Tag Archives: friends

Yelling into the void

That’s what I feel like I’m doing these days; yelling into the void.  I hate social media.  There are so many people at my fingertips and I feel so very alone, but it’s all I’ve really got.  I don’t have local friends to spend time with.  I don’t even know how to go about making local friends.  I don’t drink, I don’t party, and Lansing is dying, I’m not sure how to go about finding other people like myself here.

So I post on Facebook some more, and continue to be ignored.

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Checklists

So in case you couldn’t tell, last Thursday was pretty damn bad.  I was a disaster most of the day.  Thankfully, Chihiro was right there with me the whole time, sitting on me and purring constantly.  Around five, I finally started to feel it lifting.  I was in one of those places where I didn’t really even have words- I couldn’t talk without sobbing.  I wanted to call people for support but I am pretty sure someone would’ve called the police to have a wellness check done on me, as I don’t think I could’ve held up a conversation if my life depended on it.  I had my Chihiro, though, and things were… ok.

After managing to drag myself out of my chair and do a few things, I posted this to facebook:

Self-care I have managed in the last 48 hours:
-I took off work FMLA today in order to take care of myself since I was in a very dark place and didn’t feel like being certed involuntarily by a coworker
-I have taken all of my medication
-This was aboout 72 hours ago, but I have changed pharmacies to the Walgreen’s right up the road- as much as it hurts to not support a small independent pharmacy, the shipping costs plus the repeated late packages due to they putting on a signature order (despite my repeated pleas not to) have led to me missing doses of medication at least 6 times in the last couple months, along with stretching my already thin budget. As someone who prides herself on her medication compliance, as I know it makes a HUGE difference, which I’ve felt lately. Now I know if I forget to order a refill, I can go get it with very little hassle.
-I have eaten several meals with fruits and vegetables in them that were not soup (since I’m out) and have been meals I cooked by hand (and I am contemplating a potato with broccoli right now, that sounds good)
-I have stayed hydrated and avoided caffeine all day
-I have showered, and plan to brush my teeth before bed, after eating another meal
-I got 4-5 hours of sleep last night/this morning, and have stayed up the rest of the day so I can go to bed at a normal time to make sure my sleep rhythm is ok
-I have fed and watered the cat, cleaned her litterbox, watered plants on my porch, and fed and watered the sparrow horde (plus one cardinal and my darling woodpecker that visits me a lot)
-I have packed up and mailed a jewelry order
-I have reached out to friends even though the brainweasels didn’t want me to, to let them know I am hurting but I am ok, and tell them what is going on in my head and asked for support.
-I have stalwartly ignored the urge to check my gmail, which my work email forwards to, to prevent triggers. Work can wait until I get there tomorrow, and I *will* get there tomorrow
-And if I don’t get there tomorrow, I will call my psychiatrist first thing and park myself in his office until I can be seen, so he can assess whether or not I should go to the hospital. I feel like I’ll be ok now, though
-I have written a blog post to get the worst of this out of my head
-I have cried and not felt ashamed

All of this was made possible by the amazing Chihiro, who hasn’t left my side since I got home from work yesterday in the throes of this cycle. She backed off when I got up and engaged in a lot of these self-care activities, but she has been following me around the apartment and stayed within about ten feet at all times.

Listing these accomplishments makes me feel stronger than I’ve felt all day. I hope to achieve tackling my dishes later and packing breakfast and lunch for tomorrow, but if I don’t achieve those goals, I plan to be kind to myself about them.

It helped tremendously.  I’m going to start doing that when things are dark in my headspace, because having a list of small accomplishments helps.  One of my friends responded:

I’m so proud of you! Wasn’t long ago that it’d be a good day to do just 1 thing on that list, and look at what all you accomplished! You truly are an inspiration 🙂

It is a pretty long list, considering how dark things had been earlier in the day and over the previous night.  I still feel good about it.

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Recovery, or something like it

I made it to group this week, after completely forgetting the week before. I was sort of busy doing wedding-y things and remembered at like, 6:15. This week, I attended, and realized that I’m feeling a lot better in general. I have recovered a lot since I got here- I’ve been able to go DO things, like go to the cabin, go to the beach, and now that I have my car back I feel a lot more comfortable roaming around the countryside. I don’t feel so scared and broken anymore.

I still have my moments, of course. I’m still not sleeping the best, and I’m still prone to being more down than up. I did have a few moments over the weekend where I felt lost and wanted to cry, because I was simply exhausted. I still get emotionally tired very easily and am taking things slowly.

But I’ve found what I think I want to do with my life, in learning ASL and becoming an interpreter, and hopefully someday becoming an ASL therapist, or just doing something to help others in a way that isn’t so emotionally draining. And I have something to look forward to right now, as I get ready for the convention at the end of the month. My friend wants me to come up a couple days early so we can go trawl bead stores, which sounds like a good way for me to spend more of her money, but it’d be fun. I’ve never gotten the opportunity to just wander in Toronto.

While I’m not exactly rolling in money while unemployed, I am definitely able to take advantage of some experiences I might not otherwise get. I haven’t been to a convention in three years due to being perpetually poor, and I never would’ve gotten to go early to just spend time with my friends before. I burn through my vacation and sick days on my mental illness so fast. Maybe once I’m doing something less stressful, I will be able to conserve those days more effectively.

Of course, first I have to actually get hired somewhere, which is a story in and of itself…

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Good news!

Sorry, I guess I forgot to write a post again. But exciting things are happening!

Unfortunately not on the JOB front, but that’s a work in progress.

I’m sure you all are plenty aware that I am a huge Transformers fan, and I make Transformers jewelry. I had a table at BotCon 2010 in Orlando, and totally cleaned house- my profits paid for the entire trip, except for going into Disneyworld. Gas, food, lodging, getting into the convention, and even buying toys. I’ve wanted to sell at another convention ever since but I keep running into roadblocks- mostly in the convention being too far away for me to afford to travel there. There’s a convention in Toronto called TFCon that I have gone to before, and I had a great time, but this was before the Canadian border was closed somewhat and you needed a passport to cross.

Well, now that I live in a border state, I can get an enhanced driver’s license, which means I can cross the border by car any time I want to. And now that I have my car back and have managed to obtain car insurance (which was an ordeal in and of itself) I went yesterday to get my license and plates. I had been excited and hopeful that I could go, but the money just isn’t there.

My friend in Toronto, who let me stay at her place last time I went in exchange for driving to the con, decided that this was simply not right, and has decided to forward me the money to go to TFCon. She is an artist and always gets a table, and she makes some jewelry as well, so she agreed to let me sell at her table as well, so hopefully I can pay her back for her awesomeness. I’m so excited! This is going to be my first convention in three years, and a chance to see friends I only ever see at cons!

My parents are 100% behind the idea of me making money, and hopefully I can make more than my friend is fronting me and can then use that cash to pay off some more debt. I have knocked off one medical bill so far, but there are plenty more to go, not to mention my credit card and car loan (though I only have 11 payments left!) I’m not entirely sure how this will work with unemployment, but it never hurts to call and ask. As far as the IRS is concerned, unless I make more than $600/year it is a hobby and therefore does not need to be reported on my taxes, but I doubt unemployment sees it like that. :/ I’ll look into it.

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tumblr may have saved my life

So last night, I was pretty bad off. Mom and I had another conversation about my future, and I just… shut down. I sobbed for a long while, and thought of different ways to kill myself, and how it would work, and if it would kill me without it hurting. I thought about my cat, and who would take her in, as nobody in my family cares for her, so I started writing what I would like to happen if I were to kill myself.

I… may have posted a will on tumblr.

Which freaked the hell out of a couple people for some reason. One friend wrote:

I don’t think moving away will be the end of the world for you, because you can still call and Skype your friends, right? I don’t really know what the fair is to you, but I’m sure if you express the desire to make amends with your parents maybe they’ll meet you half way! It doesn’t have to end like this! but if you feel it has to, I know I’ll miss you from my life. I know I’ve only followed you a really short time, you’ve really made me like Transformers again, and I love all the feminist and other things you post. Like you help me become a better person. I’ve really admired how strong you are through your personal posts and little life tidbits, though it embarrasses me to ‘like’ your personal posts because you don’t really know that, but I’m glad I’ve known you, because you deserve to be known and… missed…

And another friend sent me this note not long after:

No. Do not do it. Do not do what you’re thinking of doing. You are stronger then this and I swear if you do this I will find you and bring you back. Swear to all that is holy woman. And you know I will do this. You don’t deserve the shit life has handed you but I am still your friend. Your crazy, stupid, sometimes racist friend. Please don’t do this to yourself. Things have to get better. I believe this.

The second friend then went on to contact a mutual friend of ours on Facebook that he knew would have my phone number, as he didn’t. The first friend from tumblr then sent me a suicide prevention hotline number, and while I was talking to the person at the hotline, the mutual friend called.

I spent about an hour on the phone with her, sobbing most of the time. She agreed to take my cat, thinking it was because I might have to move in with my parents who don’t want a cat, and then when I explained the real reason, she told me that I was not allowed to kill myself, because my cat needs me, and I have so many friends that love me. She was frustrated over my situation but assured me that it would work out, somehow, and not to give up. I drew Boggle the Courage Owl on my arm to give myself a visual reminder that I am loved.

Throughout the evening, friends were messaging me over instant message, on Facebook, on tumblr, checking to make sure I was okay. My depression was deep last night, and I hurt so badly. I still hurt, though it’s lessened a little bit. I will call my therapist today to see when I can get in to see her again.

I started a disability claim yesterday, though I stopped when it started getting into the particulars of doctors I have seen, as I will have to do some sleuthing about dates and such. I was frustrated and upset because I can see things spiraling, and having been on the other side of the desk, I do not want to end up in the pit that is living on disability. It terrifies me. I will lose so much autonomy, so much flexibility in my life, that it hurts.

I think I can carve a niche out for myself again, and start over in Michigan- my parents have said in no uncertain terms that I *will* be moving in June, if a job doesn’t fall into my lap in the next week or two. But they don’t want me there, so I guess I will need an apartment up there. Just the thought of relocating is exhausting. I’ll lose so much here, in friends and hobbies.

The strangest thing was, a person I follow on tumblr appeared to be in the same pain I was, and was posting about suicide as well. I messaged her and encouraged her without any difficulty, and it was strange that here I was, so broken and convinced that dying would be better, and I’m talking to someone else in that same place. Her reply:

Me: Are you hurting as badly as I am right now? I’m trying hard to think of a reason to stick around and I think you are, too. I hope things will get better for you.

The voices..everyone keeps leaving me..If you stay here I will too. Don‘t leave, please, I love you.

Shortly afterward, I posted on my tumblr:

I called a suicide hotline, but while I was on the phone with them, one of my friends called. We talked for almost an hour. I’m feeling a lot better. I still don’t know what I’m going to do, but I DO know that I have a LOT of friends that love me very much and don’t want to lose me.

I love you all, too. Thank you.

She responded quickly:

Oh my god I’m crying. I’m so happy asdfghjlldjd i have nothing inspiring to say or anything like that..I’m speechless. I love you :”D

Shortly afterward, she posted to her blog:

I honestly thought I would die tonight. Yet, here I am.
Thank you guys so much. I love you all.

I messaged her again and said we can be strong together. I think we can do it.

So yeah. Tumblr saved my life.

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I’m doing… okay.

It’s been a bit touch-and-go for me, since everything fell apart. I’ve been slowly making progress on getting things sorted out for unemployment and my impending job search. I forgot how much I hated resumes and cover letters. Blegh. I’ve not gotten a final answer about unemployment yet, but I’ve gotten a clarification question, so hopefully that’s good news. I’ve had a lot of support from friends and family, both emotionally and financially. I’m doing my best to hold it together.

Last Tuesday when my sister came over I definitely freaked her out; she’s now seen me completely out of it twice and I hope I didn’t scare her too much. Tuesday was not a good day. Wednesday was a little better and Thursday I slept all day because my brain wouldn’t shut off Wednesday night, so I didn’t fall asleep until nine AM and woke up at 5 PM.

That’s when the guilt kicked in again.

From my Livejournal, Feb 18th, 2013:

So I managed to put on clothes and get the mail- and went through it all, even!- and get some stuff out of my car. I filed for unemployment online last night and now I get to wait for that to be processed. I’m mostly curled in a ball of shame and self-doubt and self-hatred anymore, and just looking at my to-do list has me recoiling in shame and fear. I deserved this, I deserve to suffer and lose everything, it’s telling me. I brought this on myself and have nobody to blame but me so why should I reach out and ask for anything? I don’t deserve anything, I don’t deserve my friends, my family would be right to abandon me.

I’m turning into *him,* it says. And I’m going to live a pauper like him and probably die alone and cold and unknown.

That was Tuesday. Thursday is turning into a repeat.

From my Livejournal, Feb 21st, 2013:

Couldn’t sleep until nine AM because my brain wouldn’t shut off, and the later it gets the more hysterical and irrational I get. So of course I slept until 5 today, because I was exhausted from not sleeping.

And then the guilt kicked in for sleeping all day and not getting anything accomplished whatsoever.

In some weird act of punishment, I wouldn’t let myself eat something for three hours. I… I don’t know, but I’ve been doing it more lately. Not letting myself eat because I’m not worth it, or because I’m worried I’m wasting food by eating too often/too much, or because I don’t deserve it because I haven’t accomplished anything to earn it.

My craft room is getting lonely and I’m too busy sobbing to do anything about it, and I feel worse now than I did when I got up in the first place.

I’m so scared of writing cover letters and sending them out and starting the rejection process. The letter from Job and Family Services about the job hunting requirements I have to meet in order to get unemployment was terrifying, even though it’s fairly lax (I have to put in two applications a week, and keep a log of everything, and there was a lot of bold print about THERE WILL BE AUDITS TREMBLE IN FEAR MORTALS) compared to what it could be. I got an email requesting clarification of why I was fired. I’m worried I didn’t write enough or wrote too much or didn’t say the right things and I’m going to get denied and lose everything and I’m so scared, of everything- this whole process, being unemployed, trying to find another job, and most of all I’m scared of myself. The thoughts going through my head, guys. They are scary and I’m fighting as hard as I can, but… it’s so hard. There are so many what-ifs and so much self-flagellation even though I know it’s not helping and just making me more miserable but clearly I must deserve it.

My friends are supportive but damn I feel like such a pain in the ass. And I’ve had to lock down my Facebook and everything so if employers look me up they won’t see links to this blog and come up with a reason not to hire me that isn’t illegal and discrimination while still discriminating because who wants someone as crazy as I am on their payroll? Clearly not my last employer.

Damn it. I hate this. All of this. And now I’m crying again.

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Siren song

(I’m putting a trigger warning on this one, because… yeah. It’s potentially triggering for suicide.)

I’ve probably mentioned this, more in a passing “augh make it STOP” way than anything else, but I live within throwing distance of four train tracks and an expressway. This is why my rent is so cheap and why I can (almost) afford to live alone. The trains go by at all hours; Cincinnati is a major hub (the train station is under the Hall of Justice Museum Center) so I’m growing used to hearing them blast through as they whistle most of the way through the city, as almost every street in my neighborhood, at least, has a crossing.

And every time I start getting depressed, and the thoughts come, some of the lyrics to “Pepper” start running through my head.

Tommy played piano
Like a kid out in the rain
Then he lost his leg in Dallas
He was dancing with a train
They were all in love with dyin’
They were drinking from a fountain
That was pouring like an avalanche
Coming down the mountain

-Pepper, by the Butthole Surfers

Sometimes the whistles from the trains are just annoying, or background noise. Other times they seem like a siren song; while I’m fighting back against the thoughts, they’re still coming, wave after wave, train after train. Driving home from work on the day I was fired, I ended up stopped by a train but was a few vehicles back, and the thoughts were angry that I wasn’t the first car.

These thoughts are terrifying, but I am fighting back. Don’t worry about that. I won’t let them win. I would never be able to do that to someone else; I read somewhere that pretty much every conductor ever has hit someone committing suicide, because people know that train can’t be stopped fast enough. I can’t live with the idea of someone else having to be my inadvertent executioner. I can’t. That’s just horrible.

And then today I met Boggle, the courage owl. Sure, he’s a little cartoon owl, but he’s changing my life. This one, in particular, resonates with me, far louder than any train whistle.

I immediately went to find a sharpie (didn’t have a fine tip so a micron had to do) and drew myself a little Boggle on my arm. It’s not very good, but having him there for encouragement made a difference.

Boggle the courage owl

(The text says “All I’m doing is handing out sticks. You’re the one staying alive.” I clearly need practice in writing on myself in a legible manner.)

It’s easy to get isolated in my head; while I know my friends and family love me, they’re not physically present at all times, and the illness will try to convince me that they don’t care, that I can’t call them and reach out for support. But drawing a little cartoon owl on my arm can give me the courage to keep going, because he can remind me that my friends are there, and so is little Boggle, there on my arm, giving me sticks to keep fighting with.

I’ve never been a very spontaneous “let’s go get a tattoo!” kind of person, but damn, I want a tiny Boggle on my wrist. Nevermind that wrist tattoos, especially a new one I can’t hide, is not something employers will overlook. I’ll just keep doodling him on myself in indelible ink for the meantime and make a less spontaneous decision later.

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Captain Awkward has officially blown my socks off.

I’ve got a friend who writes for Captain Awkward, and she will periodically link to posts that are pertinent to conversations or situations at hand. I can’t honestly tell you WHY I was on Captain Awkward tonight but I can tell you, the article I found? I need to have it tattooed to my body, in its completion, so maybe I can absorb some of this through osmosis.

The article is titled How to tighten up your game at work when you’re depressed. While this wouldn’t have saved me from my situation, and I was actually doing a few of these things, they might save my NEXT job.

My favorite part:

Jerkbrain: “Oh Jennifer, you are so terrible and lazy. If anyone knew how horrible you really are, they would all flee from you! Go ahead and knit your shame into a giant lumpy turtleneck of horror…oh wait, you were too stupid to learn how to knit! Remember the time you couldn’t even knit a scarf? So you gave up on it, like you gave up on playing the flute and the guitar and the piano (insert litany of every failure or defeat ever experienced here)…like you GIVE UP ON EVERYTHING. You’re just good at fooling people so they don’t think you’re a failure, but soon your luck will run out and everyone will know what a failure you are.“

Me: ”You’re right, I am pretty horrible. Guess I better be horrible and put on some shoes and go to work.”

I’ve got to learn how to do this. Bad. Initially I could; I’d have a panic attack in the morning, so I might go in late, but I would get there, but it got worse and worse and finally I just flat out couldn’t make it. The author even talks about shame-hiding, which is something I totally do. I will avoid the hell out of my supervisor even if it means entering the building via rappelling from the roof, seriously, when I am ashamed and embarrassed and scared. The fear of having my transgression addressed is greater than any fear of what will happen; it’s the conversation itself I’m afraid of. I was pleasantly numb when I actually got fired, but the walk to HR made me want to sprint to the nearest window and fling myself outside and run into the woods. Maybe I could’ve lived there with all the wild turkeys and deer. Not knowing why I’m suddenly being called to the carpet it worst of all, and I always assume I’m being fired.

I’d sort of hoped I’d never be right, on that one.

I managed to file for unemployment on Sunday night/Monday morning; it’s all online. It took me a couple days to get there, emotionally, and now I’m kicking myself because I totally could’ve done it when I got home after being fired, and not four days later. I was so scared, though. I’m still scared.

I’m afraid I’m turning into my father, somehow. He never could hold down a job, and seems how I’ve been let go from one after nearly thirteen years of constant employment, it is OBVIOUSLY the exact same thing. I’m scared of myself, and I’m scared to ask for help from my family and friends. I’m not sure what to even ask FOR. I’ve been truly blessed; friends are helping me financially, my sister is helping me in a multitude of ways, and my former roommate filled up my pantry. Those things are probably the only reason I’m still holding relatively steady, but relatively is a pretty definitive word here.

Now to see if I can manage to go outside tomorrow. I haven’t checked my mail in over a week. I have packages to ship, and commissions to work on, and an apartment that needs a good vacuuming to catch up with the wayward fur tumbleweeds. I have paperwork to sort and file, and I’ve still got like, four loads of laundry to do at my sister’s.

I’ve just got to uncurl from the ball I’ve been in for most of four days now…

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Numb to the core

So for those of you who might have missed my unscheduled “extra” post this week, I lost my job on Wednesday. I’m honestly surprised I held on to it as long as I did. I was so burned out, so sick, so depressed, I wasn’t in any way helping my team and meeting my client’s needs like I should, and that broke my heart. This is better for my team and my clients, and when it comes down to it, that’s the most important part to me, because I loved my clients very much. I always do, even the ones that are awful and rude and whatever. I still love them. I loved my team, and I’m so glad it’ll be better for them now. I wish them all nothing but the best.

My brain immediately went into emergency case manager mode and I know everything that needs to be done, and I have a list and a plan and… I’m still horribly physically sick (eight days and counting, woo) so I spent most of Thursday and Friday asleep, trying to get well. I want to be able to take the world by storm on Monday but in order to do that I need to be able to, y’know, get from point A to point B without a coughing fit and exhaustion. Little things.

Wednesday night my sister came and kidnapped me, and she cooked me dinner, made brownies from scratch for work and we both sampled them for science (honestly it’s because the goofy kid forgot to raid my baking supplies and thus didn’t have enough vanilla, salt, or food coloring for red velvet brownies, seems how she doesn’t have all of those things yet and oddly enough I have like, two of several things, inexplicably.) The brownies turned out ok and the addition of some homemade frosting made them actually taste really chocolaty. She let me do my laundry there, as the washer and dryer are free.

Thursday, my psychologist squeezed me in immediately when I called to talk to them about losing my job and asking billing questions. Once upon a time, I remember either saying or at least thinking I’d commit suicide if I got fired, rather than go through this. I told her this, and said when it actually happened and those thoughts came back, my response was “hell no, I’ve got too much shit to do first.” She was quite relieved. I then went to see my old roommate, who had texted me and said I could come visit that day, as she was home. She had a printer she said she’d give to me a couple weeks ago that I just kept forgetting to swing by and pick up. Her husband had to work, so we hung out, and then she took me to Kroger and bought everything on my shopping list for me, and filled up the tank in my car. I definitely nearly cried several times in the store and thanked her around fifty times. Which was pretty much every time we made eye contact. Seeing the dog was hilarious; he was SO EXCITED to see me he had to be in physical contact with me AT ALL TIMES. I haven’t seen him since I moved out in May, as he was boarded for the wedding, and while I’ve seen my roommate a couple times since moving out, we’ve always met someplace else. It was nice to just spend time with her, and getting to restock my fridge and build up a stockpile again was a relief. I tried not to take too much advantage, and managed to spend less than a hundred dollars. I’ll go to the Freestore next week to stock up more on the staples there, as they have primarily dry goods and canned goods, so I was focusing on eggs-milk-yogurt and such. I did get a giant bag of rice at Kroger, as I prefer jasmine rice to regular white rice, and beggars can’t really be choosers.

I’ve had a tremendous outpouring of love from all corners of my life, too. I’m behind on commissions because I didn’t want to be getting plague germs on people’s jewelry; it’s akin to mailing smallpox blankets out in my mind and I thought that would be a bit tacky of me. I need to get stuff finished, photographed, and mailed out desperately. I’ve had a lot of purchases, and several people just outright sending me money via paypal. I almost have enough to pay this round of bills, though I’ll be calling each company and seeing what I can do to knock my bill down a bit, to make things more manageable. (Ironically, I think I’ll be bringing in more on unemployment once I get that, than I have been in months.) To be honest, this Valentine’s day was the best I’ve ever had, because so many people sent me messages and love.

I’ve got so much paperwork to find, but I know my sister and I are planning to tackle that this weekend. We got all of the recycling out of the way Wednesday and I desperately need to sweep but I am just so physically exhausted, it’s all I can do to just wander from room to room. I’m barely eating even with taking two separate steroids, and I don’t think it’s from depression, as this has been going on since I first got sick. I just am not hungry. I’ve been trying to at least not get dehydrated and get something of substance into myself at least once a day. Lots of sleeping has been done, and I’m hoping by the time you read this post I’ll feel human again.

I need to get all my paperwork sorted out so I can go get everything applied for. I’ll get the applications printed and filled out this weekend, and I also want to create a disability file, as I have all of my medical records from old providers (I am really anal retentive, seriously, but it’s the only way to go) and all of my ER paperwork and such, so if the day comes and I have to go file for disability, it’ll all be ready to go, I’ll just need files from my current providers pulled. I don’t think I’m going to file yet, as I know I can work, I just am burned out right now. I’m thinking of doing something completely different and more low-stress than case management for a while. My sister suggested copy editing, as I am very good at that sort of thing, and my old boss from my previous agency had a couple suggestions as well, one of which is like, 20/hour. I’m thinking if I can find something to support myself on that’s part-time, I can maybe even go back to school, which would knock out my student loans if I can manage part-time school work. I’d like to get my LSW or PhD or SOMETHING so I can make a bit more money, and do more of the therapy side of things. As much as I like being out in the field, I’m ready for a change.

I’m just not entirely clear on what change that might be. What I do know, however, is while I feel numb from shock, and crappy from this illness, I also feel a sense of profound relief. Obviously I needed this, and things have happened exactly as they need to be. I’m a lot less panicked than I thought I would be. Of course, at this point, I’m only a few days out so hopefully that’s not going to change.

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The day my creativity died

(First off, my apologies for any rambling or bizarre incoherency in this post. I may have written it while under the influence of Nyquil.)

As a kid, I was obsessed with the written word. OBSESSED. I was reading at the high school level in second grade. I wrote constantly. Most of it wasn’t very good, but I did it. I practically lived and breathed fantasy and science fiction; I read whatever I could get my hands on. I remember just about salivating whenever we’d go to a library, which was frequently, as no matter the size of the stack of books I took home, they were done the next day and I wanted more. Working at the library was my dream job (which I actually applied for, but was turned down, as I was exhausted from working a close at Wendy’s the night before and it showed.) My best friend had a job at the library, and I was so jealous.

I can remember several times I would disappear from events to go read a new book. Once at my own birthday party. When I was in middle school, I was allowed to take a friend with me to the family’s cabin, but I became weirdly obsessive about it and didn’t talk to her in favor of reading the stacks of books I’d brought for the first half of the vacation, and forever weirded the relationship. I couldn’t figure out why I was so oddly angry about her being there, but looking back, I think it was feeling a loss of control and not knowing what to do about it, so I buried myself in books.

I’ve been writing a series of novels spanning a huge universe I created to escape my childhood and the hell that my mind was becoming, for most of my life. The earliest writings I have are from around seventh grade. The whole universe has evolved dramatically, and the characters constantly surprise me with little tidbits about themselves. Once upon a time, I could sit and write for hours, and I would take pages with me to class to edit because I would get so bored. (Most of my high school teachers found this more amusing than anything, as I sat there scribbling with my red pen. I still had straight A’s so it’s not like I wasn’t paying attention.)

Everything changed when I went to the hospital in college, and was prescribed a mood stabilizer for the first time. Lamictal. I’ve been on it almost eight years now, and it’s been eight years since I was able to sit down and really write like I used to. I realize now that most of my writing jags were hypomanic episodes, but when I get hypomanic these days I clean the bathroom until I pass out or do something bizarre that I don’t remember later.

College has a way of turning the most prolific reader away from books, and I fell victim to that as well. I still devour books when I sit down with one but I don’t crave them like I used to. I can sit and try to write but the words don’t flow as easily now, though the story’s still there, in my blood, pulsing beneath the surface. This blog is the closest thing I have to writing continually again, and my attempt to publish something M-F is making it easier to sit down and write, at least about myself.

Someday I’ll be able to write again, but there’s just this… fog there, that refuses to lift. I know a lot of people find that fog disturbing and quit taking their medication to get the hypomania and mania back, because damn those feel good, but as I spend most of my time too depressed to function, I guess it’s worth it to me.

I can still create. I can still write, I can still create things with my hands, it just takes longer, and is harder to sit down and start than it ever was. Even after eight years it’s still hard, though my dosage has increased over that time.

I do miss those bursts of creativity and inspiration, though.

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