Independence Day

One day is pretty much like the others for me now but I thought I would wish everyone else (American at least) a Happy Independence Day! And since it’s Independence Day, I should declare myself independent of some guilt. My (new) therapist has asked me how long I intend to keep punishing myself for losing my job and she said I just need to declare that I am done. Put it in writing, she said. So here, I am publicly announcing it:

I, Manic Monday, hereby do declare that I shall not feel guilty over losing my job.
-Thursday, July 4, 2013

Things didn’t go exactly as I planned there, some of it was my fault, some of it wasn’t, but I can’t keep blaming myself for losing the job. It’s gone and done. I just have to try to find a new one. (Easier said than done, sadly.)  It was a really bad place for my mental health and my mind is better off not there.  I might have to work three jobs instead of one, but everyone goes through phases in their life.  Hopefully, this is just a phase.

Wow, my therapist was right.  It is liberating to write something like that.  She also told me to draw with my left hand using crayons.  That’s kind of liberating too.  I did it one day when my anxiety was really high and discovered what anxiety “looks” like to my inner self.  It was really interesting.  I’m going to take it with me to my next therapy session.

Anyway, that’s all I have to share for today.  🙂

 

 

Writing among other things

I haven’t written in so long that I feel like I’ve forgotten how.  I know that isn’t true for I’ve been writing a lot of fan fiction lately.  It seems like my time goes into writing that instead of more productive things.  I used to post a separate blog on one of my fanfic stories, but it’s being moved to fanfiction.net.  {Pen name MirandaBasilisk if you are curious.}  I’ve actually got three stories on there, one is being moved from my alternate blog, another is a new story, and the last is called a one-shot, where it’s only one scene.

Other than that, it’s just the usual.  Still some saga about my Dad’s estate, namely his car, and I don’t know what to do about it.  He still hasn’t gotten his glasses replaced so he can’t read and he’s really bored.  His hearing aids are missing too.  Some things just never end.

The job situation is still a joke.  My bestie implied I wasn’t trying to find a job, which really hurt.  That was yesterday.  Yesterday, my coffee maker broke and the dog killed a bird.  Not a good day. 😦

On the positive side of things, I am signed up to take my certification exams in order to teach high school.  I have a lot of studying to do and about a month to do it in.  I’ve already started, but I didn’t do any yesterday – I just felt so rotten.  I was seriously contemplating drinking – yes, drinking with my Klonopin.  I didn’t want to die, I just wanted to not feel for a while.  All our alcohol is on top of the kitchen cabinets and my husband wouldn’t get it for me.  I don’t know where the step stool went either.  In retrospect, maybe that’s a good thing.

I switched therapists.  That was a nightmare.  I never wrote it out and I should have.  I should have followed through by talking to my old therapist’s (intern) mentor.  She deserved to know why I left.  Now I pay for therapy, but this lady is so much better.  She is older (maybe early sixties) and she understands bipolar because she IS bipolar!  My pdoc recommended her – in fact, she used to be a patient of my pdoc.

OK, I’m sitting here listening to Nickelback and getting distracted.  I’m looking for a song I heard on the radio yesterday (ok, 2 good songs on the radio – yesterday’s high points).  I’m pretty sure it’s a Nickelback song, but apparently not on the album I own.  See how I old I am?  I used the word album.  GROAN!

TV

I’ve been watching Castle reruns for nearly five hours now. I saw all the episodes when they came out but apparently I’ve forgotten who done it because most of them I am surprised at the end. The real question is: why have I been watching television all day?

Well, it’s been a crappy day. Not super crappy, just crappy. And tonight is the night my husband works so I am alone. I don’t feel like reading and I can’t sit still at the computer. So I am watching TV.

A lot has happened over the past couple of weeks, from dropping my bitchy therapist to a job interview, the latter of which isn’t looking so good. I have a long to-do list and not much I am doing on it. The car didn’t want to start this morning, so I didn’t feel safe taking it on a grocery run. Yeah, lots of little crap happened today.

I know I’ve been pretty quiet on my blog lately, both this one and my fanfic one. I’ve been feeling lonely on the bipolar front. Would someone email me? Not that it matters, I don’t have anything to say. I am so lucky to have a wonderful husband, but he can’t be my only support. I don’t know what I’m doing anymore. Wasting time and wasting money.

I guess I’m just feeling a little down tonight. Thanks for reading.

I feel like I should be writing

There’s that evil word again: should. I should be doing this or that, I shouldn’t have done something else… it goes on and on. What does the word should get me other than guilt? Someone should take the word ‘should’ out of the English language. OK, that time it was a pun. 😉

I am constantly full of regret. I am scared as our savings is getting quite low. Neither DH nor I have full time jobs and COBRA is eating away our savings like you wouldn’t believe ($800+ /mo). I don’t know how much longer I can afford it. I would hate to go without insurance but what else can I do? If I had known about this state insurance program while I was still on unemployment then I could have gotten that but I didn’t so oh well. How do people live in this country???

There are lots of things I ‘should’ have done… like look for private insurance (it’s cheaper than I thought) and I didn’t know I could qualify for a deferment on my student loans. (I think my deferment time is spent though, so it would be forbearance time.) I waited on my student loan because you need to pay interest on it or the principle goes up and I didn’t want to do that while I could still afford it. (Afford being a relative term, of course.) But our money is dwindling fast and I’ve got to start with the desperate measures. Some programs are only available while you are collecting unemployment so I should have applied for them last year. (There’s that ‘should’ word again. Really, it ought to be banned.)

Anyway, I feel like I should be writing on here more but there still isn’t anything to talk about. I am working on insurance options and stuff like that today, wishing I had done it a long time ago. But I can’t change the past and I so I need to work towards the future. That’s all I can do.

Bored & Eaten

I’ll address the eaten part first. WordPress ate this post. Probably because I didn’t finish writing it yesterday when I started it. I think WP gets the munchies if it has to stare at a half-written post for too long. (Maybe that’s why it eats them upon the Save Draft command.) In any case, I have defeated the WP blog monster this time by copying and pasting the draft into a text program. While this has preserved said post, it has not added anything to it in terms of quality. Regardless, let me rewind to yesterday…

I’ve been bored and down lately. We were supposed to go visit a friend of mine for Christmas, but they got ice and snow down there so it wasn’t safe to drive. This left us at home with no Christmas dinner only what we could scrounge around the house. And cookies. I was giving them cookies for Christmas so we got to eat those. (I know, bad for the diabetes.) DH was also sick the day after Christmas so it’s been quiet here. I haven’t felt like leaving the house although I have mustered up the energy to do a couple of quick errands. But grocery shopping? That takes way too much energy – more than I have. We’ve just been playing video games for the past three days.

Bah Humbug! I’ve felt no holiday spirit this year. 😦 Last year was great because my niece visited, even though my arm was still healing and DH and I were separated for the holiday. (He went home to visit his family.) It would have been a wonderful Christmas if he had stayed, but it was good even without him. I’ll never be able to afford to have my niece visit again, but she has a family now so wouldn’t happen anyway.

I hate New Year’s Eve. It will be 25 years ago this year that I survived a near fatal car crash but when I hear sirens it feels like yesterday. I wrote about it last year in New Year’s Eve and some of the medical I went through in my gallbladder post.

Back to today… I know that last thought was sort of left hanging there, but I didn’t want to go back to that frame of mind again. Yes, I’m still bored and slightly down, but my car accident is not something I want to revisit again. I just don’t. I’ve gone down that road so many times… and it’s still not paved. Probably each time it’s traveled I level it a little bit more, but I really need a break from it. Let’s just not turn down the path this time. (I may change my mind by Monday, but that’s how I feel right now.)

Going out with friends last night really helped me, even if it was a long battle to get ready. I spent all day yesterday procrastinating on taking a shower until the last minute. Then I just threw some clothes on and we went. Saw Les Miserables, the movie. It’s quite good. Very sad, but then the story is very sad. I recommend the book (find the abbreviated version if you aren’t a European history fan) and the musical. I keep wondering if I will find myself out on the street in a few months time as well… more depressing thoughts I don’t wish to indulge. Sigh.

We had dinner, saw friends and went to a movie. If we leave it at that, then this post ends on a happy note. Remember friends, the difference between comedy and tragedy is where the scene ends.

 

© 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.

Mentally Ill and Pregnant

No, I’m not pregnant. My niece is. The same one that I wrote about in Runaway and Runaway Part II.  She has an odd diagnosis, basically everything on the extreme end of the spectrum: bipolar, schizophrenic, schizoeffective.  She is probably not all of those things but she is bipolar and does have visual and audio hallucinations.  She’s been unmedicated for over 6 months.  She started birth control pills a few months ago and then quit them.  She is 24, in college, unmarried, and still with the loser she was with before when I wrote the aforementioned posts.

All of that aside, she is an unmedicated, mentally ill, pregnant young woman.  Does anyone have any advice they can share on this subject?  If I can give her any suggestions to help her through this difficult time, I would greatly appreciate it.  One friend has already been kind enough to share her thoughts and suggestions, but I wanted to open up the suggestion box a little more by asking all of my readers for advice.

Naturally, I am very worried about her.  I wish she had waited until after she finished college and was settled into a stable relationship before getting pregnant.  I fear she won’t ever finish college.  I fear he will leave her again and she will become a single mother.  She already lives on medicaid, disability, and food stamps and barely gets by.  I fear post-postpartum depression the most.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you!

Fight Stigma!

In 1990, the U.S. Congress established the first full week of October as National Mental Illness Awareness Week.  Here we are 22 years later and it’s still not acceptable to call into work as a sick day due to depression or other mental illness.  What happens if you tell your employer that you suffer from mental illness?  If you’re like me, you will lose your job.  Wait, that’s illegal!  Not if you work for a small company.  Check the fine print before you accept a job offer.

Some statistics for you to chew on…

Anxiety: 18% of the adult U.S. population, 23% of these cases are considered severe.  Women are 60% more likely to suffer from anxiety than men during their lifetime. (This includes Agoraphobia, GAD, OCD, Panic Disorder, PTSD, Social and other phobias)

Bipolar:  2.6% of the adult U.S. population, nearly 83% of them are considered severe cases.

Major Depressive Disorder: At any given time, this affects about 7% of the population, but when looking at lifetime prevalence, this increases to 16.5%.  Women are 70% more likely to suffer depression than men, and when looking at age groups, young and middle aged adults are most likely to be sufferers as compared to those over the age of 60.

Borderline Personality Disorder: 1.6% of the U.S. adult population.

Schizophrenia: 1.1% of the U.S. adult population.

I have selected to give you statistics for only a few of the major mental health issues.  Many more statistics can be found on the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) website: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/statistics/index.shtml

While these numbers may seem small, these illnesses affect millions of people.  Millions of individuals with families, jobs, and responsibilities that can be difficult, if not impossible, to keep up with while suffering from an illness.  For some people, illnesses are comorbid (occurring together) but this doesn’t make the numbers less formidable.  For example, anxiety and depression often go together, which makes coping extremely difficult.

Although Mental Illness Awareness week is at a close, I hope you will keep in mind some of these statistics.  For those of you who are sufferers, you are not alone.  For those of you who are friends or family of someone with a mental health disorder, we appreciate you more than you’ll ever know.  For those of you who are neither… please join us in the battle against stigma.  Together we can make the world a kinder place.

 

© 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.

A Preview of Winter

image from freefoto.com

The past few days have been very cold here. Not very cold compared to the North, but cold compared to the late summer we have been enjoying. Nights in the 30’s and days in the 50’s.  This shouldn’t happen for another month or two where I live. The days are growing shorter. I’ve been running the heat for two days and even turned on the space heater today. (I hate the cold.) It’s been kind of grey and overcast and I’ve been sleeping a lot this weekend. I’ve felt tired and achy – is it the winter blues already?

Winter is often unkind to those suffering from bipolar or unipolar depression and seasonal affective disorder. It probably affects many other mental disorders as well. So when I look out the window and see a cold, grey sky, I feel like I don’t want to move from under the covers. I know what winter means. It means a cold house because I can’t afford to run the heat too high, and freezing feet and fingers because I have poor circulation. The holidays are coming and that just reminds me how isolated we are from our families, or at least I am. There will be sweets that I cannot eat, gifts I cannot afford to buy, and depression I cannot avoid. We won’t get snow, we will get ice, and driving will be difficult. Not that I have anywhere to go.

I have a feeling that I will be unemployed all winter. I’m going to do my best to hope for at least some part-time work. My unemployment checks will be running out soon – probably next month – so I hope my mortgage refinance happens before then. I’m not looking forward to this winter.

The weather is supposed to turn warm again in a couple of days. The last remnants of summer.


© 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.

Therapy

I’m really feeling a little mixed right now.  I don’t mean a mixed manic-depressive episode, I mean that my feelings are a little uncertain.  I went to therapy today.  I remember having a lot to write about therapy last week, but I’ve since forgotten and because I didn’t get it down into words while it was fresh, I’ve forgotten.  Other than this: my therapist has read a few of my personal posts.  I sent her to A Canvas of the Minds because I think there is good stuff there that people are sharing, but she somehow got connected to this blog.  I’m not sure how I feel about that.  She hasn’t mentioned anything this week, but I haven’t written anything much that’s personal lately.  (I’ve got all these posts rattling around in my head, the ideas slowly slipping away before they pass through my fingertips to the keyboard.)  I didn’t bring it up because I didn’t even think about it.  I’ll have to think some more about it before I bring it up next week.

My therapist is wicked sharp – she picks up on things both in what you say and how you act.  She is a master at reading body language. She points out when I’ve crossed my arms or a look on my face or if I start tapping a foot.  Things that even I don’t notice. One day she commented on how I was dressed in brighter colors and my nails weren’t painted in this black (actually, a really deep plum) color and how it was indicative of my mood.  Well, the next week I wore black just to mess with her and she got that.  I don’t like having ‘tells’.  We all have them, but I don’t like having them.  Usually my clothes aren’t much of a tell these days because it mostly depends on what’s clean and what fits.  (Most of my clothes are too small now 😦 )

Back to therapy… sometimes it’s uncomfortable, but I guess it’s supposed to be uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable to have these things pointed out to you.  We talked about therapy being uncomfortable.  If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t get anywhere.  (So if PT stands for Physical Torture, does MT stand for Mental Torture?)  We are trying to work on mindfulness.  She’s been photocopying stuff from books for me.  The latest one is from Mind Over Mood.  I HATE self-help books.  I feel like I am being talked down to and that everything in there is so cheesy.  But I told her to present things to me as research results instead of just whatever – therapy talk, I guess.  So does this book qualify as research based because it’s got copyrights stamped all over the pictures and worksheets?

NOT MINE – See copyright

No, it’s still a self-help book.  I can buy it on Amazon for $16.47.  Maybe I should give her the benefit of the doubt – perhaps she is photocopying the clinician’s guide version of it.  Oh wait, I just checked that out on Amazon and it looks to be identical.

The basic theory makes sense: everything impacts everything else.  I’ll go so far as to agree that thought affects moods, behaviors, and physical reactions, but I have a hard time with the vice versa.  When I am feeling down, not even a walk is going to rattle me out of the blues.  It just doesn’t work for me.  Just like the magic ‘fake it ’til you make it’ doesn’t work for me either.  If that were the case, then I’d have self-esteem by now.  But apparently (based on my therapy session), I am being too pessimistic and that’s why it’s not working for me.  Just because I’m in a semi-stable mood, does that mean that all the psych tricks are going to work?  And if they work so well, why doesn’t everyone do them?

So maybe I am simply a pessimist and doomed to be miserable.  I don’t see how this is going to help me deal with difficult people or lift my recurring depression.  DH recommended a couple of chapters in one of his old psych books.  Maybe that’s more my speed.  I’ll try it.  That’s all I’m going to commit to.

 
© 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.

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.