A Decision Made

I had been living in a world of ambiguity, unsure as to what direction I would be headed. I didn’t know if I should continue to be true to my workplace or to march ahead with my life helping the mentally ill. I needed clarity and things were coming to a head.

As of this moment, my independent life is over. I am living in my parent’s living room for the next 7 months. We are all, as I have stated in previous posts, moving north in July 2018. I had hoped to be working and saving money during that time, but instead I have sued my workplace for discrimination. That process has moved forward to the point of a formal demand letter. I did not know what my future was going to be and perhaps I still don’t. However, I do have some clarity that I want to spend my time helping people and getting back in touch with my peers. I have been a cog in the corporate machine before, and I reject that as a meaningful contribution. I want meaning. I NEED to be doing something that has an impact. I’ve solved problems for customers, yes. It is not the same as picking someone up off the floor and helping them walk again.

I do believe the lawsuit will be settled out of court. The money I receive should be comparable to what I would have made if I still worked most of next year. I hope that I can be kept occupied by my new direction. I need a formal, professional, helpful relationship to engage with. Life has been a scramble with me moving out, and the dust is beginning to settle. I feel like I am headed in the right direction, but there is still quite a bit to be done. Today I have my interview with NAMI at 4. I am very excited to meet them and express my enthusiasm for the opportunity.

I am definitely in a fiction place rather than non fiction. I am rebooting The Realm for my friends and running a d20 game. First one I’ve run in maybe 10 years. I’ve always been down to run games, I just never had the spark. I seem to have found that now, at least, which has spurned a beautiful creative process. I have written a great deal of fiction, none of which is in any sort of final state. I will however post my most polished turd for you to gawk at. Creative input requested!

As the days go on, the future resolves itself further. I’m encouraged by the progress I’ve made and glad to have something fun to ponder about. The story  have in mind for them is QUITE compelling. Dramatic. Inspiring. Own horn. Tooted.

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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.

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.

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. 

Almost

The end of Sunday is approaching and I’m down to one more social event for the remainder of the weekend. The social will continue on into tomorrow as we are doing another family dinner then too. It’s been 3 days of happy times, laughing, drinking beer, smoking a little weed and generally relaxing in the sun. I have no complaints, however the taxation of my energy level remains another matter entirely. I feel like I’m running on fumes headed into this last little dinner thing we are having tonight. It’s not going to be much, but it’s still going out and putting on a show. People love the show, mind you, so my presence is welcome. I generally feel nourished being around all my family too, which adds a bit of fuel to the fire. I am making it and I am doing a great job. I am also getting lots of positive feedback which has helped bolster my confidence. I know the person I am and so does everyone else, and we all agree I’m pretty cool.

 

I’m going to take a break from this blog post and write the rest of it when I get back from the party. Continuation below.

 


 

Well other than the elaborate conservative vs. liberal argument about new parent’s dependance on state provided services to raise a child, it was an okay evening. Hopefully a healthy difference of opinion doesn’t ruin their already tenuous relationship. For my part I talked and cleaned up after dinner and had a good time overall. I’m home now and in my jams, just where I hoped I’d be right about now. Sadly, this :45 minutes of peace and solace bumps right against bed-time. Tomorrow is another day jammed from start to finish with more shit to do. I think though I don’t have anything on Tuesday.

 

I’m in a pessimistic place right now and I want to rant but holding myself back. Right now ranting about things I have no control over isn’t going to help me realize anything new, and is certainly not causing a reduction in the feelings. I’m better off just swallowing my thoughts and granting them some internal recognition: yes I think that behavior is pretty negative, yes the way I am being treated is not particularly respectful, yes eventually there you will know for certain and there will be resolution of sorts. I don’t mind the waiting but it is hard to watch a slow death of something that at one time looked very promising. I’m being ambiguous intentionally. 

Well it’s my bed time. I partied, I lived the life. Now reality will be mashing pans together at 4:15 tomorrow morning and I need to be ready. So goodnight.