Tag Archives: Life

Pardon the Politics

My heart goes out to those victims of the recent Las Vegas shooting, as well as their friends and family. I’ve said a couple prayers when it has occurred to me to do so. Now normally I may hint at this or that as far as politics go, and in person I can often get frustrated with many things that happen in our government, but I want to try to address at least one of the things that has personally bothered me deeply.

First off, no disrespect, I am always willing to have a conversation about philosophy and government, I don’t hate people with dissenting views, if anything, I encourage these discussions to be civil and plentiful. This is how a democracy works, with open minds and willing compromise, learning, and engagement.

Okay, so following that bit about the shooting, until this tragedy occurred I had not known President Trump kind of quietly signed legislation that removed a policy President Obama had made close to the end of last year.  This law was making an effort to database people that are mentally ill to make it more difficult for them to buy guns. Notably gun advocacy groups and lobbyists such as the NRA are promoting their interests and philosophy and believe that mentally ill people have the right to buy guns just as much as the next guy.  Why? Why would you even want to consider that? Granted “mentally ill” is a broad term, but it isn’t as if anybody seeing a psychologist, psychiatrist, or some other doctor for treatment cannot own a gun.

Here’s the thing. I have legitimately met a person who refused to seek help for his mental illness because he was concerned about how it would impact his ability to own guns and conceal carry.  This should not be the culture at all. I have mental health issues and I would want to be prohibited from buying guns.  If I bought one in a manic state and suddenly dropped to one of my suicidal depressive states, I might not have been taking just me when I pulled that trigger. Now I’m healthy enough to be honest with myself and others.  There have been many points in my life, particularly when being bullied and treated like shit, that I fantasized about the sort of things I could do with guns to other people.  And that isn’t okay, the fact that an administration is willing to let us (people like me or some other significant mental health issue) legally buy these guns is awful.

I also have despised the rhetoric that both parties claim the other side is doing, but when you are rolling back legislation like that, it’s kind of hard to justify in my opinion and when your view is that it’s better to have bullets flying in both directions in the event of a mass shooting, it’s hard for me to respect your ideas, because at that point it seems more shady, something along the lines of quid pro quo more than actual interest in public safety.

One of the arguments I have heard from people when discussing gun control is that if a person can’t get it legally, then they can get it illegally, we might as well let the citizens within the law stand a chance against the ones outside of it. This also is strange rhetoric, I would not have the connections available to me to really buy a gun on impulse illegally, but it if it is as easy as walking the 2 blocks to that nearby gun store, that’s a different story whether someone wants to admit that or not. I’m not saying guns are bad, I’m saying stupid people and mentally ill people with guns have the potential to be bad and I think we need to develop a culture that addresses these things better. I wish laws could fix these things and they don’t always do that or it takes a while to see the effects, but if you are removing sensible legislation like this, how do you defend that?

If the rhetoric is allow these militarized guns to be owned and fired by private citizens in order to protect their homes. Where do we stop loosening gun control? Where do we stop justifying actions by saying it would be worse if people could only do certain actions illegally so make them legal.  Granted this is a unique example because many justify that their homes are safer if they can access guns, this same logic doesn’t apply to illegal drug trade or something similar.  Should people be able to get guns faster and easier? Maybe they don’t need to be registered right away, just in case they don’t like it and want to return it. Maybe they don’t need an in depth registration at all. Let’s just have serial numbers and someone’s address, if it’s used illegally they will dispose of the gun anyway, so why waste the time? See these arguments don’t really hold water. And that’s my point.

Maybe some homes are safer with guns in them, maybe some people just feel safer in their homes with guns in them. But me? I would be liability. Just a bad day away from death, and maybe not even just mine. But I guess I should be entitled to that right? I mean I could kill myself other ways, why not let me do it with a gun so I can have my second amendment rights. Anyway, long winded I know, but there is no justifiable reason to roll back such efforts to limit the access of weapons from the mentally ill.  And this isn’t about me being a democrat, there’s been plenty of smart gun legislation brought forward from Republicans too, including our last Republican President, President Bush.  I just think we need to legitimately pause and consider the actions and motivations of moves like this and this one hits very close to home for me.

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Hello World

It’s me again. But, who else would it be? It’s always me when I speak, I think it should stay that way. As a fledgling student scraping off the digital rust of programming languages from my previous go at the university, I find myself getting excited at the prospect of my future.

“Hello World” is pretty much the first thing that any programmer learns in any language. Sure there are exceptions and getting a program to simply post those words on a screen is no large feat, but it is the most basic step towards understanding. Many teachers and professors will still include this, if for nothing else, then for tradition. It’s also kind of beautiful I think. Look at the simplicity and motivation of saying “Hello World”. When you learn a foreign language, probably one of the very first things you learn is how to say hello or greet someone. You know, usually before the “me llamo Guillermo” (USUALLY).

As an aside, I thought it was weird that sometimes in learning Spanish my teacher went out of the way to explain things were not direct translations or that we had to practice talking to each other after assigning ourselves more Spanish like names, hence my Guillermo. I can’t tell you how hard my teacher reinforced “me llamo” is not “my name is”, it is “I call myself” though it is of little consequence because we use them exactly the same way in Spanish, maybe the distinction was just there because she wanted us to verb better. Additionally I was proud that I irritated the teacher so much that I got to miss the Justo Lamas concert because even though I didn’t get to go on the school field trip, no one was at school for the rest of the teachers to do anything so it was just board games all day. Anyway…. I accidentally switched rails there. Let me find where I was again.

Hello World, I lost you for a second. Maybe you were just compiling. Hello World, I can’t wait to see what I can do. Hello World, it’s time for me to imagine and create. Hello World, I’m going to work to solve your problems. Hello World, this is me, discovering my place in you. Hello World, I just found you and found something inside me.

Hello World.

I’m going to be a programmer. Hopefully work in cyber-security, saving the world or you know, some irresponsible man’s identity so he doesn’t get his life ruined. My mom needed someone like that. Maybe if she had one that heart attack wouldn’t have happened so soon. So I feel like I have a personal vendetta against these people who brick businesses for hostage situations. Many of them hide under the guise of thieves with anonymity so tight they won’t be traced. Maximum profit for minimum effort. These hackers start off with small things and work their way up believing they aren’t really hurting anyone. They rationalize that money can be replaced and that attacking businesses is better than harming individuals. Then there are those who outright will sell individuals information to people who will take advantage of medical records to fill prescriptions or make claims to fill their own pockets, and somewhere along the line all these people sort of shrugged at the thought of people’s lives being ruined.

I wonder what they would think. The people who bricked the business where my mom worked. It was just her for the office staff. The other person owned and ran it. But she relied on my mom to be able to stand straight in the morning and keep her life together, even sometimes after work. My mom helped. She was loyal to a fault.  So when all of their files became encrypted and held hostage, she was incredibly upset. She didn’t have any offline backups either, so it seemed like a dire situation, very stressful for her. But I really wonder, if I somehow met those people what they would say if I told them they effectively killed my mother. Would they plead ignorance? Maybe rationalize how it wasn’t their fault? Assuming they moved past my confrontation, would they do anything different with their lives? Does their anonymity allow them to simply shrug and believe that people don’t really matter on the other ends of their attacks because they never see them?

Hello World, I’m learning about you, I’m building skills to engage you in a way to protect others. Hello World, maybe you can help me build a better you. Hello World, thanks for getting me started.

 

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.