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! 

Time To Check-In

I am creating a new one of these because the one I used in the past is a piece of crap. This is an evaluative tool to help me better understand the health of all the various aspects of my bipolar mind. I am creating it to help demonstrate where I still need to improve and bring to light any glaring weaknesses in my current approach based on a simple analysis of the conditions of my conscious state. WARNING: this evaluative tool is custom tailored for ME and my Bipolar type II symptoms with the questions it asks, it may not be useful unless fucked with a bit.

 

Rate each question 1, for strongly disagree, to 10, strongly agree. 5 for neutral

Mental

Anxious thoughts under control? 6

Depressed thoughts popping up often? 1

Any self-harming thoughts? 1

Is is difficult to concentrate? 4

Do you have volatile emotional responses to things? 2

Are you talking before you are thinking? 2

Have you been blogging with regularity? 9

Have you practiced meditation for 10 minutes a day? 1

Did you motivate yourself to do something that needed to be done? 10

Have you been feeling aggressive, irrational, risky and obsessed? 1

Have you been feeling lethargic, disinterested, uninspired and lost? 2

Have you been genuinely happy in the past few days? 9

Have you been so sad you cried lately? 10

Would you consider yourself stable? 10

Physical

Are you capable of sustained activity of 30 minutes or more? 2

Have you met The Determined Penguin Project weight goal? 1

Have you been meeting your goals with Fitbit consistently? 10

Have you lost weight this week? 5

Has your energy been stable and at a good level the past few days? 9

Have you been sleeping 8 hours a night? 3

Are you eating food that will improve your physical health? 2

Are you increasing your activity level next week? 10

Less Than Maximum

Score: +3

231 Day Average: +2.93

I haven’t really had the “umph” to write much lately. Things at work have been complex and energy-consuming, but I generally enjoy the work I do more than I did in the past. I just wish I was making what I’m worth.

I’ve had a bit of a break from stress lately. Things have been less crazy-intense. I’m finding I have a bit more energy after my shift is over, and I can muster the strength to do a few chores here and there. Amanda is back in a depressive cycle. She’s with her doctor right now trying to work with him on a solution. She missed work again today and things have been hard for her at work because of it. She’s struggling, and there’s nothing I can do about it but be there to comfort her.

My parents are coming back this week, and I think Amanda and I are going over to their mobile abode Friday after work. It’s been more then 4 months since I saw them. I’m looking forward to this week being over for more reasons than that. I feel like my energy reserves are draining slowly, and soon I will not have much left. I need better sleep, and I really wish I could wake up quickly and get going. Things have been a slog for me in the mornings. Maybe I’m getting depressed too?

Amanda bought me an e-cig for my birthday (which is coming up) and I really like it. I was about to go buy a pack of cigarettes because I had the craving SO BAD, but this seemed like a better solution. I got smoky flavors, and they are nice. i can’t imagine the sweet tasting ones… yorf. I much prefer vaping pot, or smoking musky cigarettes or cloves. It’s the bold smoke taste that gets me. I also like black coffee, see STRONG. Anyway, I brought it with me to work and it was cool having it on my 15 minute breaks. I’ve been following fantasy football through the week but not doing that second-guessing thing I had been doing. IO lost last week because I did that. So now, I’m just going to go with the initial gut-reaction and play it from there. Rethinking things only leads to disaster.

Have a good day blog, nice to see you.

Disenchanted 

Score: +2.5

It’s been a tough couple of days. With the heat being as unrelenting as it has been, I’ve not been getting good rest and feeling generally irritable. I had a bad nightmare two nights ago, and that can make my neurochemistry imbalanced the following day. Yesterday I only worked a half day. I just reached a breaking point and just lost all energy and focus. Today it was much the same, but I got 3/4 of the way and bailed out. I have been having a very hard time focusing on my job. My mind wanders and I can’t concentrate on what I’m doing. I often find myself typing things out that I’m thinking rather than what I should be doing. This has been getting worse lately, peaking today, where nearly everything was off. I was double checking, which made the already tedious process even slower. I’m not sure what my problem is. 

I know I deal with ADD symptoms, but I’ve always been able to push through it. This week though… I’m hopeful that tomorrow will be better. 

I’m also feeling increasingly depressed. I don’t know what trigger is. This heat is like poison to me. Maybe that long weekend just contrasted so harshly with the brutality of the work week in a very stark way. I wish I was still having fun like I did, but that’s not realistic. Life is mostly work, occasionally enjoyable. There are people out there who genuinely love their jobs, but I do not. My job is hard, and as ceaseless as the mail. I never truly enjoyed it, even when I first started. I’m good at it, and I understand it well enough, but I don’t take much pleasure from it. This will be my lot, because I don’t get to just choose whatever I want to do. I dropped out of college, and I have no skill that is something that I would like to do professionally. I could see myself as a PC game designer, or managing a computer repair shop… maybe. But these are dreams, and just as unattainable as my other incorporeal fancies. I don’t spend much time on things that will never “be.”

I’m sure this will pass. I just need to hunker down and get through this rough spot. It’s not as hot today as it was yesterday. Maybe I’ll feel better tomorrow.  

Subdued

Score: +3

I’ve had some lazy days before, but TODAY was a level of slouchatude that I have rarely embraced in all my life. Both Amanda and I worked pretty much all day yesterday doing chores. We celebrated by driving up to the top of Mt. Helix in La Mesa to watch the sunset above the city. It was hazy, and surprisingly crowded up there, but we had a good time. We drank coffee and stayed up way too late watching movies.

Today, on the other hand…

The only thing we managed to do was get to Target and buy some things for the boy, since we have him next week starting Monday evening. Other than that, I watched the Padres lose today to the Cardinals, and I tried to nap but just laid in bed with my eyes closed wishing I could. I think maybe this is a communal decision to just let everything go today and try to recharge the energy battery with a very busy week coming up. I know I will be ready to go tomorrow.

I haven’t been able to focus on anything for any decent amount of time. ADD hitting me today. Fuck, it’s taken me 30 minutes just to write these two paragraphs. I need to just sit back and let go. I’m stressing about not doing anything.

The Shift

Score: +2.5

Everything is changing. I have a new shift at work, from 5:30 am to 2:00 pm. I can’t tell you how glad I am to be done with that evening schedule.  Now, I will have half of my day left to do with as I please, with no more aborted mornings and abbreviated nights. Im going to miss just sleeping in until I woke up naturally, but that is a luxury I am fully willing to sacrifice for time. 

I had my first of seven consecutive days of work today, a Sunday 6:00 am to 3:00 pm shift. The call volume was so unbelievably slow that I damn near drove myself insane with boredom. I feel so mentally and physically exhausted, and yet, I did very few things to justify this. Boredom leads to very negative anxiety coming out of the depths and haunting me. I know I must be able to be bored and not spiral out of control, and facing this issue is very important to me. There are going to be times where I get bored, but I do not want that to be a trigger for anxiety. Amanda suggested I read a book, which is very doable from my computer at my desk. She’s concerned because I have allowed myself to spiral down because of anxiety and crash, and she was there to help me get grounded again. But it was scary. I get that. It’s scary for me too. 

Most importantly though, my world has been shifted by four hours. It’s still light outside, and I am tucked under my blankie and ready for bed. I feel like my brain got run over by a semi. Tomorrow, my alarm will sound at 4:30 am and I will need to collect myself and get going. I will go in at my new time and turn the page on those months of 9:30 starts. 

All in all, this is a much needed transition. I will be able to exercise with Amanda in the evenings and we will get to spend way more time together than ever before. Which is great because I really love being with her. She makes me very happy. 

Goodnight blog. Today was one of seven. Tomorrow will be day two. 

Bipolar Day

Score: +2

I was all over the place. I attempted to abruptly change my schedule today by waking up at 4:00 am to be at my desk by 5:00 am. I did manage to accomplish this. Why? Because I had a 2:00 psychiatry appointment with my new doctor, and if I started work at 5:00 am I would be done working by 1:30 pm. But my body had something different in mind. I got all the way to work, and took the first call of the day, but I could hardly talk. My speech was slurred like I was drunk. I had a very difficult time concentrating, and my eyes were drifting closed. I could not function, so I drove myself home, and proceeded to sleep for four more hours. Never doing THAT again. 

But while I had the time, I called in about another collections agency that had come asking for money. Money that I indeed owe them, mind you. I spoke to Gregory, and he didn’t mince words: he said my calling in to settle the debt was a “good faith gesture” and he then enrolled me in a total debt consolidation program. They took my entire federal debt and settled it, then set up a payment plan with me over the next 25 years to get the debt paid back (in increments I will be able to afford). That’s good news. 

I met with Dr. Paintal today. She’s an older Indian woman who seems approachable and practical. I explained my history, and stressed the importance of balance. She was attentive and understanding. It was a great meeting. I got my medications refilled and will go pick them up tomorrow, but will have to pay for them for the first time in a while. I think I’m going to get along well with my new doctor. 

I have settled in to understanding the way to victory in my 1 vs 1 skirmishes against the Hard AI. I have won on every map starting with Argonath and ending at Cair Andros. I just recently won with Isengard against Rohan, and that was an Uruk spam if ever there was one. I sprinkled in some crossbowmen with steel bolts to thin the infantry, then the wall of Uruk-hai would get to their archers. It seems the key to any kind of success is establishing a thriving economy. Before and real combat begins, my bases have 3 – 5 resource buildings all at level 3 production. Getting big armies and heroes on the field takes lots of income, and the AI will rapidly overrun you if you can’t get control of at least 50% of the settlements. I’m playing on random now, just trying to get familiar with the different factions. The mod is great fun, and even Tristan is into it. 

Well. Two good things and one bad thing. I’ll take that.