Sunday, August 30, 2015

In Search of Equilibrium

He warned me about potential suicidal thoughts. He didn’t mention that I would feel like I was falling down on the inside.

I had to get out of the shower early because I felt like I was going to fall down on the outside. I had to get off the stairs, because it didn’t feel right for me to be there. Imminent danger. Essentially, I felt euphoric this morning until the side effects hit me.

And then all I really wanted to do was cry.

I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t type, I couldn’t do anything involving motion of any sort. We were supposed to go to the Zombie Walk in Salt Lake City this afternoon. Strangely, I was a zombie. But I couldn’t walk.

Let’s go back to the very beginning (a very good place to start, sang Maria in The Sound of Music). Holy losing focus, Batman. Wait, what is Batman doing here?

This is kind of what came out of my brain when I got out of the hospital, when they had me REALLY high on OCD meds. I wrote enough to fill a book, but it was gibberish. Now I realize that I was still manic at the time.

This time, it only took a 25 mg dosage increase for me to feel “off.” Once it accumulated in my blood, I was pretty much screwed. And I ask, how ever did I drive around on 150 mg of this stuff running through my veins? I tried the increase up to 100 mg and I feel…as they say, all the feels. Confusion mostly.

To quote my phone, which I used to record my thoughts earlier:

Hey I just realized I can take notes with this thing. Cool beans I wanted to write about how this medication makes me feel because the memories are flooding back of when I used to be on too much vacation and when I fell into my airplane seat and when I would Scooch my butt LOL when I couldn’t get down the stairs without falling. How was a functioning on that much medication I was driving around cracked out of my moon. That’s not safe. When you shake so badly that you fold-down that’s not a good thing you shouldn’t be out driving. No wonder I was nonfunctional and how can you benefit from the euphoria if you crying because the side effects how does this make me better? It’s the day of the zombie walk and I can’t walk because I’m a zombie.

Some of it was the microphone’s fault. Most of it was the medication. It made a lot more sense at the time. Now it’s time to pose a question:

“If wellness in this what in hell’s name is sickness?” Amanda Palmer, Runs in the Family, Who Killed Amanda Palmer, 2008.


Friday, August 28, 2015

Quack Quack Quack

Houston, we have a problem.

The problem is that medicine is an inexact science. And that most doctors, at their best, are not exactly rocket scientists.

First we have your garden variety lack of professionalism. Take, for example, the doctor prescribing my medication the summer I ended up in the hospital. He seemed far more interested in talking about sex than my psychological problems, at a time when I really needed help. Thanks doc. I know I’m cute. Could you maybe not contribute to my suicidal proclivities? Thank you so much.

Then we have the doctors that ignore the whole doctor-patient confidentiality thing. You think I’m anorexic? Don’t tell my father. Legally I’m an adult and if that’s your professional opinion, you should be giving it to me.

Straight up incompetence is next. There was a doctor at a clinic in Caldwell, ID that barely looked at me, didn’t draw blood, and diagnosed me with a run-of-the-mill virus. You go home and get some rest, stupid college girl. Knowing that wasn’t the right diagnosis, I got a second opinion. Jeepers, it turned out that my white blood cell count was sky high. I had a severe case of mononucleosis. Thanks for the advice, first doctor, or as I like to call him, Doctor No.

Psychiatry is by far my favorite place to find incompetence and/or complete lack of regard for the person being treated. My counselor and psychiatrist that didn’t take me seriously when I said I thought I was suffering from postpartum depression. And they made light of my anxiety problems. Gee, you’ve had OCD since you were five? Here’s a nice handout on how to think your way out of general anxiety problems. You’ll somehow magically think your way out of this hell-hole you’ve mysteriously found yourself in. Best of luck!

Then there was the lovely woman I refer to as my Shrinky Dink. Oh, blurred vision and diarrhea is perfectly normal on this medication? How nice that you would prescribe it when my husband’s overseas and I’m stuck in BFE, WY trying to take care of my daughter on my own. Clearly driving, or even getting off the toilet, are inconsequential at best compared to my need for this medication!
It gets much, much worse. Oh you had a seizure? Let me send you to a neurologist for an MRI, it couldn’t be the medication. Oh how funny, you were referred to my husband, who happens to be a neurologist.  You have a lump in your throat? And you’ve been gaining a ton of weight? It couldn’t be a side effect, it must be cancer. Oh, you’re lactating. You must have breast cancer. You say you haven’t had your period? It’s surely early menopause. Or aliens impregnated you. Or it’s CANCER CANCER CANCER CANCER CANCER.

How many times do you need to tell a severely anxious person that she MIGHT have cancer? Because that sort of speculation gets disconcerting after oh, say, THE FIRST TIME YOU MENTION IT.

My question remains: they educate these people at some point, right? I heard you have to have a ton of education and training to be a doctor. But experience would indicate that I’m wrong.

My latest medical professional is more confident than competent, I am afraid. No, seriously, I am afraid. I think I may have to switch doctors. Your current psychiatric medication isn’t curing your blues? Let’s double it. Unfortunately I have a sordid history with that particular medication. Which includes a seizure and several other episodes of uncontrollable shaking, not just a tremor, but shaking so violent that I would sometimes fall down. Don’t they write this information down somewhere? Oh, right, they did on that one form, from my old psychiatrist. It is currently collecting dust, neatly tucked away in a government building next to The Lost Ark.

I know there are good doctors out there, somewhere. I must not have stumbled upon them yet. Let’s hope I don’t actually stumble and break something, because I might refuse treatment. My bad experiences have made me a little paranoid that these doctors are actually *trying* to kill me...

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Lucky 13

I feel like I'm 90 years old putting my meds together for the week. Somehow I'm back up to thirteen pills again. I'd be lying if I said the ritual of organizing my meds wasn't comforting. And these lovely little drugs and supplements help to bring balance to my mind, and certainly prevent me from performing other rituals.

I've actually reduced most dosages, believe it or not. I used to be on twice the amount of clomipramine (for the OCD). It used to make me shake so badly that I would fall down, and I even experienced something like a seizure while on double the dose. My current dosage of 75 mg per day keeps the intrusive thoughts at bay without the nasty side effects.

I'm only on 10 mgs of Abilify, used as a mood stabilizer for bipolar. And it used to help me sleep. I had to add more lorazepam (commonly known as Ativan) to achieve that end since the job hunt has been going terribly. I suspect that these two drugs have something to do with the massive weight gain I've had over the past year. I also know that being mostly sedentary also has something to do with that though. I'm either skinny and insane, or more robust and rational. There is no between.

I am tempted to go back on Zyprexa, though that drug made me gain sixty pounds within a few months. It makes you crave sugar and eat it with sheer abandon: it often causes diabetes. But the dreams I had on it were so profound and expansive that I now wish I'd put them in a journal. The sleep was deep, and satisfying. Not like this light sleep I've been getting these past several months. I would certainly choose it as a mood stabilizer if I didn't know it makes me capable of eating a five pound bag of gummi bears within two days.

My other drugs I must list like they were failed relationships. Oh Geodon, it was so easy sleeping with you but losing my menstrual cycle was just too psychologically damaging. Latuda, you were far too expensive for my blood. Though we flirted with success, Seroquel, our affair was all too brief and ineffectual. Then there is the drug whose name escapes my memory, I just remember the disturbing blurred vision and the consequent trip to the ER. Physically abusive, that one. And interestingly, way too intense for someone with my psychological problems.

I go back to the doctor tomorrow to beg for more meds, for more effective meds, for sleep. Cross your fingers and toes for me that the new meds don't turn me into a zombie.

Monday, August 24, 2015

On Unsound Sleep: Petrifying Paralysis

At first I was terrified that I was going insane.

It was a typical college afternoon where I’d had a decent four hours of sleep the night before. My academic trials were on hiatus for the day and I thought I’d treat myself to a nap. I settled into the bottom half of the dorm bunk bed and fell asleep within moments.

It was under such circumstances that I encountered two strange entities.

The first entity I encountered was more than a wisp of evil. It disrupted my naps by clawing on the underside of my mattress. Unable to move or scream, I was enduring what is commonly known as sleep paralysis. As if the terrible sensations weren’t enough, there was a voice that roughly whispered a single command: GET OUT.

Then there was a benevolent presence, first making a silent appearance sitting on the edge of my bed. Once again, I could not move or open my eyes, but I felt whole, and loved. I later asked my boyfriend if he was watching me while I was sleeping. He said no.

I moved into a single-person dorm room and the experiences progressed. There was heavy breathing on the part of the evil entity, and prolonged scratching on the side of the wall nearest my bed. Once the benevolent spirit cradled me, and somehow I could sense that it was neither male nor female. I asked it not to leave me, and it replied simply, “I won’t.”

All the while during these episodes, I could hear the young man practicing the trumpet on the second floor. I could hear the entire conversation of roommates across the hall. Trapped between states of sleep and consciousness, I could not will myself to wake.

But eventually, I could open my eyes.

The white entity was often a flash of light darting throughout the room. The dark entity took on more ominous forms, often appearing as a gray mist. I would often pry my eyes open to see a gray curtain hovering at the edge of my bed.

In its final and most terrifying appearance, the gray curtain turned into a funnel. My mouth opened but I could not scream, and could not stop it from forcing itself between my open jaws. I finally woke, sitting fully upright in my bed. It wasn’t real, I told myself. It wasn’t real.

My friends suggested that I have the room blessed. But despite my almost daily visitations, I felt safe in my room during the day.

After enduring one particularly vivid episode, I called my mother for assurance that I wasn’t actually insane or experiencing a haunting. She replied that she herself had similar episodes. The most unsettling of these experiences happened one night when my father woke up to use the restroom. My mother, half asleep, felt who she thought was him get back into bed with her.  Then, much to her distress, my father actually returned to the bed. Like mother, like daughter: some studies indicate that sleep paralysis has genetic links.
The feeling of sleep paralysis would occasionally plague me after college. Because those who suffer from sleep paralysis are often given the same medication I take for OCD, I have not experienced it in about six years. Interestingly, WebMD states that sleep paralysis is often linked to bipolar disorder. That explains a lot, but doesn’t really make my hallucinations any less disturbing.

There is information all over the internet about the still somewhat mysterious phenomenon of sleep paralysis. For my fellow nerds, here is an excellent blog about Edgar Allan Poe and his descriptions of this lovely condition.

Sleep well, my friends. Pleasant dreams...

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Mommy Guilt

The first day of the school year is tomorrow. My daughter couldn't be more excited. A nerd like her mother, she absolutely loves learning. Since I currently don't get many jobs as a substitute, I am not really looking forward to the many lonely hours without her.

And I also have an immense amount of guilt that I couldn't give her a sibling. I have lovely sisters, one younger and one older. On the left, you can see me bidding my older sister a tearful goodbye as she embarked on her first day of school. I thought for certain that she was never coming back. But of course, she did. And we have enjoyed many happy years together as friends and siblings.
I feel devastated that Violet will never know what it's like to have a brother or sister. My sisters have helped a great deal to shape who I am, and I love them both dearly. Violet constantly complains that she is lonely. And it's a loneliness not even a cat or a dog could ever cure.

I always felt strongly about having a second child, but both marital partners have to be on board for that sort of decision. After Violet's birth I faithfully took birth control but silently prayed that I would get pregnant on accident. But my husband was right not to want to have another child in many ways. I was more than a bit of a train wreck, before and after my hospitalization. If having one child stressed me out so much how could I possibly handle two? He asked. And I know it would have been difficult.

But a part of me also knows that for the love of both children, I would have made it work.

Now Violet is nine, and though my stability has increased dramatically, I feel I'm too old to have a baby. Violet is perfect in every way to me, it just tears at my heart that I couldn't be more for her. She has my adorable niece and a few good friends she considers to be sisters, and that will have to be enough.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Mostly Planned Articles

I've penned two articles at Mostly Planned: When In Doubt and Conversations with the Cat. Hope you enjoy.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

I Wish You

I wish you bluebirds in the spring
To give your heart a song to sing
And then a kiss
But more than this
I wish you love

And in July, a lemonade
To cool you in some leafy glade
I wish you health
And more than wealth
I wish you love

My aching heart and I agree
That you and I could never be
So with my best,
My very best,
I set you free.

I wish you shelter from the storm,
A cozy fire to keep you warm,
But most of all
When snowflakes fall,
I wish you love!

An old Frank Sinatra song is haunting me tonight. It makes me think of all of the lovers, and would-be lovers, I have ever had. It is a short list, but there is unfathomable quality on it. And then there was the one who truly broke my heart. Though most likely unintentional, he almost broke my mind as well.

Tonight, I ask, am I adult enough to wish him love?

I like to think that I am human enough not to begrudge anyone something as essential as love. And yet rage gnaws on me. Why should someone get away with being so apathetic? We were young and stupid, that is true. But I was willing to love, whereas he was willing to simply lust. Can I ever forgive him for something that has irreparably damaged me?

His actions were not without consequence in the long run. His lack of courage to love has impacted every relationship I have had since. And for that I am sorry. I am learning (albeit slowly, painfully slowly) how my emotional turmoil has affected my lovers, my true friends. It weighs on me almost daily.

But the most I can hope is that he found himself, perhaps in the state of being unloved, perhaps in the state of somehow being devoid of ego. If he has found himself in such a desperate state, I do wish him love.

If he still loves himself above all else, I wish him nothing.

Scrambled Eggs

Care-charmer Sleep, son of the sable Night,
Brother to Death, in silent darkness born:
Relieve my languish, and restore the light,
With dark forgetting of my cares, return;
And let the day be time enough to mourn
The shipwreck of my ill-adventur'd youth:
Let waking eyes suffice to wail their scorn,
Without the torment of the night's untruth.
Cease dreams, th' imagery of our day-desires,
To model forth the passions of the morrow;
Never let rising sun approve you liars,
To add more grief to aggravate my sorrow.
Still let me sleep, embracing clouds in vain;
And never wake to feel the day's disdain

Samuel Daniels 1562-1619

During "the shipwreck of my ill-adventur'd youth," I sang Dominick Argento's setting of this poem. Music was my life for so long, and I don't take my experiences with it lightly. Old friends often ask me if I still sing. And I reply that I do. I sing in the shower; I sing opera while doing housework, probably to the puzzlement of my neighbors within earshot.

Those who thought me a diva may be surprised by this, but singing in public was never comfortable for me. It was rather uncomfortable in fact, in a I-want-to-barf-my-brains out sort of sense. Nothing beats the feeling or comfort of singing in a choir: nothing rivals the sheer pants-peeing terror of having to sing BY YOURSELF, IN FRONT OF PEOPLE.

But I digress.

What was the point of the poem? Yes, sleep is necessary to restore the calm, to temporarily suppress the past, even though our dreams may be liars at times. And the last line? A tad morbid for me now, but at times I have wished upon myself the sweet embrace of eternal sleep.

That's another story. Or perhaps a series of stories.

To finally get to the point, insomnia sucks and I need more sleep. It is my own fault, you see. I drink too much caffeine and consume too much sugar during the day. Combine that with no exercise and you get (shocker) no sleep. Even though I take enough anti-anxiety meds and mood stabilizers to subdue a small horse.

The thought of a small horse brings me to another subject that's been weighing on my mind. It weighs quite dramatically on my body too. Despite my old foray into Beachbody territory, I have re-gained my weight over these long vacation months. How much weight? Only my scale knows for sure. But this lack of sleep and exercise, plus medication, makes for one unhealthy chick.

It really doesn't help that the only time I feel inspired to write is between one and five in the morning. But I guess we don't get to choose when we are inspired. I'm just hoping the clickety-clack of my keyboard isn't reaching the ears of my sleeping husband.

In summary, I've covered stage fright, small horses, insomnia, medication, and inspiration. With a light touch on suicidal ideation.  Without further complication, I'm going to scramble some eggs, much to my mouth's elation.

Sleep tight, or at least until a decent hour. I'll be envious.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Plague in My House

I had the best of intentions. I took my meds and was in bed by 7:30.

First I learned today that Turbo, our eldest cat at 13, has diabetes in addition to her inflammatory bowel disease. Little did I know that another of the small females in my house was about to get sick.

I gave Violet a bowl in case, say, she couldn't make it to the toilet. "But I'm all done throwing up," she protested. Sure you are kid, but we're already down a bathmat.

So now I'm up with laundry going and little else I can do without waking the household.

It's really too bad that I have an archive of bad poetry I could expose you to at this interesting hour, but it's locked up tight behind a Windows 10 error. I suppose it forces me to think of fresh material. But at the same time, it's distressing to be separated from so many of your thoughts and ideas.

There have been times in my life where, for reasons of stress and chemical imbalance, I found myself separated from more normal thoughts, allowing me to live, temporarily, in an alternate reality. The professionals called me delusional. Later, even my aspirations to become a singer were written off by my psychiatrist as a delusion of grandeur.

So was I ever fated to succeed, or was that a product of my diseased brain? How long, exactly, has my stay in la-la land been? I know I've always been imaginative. I thoroughly enjoy talking to myself, or the cats, when I find myself alone. In my own head, I am intelligent and witty. On the outside, I wonder how nutty I seem exactly.

Maybe that's why none of those interviews panned out. I was wearing my crazy on the outside, fumbling for words, shaking, unable to properly articulate. Scared to death of being judged and unable to keep myself in check.

"And she knows she's more than just a little misunderstood. She has trouble acting normal when she's nervous." Counting Crows, Round Here, 1993

Too many ideas trapped inside my head, clawing at the inside walls of my mind. Just waiting for their chance to shine and make their creator look like she definitely needs that extra dose of Ativan. Perpetually plagued by disease and too damaged to cope with reality.

Or...not?  Sometimes I dare to wonder. And that's all I've got tonight.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Back to School?

I have so many nightmares about going back to school. I love learning and I did well in school but I was exhausted by the end of my undergraduate studies. I wanted to save money and postpone graduate school for a few years because I knew I needed a break.

Fast forward 15 years.

I ended up getting married instead of going back to graduate school. I worked a few office positions for a few years and then had a beautiful daughter. Our life has since revolved around my husband's profession. Now that he has the opportunity to work more regular hours I am attempting to get back into the workforce.

I tried to land a job while in Wyoming but had no luck. Though my GPA was a 3.97 in college, I couldn't even get hired as a tutor for the school district. I suspected the existence of a "good old boys" club, and because I didn't have many personal connections I had little chance of attaining a job.

Then came our move to Utah. A fresh start, or so I thought. Different state, same story. After applying for leagues of office jobs and retail positions, and being rejected by them all, one of my old friends suggested that I pursue a job in education. I was thrilled to be hired as a non-classified sub with the local school district. I cannot substitute as a teacher, but I am allowed to sub for playground monitoring and positions of that nature. I thought it was at least a start.

Since I already had one education job, I decided to take it a step further and apply for the state ARL (Alternate Routes to Licensure) program. It took some time, but I was approved to teach Elementary Education. I have 18 months to find a qualifying, full time job as a teacher. Then I will have an educational program tailored to me so that I can actually learn how to teach. So essentially I would be teaching full time and taking classes or pursuing online studies at night. I was told by someone who recently completed the program that it would be "the hardest thing you'll ever do."

So, in the spirit of taking things one step at a time, I decided to use this year to get a position as a teacher's assistant. Who in their right mind would hire me full time, I wondered, when I had very limited experience with kids? In my sub experience I was a playground monitor once and a P.E. teacher once. Neither experience went very well for me because frankly I had no idea what I was doing.

I've applied for many positions in two districts and at charter schools. I couldn't even land a job as a part time library assistant. All the interview questions are specifically tailored for someone who has experience with kids, and other than raising a sweet and successful daughter, I have none. The last two interviews I had were within the last two weeks, and I was told that I would be notified within a few days as to the outcome. It's been well over a week and neither school has contacted me.

This job search has filled me with anxiety and a great deal of uncertainty, and I've been told that many people with my anxiety disorders can't stand uncertainty. It drives them nuts. I've certainly had an increase in neurotic symptoms. I can't sleep through the night unless I take twice the dose of my regular anxiety medication (don't worry, I'm doing it under a doctor's supervision). The constant worry is driving me up a wall. The constant rejection is making me feel completely worthless to society at large. I have a fear of failure and utter failure seems to greet me at every turn.

I have an appointment with a psychologist while my daughter is in school next week. I am going to discuss the depression and anxiety this job search has brought me. I am also going to discuss whether it is a good idea for me to even get a job in education. Part of me wants to go back to school to become a librarian or a literature professor, neither of which I am currently qualified for.

I suppose the real questions are, how much can I take without cracking again? Was any of this even a good idea, or was I high on mania and overestimating my capabilities? Should I find some sort of job or tutoring position at home, since having an actual commute terrifies me? The self-doubt and queries are seemingly endless.

The nightmares continue, and are starting to invade my reality.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Addled Aspirations

I have had many aspirations and setbacks during my thirty seven years on Earth.

During school, I was an overachiever of sorts. By the time I was five, my OCD was in full swing. So scholastically nothing short of perfection was tolerable for me.

When I was about eight years old, my obsession with music began. It quelled the intrusive thoughts and illogical obsessions by giving me an art to truly focus on. My hero at the time was Debbie Gibson. I practiced her songs quietly to myself on the bus ride home from school, perfecting every nuance and glottal stop. My other instrument of choice was the violin. Though I had no innate talent for it I worked hard, and practicing for orchestra also helped me to drown out the other symptoms of my disorder.

We moved from New York to Boise, Idaho when I was eleven. The remainder of fifth grade went well at Pierce Park Elementary. When we moved from a trailer to a house, I switched schools. Sixth grade at Collister Elementary quickly became hell for me. One girl, Rhianna, decided that she didn't like how I had befriended another girl, Donelle. Out of spite and jealousy, Rhianna turned the rest of the class against me. I was mercilessly taunted every day. I would often come home crying. My OCD was spiraling out of control. Thus began my intimate familiarity with the beast of social anxiety. I couldn't trust people anymore, because quite frankly, most of them were petty and callous and cruel.

In seventh grade, I tried out for a talent show. I sang a Madonna song, "Promise to Try." I didn't make the cut but I was recruited into the choir. I continued on, participating in a variety of choirs and talent shows throughout high school. I even received a scholarship for voice at Albertson College of Idaho. There, I became a music major and even learned to sing opera. I also started acting, and became a Theatre major as well.

Though I hid it well, performing vocally terrified me. I was by nature a perfectionist and I couldn't stand the thought of others judging me. The taunting I received in sixth grade also haunted me. Even now, simply performing karaoke, I am a nervous wreck. Acting came more naturally, because when in character, I forgot myself in the role. Auditioning was difficult but once I was cast the anxiety went away. Theatre became an escape, and helped to level out my many frustrations with vocal performance.

My earliest of aspirations, however, was to become a writer. My fifth grade teacher gave me the ultimate compliment once, saying that I could be "the next Stephen King." In junior high, I also wrote three reports in history class that ended up being about 90 pages. They kept the reports in my junior high school library for a time. I wanted to write more extensive books, but because of the need for perfection found that I was better at shorter forms. I continued to enjoy writing throughout high school and college but it was more of an academic necessity and a hobby than anything else.

After college, life changed dramatically. I became a wife and mother, which was something I never thought I would do. Because I had an incurable anxiety disorder, I thought a long-term relationship would be impossible for me. I am happy to report that though it has been a struggle at times, I have been married for over a dozen years. My daughter is now nine years old. She is gregarious and though she does have anxiety at times, I have thus far seen no evidence that she suffers from OCD or any other of my mental maladies. I started blogging early in her childhood, and I am so glad to have a written record of her upbringing.

Since I never completely gave up on writing and I find it therapeutic, I recently started writing at Mostly Planned. I'm hoping to pen at least one piece a week. I am also determined to finish the two books I started writing long ago. Perseverance and persistence are key elements, but most importantly, I must conquer my fear of failure.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Continuing Education

I was supposed to see the psychologist today, but my child care plans fell through.

I was going to explore some different medication options, but that will have to wait.

I was going to discuss my old shrink's suggestion that because of my multiple disorders I should be on disability. Cowardly? Maybe. But the further I push myself the more I feel off. Worthless. As if I have nothing useful to contribute to society. That the beast of my anxiety will take over if I somehow find myself more gainfully employed.

Social anxiety. Anxiety disorder, not otherwise specified. OCD. Bipolar Disorder I.

Three different medications to manage these symptoms I have. Still not enough, somehow.

Stigma. Would I trust a mentally ill person to work with elementary aged students? With my own daughter? I would. But society as a whole probably does not. There are many who do not understand that we are just people, even if our wiring is different. And that different does not necessarily mean bad.

I wouldn't dream of harming a child. In fact, I think my own disability makes me more qualified to work with children who are also different.

Will I ever get a chance to prove it? So far, the seemingly unanimous cry is "no." Thanks, but no thanks. You are qualified, but somehow you are still not enough.

I've been trying the mask on again, you see. The mask that presents me as normal. Sane. The mask that says that I've got things together. That there's nothing wrong with me. Hiding so that society won't judge me. Hypocritical, perhaps, since I've tried these many years not to keep my illnesses a secret.

I am continuing my education. I am learning every day, and perhaps realizing what I was put on this Earth to do. It may not be conventional. And that is also not a bad thing.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Confining Conformity

I stopped discussing mental illness on my blog in anticipation of getting a school job, which may have been premature. Just because the state Board of Education says you're qualified to be a teacher doesn't mean your local community will accept your utter lack of experience with groups of children. Therefore, multiple interviews, and no job. We really appreciate what you have to offer, and we hope you will consider us in the future. Thanks but no thanks.

I'm up in the middle of the night again. It's most likely from weaning off my Abilify, which functions as an antipsychotic but has caused me some pretty severe weight gain over the last year. So I'm struggling to maintain my sanity and find some form of employment. I want to write for a living. It's clear I need some form of mental help.

I suppose a visit to the local psychologist is in order. My last psychiatrist suggested that I should be on disability after she diagnosed me with four disorders, two of which are incurable. She suggested therapy on a weekly basis. I haven't seen a mental health professional since we moved here in October. Hmmmmm. One of the most important parts of maintaining your mental health is learning to accept when you need help. I think I'm there.

In the meantime, I think I'll go back to dying my hair black and apply to be a manager at Hot Topic. I need to stop forcing the dough of my being into some ill-fitting cookie cutter. I need to be myself, as painful at times as that may be.