Tag Archives: mental illness

Binary Can of Chicken

I struggled with what a binary can of chicken would be. At first thought I wasn’t bothered by it being binary, I was concerned about the reality if chickens were stored in cans.  I was reminded that chicken is canned and sold as such, which made me make a face closely associated with “blech”. But then I realized, I’m a computer scientist, I know what binary is, so obviously this can of chicken is digital. I corrected myself though, acknowledging that anything with two and only two distinct values is binary.  Maybe the can is or isn’t there? Maybe that is what applies to the chicken? Maybe the chicken is good or bad? Wow, that one actually kind of fits. It took me a couple of minutes before I realized the strangeness of binary cans of chicken.

The phrase of which I write came to me when I was getting in my car to go to school one morning. My brain likes to not work entirely at times. I’m used to getting weird phrases and snippets of conversations in my mind that don’t make sense. At one point I was very concerned that I had schizophrenia. Then I even chalked it up to being bipolar. I even had “dreams” while I was awake. Slight hallucinations, sometimes just morphing of colors or words, other times full on confusion when there is a witch drawing dots in the window of my RV full of balloons plummeting off a mountain. You know, dream stuff. Sometimes very alarming and can briefly summon me to reality in a panic.

Now that I have been diagnosed with narcolepsy, I feel I have a better grasp on this because these symptoms fit much better with that illness.  It’s hard having this many things wrong with you, but at least I am learning and at least I am getting treatment. I now think these weird one off phrases or mid conversation blurbs are issues related to narcolepsy. It often provides me with weird things to reflect on. Now I believe that every can of chicken is implicitly binary. I don’t think I would have ever considered that on my own. Anywho, meant to write in here more often and before now, but I’m also extremely tired and confused at work, so maybe later.

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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!

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.

Lo and Behold

When I’m doing well, I’m doing amazing. I forget how many weeks ago I had my first, and what should be my only suicide attempt. I could easily figure out, but it feels so far back, like I’m ready to just leave it in the past, what would be the point?

I think I finally found a medicine that works for me. At least for now, yes, I’m slightly paranoid about this near mania state being yanked out from under me. But I mean, over a decade of dealing with this business? Dropped out of college not once or twice, but five times? Tried hard to ruin friendships and hate myself throughout all of that. Given that most of my life has been lived under the terms of mental illness, a reprieve, though very welcome, feels so unlikely. If you’d have told me, like some of my friends did, a few months ago that I could find “normal”, I’d have scoffed and explained why I couldn’t.

Now, I’m past that. I’m so much better than normal, and I’m loving it. Every day feels like a manic episode. I’m excited, have high energy, I want to laugh and enjoy things. I spread my talents and my skills and I sit back and admire them. I love music. I love playing my guitar (even though I’m often feeling sick and my joints hurt). I love playing video games again, I get excited talking about different things with my friends. I ACTUALLY carry conversations on a daily basis with most of my friends (even though most can still be counted on one hand).

Point being. I feel good. So very good. Weeks have gone by. WEEKS, I mean, I could not even comprehend this level of feeling good just a couple months ago. I get normalish sleep, I don’t get anxious about things. There are a few remnants that hang over me, but I don’t stress about them. I just let them be. I started taking on some good projects, some creative, well, MOST creative, no, ALL creative haha.

That feels good. I’m writing story for some friends to play a tabletop RPG with. I’m drawing, something I really never do. I’m writing a song even! I’m so close to finishing it. All these projects, I would normally get the ideas in a manic state, write them down and abandon them a few days later citing this or that. But now?
Now, I plan them out, I filled up a notebook with ideas, and notes and how to achieve them, stuff like that. Man, when my brain works, it works beautifully. I’m confident in my abilities, damn near even cocky. I like that. Been a long time since I wanted to toot my own horn.

Despite competing in Intel International Science and Engineering Fair twice and even placing 1st at state in my category one year, I felt so sure it was all a fluke. That stuff was reinforced when I had to drop out of college again… and again… and again. That’s just the reality of being bipolar for me though. Because here I am, on a good path now. Making steps to accomplish a lot of these projects now.

A big thank you to all of my friends. You know which ones you are. I love you all. You’ve put up with my bad times and even often supported me through them. I hope I can provide half of what you did for me. Not in the spirit of reciprocation, but because that’s who I am. I would want to do that if we were close friends and you were somehow unaware of my… erm… difficulties. That’s who I am. And being mentally healthy? Well, Hell, that’s just having the ability to be the best of me. And I’ll be damned if I ain’t awesome. Cause I got some great things in store, just you wait and see.

I often end the posts on a note sort of like a toast. “To this or that” I might say. I don’t need to toast this though, not tonight. Toasts always feel like a well wisher’s hopes. I’m not hoping now. I’m believing. Believing that I can do things I only dreamt of before. A man like me? Smart, observant, rational, quick witted, generous, and a decent mug to boot? I can do great things, and I aim to do them.

With a slightly toast-like ending despite my previous statements, I say to any of you who struggle or have known the struggle of mental illness, it can get better, just stay persistent. Anyone who has friends or family in this struggle, they won’t believe your incessant nagging that it gets better, but never stop nagging them, show them it gets better, show them blogs of people who are dealing better now, show them this one, despite its terribly ineffective gathering of followers (Yes, I definitely need to redo my whole look of this blog, not just the aesthetic either). To loving those in your life and to getting better to be the best you, I bid thee a goodnight.