What’s This All About?

When you ask about me, my mind races.  Maybe you ask what I do.  I read, I play games, I’m a student, I do 3 part-time jobs, I think, I sit, I dance (when no one is looking), I push for destigmatization of mental health issue, I go to church, I pray, I draw, I scream, I collapse, I take care of my dog, I dote on my fiance, I code, I break things down, I freak out, I sleep, I dream, I try to sleep but can’t, I don’t watch movies except when I do, and when I decide that my body is betraying me I subject it to overwork in unsafe conditions. I clean. I don’t clean, I buy too many things and regret, I buy not enough things and regret. I do so many things that when you ask me what I do, despite me knowing the question typically addresses working or student interest, my mind fires all these things and sometimes none of them, or some subset between the two.

Nothing is ever really simple for me. When you ask me where I grew up. I remember the apartment we had near the medical center, from before I was three. Not many memories, but enough. I remember nightmares I had, I remember moving towards a slightly better part of town into a duplex and while the people toured us through different duplexes in the area all owned by their company, there was a dog running around the one we ended up at. I think what preschool was like, where I was at when I learned I was “different” or smarter. I remember growing up with the Russian kid whose dad had broken English.  I remember my first best friends and growing into adolescence and how I wanted to keep them all and then remove some and then make new friends altogether. I say “I ‘grew’ up in San Antonio, but moved to Lubbock for high school.” Because the answer they want is I grew up “here” (Lubbock). But I grew up a lot. I still am growing up. I’m not a grown-up even if I get classified as an adult. I think to middle school, I was bullied, witnessed gang violence, was considering gun violence of my own, got in to see a doctor when I was young, had depression, likely due to my father’s accident. I stopped sleeping, I dreamt more and more and remembered so many. There were hallucinations and then we moved to Lubbock and the story goes from there. I can’t simplify things for people in my head, I have to find the response they want because my life story hits me most times when I am asked.

Sometimes I hear the thoughts of artists. I sing to music that doesn’t exist and when I try to write it down, it fades to the void that I’m all too familiar with. Sometimes I see amazing art in my head, and when I take to paper I’m nowhere near adequate to even get remotely close. I write poems but forget the words, I romanticize ideas but forget what they are.  I lose thought mid speech because my thoughts went so far ahead that some buffer limit was hit and I had to reset.

I analyze all the things that are wrong. All the things that are right. All the things I see in other people I would like to see in myself. I get social anxiety, I fake my charisma. I acknowledge a person’s problem as not a problem but when the same circumstance comes to me it is a problem again. I can’t keep quiet or I won’t speak at all, it always, always depends on the day.

Having Bipolar Disorder can be a lot like gambling (even causes people to gamble witlessly). I never know what I will face when I wake up. Who I will be. Maybe I change me midday and forget that problem that was life ending. Maybe I tell myself I will never be who I want. Then I hit it back into my head that it’s just symptoms and remind myself they are better and fewer even if still present. It all depends on the day.

When you ask me who I am. When I’m honest, I tell you I’m bipolar. I tell you that I’m smart and scared and will never compromise my integrity. I speak about my suicide attempt as a fulcrum to a better life. I grab your attention when it hits me because you have to know I’m not ashamed to be bipolar. You need to ask me what it’s like being bipolar so I can arm you with knowledge and encourage you to destigmatize.

I started this post with no intent. I finished it with something resembling one I guess. Today it’s a mixed day. A Grant can’t keep up with Grant day where I’m pulled in a million directions.

What was I doing again?

 

Accountability

Accountable is a positive word right? People like to hold someone accountable when the person takes on a responsibility or error. But so few like to be held accountable.  Something simple like that can make a large difference.

If I own up the blame and don’t deflect it, what am I compromising? The fear is of loss. We don’t like being held accountable because in the event of mistakes, we fear the worst, not the reasonable.  I’ve done a lot of jobs. I’ve seen a lot of pointing fingers and a lot of people never say “that’s my fault”. Even I avoided it when I felt intimidated.

But in the workplace we fear demotion, loss of respect, and even termination. Scary things, and there’s more than that too.  But people hear me more often than not approach them with two things in mind. Honesty and integrity. I’m in sales now and my trainer more or less wants me to hide things. Some call it lie by omission. For me if it’s relevant, I will bring it into play. No job will compromise my integrity. If you tell me to have integrity and honesty as part of our cultural values, you better be ready when I call you out for not doing it.

In the job area, when I have made a mistake and fessed up or even volunteered info before it was discovered, I’ve never been rewarded, but honestly the largest reprimand I’ve ever had is being told to fix it, and chances are I already have or have a plan to. But then I work for a company (previously) where I wear a name badge and on the back is our culture statement, our values. And when we screwed over our customers (and boy how we did) I became a customer advocate over whatever they actually wanted me to be. And I would challenge them. I would tell them how our integrity shouldn’t be compromised or at least not touted as a value when no one values it. That’s when I got face to face chats about how we do screw people over, but that’s “above their head” and to be fair a lot of it was. But they were still taught and programmed to try to divert me from calling them out on not following company values, so I should hold them accountable. But just face to face chats, no email or instant messenger trail, that might be dangerous.

Maybe that’s why we won’t be accountable. It’s a thing people say they value, but then don’t embody themselves. We all like to hold others accountable, but not be held ourselves. I know I frequently get complimented by those observing my accountability. Whether it’s the customers I help or the observers of such. But no one above you ever thanks you, they just tell you to be. I’m frustrated and philosophical tonight. I want to be the change I want in the world. But I also know that our cultural values as a whole are headed in the opposite direction.

 

From Lost to Less

I wrote not too long ago. I don’t know that it was very productive in all reality, but it was a grievance I could allow my mind to have without directing it at someone I care about. So I return to do much (or little) of the same.

I’m in a very anxious mindset. Have been since I woke up. Past week or so, I’ve been down, but even so, in a relative manic state. I think it just bottomed out and now I get to reap the seeds that the manic state has sown.

I spent more money than I should have. Indeed, truth be told with not all of my transactions posting right now, I truly don’t know how much I spent and how much is left in my bank account. By my estimate, it’s around $50. I’ve been in worse states to be sure, but I also added on to credit card things so that they wouldn’t be on my debit card. I don’t know. In the moment I rationalized it and I shouldn’t have. Thanks manic state!

I haven’t spent much time with my fiance (though I haven’t done a formal proposal, girlfriend doesn’t do her justice). I miss her. But I can’t be around her right now either. I don’t want to upset her or both of us. I spoke to her some this evening and saw it was only going South. So I turned to here after telling her I loved her and didn’t want to make things worse.

It’s both relieving and frustrating that she understands. In my mind I insist that she save me, but I give her no tools with which to do so. No knowledge, no ability, indeed I don’t even tell her that I need her, because I also know that I would put her through Hell for no reason and I wouldn’t feel better by the end of it either.

In short I’m having a rough depressive episode. I don’t want to get into the details, but there’s a family health situation, and I’ve already lost too many people this year alone. I am in a place where I cannot afford to miss even a single step with school and I just landed a new job that’s killing me already with the theoretical schedule. I want to back out. I want to say so badly how much I fucked up. I can’t. Because those seeds of the past week or so? They’ve begun to germinate, and I now have to pay money back into places even though I had sworn off the credit cards, even though I had a decent financial situation.

It only takes one episode to ruin months of progress. I’ve dropped out of school 3 times and flunked out a fourth. Only took one bad week, or day, or event that triggered something greater. For me, being bipolar is navigating an amusement park built on a former minefield you’re assured is safe. It’s fun at times, scary at others, and every now and then, you’re certain catastrophe is about to happen when you where that metallic click.

I used to be like this a lot more. This particular state. The one where I’m freaking out, screaming, angry, and hurt on the inside.  I guess I can take some solace in that these are not as often as they were once. A small concession, for whatever that brings. It used be that I would have a tantrum with my mom. As an adult. I would freak out about one thing or another and sooner or later we would both be screaming until I had either left to somewhere else, even to just in my car, or when I was so defeated that I curled up and my mom would be bringing me tea.

I can’t do that now. I can’t smash my phone, I can’t stab my hand, I can’t punch walls, I can’t find something to break, someone to scream at. Indeed today I have had to fight the impulse to pound my head. This is not okay. This is not normal, but neither is bipolar. I keep praying. And I am certain God is out there. I will never understand Him, but I know He’s here for me. But it’s right now when my obstacles seem far greater than they actually may be and I have to constantly tell myself He’ll take care of me.

And it’s moments like this that I find it easy to destroy things. I destroy relationships. I destroy perceptions. I destroy opportunities. I destroy objects, possessions. I destroy ideas, and aspirations. I destroy myself. I will beat my head into submission and to what end?

But I can’t. Because I live somewhere where those around don’t understand me. So I say I’m tired. I’m not feeling well. I overslept. So that my lack of eating isn’t questioned, my longing to not get out of bed or move isn’t brought up. I don’t cry because if I do, it won’t stop. I won’t stop. It’ll go further and get out of hand. I have to shut every single impulse down so I don’t do something I can’t take back or recover from.

I’d rather be lost again than this.

How to Be Bipolar

Oh boy. It’s been a while since I’ve put words on the screen. Between my emotional fragility and inability to sleep and/or focus enough to do school well, let alone process thoughts effectively, I’ve all but abandoned spending time here. I once was set on finding community. I’m not sure what happened to that. I once was set on making an example and showing people how they too could survive life with mental illness. I’m not sure what happened to that.

Right now, I feel entirely functional, but broken. I’m here, but I’m not. Nothing is wrong, but it’s also not right. I don’t dislike where I am, I’m just here.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been in a dark or bad place, and this isn’t it. If I had to characterize, I’d say I feel lost more than anything.

I don’t sleep well. I remember almost all of my dreams. I close my eyes when I park the car and immediately weird films or songs start playing in my head of my own creation. Neon light headaches wash over me and then 5 minutes are gone, maybe 10.  My responsibilities are very little all things considered, but I feel like I’m being crushed. It’s been weeks since I actually felt rested after sleep, only adding to the chaos of my mind.

How to be bipolar. Is that how to get bipolar, or rather the qualities that make you bipolar? Or maybe it’s simply how to be (when you are bipolar). I’m not sure which I started wanting to write about. I definitely want to write about both, if only my thoughts were known to me. Since I can recall, I have had thought in dialogue. I don’t know if this is common, I know that it’s not its own issue inherently, but it’s an odd quirk and it wasn’t until recently have I even considered that people don’t do this.

Let me explain it simply. Where my girlfriends thinks “Did I remember to lock the door?” I will think towards myself “Did you remember to lock the door?” Replay the course of events and say “yeah I did remember”. But it gets far more complex than that. I once thought which is the “main” me in my head. But it’s pretty simple actually, there’s the first person (“I”) me and the third person (one asking me questions) me.  And when the conversation is more than a binary answer I lose myself in it.

I don’t know how to describe what I endure on a mostly daily basis. Sporadically body parts feel wrong, or I somehow get confused when I’m driving my actual car instead of one that flashed in my mind.  I sometimes stagger because my body stops being mine for a few seconds. I endure flashes of pain, which my doctor says sounds like some sort of neuropathy, and is mostly successful in medicating me for. I close my eyes and I’m somewhere else frequently. I can sometimes recognize that I closed my eyes and force them open or even enjoy the view and tell myself to leave them closed a little longer. Sometimes I even open them and the image takes a bit to blink away, like when you stare at a lightbulb directly. Sometimes I fall asleep in the floor, somehow convinced that it’s okay. Other times I fall asleep at the wheel before having to pull over and turn off the car in a parking lot, trying to summon myself to consciousness even hours later as the car’s temperature goes above a 100.  Other times I have thoughts that are just noise, another doctor tells me it’s just noise that most people’s brains filter out. Kind of like playing scenes in your head from your favorite movie, you know they aren’t there, but recalling it can be quite vivid if you commit to it. My favorite remark I’ve recalled in these states is hearing a gruff man shout if anybody knows who threw up on another man’s head. I get these random bits of audio or pictures like that, and I don’t have anything more than bipolar, even though I was afraid I might. I’m mostly functional and incredibly stable all things considered. But I don’t always tune in to my radio, sometimes I’m stuck listening to confusing, butchered pieces of scenarios that would never exist.

What am I supposed to do with that? That’s not even the bulk of my issues. That’s just the entertaining intermissions that run in between the main features. I really wish I knew what was going on with me. It’s been a struggle to get in for a sleep study and no one seems to really consider these as issues. I don’t know if people think I make it up or what. Maybe they aren’t serious, but it doesn’t mean I want to have these symptoms. I think I just want to be where I can think and not have some radio or tv blurting out things louder than my own thoughts.

Maybe more another day. It’s not been a pleasant day. It likely won’t be a pleasant evening. It likely won’t be a pleasant tomorrow. And I would accept all that more if I could just get sleep where I actually felt like I slept and not like I just spent hours hallucinating.

 

In the Greatest of Retrospect

In the greatest of hindsight, I fail at being a person I like.

It’s true, I frequently turn to a largely critical assessment of me when I don’t even put others to nearly so hard a scrutiny.  Right now it’s of a great desire to go back and read my past few posts because at the moment, I can’t recall in the slightest what I’ve actually posted about and am not sure if I am revisiting this so soon. I don’t like who I am. I tell me to change. I don’t. Then I don’t like who I am more for being indifferent. Then I don’t like who I am because I have this internal dialogue, yet remain unmotivated to keep the conviction of what I will change.

I lack conviction. Among other things. I say I will do one thing. I believe I will do one thing. I demand that I do one thing. Then I don’t.

When I’m merciful I blame it on circumstance. And to be fair, I don’t ever really make a conscious decision to do something else in lieu or against my goal. It just simply stops being something I remember. My girlfriend deserves more than that. She deserves a title better than “girlfriend” and certainly already has a status of such.

She’s taking a portion of my frustration and handling it better than me truth be told. She does deserve better.

Although, maybe I actually should cut myself some slack. I still retreat to some thoughts though ration and other’s ideas contradict them time and time again. Throughout high school I was convinced I wasn’t intelligent. I slept in class, avoided my homework and rarely did required readings. But usually aced tests. The joke became that I absorbed the knowledge by sleeping on the book as a pillow in the class.  I didn’t frequently study for the tests but would always play a manipulation game with my nearby classmates after getting a test grade back. I wouldn’t shove it in anyone’s face by any means nor draw any outward attention towards it, but subtle cues allow for one to get another to unwittingly shout you got a 103 on the exam. I feigned indifference, because I had this character built up, I wanted them telling me how smart I was, because I needed that confirmed.

In spite of this, I frequently chastised myself for not being smart. Odd considering I seemed to have an innate understanding for the material being processed. Especially odd considering the people around me scoring lower, I didn’t consider to be beneath my intellect.

I even went so far as to rationalize that I had no significant intelligence, but a very good method of deceit. A superb manipulation artist. Funny to go out of the way to believe I’m smart. Especially when you have a college giving you a full scholarship. When you’ve been to the Intel International Science and Engineering fair as a finalist, not once, but twice. When after getting a first place at state science fair and interacting with others who nabbed the first place and looking to you in decisions and thought for some things with robotics and other activities. Funny to go past all that and still say you’re just really good at being a charlatan.

And yet, I still come back to it from time to time. I have even tried to compromise. Maybe I am not intelligent, but my clever wit must be enough that I could fool faculty members at a university. Pitiful. I often reject things of positive in myself. And the more I see it, ironically, the more upset I get for a slew of reasons.

For me, hindsight is always the perfect sight, it’s just not the lasting one.

Insert Wit Here

Please follow the instructions the title provides.

Good. Now that it’s established you have great wit, I have little else to write.

Seriously. I got on here to write, but that’s about all I got. Oh, I agree it does not satiate one’s appetite. Well, let me try a different tactic. I have nothing planned to write in general, I’m actually quite adamant about just typing here until something exciting occurs to me.

Actually that reminds me. I saw my psychiatrist today, meds seem to be working, even if my brain apparently isn’t. I recall most of my dreams with fairly good detail. Yesterday I spent some time in an underwater city that collapsed and someone was able to save me. But oh the whales were something to be marveled. It was almost celestial, their appearance in my dream.

I guess I have that a lot. And music and words to it too. But they are so intangible and my brain has no proper way to coordinate that into the same beauty that I hear in my dreams or as I am even waking up. This gets me in trouble though, the whole, I take a while to fall asleep and wake up and in both transitions I start or continue dreaming.

I was concerned something else might be going on, but it genuinely seems to be just an oddity, which I can live with.

In other news, my expunction is being filed tomorrow. As you may or may not know, I was arrested for assaulting an officer. At the time, I was incredulous. My mom got pulled over for speeding, I was giving her a bit of a ribbing while the officer checked our IDs. Turns out there’s a warrant for me. I was incredibly confused but stepped out of the car as asked.

Officer asks if I want to tell him about what “happened the other day”. And I try my damndest to figure out what I might have been caught up in. Nothing. Not a single offering of a guess arose. He tells me I assaulted an officer, bit him actually. I shake my head no, I sure as heck didn’t. I tell him he must have something wrong. But he doesn’t, so I get in the car, really nice officer actually, I don’t generally have a lot of experience with officers, but I’ve had more negative ones than positive ones and strangely the one time I was arrested was probably the most positive one.

Turns out I bit an officer when I was in the hospital. Didn’t break the skin even. But he filed a report. Given the circumstances, I would argue again and again he was in the wrong. I wasn’t even fully aware of what was happening. My body was struggling to keep me alive and apparently that made me combative somewhere. He put his hand near my mouth in an effort to restrain me, what I feel is an obvious don’t, but he did. After entering the hospital that night after downing too many pills, I remember talking to my mom, I remember getting into a room. I remember starting to fall asleep and some woman urging me to drink something. It tasted like chalky chocolate milk. Then I remember falling. Then nothing, not really. Lots of noise. Beeps and voices, couldn’t focus on any of it. My body was moving, but it wasn’t me.I hear a man yell in my ear and suddenly the world is spinning. I don’t have any vision, but I know I was flipped somehow I hear the words “You deserve this, you did this to yourself” said angrily into my ears. I am panicking I try so hard to scream. I can’t breathe and I’m being crushed by something on my back.

Then I hear lots more noisy voices. Next thing I remember is coming to in bits and pieces. I tugged at a catheter which made me hurt, I wasn’t intentionally tugging it, but when I did tug it, the pain made my mind surface a tad. When I finally came to for  a few minutes, I immediately recalled the event. I was suddenly scared and even a bit tearful, I told my mom that something happened to me, I think I was abused in some way, but wasn’t sure. She thought I meant sexually and told me that was my catheter. I passed back out. When I came to again she told me what I told her and I told my mom it wasn’t that, but didn’t say more at the time.

Well when I leave the hospital I have one hell of a lump on my forehead just a bit below my hairline towards the side of my face. Also joining that is a black eye, what I felt to be evidence of what I experienced. Later I would find that a CT scan was done for an “acute head injury” though no incident for why this was is indicated in the medical records. The officer I bit while not having control worked security at the hospital and ended up in the room to restrain me. In the end, I know that was the event that happened. But I was in the wrong, and I had charges filed against me. The officer made a personal vendetta, that if I lived after trying to kill myself, I should face felony charges. Because I “deserved this”, I did it to myself.

I’ll continue this story some other time, but I wanted to leave my impression of how an officer handled me. I was hurt worse than him and I was not acting of my will, I was already hospitalized, and the officer was not intelligent enough to keep his hand away from my mouth when I was so out of it and being combative. I feel for officers, I really do, they have a really super difficult job that I don’t envy. But there are those in the ranks that aren’t there to serve the public, whether you admit to it or not, there are. I believe that mental illness should of a greater education to law enforcement given that a large population of incarcerated individuals are mentally ill. Sometimes they die unnecessarily too. We put a lot of responsibility in the hands of the officers and maybe that’s not fair. But in my opinion, neither is it okay for what happened to me to go on. I mean not only am I left with a traumatic experience, I was charged and have had to undergo some things over the past year to get the case dismissed (which I would have loved to be on trial for quite honestly) and now it will finally be expunged. I feel bad that I bit the officer, that’s something I would never do in my right mind. But I feel his response was uncharacteristic of someone representing the safety of the public. Imagine if that jail trip triggered something in me, I was incredibly lucky to have it together as much as I did, I know many thousands do not, and it’s certainly unfair to them too.

Still Around

I owe myself a proper commitment to this blog. To the time set aside for breaking down things and putting them into proper perspective. I wish this was the time that I would truly hold to that. I don’t expect it though.

I’ve been around a lot lately. Just as much watching life happen as being a participant (sometimes unwillingly). What can you say when you’re troubled and have a list of bad things happen one after the other. I still am not over my mom’s death. I suppose that’s human. I’m not destroyed every day, in fact I can even listen to The Beatles most times without crying again. But there’s a lot up there in my mind. I lost my job because my sleep was practically gone.

I’d wake up and start passing out at the wheel almost immediately on the way to work. I’d pull over and just be right back into unconsciousness, struggling to come to for hours. Occasionally seizing awake to call work and update them on how late I’d be. Really endears you to employers (don’t try it). I’d spend up to five hours in my car, not running, in Texas heat, with just the windows cracked enough to ventilate. I would be frequently drenched in sweat before I fully came to a functioning place.

It’s strange. I guess I have always had sleep troubles but they’ve gotten a whole mess worse since my mom died. I remember lots of dreams. In particular I remember the one I had the day of my mom’s heart attack. And the number of nightmares I have had since involving her only continue to grow. But it’s scary when you find yourself passing out at the wheel regularly. I didn’t even always know I was passing out, I would actually feel my eyebrows straining my face before I realized my eyes closed. Just a reflex my face was making in an effort to open the damned things. Strange feeling, that.

Now I’m jobless. A year ago I paid a visit to jail. Shortly after I met a wonderful young woman who still somehow stands by my side. My one constant through this it might seem. I’ve seen the inside of a funeral home more than I ever care to for the rest of my life. I’ve been dealing with demons for a very long while and that has left some pretty nasty scars. They won’t be the last, but I’m not going to fear them.  In spite of all this disaster, I know I have God on my side. And He’s not always going to give me what I think I need, or maybe he will but not in the package I expect. But He’s never going to let me down.

I know that’s why Aaron means so much to me. She’s my best friend and excellent spiritual counsel among other titles. I’ll never be able to convey what she means to me, and maybe she’d say the same. So I’m glad I have her on my side too.

I sorted out some things that have been plaguing me a bit this week. Feel like I have a clear head today, can’t say I will tomorrow. I have a huge task list and not the least of which is find a new job. But I guess at least for now I have found some sense of peace, and just thought I’d like to write that down again. Maybe it’ll be months again before I post. Hopefully not. Maybe I can actually have interesting stories or something actually insightful instead of just vague words to match a vague mind.