Tag Archives: cat

So, so very tired.

I wrote a poem.

On Being Bipolar

The hateful voice wants me alone;
                         he wants me to die.
I don’t know how he doesn’t see
                       that we are bound, he and I;
When I die, so does he

A friend suggested that perhaps the illness itself is the one who wants to die, as I want very much to live (especially if it’s sans illness.) It’s an interesting premise, and one I might use. I sort of pity it in that respect; but it is self-destructive to the point that *I* am self-destructive, and that’s crap I can’t tolerate.

I am supposed to do a 5K tomorrow. I’m supposed to be up at 6:30. It is currently 3:30 and I haven’t been able to sleep out of anxiety about the aforementioned 5K. I am afraid my family will ridicule me for it if I don’t go. Being fit (and also not fat, but less that in recent years as my activism has gotten MUCH more vocal) is an obsession in my family. Last year my stepdad bet my mom $50 that I wouldn’t complete it. So far this year I’ve already missed another 5K. But I’m so tired now…

I don’t want to go to Thanksgiving. I don’t want to be surrounded by family and especially by noisy nieces and one noisy nephew (though he and I get each other.) I had Thanksgiving at work and am a bit Thanksgiving-ed out, to be honest, especially as I spent ten hours at work today, and at least ten additional hours purchasing and preparing food in advance. Not to mention all of the planning and logistics I had to put in all month, on top of my usual work. I am just so wrung out. I just want to be home, where it’s quiet, hang out with Chihiro, and binge watch Netflix or something.

Only one resident thanked me for my hard work, though most complimented my cooking. (Which is amazing, by the way. Everyone wants my recipes for my turkey, sugar cookies, and pumpkin pie.) The other residents ‘thanked’ me in their usual way; eat everything, complain about dishes that weren’t made despite the metric fuckton of food present, and then demand dessert before I’ve even had a chance to enjoy my own plate. Half of them wandered off before I got around to dishing out pie because they were too impatient to let me finish eating. (I didn’t. I was tired of being hassled for pie.)

The case manager helped me a great deal today, but she was the only one, and she was trying to get other things done in the morning so she could just help me this afternoon. Some of the residents helped with set up/tear down, which I am also grateful for. Some staff helped with serving but disappeared as soon as it was time to clean up afterwards, which took me, the case manager, and a resident two and a half hours to do. I am *very* thankful for that, I was so tired I could barely stand up, and I spent ten hours mostly on my feet today.

Next week is a CARF survey, Wednesday through Friday. They’re a huge accreditation program whose stamp of approval helps us function. We’re trying to get my day programming certified, which means I will be put under a microscope. I haven’t had a lot of time to really prepare due to Thanksgiving taking up so very much of my time this month. My program is fine; I do a fantastic job, I commit waaaay too many of my evenings and put in long hours making everything happen. My groups are good and well attended overall, the work program is successful, and all of my ducks are in a row. I just want to get things ready by Wednesday to show off, y’know? I’ve been tidying my office which is in a perpetual state of “mostly organized chaos” and I’ve got a lot of pictures to hang up/rehang in the craft room. Oh, and the leaky spot in my ceiling opened back up today, due to a lot of melt from the snow over the weekend. I’m sure our maintenance guy will be *thrilled* when I tell him on Friday. He thought the leak was fixed. HAHAHAHAHA no.

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It’s the little things

I have a suet feeder on my porch.  There is a conquering sparrow horde that eats most of it, along with grackles and starlings, but I have one little downy woodpecker that visits a lot.  I love seeing that little guy.  (To the point where I’ve started to get woodpecker-specific suet.)  I also get the odd blue jay and cardinal.  I forgot how HUGE blue jays are, especially compared to the usual birds that visit.

I just sit in my chair, pet my cat, and watch the birds on my porch, along with my lovely flowers and handful of statuary pieces.  It’s nice to just… be, sometimes.

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Bad, bad weekend

I don’t even really have the spoons to talk about the damn thing, but my weekend was really bad. Saturday there was a cousin’s wedding that involved traveling to Toledo, wrangling my crazy grandparents (grandpa is a crotchety old grumpus that I wanted to yell at several times and grandma has dementia, so I had to re-explain how they were getting home to her about 20 times at the reception,) and helping to wrangle my very energetic nearly-four nephew, and everyone was stressed and grumpy. Everyone I was in the car with rushed out of the reception before they finished cutting the cake, which upset me a lot. I needed meds out of the car, but nobody would let me take five minutes to go get a drink so I could take them- my brother was in such a goddamn hurry I had to make him stop so I could buckle grandma in, as she couldn’t find the buckle and I had to go around to see around the carseat. By the time I was able to get the words out that I needed to take some medication, because I was shaking at that time, I ended up having to stop at a random Kroger to get a bottle of water to take them. My brother and grandfather were both pissed off at that point and it was scaring me. I was crammed in the backseat with my grandma and my nephew in his carseat, so I had to fit myself into a space big enough for about half of me. I was carsick because I had to ride in the back, having an anxiety attack from all the stress around me, and I had a headache. I ended up crying for about the last hour of traveling home, after we dropped off my grandparents and my brother was driving me back to my car where I had met my mom that morning. And this whole time I was also convinced Chihiro was dead because she usually greets me in the morning and she didn’t, but she was just being a jerk who hid in the closet when I opened the door, and she’s fine.

So Saturday night I had nightmares all night where I woke up crying, and I did the same during a nap on Sunday. Sunday night I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep again so I called off work at 2 am via email. My boss responded with a rather long bit about how I was inconveniencing them before ending with this jewel: “I am thankful that you notified me and I can empathize with you; however, I really encourage you to handle personal business on the weekends and not miss work on Mondays or Fridays as it puts a whole strain on our entire campus.”

Yes, because I can totally schedule my episodes. I’ll get right on it.

Weddings in general kick off some really bad brainweasels about how I will never get that degree of normal in my life. Chances are I’m going to be alone. I won’t have a spouse, and I’m not planning on having kids. I doubt I’ll ever manage to get my master’s degree because I can’t work full-time and manage school as well, plus I’m still in obscene amounts of debt from my bachelor’s. My life right now, while independent, is a far cry from comfortable. I keep having to beg for money to make things happen like going to the doctor, getting meds, and buying food. The more I think about how this illness is chronic and basically terminal, the more tired I feel. I have been sick for 26 years. I’m tired of being sick. I’m just so tired.

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Anniversaries

(Author’s note: Sorry for the long hiatus. As I slowly recovered, I started to feel triggered by my blog. I’ll hopefully write a catch-up post soon to let you guys know what exactly has been happening in the life of Nadja.)

So, tomorrow is the ten year anniversary of my hospitalization.

I’m… conflicted. I want to celebrate it, but I also don’t know who to celebrate it *with.* I’m alone here in Lansing, and my diagnosis makes my gentleman friend nervous. (We have been casually dating since September, but he still hasn’t decided if he wants to make things a bit more formal. I am dying of impatience.) He felt that me telling him about my illness in a rush towards the beginning was too fast, and some nonsense about taking some of the discovery out of things. Seems how bipolar disorder is such a huge, pervasive part of my life, not sharing it was killing me. I feel like I’m lying when I keep it to myself, especially when I’m beginning a potentially romantic relationship. I don’t want to get hurt if I get attached and then he runs because of it, so it’s partially a defense mechanism, and partially my knowing that I need to make it fairly clear why I have so many strict rules for myself, so there is no misunderstanding of why, exactly, I can’t be out too late, I don’t drink or use drugs, my mood can vary dramatically from day to day and at times over the course of a date, why I can get hypomanic if I’m in an overly stimulating environment for long periods of time, why I might have to cancel a date on short notice due to lack of spoons, why I might have a panic attack, etc, etc, etc.

He is also extremely allergic to cats. I’m… not entirely sure about this one, but he hasn’t run away yet. Even though he hasn’t committed, he hasn’t refused me, either, and he is making an effort to spend time around other people’s pets to acclimatize himself a bit more to dander. I just try not to be too crazy in his general direction.

Next Sunday I turn 31. Twenty-year-old me didn’t think I would ever seen 25, let alone 30. I feel like I’m living on borrowed time, now. I also feel so, so tired when I think about living to 60, or 90, or 100, as I come from a line of very long-lived people. 100 years of life would basically boil down to 95 years of bipolar disorder.

Just the idea is exhausting.

So I feel conflicted. I am proud of myself for making it a decade without a hospitalization (several er visits, but I haven’t been admitted) but I am also nervous about the future. I am afraid I will always be alone, I am afraid of becoming a burden on my family. My stepdad has made it pretty damn clear that I have used my one and only chance to start over now, so if I do fall apart again in the future? I don’t know where I’ll go.

No pressure, of course. But I’d sure better never get sick again, goddamnit.

But, on this anniversary, I am gainfully employed, and independent, and I have my cat. I am ahead of the game from last year’s anniversary, and much more hopeful than the one before that. My life isn’t turning out how I wanted, but it’s less awful than I had feared it could be by this point. So… yay for me?

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Good news!

So I finally, finally, FINALLY have something full time that is professional as well!

I started working at a case manager at a behavioral treatment residential program, 16 hours a week, at the end of March. Last week, during a meeting, I said I’d be happy to become an activities driver, and anything else that we might need. By the end of the day, several other jobs had been located, so I was able to put in my two-week notice at Wendy’s last Thursday. As of May 4th, I’ll be working full time at my new agency. It won’t all be at the same pay rate, but anything is better than minimum wage and standing all day!

I’m so excited. I’m finally getting back to some semblance of a real life… Mom and I sat down and did a budget, and I’ll be pretty much caught up on debt other than student loans by September. After that, I should be able to get into my own place, get Chihiro back… it’ll be wonderful.

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Still quietly seething

Yesterday I was still extremely angry, mostly with my stepdad but at both parents by degrees, but I opted to isolate and ignore everybody than address it yet. I am still pretty emotional, and have been having crying jags lately, so I am afraid it would just degrade into sobbing and that’s never a good way to get your point across to my parents.

Haven’t heard anything about the job either way, but it’s just now Tuesday, and she said mid-week. Damn I hope I get it. I don’t know how I’ll cope if I don’t. My parents are continuing to pressure me to find a new job, as if jobs just grow on trees and the last year I’ve spent hunting is worth nothing… Ugh. Tired of this.

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Getting tired of being treated like a child

Pretty much everything I do, makes my parents insane. I am very much a night owl by nature, while my parents are the exact opposite. They periodically remind me that it makes them crazy when I sleep in, and they have no problem with barging into my room (which still does not have a fully functional door) and demanding I get up if they feel I’m being too lazy.

I had a big job interview on Wednesday of last week, and afterwards, I had a panic attack and broke out into stress hives, so I spent my afternoon asleep as a result of klonopin and benedryl. I didn’t get my chores done, but I didn’t have to work until 3:20 the next day, so I informed both of them of the situation and assured them it would all be done the next day.

I had a nasty note and voicemail from my mom about it Thursday morning, and got ANOTHER nasty note on Friday about my cleaning being insufficient, despite having put in an hour of work into scrubbing the bathroom and vacuuming every inch of upstairs. I had done eight loads of laundry, all of which was washed, dried, folded and delivered. I had scrubbed the kitchen, unloaded the dishwasher, reloaded it, did dishes by hand that needed doing. I keep my room clean. My bed is always made. I try to stay out of the way, clean when I see things that need to be cleaned, and leave everyone alone.

This is not sufficient.

My stepdad wants me paying rent. Considering I am not managing to pay all of my bills at present, I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to be paying rent WITH. I am up to 30-32 hours per week at Wendy’s, the maximum I can get. Wednesday’s job interview wasn’t for the $18/hour full-time-plus-benefits child protective services worker as I thought; it is an $11/hour part-time-no-benefits job working in child services at the mental health agency in town. I had just applied for a CPS job the day before, so I mentally added the protective part when I listened to my voicemail, I guess, and as I was about to clock in to work when I got the call back to schedule the appointment, I didn’t get a chance to clarify it until the interview itself. While this is a step up, it is not the get-out-of-jail-free card that I thought it would be. If I get it, mom suggested not activating my car insurance yet, and instead use the van and pay “a little towards it” as they have a fleet of vehicles so I wouldn’t have to be doing my own driving around. I am a bit scared about what a little means, to be honest. I still wouldn’t have health insurance, but maybe I’ll be able to afford a premium. Once April rolls around, our state’s Medicaid expansion kicks in, so I’ll finally qualify for Medicaid, if I am still at Wendy’s.

So after my mom came in Sunday morning demanding I get up, and then my stepdad came in a few minutes later- WHILE I WAS GETTING DRESSED- to make sure I was getting up, I was in a pretty pissy mood. I applied for fourteen jobs, and have scheduled appointments to look into both the ASL program at the local community college, and a master’s degree in social work at U of M. Mom said I needed a six-month plan, so I wrote one. I’m now back to hiding, because I don’t think I can talk to anyone without starting to cry, as I very nearly lost my shit when I asked- again- if someone could just drive me to the bank so I can deposit my check, which I have been trying to deposit since Friday. I just wanted to pay my bills so people will stop calling me for a few days. Mom had said she’d do it and had forgotten, so my brother was sent, and then he was staring off into space and I snapped at him, almost crying as it was out of frustration.

I’m also getting tired of being told that I’m babysitting my nephew. Nobody asks anymore, they just say “you need to watch your nephew this afternoon” and disappear. My brother, my mom, my stepdad, they all do it. I wouldn’t say no, but I’d still appreciate being asked occasionally.

I miss Chihiro. I just want my cat back.

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I guess I should do a year-in-review type post.

Basically… 2013 sucked. I broke up with my boyfriend of almost a year, I lost my job, I spent months and months in a depressive fugue, and had to have most of my cat’s teeth removed. I had to move back in with my parents and have my beloved Chihiro fostered out, where she still is after eight goddamn months because I can’t seem to get my shit together and find a job. My brother’s wife left him, taking the older boy who was hers but not my brother’s and dumping him on his paternal grandparents in Arizona, and thus my brother and his son ended up moving in to my parents’ house as well. I ran out of unemployment and started working part-time minimum wage, which saw to the end of my car insurance and the present state of “making payments on a car that’s been hanging out in the driveway for six months, and doing a lot of walking.” I don’t have enough money to buy anything for myself other than my medication, and even doing that involves a lot of robbing Peter to pay Paul. I’m paying what bills I HAVE to pay, perpetually a half-payment behind on Artoo, and doing my best to get at least to where I can see the sky again from under car debt, college debt, medical debt, cat medical debt, and money I owe to the IRS (which I haven’t filed last year on yet, because I owe over a thousand dollars due to having to cash out my 401K to live on, and there is no way in hell I can pay a thousand dollars on top of the other thousands I owe everywhere else. I’ll file for however many years I have to when it’ll come out even or I’m in a position to pay what I owe.) I’m still looking for a job, though I admit my game’s been pretty weak through the holidays because who the hell is hiring during the holidays?

There were some good points, though. I am finally, FINALLY through the multi-year hell of a major depressive cycle, after I don’t even know how many ER visits at this point. Somewhere in the ballpark of a half-dozen over two years, I think. It’s marvelous to wake up and realize I’m not depressed. Stressed, yes, but I no longer have been going to the automatic suicidal ideas when something isn’t going right. Not working, and then doing manual labor, seems to have given my brain the rest it needed to chill the fuck out. Being here with my parents, brother and nephew has been difficult on all parties, but something about the experience has helped, at least so far as the “I’m not really responsible for much other than cleaning and cooking occasionally” element is concerned. Being on umemployment was freeing. I got to go to my family’s upper peninsula cabin twice, when I hadn’t made it in the six years beforehand, and I got kidnapped to TFCon by a friend, which was my first convention in three years. I’ve been teaching myself American Sign Language, and I’ve been getting to spend a lot of time with my two-year-old nephew, which has been nice. I got to go to the Michigan Renaissance Festival once, which made missing my dear Ohio Renaissance Festival hurt a bit less, and I got to spend time with some friends I don’t see much due to them living in Michigan.

And then we rang in Christmas with an ice storm, and I rang in the new year with god-knows-what that is likely bronchitis, so now I’ve missed about forty hours of work in three weeks. *facepalm* I’ve got a 10% off sale going on in my shop. The code is ICESTORM. I swear I will get things shipped, I just turned around after setting up the sale and got hit with this nasty illness, so I’ve not been doing much other than lying in bed, hacking up a lung and living on a steady diet of cough drops and ibuprofen, acetaminophen, benedryl, sudafed, and an expectorant. Whoo, my life is thrilling.

I have made about 18 bracelets and have at least six more on my immediate list, though more might come, depending on when I run out of memory wire. I’m hoping to finish those up and get pictures tomorrow so I can get things up for sale. I’m waiting on charms for two commissions, as the mail has gotten a bit awful due to the horrible weather. We got about 16 inches of snow initially, then the wind started, and we got even more snow because why the hell not, and yeah. Climate change deniers are welcome to kiss my (very cold) ample derriere.

I miss Cincinnati like nothing I’ve ever missed before. It’s a physical ache. I think about it constantly, and how much I miss all of the things I used to be able to do. I miss my sister and I miss my best friend and I miss my cat and I miss my friends and I miss my entire life down there. Now that I’m back to looking for jobs, I’ll be looking in Cincinnati again as well, though I’m also looking in Indianapolis, and on the west side of Michigan, where things seem to be doing better, economy-wise. (Likely because they weren’t as dependent on the auto industry as eastern Michigan had been.) What would be nice would be finding something localish so I could stay at home, finish paying off a good chunk of debt, get new furniture to replace the stuff that was thrown away, and get back into my own apartment. Cincinnati might have to wait simply by necessity of getting things back together again. Alternately, finding a job and getting a roommate down in Cincinnati might not be a horrible thing, though having had the same roommate for ten years makes it hard to imagine finding someone to live with who wasn’t also my best friend.

I’m looking forward to 2014, because seriously, it can only go up from here.

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So, that was… interesting.

Here in mid-Michigan, we had a pretty nasty ice storm that started with rain/sleet for a couple days and then turned to ice on Saturday/Sunday. I think there was an estimate of 500,000 people without power. My family lost power mid afternoon on Sunday, but we have a generator, city water, and a gas stove, so once we got the generator hooked up, we were in good shape. We just had the furnace, fridge, and one lamp plugged in, and used approximately a billion candles everywhere else. (My mother has an inexhaustible supply of tea lights. There were votives EVERYWHERE.) By Monday, we had three neighbors’ houses hooked up to the generator as well, and then power came on Monday night. The Wendy’s where I work, though, didn’t get power until Wednesday afternoon, so I lost approximately 20 hours of work, which sucks. I was already just trying to get ahead of the constant assault of bills so now I’ll be even further behind.

It definitely gave me impetus to get my butt working on some jewelry, though. I started working on some character bracelets I had charms for and hadn’t gotten around to, and I set up a 10% off coupon code at Helpful Cat Creations. The code is “ICESTORM” and is good on everything, including commissions. I only have fan stuff on my site because I have all of my original work at the consignment shop, but I will try to get some original work done and posted as well. I need to go see what’s at the consignment shop and maybe do a sale there, too, to try and move some pieces before the end of the month, so then I can collect it on the 15th. (Anything in January I can’t collect until February 15th; it’s not that I won’t need money in February too, but I am trying to put out this particular fire right now.)

I’m still struggling with getting everything paid, especially my CareCredit card for Chihiro. I’ve still got about $600 left on it and the no interest period has expired on one of the charges so far, so soon enough it’ll be even harder to pay off. I need to get some cat stuff made to sell, as well. My friend who kidnapped me for TFCon made me a bunch of resin charms with Chihiro pictures on them. I wonder how she’d feel about me potentially selling a few of the repeat images. (My friend is like me and does not do things in half-measures; I was expecting one or two when she said she’d made “a couple” and got like, twenty charms.) Obviously I want to hoard them, but I’d be happy to part with them if it’ll get Chihiro’s care paid for more quickly.

Now that the holidays are mostly over, I’m going to redouble my efforts to find a better job. I am planning to look in Cincinnati and the surrounding area, as well as Indianapolis, and in Grand Blanc here in Michigan. Ohio would be best because I’ve got family there and I know I can do what I had been doing with my current level of schooling, and also because I miss Cincinnati like a dear friend. I’m not entirely positive I want to live in Indy, but I do have friends there, and that is where Chihiro is, so it isn’t a terrible place. I would need to look up licensure requirements for case management there, though, and see if it’s the same as Ohio. This “master’s degree and social work license” requirement is killing me, as is the utterly horrible job situation in this state.

My brother found a part-time job! He is still working on getting a full-time professional job, but he got a part-time job as a cook at a local deli. As he is really getting into cooking and baking, I think it’ll be great for him, though the logistics of childcare is going to be a nightmare.

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“Happy Thanksgiving. I decorated your cat.”

So I’m 110% positive that all of you are well aware of my cat, as well as the fact that she is presently being fostered by a friend until I get a place of my own again, as my parents did not want her here. My friend who is fostering her periodically sends me pictures and amusing commentary of what my little hellion has been up to. (Honestly, I think I have more pictures now than I’ve ever managed to take of Chihiro in the 7+ years she’s been mine. She is camera shy and I never had a phone that took good pictures that were easy to then get back off of said phone. My actual camera’s shutter speed is too long to get more than a blur about 95% of the time so I never manage to get cute pictures, as Chihiro has the sixth sense most pets do of when their person is trying to get a decent picture of them and thus whatever she was doing is immediately stopped and she wanders off. She can be dead asleep and she’ll still have moved by the time I get the camera turned on and focused. The only time I got really good pictures was after she was completely doped up on painkillers after her first dental surgery. Those pictures were also hilarious as she was completely stoned out of her gourd.)

Anyway, on Thanksgiving, I got a message that said only “Happy Thanksgiving! I decorated your cat.” followed by this picture:

Chihiro decorated on Thanksgiving

I love my cat, and I love my friend for agreeing to foster her on such short notice, and for being the best foster mom Chihiro could ever hope to have. We’re at about seven months now, and while I’m now employed, kind of, I need a vastly different job before I will be able to get my own place again. I’m planning to refocus my efforts back in Cincinnati after the new year, as well as in Grand Rapids, which is evidently an area that is doing well at this time. Anything has got to be better than Flint and Lansing, where I’ve been finding a whole lot of nothing, and greater Detroit, where I’m finding a lot of scams. I’d really, really like to be back in Cincinnati, as I still have something resembling a life there. I want to start over again and really do things right this time, keep all my priorities right so I can do some things I’ve always wanted to do but I need a job to be able to do that. And I desperately, desperately want Chihiro back and home with me where she belongs. (And I’m sure her foster mom’s two cats also desperately want Chihiro back where she belongs, too, and their house to themselves again.)

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