweled Blitz high scores kept coming up listed as zero.  And still, it didn’t occur to me to think oddly on it – he’s just traveling, I told myself.  Until I learned otherwise.

I confess, I have no conversations from Tori.  A couple of wall messages buried back in 2009.  I’m sorry, Tori.  I wish we had talked more.  Now we never will.  Or maybe I’ll see you on the flip side and we can catch up then.

I miss you: Tori, Jason & Jeff.  I haven’t forgotten you and I never will.

 

© Manic Monday (manicmonday123). 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.