I’m Still Here

Howdy folks, writing this post on my phone, it’s going to be a shorty. I know I haven’t written for many weeks. I’ve just been very depleted and using any off time to try to recharge. Work has become overwhelming with the opening of a Tech Hub – a walk up counter service for our users which introduces a level of peopling that is excruciating for me. And I’m maintaining a facade of positivity because I need to in order to do the job and because the customers don’t deserve a shitty attitude. Also one co-worker got fired so our workload has gone up even more. So!! I’m super-overwhelmed.

Hope you are all well, I hope to write a post that is more neato-keen soon 😳. Love, BPOF

Hello From My Study :)

I am in the STUDY of my new home, people!!!  Looking out at a gorgeous crabapple tree with gobs of birds in it and a lovely greenspace!!  Oh. My. God!!!  Has my life improved!!  It is sooooo goooood to be gone from the shithole apartment!!! I didn’t realize how oppressive it was.  Well, on some days I did, but I suppressed my feelings about it because I knew I had to live there.  But now, living somewhere beautiful, and quiet, is just so nurturing and happiness-producing!

I did have a setback last weekend.  I found mouse droppings in my living room and I pretty much lost my shit.  I’m pretty sure it came in through the gas fireplace.  I took my ass over to Target so fast to buy mouse poison, your head would’ve spinned!!  I was pretty thrown off for quite a few days, but now I’m pretty sure the mouse is gone.  I haven’t seen any droppings in many days, or any signs that the poison has been eaten any further.  And believe me, I watch it with an eagle eye!  For a couple of days I thought my new apartment was ruined, but alas, it is not.  Hallelujah.

I do have to say, I’m just on this side of functioning in life.  My job is exhausting me!  I just plain wasn’t made to work full-time.  Or maybe it’s my age.  Or my illness.  Whatever the case may be, I pretty much get up, go to work, come home, and go to bed.  I lay in bed on an ice pack and eat something like carrots & celery and drink my “cocktail” (Sparkling Ice) and I fall asleep ridiculously early listening to Oprah Super Soul Sessions podcasts.  Once in awhile my little sister and my niece will come over to swim after work and then we’ll have dinner, but that’s the exception, not the rule.  And after those times I’m super-duper exhausted, but I need the social contact.  I’ve been pretty lonely because my lack of functioning leaves me with very little social contact, besides work.

I’m getting between 5,000-10,000 steps in at work and I’m still tracking what I eat, so my weight is still very slowly going down.  That makes me very, very happy and grateful.  We had a family reunion two weekends ago which was a marathon of socializing and a marathon of overeating.  It was hard to get back on track after that.  I haven’t been walking in the mornings like I was at the old shithole.  I keep meaning to, but somehow I don’t.  Again, it comes down to my level of functioning.  I’m doing what I can, people.  And I’m just keeping the work train humming along right now.

Aside from the mouse crisis and some loneliness, my mood is still pretty stable, thank God!!  Summer makes everything easier.  I do have a bit of a feeling of dread as I notice that it’s getting light later and later in the morning, and getting dark earlier and earlier at night.  That, I hate.  For the most part though, I am still a very grateful person for everything that’s going on in my life.  Things have improved so damn much, from living in the shithole and being jobless, to the job with the horrible commute, to now, where I live in super-deluxe digs, and my job is two miles down the road and I can come home for lunch.  Yeah!  I’m grateful.

I’m curious how other people handle their level of functioning, working full time, having a life, etc.  I’d love to hear from you in the Comments regarding this, or anything else you’d wish to share.  BIG HUGS to all of you!!  BPOF.

SAD Doesn’t Get To Win!

You may have guessed from the title of this blog that I have Bipolar Disorder, but I also have been blessed (ha) with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  I get the Winter Blues, like, BAD!  One thing I think that characterizes depression, whether it’s seasonal or otherwise, is resistance.  I am so goddamn resistant to doing anything!  Make a plan.  I don’t want to go.  Make an appointment.  I don’t want to go.  Time to take a shower.  I don’t want to.  Do you see the pattern here?  Frankly, I exhaust myself.  When I start dealing with the “I don’t want to’s”, I have to employ the “Don’t think, just act” strategy.  I’m not sure where I got it, but it’s quite effective.  It takes the whole brain funk out of the equation.  Because really I have things I just have to do!  If I listened to the voice saying “I don’t want to”, I’d never get out of bed, shower, get dressed, or leave the house.  This is not a good survival strategy.  “I don’t want to” basically wants to kill me with inertia.

So despite not wanting to, I managed to get into the Medicaid mental health system this week, with a phone intake, then the next day a 2 1/2 hour assessment appointment, and then that same day I started a 90-minute group that lasts three weeks and is kind of an initial evaluation group.  I also walked every. Damn. Day. Which is sort of miraculous because there were some damned gloomy days last week.  I made it to Mom & Dad’s and did all sorts of work that I didn’t want to do (and that my poor back didn’t want to do) and then I went out to dinner with my sisters and sister-in-law.  All in all, I did a lot more than this depressed brain thought it was capable of.  I feel better than I did last week, although I’m definitely still depressed and I still think I need a Wellbutrin increase, but somehow I’m coping.

I have dinner plans tonight with a friend, and football plans tomorrow with family, so I consider my weekend to be full!  Somewhere in there I may make it to the grocery store even though I abhor spending money right now.  I am spending quality time with my therapy light every morning and that is helping too.  All in all, I feel cautiously optimistic.  I feel like I’m on the right track.  I hope you are all doing well, please let me know what how you are, and what works for you when you are depressed and stuck in the mud?  As always PEACH OUT!!

Sometimes Advocating For Yourself Feels Like Shit

If you follow my blog your probably know that I’m back on the job market.  It’s only been a week since I left my job, but there are not oodles of jobs out there that I am qualified for, and I’m a bit nervous about how long I may be looking.  Actually, I’m more than a bit nervous.  I don’t have a lot of money saved up, and this may take awhile.  So, I took a giant bite of humble pie and I applied for Food Stamps.  I want to cringe with shame even saying it.  But really this is what Food Assistance is for, is to see people through a lean stretch of time.  If I can get some help with food expenses, why not do it?  I need to conserve every dollar I can.  I need to be a sensible adult here.  I mean, I hope I get a job quickly, but realistically, I need to take care of myself and be frugal.

I also signed up for a resume workshop with my local Workforce Center for next week.  I think I need professional help with my resume, especially since I’m trying to break in to a new area of IT.  I’m hoping they can help me refocus my resume and give me feedback to make it more polished and to have a better shot at getting that first call from recruiters – which may lead to an interview.

Finally, I called Cigna today and asked them where the hell my insurance ID card was, so I can make some appointments with Dr. Drugs and my therapist.  They’re waiting on my payment, which I just paid because I just got the damn bill.  This is the insurance I signed up for in November, mind you.  Cigna, get your shit together!!  So I have a week or two until I can make appointments with Dr. Drugs and my therapist.

All in all I’d say it’s been a very low-fun day but I have done some good shit!  I also got my light therapy and my walk in, even though it was gloomy and I sure didn’t want to walk.  I just treated it like a prescription that I had to take.  Bleh!

Hope you all are having a glorious Monday!

To Tell The Truth, Or To Shut Up

A friend of mine has been struggling recently.  She has never been hospitalized, and she said she was considering inpatient hospitalization.  I, having been hospitalized many times, opened my mouth and shared with her that a) Without insurance, an inpatient facility probably wouldn’t admit her unless she was suicidal; and b) Even if they admitted her, again, without insurance, they would probably only keep her for 72 hours.  My insight, opinion, knowledge, whatever you want to call it, was not appreciated.  I think my friend has a romanticized opinion of what a hospitalization would be, that it would be a nurturing experience of unending therapy for what ails her, when in reality hospitalization is just a warehousing of the mentally ill where they pump you full of medication, sometimes treat you with ECT, give you some useless group therapy (often just lectures), and release you as soon as you appear to be stable.  They also take away your phone, your freedom of movement, most of your clothing and other belongings (anything you could harm yourself with), and in some ways your humanity.  In reality, I will do anything to avoid being hospitalized again.  I have been suicidal many times since my last hospitalization, but my memories of being in the hospital and being stripped of choices, being woken up early when I was tired as hell from medication by some rude bitch, being forced to go to group therapy in order to earn the right to go outside to smoke, eating sub-standard food, being subject to room searches, and lectures by mental health technicians with big egos and Bachelor’s Degrees in Psychology at the most, has left me with a desire to stay out of the hospital at any cost.

Being hospitalized can keep you alive when you’re suicidal, but aside from that, I haven’t found it to be especially therapeutic.  I’ve in fact found it to be more of a negative experience than a positive one, which is probably a good thing, because I do everything I can to avoid re-hospitalization.  In fact, in writing this I’m reminded of exactly what I need to do to avoid being hospitalized again.  Daily self-care is a must.  Taking medication, exercising, and practicing gratitude are all forms of self-care for me.  Even with the best or most vigilant self-care, I can still become unwell.  I’m not perfect, and I do have Bipolar Disorder.  But being in touch with myself daily, I know when I’m slipping and I know when I need to get in to see Dr. Drugs.  Sometimes medication needs to be tweaked.  At times, I’ve had to make adjustments with work, such as working at home.  At other times, I had to stop working.  I hope that doesn’t happen again, but I know in reality that it might.  I have to live one day at a time, like the recovering alcoholics.  Today, I am ok.  And for that I am grateful.

I’m curious what other people’s experiences have been with hospitalization.  Have they been positive or negative?  Do you have the same aversion to hospitalization that I have?  Also, how are you?  I think about you all and count you as blessings when I say thank you every day.  Have a great weekend.

Woooooo The Job Is Smoothing Out

Surprise!  The people at my job have gotten their shit together and given me work to do!  What a relief!!!  It’s so much better than staring at my screen reading mind-numbing Security articles eight hours a day.  I mean, I want to be productive.  That’s why I’m there, right??

Towards the end of the week I got assigned to a couple of projects and both the work and the training started coming.  The work is fine, the training is intense and tiring.  But that is totally fine.  I’m there to learn and grow!  This is what I asked for!  So I am grateful.  But by Friday I have to tell you, I was exhausted.  On Friday morning, I had to double-check my medicine box to make sure I hadn’t taken my evening medication, I was so tired!

Working 40 hours a week is normal for most people but for me it is totally exhausting.  My whole existence is geared towards keeping the Work Machine up and running.  Something that is of utmost importance for people with Bipolar is sleep, and I am not getting enough.  In my lackadaisical part-time days, I slept 10-11 hours per night, waking with the morning light, and that was ideal.  I know that sounds like a shit-ton of sleep, but for some reason I function better on a whole lot of sleep.  Now, I am getting 7-8 hours per night, which is why I was so tired by Friday.  I don’t think it’s enough to throw me into mania (God I hope not), but it’s enough to exhaust me.

I am having to become a real stickler for self-care, and being somewhat regimented, which I am not fond of.  But this is an endurance test to me, and if I don’t take care of myself, I’m not going to be able to keep going.  So, I have to do things like plan ahead and make my lunch the night before work, and cook on the weekends so I have something to eat during the week.  I’m also really lowwwwwww on funds so there’s no eating out for me!  I have to plan carefully and then shop and prepare food.  This is a discipline I’m not used to.  Again, not a fan.

I don’t know where all of this is leading me in my life but I have to believe I’m becoming a better, more whole person every day.  I’m learning, I’m practicing some discipline and self-care, I’m getting out into the world with other people and interacting (hard for me), and I’m exercising every morning.  Maybe some day I will lose one pound, I don’t know.  I think I’m in a good place, and I’m grateful for that.  For all his bullshit, Dr. Drugs has got me on a good cocktail and I’m behaving like a somewhat normal person.  I believe this is progress.  I hope it continues.  I’m taking it one day at a time and very much staying in the moment.

Hope you are all doing well, please let me know.  Sorry I haven’t kept up with the comments, I promise to do better!!  Love to you all!  Peaches!

Keeping Busy

I don’t know if I have a touch of hypergraphia or if I’m just lonely but I sure have the compulsion to write!  I am still waiting for the job to start – the latest is they think it will be the middle of next week.  I had a Come To Jesus email with the recruiter and account manager and said basically, HEY!  I DO have a job, don’t I?  And they assured me that yes, I do, they are just getting the contract signed, and the manager is out this week.  My imaginative and paranoid mind thought that they were interviewing other candidates and keeping me on the back burner.  But they said in no uncertain terms that I DO have a job.

So in the meantime I am trying to keep busy.  I am actually cleaning my apartment, I have become that desperate for things to do.  Yesterday was surfaces, today is floors, tomorrow is bathrooms.  I have to space it out because my poor back can’t take too much in a day.  I’ve also been walking every day, and cheese and rice am I out of shape!!  I haven’t exercised with any regularity in a long time, I’m embarrassed to say.  It used to be a regular part of my self-care, and when I let it go by the wayside, I ballooned up thirty pounds.  Now I want to get back into it, and hopefully get rid of this pregnant-looking belly (I know it’s hot as hell but hey!).

My mood has been pretty good, a little sinking here and there when I get overwhelmed with the tasks I have set out for myself, and I have to give myself a pep talk, and focus on just the one task at hand, not all the things I want to do.  I’m easily overwhelmed, which can lead to discouragement.  I’m also a bit lonely.  I’m quite isolated with no contact with Dr. Flaky and not going to Mom & Dad’s three times a week like I’m used to.  I was just so determined that I wanted this free time to myself, but I didn’t think through how isolating it would be.  Oh dear . . .  Soon enough I will long for this time . . .

Well I suppose I will start vacuuming up the dust piles here . . . better put on a gas mask . . . I hope the sweet little birdies survive the storm!  Hope you all are having a good week!  Peach out!  BPOF

How Hard Is It To Stand Up For Yourself?

People, apartment living ain’t for wimps.  ESPECIALLY sketchy apartment living!  I jumped into this place because it was a one bedroom as opposed to a studio that was in my price range and I didn’t really take a good look around first and honey, have I lived to regret that.  There is every kind of noise here, from trashy car-revving noise to babies crying to kids screaming to neighbors screaming at each other to bongos being played to LOUD SEX, oh how I cringe at hearing other people’s sex!  The neighbor above me is particularly inconsiderate and seems to think he lives on an island and can do any-damn-thing he wants at any-damn-time he wants, and let me tell you, my hostility level is through the roof!  Up to now, I have taken the path of least resistance, for the most part.  Granted, I did knock on his door four times when he was playing music that sounded like hammers coming through the ceiling, and he didn’t answer the door, and I did call the cops on him.  But since then, I’ve tried to bury my head in the sand, afraid to say anything to the landlord, afraid he’d offer to let me out of my lease, treat ME like the problem.

Cut to the now, where I’m at my wits end, having been woken up in the middle of the night too many times to count by the loser upstairs.  You and I both know that a Bipolar person needs their damn sleep!  Last night was the last straw.  So today I put on my big-girl panties, and sent the landlord a longgg text outlining my grievances with the guy upstairs (no, not God, literally the guy upstairs).  After all this time and all this agonizing, the landlord got right back to me and said “This is not ok.  I was not aware.  I will intervene for you.”  Just like that!

Soooo what’s the lesson?  Sometimes ya just gotta stand up for yourself.  ESPECIALLY when you’re feeling victimized.  And being woken up out of a sound sleep was making me feel bad, let me tell you.  Will it happen again?  Probably.  Will I take it lying down.  HELL NAH!!  I’m on the self-care train now.  Git yer buns on it with me!  Fire!  That’s why they call me Bipolar on FIRE!!