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.  🙂

 

 

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.

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!

Why am I not writing?

Even just now, I wrote the title and then left the computer. Why? Why am I so subconsciously opposed to writing? We talked about this in therapy. My therapist wanted me to start a journal. I wrote the first three days, missed a day, wrote, and now it’s been two or three days since I picked it up. Why?

After exploring it in therapy, I know why. I probably didn’t need therapy to tell me this, but I did need to think about it for myself. You see, any time I tried to keep a journal, my mother would read it. I remember one time, I was in junior high at the time, I wrote out on a couple of sheets of paper how I felt about my home life. I wrote that we (my mother, father and I) were three strangers living under the same roof. My mother found it, read it, and beat me for it. It was the last time she ever used the leather belt on me.

I kept a journal for a while when I was recovering from my car accident. I had to stay with my mom because I had no where else to go during my recovery. I kept my journal buried in the nightstand next to my bed. It didn’t matter because she found it and read it. I can’t remember how I found out, but I did.

Since then, I have intermittently kept a journal. I will buy all these cool journals but then never write in them because I feel that they are too good for whatever I have to say. Or I will start a journal and not finish it. I have one, it’s a pretty pink color, that I have intermittently written in since 2008. I’ve gone through about a third of the pages. I would write for a few days, then nothing for six months. When my cat Luna died, I wrote simply Luna died today. The way I wrote it, with such emphasis on the phrase with underlines, I can recall the pain I felt then.

When my therapist assigned journal writing as my “homework”, I went out and got a new journal. I found this composition notebook at the dollar store that has a funky colored cover. I also got some butterfly stickers at the dollar store and decorated it. I could have used my old journal but I wasn’t sure where it was and I wanted to start “fresh”. It sort of worked. I write in it some days. I’ve got no excuse for the most part except that I don’t make time for it. Or I don’t find anything to say. I mean, my life is boring and all I do is worry about being unemployed or money, so what else is there to write. I wrote at first about my therapist, maybe that’s why I wrote so much for a couple of days. Now that that well has run dry (I had no appointment last week) and I’m out of stuff to bitch about. 😉

I haven’t been writing here either. I did have a busy week last week, since I substituted four days. (One full day, two half days, and a 3/4 day.) It definitely kept me busy and I was tired by the end of Friday. I’ll post more on this separately.

It’s all just an excuse, isn’t it? Writing is supposed to be therapeutic, and it is when I have something on my mind, otherwise it’s just a chore. Most of my blog posts take me an hour to write. I spent about three hours yesterday on my next Canvas post on The Compassionate Brain webinar series. I wish I hadn’t committed myself to it. My summaries are two weeks past the air date and they take so much time to write. It all feels like so much effort for me right now. I don’t think I’m really depressed, although I am doing a bit of cycling, but still it feels like so much effort. I can’t imagine if I did this for a living. It takes me so long to write anything! (And it’s not my typing speed slowing me down.)

Well there. I wrote about not writing. Does anyone else have this problem? If so, how do you get around it? Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks.


© 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.

3AM

And she screams and her voice is straining
She says baby
It’s 3 am I must be lonely…
3am, Matchbook Twenty

It’s nearly 3AM and I’m feeling lonely. I tried sleeping but that didn’t work so I took a second dose of Klonopin. (Yes, that’s double the dose.) I’m wound up and I can’t put my finger on it.

I have to admit, I’ve fallen off the stable wagon. I didn’t want to admit it. I function well enough – if you call it that. I didn’t buy the shoes even though I had a couple of chances.  As Ruby put it, I should be proud of myself for that.

I don’t know what put me into a tailspin tonight.  I think it was reading some blogs that I’ve been trying to catch up on.  I came across one that made me sad when I know it was meant to make me happy.  I just feel so down tonight.  I don’t feel like I’m at the cool table but rather still at the invisible table.  I was at the cool table when I was manic and smart, and pretty, and all around cool.  Now I’m depressed and sitting alone at the invisible table, writing and crying at 3am.

I’m not blaming the blog in question – it really was meant to be a happy blog.  Maybe it just triggered some bad memories for me.  Like when I thought I was sitting at the cool table and I wrote a very deep, heartfelt note to one of my fellow tablemates, only to have it read out loud while the entire table jeered me.   It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life.

Or maybe I feel lonely because I’m not as popular as a lot of the other blogs I read.  Some of us started at the same time, yet I’ve only got a fraction of the number of followers.  (However, I am grateful for each and every follower!)

Or maybe the events of earlier today made me feel worse than I originally thought.  I don’t know.  But it’s 3am and I must be lonely, because I don’t know what else it is.

 
© 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.

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

Applications

I hate filling out applications. It becomes so disheartening. They always ask: What was your reason for leaving?  I got fired, OK?  It’s more than that, my therapist even said so, but that’s the short answer.  I was let go.  That sounds so much better than I was fired.  At least when you are let go you get unemployment.  And believe me, unemployment helps.

Let me recap my experiences for you:

I lost one because of my bipolar.  I was dumb enough to tell them about my Multiple Sclerosis and bipolar diagnoses.  The company was in the process of downsizing anyway and they couldn’t count on me to be in the office with my medical issues. I sued them unsuccessfully.  This is why I will never tell another employer about my bipolar.

I lost my academic position because of sexual discrimination.  I had always suspected it was an administrative decision, but one of my former students came across a memo from the dean to the chair stating that they were impressed with my progress as a teacher.  This was less than six months (including summer) before I was berated by my department chair for poor student evaluations.  I also learned from another student that my evaluations were not as bad as stated because he had seen them.  He also found out that the chair had the good ones removed and shredded.  Can you believe this?  I considered suing the university for sexual discrimination but decided against it.  After all I was going on to a $100+k job – it wasn’t worth my time and effort.  Everyone knew that I deserved to have my contract renewed – except the people who had the power to make such decisions.  Part of me berates myself for losing that job even though I didn’t do anything wrong.  I stood up for myself, my students, and what I thought was right.  I rubbed the wrong feathers the wrong way.  I don’t regret what I did there.  But as a friend of mine put it, if you rise above the rest, someone is likely to chop your head off.

I really blame myself for this last job.  I couldn’t handle the people, the pressure, the work.  I was out of my element and I hated what I was doing.  All my mental illnesses began to implode as I worked with the narcissist and his henchman.  I lost grip on reality and I lost my grip on myself.  The harder I tried to hold on, the more my illnesses bled through, mixing into the pot of bad blood between my coworkers and myself.  My PTSD skyrocketed.  I started having nightmares several times a week.  I was afraid to go to work.  When I was there, I couldn’t concentrate.  Something would happen and I would be out working off my temper or crying in a friend’s office.  I wasn’t effective.  I couldn’t be effective.  Add to all that my injuries and several work-related relapses, they determined I was no longer fit for duty.  I hadn’t been fit for duty for a while.  I should have been out on mental health leave a year earlier.  Maybe none of this would have happened then.  My wrist wouldn’t have been injured and maybe my right arm would have been fixed sooner.  I don’t know if either will ever be 100%.  I gave too much of my soul to this job for the sake of a lucrative paycheck and a little prestige.

Now I’m filling out applications again.  And faced with the question: What was your reason for leaving?  You can’t write: sexual discrimination. You can’t write: forced out for medical reasons. So sugar-coat it and call it contract not renewed, received other offer, company downsizing. What else can I write? I wasn’t needed, I wasn’t wanted anymore. End of story. But that’s difficult to handle, even when your therapist says, “it wasn’t your fault.” Because yes, some of it is my fault. It’s my fault for not trying harder. It’s my fault for letting people get under my skin. It’s my fault for being dumb enough to share personal information. Information is a weapon. This is why I write anonymously.

 

© 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.

I Didn’t Screw Up!

If you’ve been following my unemployment saga, then you know that I was concerned about how poorly my last phone interview went. I just got a call that they want me to come in for a face-to-face interview! I am blown away!

Now, of course this amps up the pressure on me for the next week.  I have to pack for an extra day of interview wear (what to wear now!) and prepare a class.  I don’t have a class prepared.  Well, I do, but all my notes are in books in garage.  How to find them quickly?!?  (I know, stop typing and go look!  But I had to share this with you.)  I may not be stuck in industry after all!

Sadly, it means I will be stuck with an awkward move situation.  We have to move part of our household now, and the rest during Christmas break.  I have to find a place quickly and be able to move into it soon after I arrive.  DH will have to fly home for his own classes.  We will be separate for a semester.  Also, I have to leave all my friends. 😦  But I know that they will be happy for me.  I have to leave my house, which I love, for the unknown.

There’s lots of unknowns. It’s a yearly contract, 12-mo pay, but no tenure commitment, which is both good and bad.  No security, but no hassle. So there are pros and cons to this type of position.  I would get to teach again.  I would be involved.  I can create a legacy for myself.  And maybe that’s what I want most of all.  To know that when I pass, I have left something good behind.  Something worth remembering.  Even if it’s only for a generation.  Teachers can make such an impact, both good and bad, I want to be one of the good ones.  I know I did it before, so I can do it again.  This time, I’m a little wiser and I know how the game works.  Hopefully there’s no sexism, which is why I lost my last academic job.

I want a forever home and I want a forever job.  Maybe this is it. We will see soon enough.

https://i0.wp.com/blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/b-410124-people_happy_.jpg

 
© 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.

Frustrated Today

I’m frustrated.  I don’t even know where to begin.  It’s not like something big happened.  It’s the stress of a lot of little things.  And it probably doesn’t help that I haven’t been writing this blog.  This is my stress reliever.  But since I don’t want to burden anyone with my ‘poor, poor, pitiful me’ bit, I just don’t write.  It seems like I have to have something worth writing about.  And right now, all I’ve got is stress.  Why can’t they make a pill for stress?  They’ve got one for everything else.

So what am I so stressed about?  Well, DH is not here this week.  His mom paid for his ticket to come home for a week.  I leave on Saturday for a conference.  We overlapped our trips intentionally so that we wouldn’t have to kennel the dog as long.  Maybe that was a mistake.  It’s one thing to have DH spend a week away from me, it’s another when that week is right before I leave for my own trip.  I always get stressed out before I go on a trip.  I always have – at least I have for a long time.  It’s gotten worse over the years.  But travel anxiety spiked since 2009 when I we went on weekend trip and came home to find my cat had died.  That horrible memory is burned in my brain.  She was under the guest bed and DH saw her first.  When I looked under the bed I started screaming.  I don’t handle things like that very well.

So I think part of my problem when I travel is that episode is running through my subconscious, even though I have no reason to expect it to happen again.  But my travel stress dates back long before then – it just got worse after Luna’s passing.  Identifying that experience as part of my problem has helped a little, but I’m worked up already.  Worrying about packing, about how to apply for jobs when I’m not even home, making sure my resume is available, I have to make out business contact cards, taking the dog to the vet for his shots before he goes to the kennel.  Oh, and my debit card was declined today.  Probably because I didn’t have any money in my account.

Tomorrow I see my pdoc in the morning and I get my hair cut in the afternoon.  I’ve got to get it colored so I don’t look so old, because ageism is upon me.  I fly back Thursday night, unless the place I phone interviewed for wants me to come out for a face-to-face interview.  Then I will have to go directly from the conference to there for Friday, then back home.  Thinking about the “just in case” is freaking me out. I have to pack for an extra day “just in case”.

I have to start doing laundry for this trip too.  All my work clothes that have been mothballed for a year have to come out of their corner of the closet and be re-washed. I have dishes that will need to be done (can’t leave them for the few days before DH gets home) and calculating lunch and dinner is complicated for me.  I don’t want left-overs sitting in the fridge.  I’ve got to pack breakfast food (in the form of protein bars) because the hotel is one that doesn’t offer a free breakfast.  (Fortunately, I got the student hotel rate, but there’s no student rate on food.)  I have to pack all 11 (or is it 12?) medications for this trip.  I wanted a smaller pillbox, but I haven’t got time to go to Walmart to look for one.  Or maybe I do.  I don’t know.

Aren’t I supposed to be looking for a job???

And that’s a fruitless endeavor too.  Yesterday, today… nothing there.  Nothing.  If I was an IT person, I would have it made.  (At least locally.)  If I had managerial experience, that would open some doors.  If I had specialized in anything other than what I did, I would be in a better position.  This conference is about the only place to find a job in my specialty.  And we still have to exclude anything that requires a security clearance.

So…. yeah, I am so frustrated right now that I want to cry.  (I also had therapy today, which is emotional for me these days.)  So many things to do, but my list only has 4 on it because I can’t even articulate them in my head.  (Although this post is turning into a pretty good to-do list.)  Anyway, I guess the first thing on my list is to go make dinner.

Wish me luck! (and sanity!) 😉


© 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.