Tag Archives: thoughts

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!

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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.

 

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.

 

Calm Like a Bomb

Tick Tick Tick.

I’ve got all this energy. Days like today feel especially “good”. But also very much like a manic episode. On my way to work I listened to Rage Against the Machine’s “Calm Like a Fire” (hmm, the origin of the title is no longer a mystery) and I rocked out in my car. The steering wheel became my very own drumset. I headbanged and thrust my body in various directions in accordance to the tune. Maintained my speed of course, don’t need to be overly dangerous enjoying life.

But then I get to work, and I’m just chipper. Can’t stop grinning, world is my sandbox. A few times the want to fight somebody surfaces, leaving me pondering if I am just in a really, really extended manic episode (what’s that 7 weeks now?). In a typical manic episode, there are in my opinion 3 red flags. This is to say versus feeling what I would normally deem a normal happy. One, increased libido. No need to explicate that, thanks. Two, inconsiderately spending money, even when I have bills coming up soon. Then I’m calling my mom asking for 20 bucks here, 40 bucks there. Number 3, I feel the need or fantasy to fight someone.

I never fight or strike people of course. I haven’t been in any sort of physical confrontation since middle school. But this idea keeps popping up on occasion since my new treatment, often puzzling me and leaving me to wonder if this is a good happy or a manic happy? Of course, I’m still largely rational and able to ignore it. I don’t have an increased libido right now, and though I’m spending money on things I want, I am also planning for the things I have the responsibility to pay.

So maybe this fighting business isn’t manic? Maybe it’s just some primal urge to compete physically with another and see who comes out on top. I kinda like that idea. There’s some primal version of me.

Sometimes it’s a full on scene I envision. I always need a context though, and a badass entry or exit. Let me play out one I had earlier.

I’m at the bar with friends. Someone acts untowardly with one of my friends. I stroll up.
“Look man, just back off, it’ll be cool” I say without pressure, gesturing with my hand for my friends to remain seated. As if to say “I got this”.
He scoffs. He looks around him, unused to this sort of confrontation, obviously incredulous.
“Uh huh” he says, obviously mulling over what he’s going to do or say next “and what if I don’t back off?”
I lick my lips briefly preparing to be very clear “I don’t start fights man”.
In a terribly brutish fashion, he replies that he does.
He smacks me on the left side of my face.
My anger swells, but I keep composure. I rock my jaw side to side as I consider my next move. “I could turn the other cheek right now” I finally say.
“Oh, you’d like another?”
“I don’t start fights” I say again perhaps dryly with any luck.
All this time, I’ve been noting particular things about him. How drunk he is. What his dominant hand is. General muscular stature. That kind of thing.
I glance at his feet, making note of his stance. He’s likely to swing slightly wild with his right hand.
I give him a smirk. “Pissant”

That starts him. He doesn’t bring his arm back far in preparation for the incoming punch.
I jerk slightly to my right, away from the incoming swing, while twisting my forearm, perpendicular to the ground, across my body and into the inside of his arm. I’m also sweeping my left foot slightly behind me.
He misses his punch, momentum thrown off, momentarily confused. I thrust my elbow into his sternum with additional torque from my left hand. As it makes contact I twist some momentum into my right hand, now a fist, to essentially smack him in the face before returning to a guard stance. I also duck during this same movement.
He gets a glancing blow with his left against my face as I prepare bring my left hand back for a punch.
Barreling my left fist forward, making sure to twist as I go to generate additional torque and overall contact force. I make contact just under his ribs before jumping my right leg behind and sending a roundhouse to the side of his head as he bends over slightly. Following through with the kick he stumbles over, hitting a table.

That’s about as far as the fantasy got visually before I laughed it off. And of course, after I won (hey it’s my fantasy after all) I would iterate “I don’t start fights” leaving for a pause before my follow up “But I can finish them” (crowd goes wild).

Obviously in reality fights aren’t nearly so precise. And though I would have surprising agility, form and balance, it probably wouldn’t be enough to overcome an angry drunkard, especially if they had something like a knife. But for some reason I have this confidence and occasionally get the impulse to test it.
Last time I was in any sort of confrontation, it was embarrassingly similar to the one I described, at least at the start.
In middle school I was in karate, but hadn’t the chance to use it until some kid picked on me. I mouthed off back. He slapped me. I glared. “Fuck off” I said. He threw a punch, sidestep and block, turned the block into a throw though to use his momentum against him. He fell flat face down. I kicked him once for good measure in the side. He rolled away, got up hesitantly, and walked off. That was that. And I wasn’t picked on anymore.

I’m a peaceful person, but sometimes I do get the urge to challenge someone to some sort of fight. I obviously don’t and haven’t. But you can see the results of my thoughts on the matter.
So maybe it’s just a primal thing. Need to assert some dominance, I don’t know. If it’s mania though, at least it’s lasting a good long bit, but I’m not interested in the ramifications if that is the case. So here’s to hoping it’s not, and fights are only a thing I fantasize about.

Time since the hospital trip

Since going to the hospital, things have mostly died down. I’ve felt at peace mostly. Tranquility in abundance.
My thoughts still danced with flames which should be put out, but they did not anger me or cause me a great deal of discomfort. A downside though. All of my thought is suppressed, as if it takes a great effort to summon words. I have a hard time thinking, like I have to start speaking or writing for the thought to manifest itself correctly. I’ve been tired, so tired that I’ve learned to sleep in some interesting and deeply painful positions. And I regularly get 12-15 hours of sleep a day when work allows for that.

Not quite the quality of life I desire, but, it’s also not the same pain I’ve been in prior.

My thoughts ache to be heard. But, my mind won’t create them until they are being spoken, sometimes leaving me unaware. This is not the beauty I once held in my mind, although it’s wonderfully structured. Chaos and structure are both beautiful in their own right. And now, I have more structure than chaos, sometimes I am pleased with this. Sometimes I yearn for the poetry I’d often speak throughout the day.

I should tread carefully. But, I know not why I return here today, I thought it was for another reason, and lost it was to my mind as my fingers play across these backlit letters.

Maybe another time.