Rebuilding Phase

Hello again Blog,

I am having a difficult time coping with my reality-in-transition. Fundamentally, my recovery during the last 4 years has been based on having an occupation and regimented structure to prevent me from becoming depressed and relapsing. I needed something to commit to, and invest in, to further my success along the path of being mentally stable. Unfortunately, due to the nature of my reality at the moment, I am forced to start over as thought it were day 1 out of the hospital.

I spent the first week arguably in a state of torpor. I accomplished nothing, and I was, more or less, getting over the shock of having had a psychotic break aka sulking. I then started re-implementing some ground-level responsibilities. I Made sure I got out of bed every day. Step 1.  Then I took it one further and got in to the shower. The next day I gathered up my laundry and picked some shit up. I have compartmentalized my progress as to not overload myself with a burden I can’t fully comprehend, but not so little that I might be deflated for lack of visible sign of progress. This is my reconstruction. I needed to set up my own schedule, as I was not going to be driving to the office again. I gave myself tasks and set objectives out that needed to be met. Why? Pride, pure and simple: my personal antidote to depression.

Being depressed sucks, and I don’t like the way I feel when I am in that place or any number of other bad places. I avoid going there if at all possible, though often it is not. Nevertheless I still believe that if there is ANYTHING proactive one can do to help ease the burden of sorrow, one should take advantage of that. Personally, I finds pride to be a good remedy to feeling depressed or self-deprecating. I tend to counter bad thoughts with pure action; a demonstrative of (hopefully) positive thought become reality. I give no life to my depressed thoughts, but instead, show it that, time and time again, I will act on my positive feelings and execute things in my life that will raise me up rather than tear me down. It’s hard enough trying to live a normal life with the burden I carry, let alone if I can’t even adequately defend myself from my mental illness.

We all have ways to cope. Personally, I cope via elevation. I find ways out of the hole, since being down there is not any fun at all. Life is a wide open door, with lots and lots of possibilities, even for someone like me. We get so mired in our distorted perspectives of reality that we don’t see how beautiful we are and what we still have yet to give to the world. Even the most severely tortured soul deserves a chance to reconcile and get pointed forward. Optimism is what we lack, just in principle if not truly comprehended. I don’t anticipate it is easy to be optimistic about anything when one is depressed, but that is the perfect time to implement some form of structure to reality. I don’t ever trust my judgement or make big decisoons when I am depressed, ever, anymore. I learned the hard way, and maybe we all did at some point. Then, when we are sane again, and feeling hopeful about life, we write ourselves a little message for the next time we get depressed. Like a little postcard from the future when things will be different, and I won’t feel depressed, because I was doing just fine when i wrote this to myself. Go a step further and leave yourself some action items to take care of to settle acute symptoms and get yourself grounded. I took a class here in town from Recovery Innovations International called WRAP, and during that class, we created our Emergency Action Plans. Mine is still up on the main menu, and has been there for a while (probably could use some updating). I developed those words so that I wouldn’t make the wrong decision when I was at my most vulnerable and depressed state.

I still struggle with all of this, day by day, but I hold on to the concept of optimism even if I don’t truly commit to it emotionally and spiritually. The structure gives me hope that steps forward make a difference, and that’s precisely what I intend to keep on doing. Hopefully this mess with my workplace gets figured out before I have to file suit over it, but we shall see. An update for next post, to be sure.

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Possible Resolution

I’m not going to write much right now, but it is relevant to note that tomorrow I’m talking to my work to (hopefully) work out the details of my accommodation request. Its either going to be a very good thing or a big huge hassle. It would not be fun to have to march down the lawsuit road with these guys, so I’m really thinking they would like to avoid that as much as I would. Sometime tomorrow morning I should know whether or not I will be able to work the rest of the week.

I’m pretty anxious about this and just trying to take it easy this evening. I’ll keep you posted.

Return to Center

Hi blog. I know it’s been several months since I checked in, and there is a sprawling narrative behind the reasoning involved. The story I have to tell is one of great struggle to exist and sustain in society, and how difficult that is for someone who is severely mentally ill. I have dealt with deep depression, and psychotic/manic rage. I still feel a great deal of hope for my future, but anxiety is crushing me down with spun versions of a darker reality. I hope to be able to expose the last few months to you, and together we can see how the circumstances of my life caused my downfall, and eventual return to center.

About a month before I stopped blogging, the environment at work was becoming acutely toxic. I was hated, loathed even by a solid 2/3 of the people I was supposed to be coaching. It was becoming apparent that my position had no real authority, and would not be validated with any, so no one had any cause to listen to my recommendations because they knew no harm would come to them if they did not. Things had been going on this way for a year or more, and I was just becoming aware that there was no respect for me with a lot of the people that needed to see me as an instructor. Or, at least someone that had to listen to. Instead, the agents acted out against me by messing with my things at my desk, or making areas messy that I had taken the responsibility to clean. They would also use the hangouts chat to gossip about undoing thew work I was doing and how I was, essentially, a prick for asking them to not do something that directly made my job harder.

I had a meeting with my boss after I basically had a mini-meltdown at work. The main thing they wanted me to do was treat the disdain of my subordinates like “water off a duck’s back.” I agreed at the time, sensing that if this was their suggestion for how someone mentally ill should cope with a hostile work environment, I don’t want to even enter a discussion about it. I swallowed my thoughts and moved on, promptly going psychotic the following week trying to do what they asked me to do. You see, I’m not able to just let things roll off the ol’ carapace. Everything gets in, because I’m sponging up emotional vibrations, facial expressions and body language 100% of the time no matter if I want to or not. When I’m in a room with a dozen people that really don’t like me at all, that shit is like radioactivity breaking apart my DNA a little at a time, every second of the day. It was an unsustainable agony that lead to a truly scary moment of murderous psychotic rage while I was alone in my truck.

After some time away, I came to a conclusion that working remotely, as I had done in the past, would be an immediate remedy to the environmental duress I had suffered previously. The remote anonymity and even video conferences are not hostile encounters with agitated people in the same room as I am. I’m in my safe space, and I still get to see them and communicate with them. This seemed like a no-brainer since I have traditionally been far more productive on days where I have been allowed to work from home in the past. I asked for accommodation under the ADA so I could continue to work and be productive for them with a slight adjustment to my needs.

Dealing with HR has been frustrating, since they have no interest in asking me for any specifics on how I will need to be accommodated, and continually postpone acceptance of a return date as well as the specifics of what I was asking for. I’m now basically down to my last few uncommitted dollars, and I need to get back to work so I can start making money again. Then they disabled my email account at work, so I started to get suspicious that maybe they were just hoping I’d give up or something.

To be honest, I might have if not for a step I took a while ago to change the direction I wanted to take my life. I’ve been here on this blog advocating repeatedly for participation in society regardless of mental illness or disability. If you want to be productive, nothing should stand in the way of you being able to do that. I had a chance to work 40 hours a week because of my stability, but nothing is permanent with mental illness. I slid downhill for months. I stayed away from this blog for longer than I ever have before, which I knew was not a good thing. I was becoming depressed, and I felt like I was giving my daily energy to a company that was never going to appreciate who I am or what I have to offer. What was I doing with my life? Making money to pay the bills, but to what end? Saving $50 a month? For what?

I began to understand that unless I am making a difference in someone’s life with the knowledge and skills I have, I am not going to be happy. I need to affect change, and the best way I could think to do that was to start with the one thing I have truly done well with in my time: mental illness. I have a lot of real societal, intellectual and emotional success being a severely mentally ill person, and maybe I could be an inspiring force in someone’s life who also may struggle with it as I have. I went back to my old clinic, the one that raised me up from the mud of post suicidal depression 4 years ago and got me shambling forward again. I went back and started taking classes before my meltdown at work, and I had already decided then that when we all move away next summer to Sacramento,  I was going to start my life over as a peer-to-peer mental health advocate. I don’t care about income, or possessions. I just want to be out there making a difference in someone’s life, being there for a person who is down and thinking dark thoughts, and always a smiling face that appreciates the unique value we all have regardless of circumstance. I’m a step-forward kinda guy, and If I can help people get their heads out of the past and focused on what they have yet to accomplish, I think I would truly be at a place in my life I cold be proud of. I’m not happy about being a cogwheel in the massive machine of corporate greed. I want a life with meaning. I’ve fucked up so badly to (nearly) this point, and I want to give back for all the things I could have done better, and will do better now that I have learned from my mistakes.

I’ve been out of work for a while and at this point, I’ve started the formal legal process of bringing suit against my workplace for discrimination on grounds of disability. My goal here would be to get my company to recognize that they need to take me seriously and respect my rights as a disabled person or there will be consequences. I will not be pushed off or brushed aside. I would like to come back and continue to work for them until next summer, but if they keep walking down the road they are on, they’ll be sued for lost wages and damages.

People of the internets who are disabled and face unjust or inhumane practices from their workplaces: you are protected and you have rights. Don’t let them step on you, especially given how hard you had to have worked to get into a job and hold it. They don’t understand your struggle and they never will unless you hit them in the jaw with the motherfucking gavel of justice!

I don’t know what’s coming for me, but I continue to go to my groups at the clinic and I am enrolled to be certified for Peer Employment Training so I can be a P2P counselor no matter where I go. Do something in your life that makes this world a better place for us all. Things are so absurdly fucked up right now… everywhere. We need to all be helping each other. I want to do my part so I can feel good about who I am, and what I did with my life. I need to know I really did try to do the right thing, and that all I ever wanted was what was fair. I encourage you to do the same in your own respect, and find a path to self-worth that becomes a fire that will not go out.

I promise to be more regular again, for myself and to keep you all appraised of my literal quest for social justice.

 

New Activity

Hey blog, let me lead off with something I have been neglecting: Another blogger reached out to me and asked me to post a link to his top 100 bipolar blogs,  which you can look at if you are hoping to find more bipolar information or hear different takes on having the disorder. I believe consolidating the bipolar experience is a good thing, and worth my support. I was 38 on the list (when last I checked) which is much higher than I deserve for what little actual content I provide here.

 

I am back in training this week, three students, for the next five weeks. I really love teaching, so it hardly feels like work. Much different job I’m doing now, for sure. So things in the environment have been better, and on the homefront my social circles are expanding. I’m spending more time with friends in general.I think the new 60 mg of Latuda is restoring a lot of positive energy in my life, and my quirky enthusiasm is coming out. I feel like a really effective teacher in my classroom at the current moment.

Sadly, looks like my computer is on life support. I think my motherboard is on it’s last legs. Can’t run anything in the PCI-E slots, can’t go to bios. It’s an investment that needed to have been made at some point anyway, so now is as good a time as ever. At least my onboard GPU.

 

I’m coasting. My physical exercise is on hold for the time being, as I no longer have the time to do that. Training is 8.5 hours straight and in order to stay caught up I’m working through my breaks. I’m willing to make sacrifices because I will cut corners in slow times and shit like that, and shave a few minutes off my shift when there’s not much going on. When it’s time to hustle, and get shit done, you better be fucking ready, otherwise you’re a loafer. I hustle, like right now, and for the next five weeks. It feels like salary position sometimes. I like that status, even if it is a lot of work. Completing hard things builds you up.

 

Have a great day blog, hopefully I can get my computer back to life with a new PSU.

Winding Down Normal

Mental Health: +3.5

Body Energy: +2
It’s the last full day of vacation, which has me thinking about how horrible work is going to be when I get back. A rude awakening from this lush, verdant paradise I find myself in. The air here is so clean. 


I have enjoyed my stay up here at 6,200 feet above sea level. Soon it will be time to make the long 530 mile journey home. To separate oneself from the usual and introduce the extrodinary has proven to be a thoroughly rewarding activity. I think I will be ready to go back when it is time. 

Carly is back in my world and I am very glad to have her. She adds an electric spark to my reality where there was previously emptiness. I still worry that our physical relationship might be limited or cause anxiety, but we will just have to play that as it comes. I really like her, and I’m very attracted to her as well, so there are all the ingredients to a successful pairing. I need more friends, and Carly is that and then some. I hope I get to spend some time with her in person soon, I really miss staring into her beautiful eyes. She is strikingly gorgeous. 

I don’t know what’s next, but life never ceases to amaze me with its twists and turns. Anything is possible, as long as you are alive and in the world to experience it. I won’t raise my expectations just yet, as the future is very uncertain. I have boundless optimism at this point. My scores are pretty good, and I’m feeling very alive. I hope this continues. 

Have a good day blog. 

Vacation

Well blog, I’m on a long holiday with my family in South Lake Tahoe.  It was a break I sorely needed as the monotony of the sequence had become overwhelming. I’m glad to have this time off, and I will make good use of it. Bonding with family is critical when presented with the opportunity. My hope is to continue to be there when called for and respond with alacrity. 

It came to my attention that a friend from my past saw and commented on a post I made a while ago in reference to an anxiety driven paranoid speculation I turned into a post. I don’t blame you for being upset Ian, but remember, I’m pretty much insane, so take it or leave it. I have no intent of causing harm, I’m just really lost in my anxiety and speculations can quickly become my reality. It’s a terrible curse, and it has caused me no end of trouble at almost all my workplaces. 

The fact remains that my primary objective is to find stability and strength again. I have clearly experienced setbacks along the way, but my course remains the same. This blog serves as an emotional canvas by which the story of my struggle is told. It reveals all the ugly truths and the odious lies of my inmost thoughts. I don’t hide that shit from you. I let you see the whole crazy. I make sure to check in when I most experience symptoms so we have a benchmark for certain behaviors and feelings. This is not only about documentation, it’s about observation and reaction. I look back over all the crazy shit I write and gather a better understanding of the pattern of my behavior. My anxiety continues to skyrocket as the months go by, and this has contributed (in large part) to my insane rants. If any of that puts things into perspective Ian you’d understand where I was when I wrote that post, opposed to where I am now. Hopefully logic prevails. 
In the meantime, im spending the next several days with my family in lovely South Lake Tahoe. There will be many activities, drugs and good eats. Precisely the thing I needed. It is a much needed break, as I have stated. 

I’m thinking of taking up the daily emotional health score, but also making it more elaborate. Not only will my score render an emotional health score, but also a physical energy score which will be calculated on weariness, lack of motivation, abandonment of hygiene, slowness or stiffness and general inability to go. I will still render each on the +/- 10 scale as this most appropriately narrates the nature of bipolar disorder. The more accurately I report the better chance I have of charting issues before they become problems. This whole thing is about self improvement. Hopefully I can continue to do that. 

Have a good night blog, I’m all partied out. 

Going

It’s been a while since I checked in, and that’s largely for encouraging reasons. I tend to feel the need to write when things are turbulent, and within the past two weeks things have been pretty good. I have been taking the Latuda for a while now and I think the 40 mg dose is having an effect. My mood has been better, and my energy is up a bit. I’m back to a good level of exercise and my sleep has been fairly consistent. 

I am more resolved now than ever before to stay single and live my life the way I want. I don’t need approval from anyone but myself. My intent is to do the best job I can being who I am  and hold my head up with the realization of that. I’m severely mentally ill, but I won’t let that own my life. 

Will came down and visited, which was really great. We hung out like the old days and it reminded me of all the good times we’ve had together. We have been hanging out online and playing games with friends lately which has been excellent fun. The longer this pattern goes on the happier I’ll be. 

I’ve had some hard times in the recent past. I have also taken action when I noticed things were getting bad. I have been trying to be friends with Amanda, but I feel like I felt right before I broke up with her. It’s the same pattern of frustration and I don’t think I have any relevance to her anymore, or ever at all. I thought I could help her get a fresh start and provide guidance as someone who has successfully recovered from total life collapse, but I have doubts as to my messages being understood. Mind you, my life collapse was not as severe as hers, but many of the parallels should be noted. I have wisdom to give, though it is not “fun” to hear. Often times recovery isn’t about making the easy choice, but the one we must face down in order to go farther. Progress is earned, and the reward is pride. I don’t think Amanda gets that, which is still painful to see unfold. 

All I want is to help. I care about some people, and I don’t hesitate to offer assistance to those who need it, whether they ask for it or not. Sometimes help is a hug, or a smack in the face, but it serves a purpose either way, and that is to promote and acknowledge healthy behaviors. I myself have taken this type of advice and adopted regular meditation to my bedtime routine. I’m very reluctant to meditate because it is ridiculously hard to calm my mind for more than a couple of seconds. It’s a huge battle for me, but it is part of training my mind and to have control over my thoughts. People told me to be more mindful, and here I am implementing that in my personal reality. As a result, I have conclusively increased the sleep stage that provides me with a rested feeling the next day (Fitbit calls this: deep sleep). I was averaging less than an hour per night, and waking up feeling groggy and I was behind schedule. Since the meditation, that number has risen to more than an hour and a half, and I’ve had several excellent mornings in a row now. I do indeed practice what I preach. 

I hope you all have a good night. I’m happy that tomorrow is Thursday and we are but a stone’s throw from the weekend. Jubilation!