Tag Archives: Life

Build Me Up to Let Me Down

I had a fantastic opportunity last week, and I mean it was phenomenal. I get a text message from my current boss a week ago saying that his supervisor has posted a job looking for a programmer. Now, I am still a student at university and am about halfway through my program to earn a computer science degree. So I knew I would not qualify before even checking out the listing. But regardless, I thanked my boss and did a quick look.

Sure enough I didn’t meet the demands. It required a Bachelor’s degree in computer science or a couple of other fields. It required experience I have had and proficiency in programming languages I’d never used. Still it felt like a road map to success. I figured if I followed it and learned a lot of these things prior to graduation then I would have greater opportunities and success.

So I go in the next day and thank my boss for the notice and explain that gives me some information on what I should pursue to have relevant skills in the field for a career. He says that I’m welcome and we move on to the daily business. I get a text after I leave work that day saying to call him when I can that he as some news that might interest me. He then tells me that his boss is interested in hiring me to this position. I explain my lack of skills and he says his boss still wants to have a sit down with me. He tells me of the benefits it would include, although it would be full time which could be difficult for a student. $38,000 a year. As a student who has never made more than 24,000, that is a ton. I would get a free class every semester, better healthcare and some other benefits.

So next day I have a sit down with his boss and am told he wants to hire me. He explains he knows I don’t have all of the programming skills he’s asking for right now but that’s okay. He tells me he’s very proud of how I have been doing since I arrived. He’s impressed that I have written a couple of my own scripts from scratch in the department (I studied different scripting languages for hours, meaning I did some cool stuff with computers). He loves my attitude, how I am willing to be upfront, direct, and still positive. He tells me that one of his senior programmers is willing to take me under his wing to show me what to do and how to develop on projects. Essentially having a well paid mentorship. He tells me of how this is a great career builder and how employable I will be by the time I graduate, but he would also love to have me here. I’m pretty damn excited at this point, sign me up!

He does take care to remind me it is full time but he thinks he can sway  HR to allow me to adjust my schedule to accommodate classes. So I go home and I apply. I tell everyone the potentially good news. Life is about to get better among other things. Then I go in the next day and he requests I have another sit down with him. I find out he talked to HR about hiring me and they put the stop on it. No full time students they said. They have tried before and recently even, and it didn’t work well.

It stung, it still does really. To see such a promising opportunity in so very many ways and to just have an anticlimactic ending of, sorry HR policy says now, is disappointing. It would have been nice. That experience, that pay, those benefits, and in my situation right now, trying to pay for a wedding while my fiance is also currently out of work. It’s stressful. I know it will be okay, but it’s stressful still. I don’t know, it sucks, I was really looking forward to all that, and instead the rug was just pulled out from beneath me. Oh well I suppose, life has never been one to really treat me well, I’ll continue on with the status quo.

When the Going Gets Rough

You know what they say right? “When the going gets rough, get the bipolar people out fast”.

I suffer from a few psychological issues, as I am so careful to insert in almost every post. I know no one reads these, and to be honest, I’m not sure why I find it so compelling to catalogue the events of my life and beliefs. I don’t dress up this blog. I don’t remain committed to it. And I certainly have little value to offer others I feel in this capacity.

Anyone who reads this one, drop me a comment, let me know how I am supposed to write these things. I mean, I have a ton of content I can write and rant about. I’m not just mentally ill and a mental health awareness advocate. I like board games and video games, telling stories and memories. I like unique debates and getting to rant about social welfare and philanthropy. I love being challenged and getting to offer people a new perspective by opening their mind a little. I can empathize with others who have suffered great loss. I can tell you the many stories of how I apparently have super powered bad luck. I’m a huge geek who works on computers and is in school for computer science.

I’m trying something new here though. Small sporadic burst posts when the interest happens. So thoughts are super scattered. Right now I’m trying not to die of boredom at work. I also have little motivation to do anything in general. I’m definitely in a depressive episode and I know that. I just have to wait it out as my fiance reminded me and that’s true. But while I could be studying or working my way towards a certification, I just feel tired and useless. I’m honestly surprised I ended up here at all.

My depression has come a long way from what it used to be. I’m finally on a good treatment. I used to be told that a treatment was successful if I was doing well 50% of the time. And we didn’t have money to go see a different set of doctors. But they didn’t legitimately care about me. I tried to explain how I would have an awful week or two where suicide was a constant, if remote, temptation. And that was fine as long as I didn’t think I would act on it and I was doing well the other 2 weeks of the month.

And my doing “well” was not good either, it was simply just not dreaming about dying. But that was “success” I was told. Screw that right? I lost faith in the system pretty quickly, especially after so many medications failed to fix the problem, worked only temporarily, or had such intense side effects they had to be stopped immediately. No wonder why I want to advocate awareness right? I don’t want people to go through that. Everyone needs to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but there isn’t enough accessibility to the people who need it. We need more programs that provide funding or other means to address mental health awareness and treatments.

Now I don’t think about dying. I don’t wish I could fall off ladders and make everyone think it was an accident. I don’t have impulses to steer my car into the opposite lane of traffic. I don’t scream and throw things around. I just feel depressed. Low energy, a general malaise and wanting to be left alone. Not concerned about anything. That may sound bad, but it isn’t, not when you have some context. And they don’t last as long either. But it is a little bit harder right now, because everything keeps reminding me of my mom which also reminds me I won’t have her at our wedding. Or my dad. Or my brother. But, I think they’re still proud of me anyway, I’ve come so far. And I’ve still got a ways to go, but at least I have the means to get there. Godspeed readers!

A Fresh Look on Things

As the semester comes to a close, there is a certain level of stress that comes with that.  Oh, but this is a special amount of super stress.

I just returned to my university to continue the program I stopped a few years ago, studying computer science. Boy are some of these classes making me take a beating. Sometimes it is nice to see that even years out of college, I am still occasionally having the highest scored test in the class.  I’m still getting mainly As and Bs, but there have been some Cs, Ds, and even Fs.

I have many classes that I don’t even stay awake in anymore. I had been trying to address my sleep issue before returning to school, but no such luck. And now I’m scraping and clawing to pass. I guess if I don’t I’ll handle that then.

But, behold a bright side! I had sleep study done a week ago.  My doctor indicated Friday that I have narcolepsy. I’m going in tomorrow to discuss option for treatment. It’s a bit late into the semester, but, hell I’m getting answers!

Oh and added to my stress, a week ago Thursday, I found a lump on one of my testicles. I rationally knew it was a cyst, but that fear crept in that it was cancer. I endured a week of being unable to focus on anything else. But I got my answer before the weekend confirmed it was a cyst.

I’m also trying to move into a new place with my fiance, there have been additional events precipitating the extra need to move in with her, not good things. But hell, again, some of this change is good, even if bad change walks along side it.

I have friends and family that won’t let me down and I will find my way, I’ve come out of far worse, and I’ve endured it all.

Here’s to the new things, the fresh perspective on which I will build my life.

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.

 

Weary

I’m tired. Like probably more than I have been in a time I can’t remember. Not in the “I’m depressed, I need to sleep” way, but in the “I’m doing my best to keep it together and if it weren’t for the random panic attack or the dog licking so loudly, I can’t hear my car alarm, I could get some damn shuteye” way.

My mom has gotten a bit worse. She’s stable again, but worse than when she went in. It was nice to have people pray for me though. But fear has just been seizing me, sometimes after I have already fallen asleep for the night. My eyes are bloodshot and I have bags. There’s a little yellowish tinge all the way around them. My health wasn’t good before this and my standing in my job was iffy. I was tired, but I could sleep if I didn’t sleep the night before? Now? I’ve got like one good night’s rest in the past week. And actually that was in the middle of the day.

My mom’s gonna be ok. But there’s so much going on in my head, I can’t keep up. And I don’t get good rest. Tonight I’m taking a larger dose of my meds I think. My doctor prescribed it. Between her and my health, and work, and the denial of admission to try get back to school. Been a rough time. But then today one of the people I work with, who is above me actually says to me that she thinks I need to apply for an upcoming position. Not her position per se, but the same one, it pays better, it’s higher up, she wanted to let me know there would be one or two to fill and before anything was official to keep my eyes peeled because they wanted me. I guess I do my work well. Or. Their work well.

To put into perspective. I do phone tech support. I’m a grunt, been there just a couple months, they want me to take escalated calls. I guess I talk people down well. Know my rhetoric. Which normally, this would be awesome, but I have to meet some amount of attendance compliance, which is the kicker. My mom’s health comes first. But after losing the opportunity to return to school right now, I should really try. But then where does my health come in?

I need day to rest. Just rest. I won’t, because my mom and everything. But I know I need it.

I’m at my mom’s house a lot right now. My room is scattered and stacked with collectibles and boxes filled with collectibles. Under the bed is boxes and boxes of comics. In the hall is a curio filled with more, you guessed it, collectibles. I’m reminded I’m just a child. Even 25, I’m just a damned kid. I’m not prepared to take on the world without a mom. And that fear keeps seizing me. And then wave after wave of terrible thoughts hit and overwhelm.

Even just taking responsibility for myself and another would be a lot to handle without her. But then I have to take care of my dad too. Other family my mom has taken up the mantle to take care of. No wonder she’s had a heart attack…

But right now. Just wish I wasn’t so tired.

The Good Decision…

So much we think about how we got here. Or there. Or will be somewhere someday. I think when you’re someone with a lot of burdens in your life, or someone with a lot success, you may find yourself asking these kinds of questions more.

I had a hard time, still do, with people saying the homeless have made poor decisions and using that as some sort of argument why they are lesser people, why they don’t need love or care. I don’t think most people intentionally or considerably make what we would all regard as a poor decision.

Recently another novel idea occurs to me. Most of those, for one reason or another they thought it was a good decision. Their morals and philosophy led them to believe that, even if just for a moment. I feel that everybody in a position that would be considered less than enviable, abusive relationship, homeless, jobless, or maybe physically impaired. I think we could all consider there to be one decision that begun it all. Even if it’s far back.

I’d like us, as a species, to consider our “one decision” that got us here. Wherever that is.

I’ll go first. I’m Grant, I’m a drop out, who’s trying to get his act together to eventually develop a career. I have bipolar disorder, and some other health issues. I’ve got a pretty great girlfriend though, who helps me grow as a person and in my faith.

So. Not too bad right? I’m enviable to some at least I bet. That’s a summary of where I’m at. So what got me here? Now. We can consider this in means of comparison, how did I get from point A to point B. We can also consider a generalization. I feel either is fine as long as you are honest.

What got me here? Desperation.

Now for me, I’m seeing the large part is the last turning point was my suicide attempt. That’s when everything started changing for me. Interesting right? I got to a good place out of desperation. If you want to pin it on one decision, that’s to say my suicide attempt. And I don’t condone that one bit. I came out of it with a better mind set having survived, not because death was so close. I can’t even convey how important life is. But that was my personal turning point. It’s more complex than the one thing, I know, but it hinges on that.

Now here’s the lesson I want to really impart. A bad decision led to good things to come. Just as a good decision can lead to bad things to come. At the time my bad decision seemed like a good one, it certainly wasn’t. But I encourage people to think about their one decision. Is it good? Is it bad? What were the outcomes?

I see a homeless person, I don’t immediately jump to they did drugs and don’t deserve help. I embrace my empathy and hope. I think “Who did they trust or love that it ended up this way?”. It’s time we started loving one another regardless of difference and background and beliefs. There is time for anger. But it’s so tossed around eagerly in our society, I don’t think we even understand the difference between anger and hatred anymore, the two are hand and hand. And we justify it as being necessary. No.

Next time someone says they aren’t bad people, they just make bad decisions. You tell them, “Or maybe it was a good decision that got them into trouble”.

 

They Scratch.

The thoughts. Aching to break loose, manifest and be digested. They itch. I should let them out. But every time I set about to do so, they fail me. Like people that were interested in your birthday when that really popular kid was going, but then they realized it was just a ruse. (I didn’t know until my birthday that James wasn’t coming, thanks mom for lying).

No. Seriously though. I need to let loose some of this energy. Whatever the reason. I just about ran out of meds and had canceled the last doctor’s appointment the way it conflicted with my schedule for my new job, which is great by the way. But now I go in Friday to touch base and get a new prescription, life is good.

More than that, I realize how quickly my girlfriend has become an inseparable part of me and my day. I look forward to those brief disgustingly cute exchanges we have before we both settle into the thought that we are glad we found each other. Things moved fast, in lots of ways. But, I can’t say it would have done it any differently, and I think that’s a beautiful thing.

I had a minor depressive episode lately. In it, I took up a random rhetorical analysis and disagreement online. One of the ways my depressive episodes manifest is obsession, and I was obsessed with the idea, I was going to prove somebody wrong. I dropped it. Because I’m better than that. My morals somehow triumphed, and I just walked away. Only after spending almost 2 hours to write 2600 words of why I was correct and they were wrong. Breaking apart their own words and providing an analysis of my own. I just never used it, deleted the words and mostly put it out of mind.

That’s good. That’s progress, haha, no matter how small. I’m a good person. I am. I’m tired of being so terribly humble and convincing myself that anyone would do these things or offer these things, when the fact is, I am in a minority. Everyone likes to believe they are a good person. But so few are.

I used to be Catholic. Now? Not so much. I still go to church. A Christian church, but not a Catholic one. Mass so inconsistently connected with me. Even though in high school, going to a Catholic school afforded me opportunities to go into church often and pray, sometimes by myself. But now I’m closer to God. And it’s none of my business what anyone else believes in terms of being spiritual. I do not care except for the fact that some people can be brought to a better place with that in their life, no matter the focus. I do think that’s ok. I don’t push my views on anyone, I don’t judge for anyone not believing in mine. I do get frustrated when on a surface level I think about the various arguments in policies. As a country we will always be divisive, that’s part of how a democracy operates. It needs to shift back and forth to maintain some level of balance before it inevitably crumbles from some other type of strain.

But for now. I just need to be a good person. I don’t need to incite my fellow man. I don’t need to tell everyone or even think when some people are wrong. For the most part, I can’t change that. Those people won’t change the way they think, and to be honest, if it isn’t hurting somebody, should I really care?

There’s this odd amorphous shift in the way I start viewing things. I still wince when people say something about kids need to toughen up because bullying was worse in their day. I think it’s mighty shitty of adults to straight up put blame on the victimized children. To compare themselves is inconceivable to me. Now, I do agree that if kids that are being bullied, were better equipped to deal with it, it could go better. That could mean martial arts, it could mean confidence, a lot of things. So in some ways I see the hypersensitivity, but adults simply saying bullying is part of life and that kids should just get used to it is a frustrating mentality. So there are a few things that set still set me off. I was bullied. A ton. It sucked. No one stood up for me. Eventually I stood up for myself.

There’s a lot more to that story. I wanted to kill my bullies. Literally. Firearms and the whole shebang. Not every kid can be backed into a corner and come out ok, and I think adults shouldn’t be so asinine. Now I forgot what I was originally going to talk about. It was gonna be about my shift in philosophy in an individual level. But I hit one of my triggers I guess haha.

Using that word, “trigger”, another one comes to mind. And suddenly this entire post starts devolving around me. Let’s try to bring it back.

I work in a call center now. I don’t mind dealing with people on the phone. I thought it would stress the bejeezus out of me, but it doesn’t. Funny thing happens when you empathize, truly empathize. You can understand the person on the other end. They may be weird as Hell, or have a problem, you never could, but that’s their role to call you they feel, and it is your role to assist. I don’t get the people I see as I walk around who make violent pantomimes or flip the birds to the phone after a call concludes.

No one is being hurt. And if you can empathize, the job isn’t hard. I still get angry. I still have a cauldron full of social issues that boil over, but even in the people I can’t disagree more with, I cannot harbor an anger. Again, the caveat, that their actions or opinions are not hurting anyone. I am finding the ability to love people no matter what. As I find the inclination to love a woman more than I would have thought possible with the way things have been. And as I find the strength to love myself.

I deserve to be here. I deserve to be more. I owe it to myself. But what is more? That’s my call. Right now. That’s a wonderful boyfriend. A patient son. A damn good charitable soul and someone who can turn a call around. It doesn’t need a lot of money for me to be more. It doesn’t need a fancy paper telling me I’m qualified. My success is my happiness. And I’ll be damned, but I’m bloody happy.

Anytime I write that. You can’t begin to imagine how wonderful it is to stare at those words knowing the truth in them. Or maybe you can. Maybe that’s something you know all too well. Or believe that you could never know for any reason. I’d be right there with you half a year ago. Wondering when I could just let it all go. No life is worth losing. As someone who has been all sorts of dark places in their own mind, I consider it a statistical anomaly that the only real problem I seem to have is random binges of porn. I should be a drug addict. I should be an alcoholic. I shouldn’t be alive. I shouldn’t be happy. But, just listen to me. I am.

Now, I know I don’t carry the weight in my words I would like. And I know there are so few who will actually read this. But I’m a good person, and I love people. No matter how weird. So, if you ever need an objective opinion, a person to talk to, somebody to console you. I’m here. Don’t hesitate. I don’t expect anyone to ever take me up on this offer, but it is sincere, I won’t material needs, but I will do what I can to help. Consider that my gift to anyone who needs it. I was crazy once. Still am by some standards. But, doesn’t mean I can’t be stable, doesn’t mean I can’t be happy. I would love to help someone achieve that, so I’m here.

That may have taken an odd turn I guess. I should write more. To try to support people who might read this but not have that bit of courage to say something. Maybe I will. I certainly want to. The dark times have passed, and even should they return, I shall not fear any longer.