Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Monday, January 29, 2007

Not Dead

I was out of town for a day and came back to find my cable and internet disconnected because the stupid provider, which just bought out my old one, changed my mailing address without any reason and I didn't get bills, so I didn't pay them.

I'll be back Thursday....Until then send mean thoughts to my cable company......

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


I have no idea what to call this.....

First, random way to have loads of fun for $5...live catnip in a pot. I've had 3 high cats for 2 days. It wears off, then they eat it, and suddenly someone is flying around the house running into walls while the other 2 look confused. Lots of laughs for me.

I think my meds may be slightly getting out of whack. Or maybe just not getting into whack is a better way to say it. I increased my antidepressant a few weeks ago for depression, knowing it would probably trigger a bit of mania. I wasn't sleeping as well, making it hard to wake up, so I increased the trileptal a tiny bit. Now I'm very sleepy all the time. I'm scared to increase the Provigil (wake-up pill) because I also have been feel a bit overly happy (despite sleepy) the last couple days, and if I'm bordering on hypomania provigil is a painful mistake. This is all part of going off lithium which was the basis of everything for so long, and it also goes with this time of winter (I'm sure this isn't coincidence that it is hitting right with the worst weather we've had this year). Nonetheless, I'm glad I see the doctor this week and hope she can figure this out.

I'm having trouble letting a conversation from tonight go. Two very young nursing assistants were at dinner discussing some movie about a man who dates a lot of "freaks". "You know, a woman with narcolepsy.....(goes on to describe how hilarious that is)........then someone with Tourrette's.......(oh, the thrills)" and then I tuned out. The whole time I was so frustrated because I was waiting to hear about bipolar or schizophrenia or something, and I don't want to be made fun of. I get so angry hearing any of the neurological/psychiatric illnesses laughed at, and those hit so close to home. Hearing them laugh at this stuff just makes me want to jump up and start describing what my life is like, and asking them to point out where that is FUNNY.

To be clear, I am not complaining about my life. My life has plenty of good things in it. Sometimes even bipolar is good. Sometimes. But I hate when people laugh. I hate it because I am embarrassed that my behaviors are sometimes "off" and that people can see it. I hate that my doctors can tell from my eyes or the pitch of my voice if I am manic. I hate that I cry for no reason in public. I hate that I lose my temper in ways I don't mean to do. I read the application form for vocational rehabilitation that my psychologist filled out. I didn't want to, but he gave it to me in an unsealed envelope and I couldn't resist, which I am sure was the point. Some of the areas he marked as problematic make me cringe, even though I know they are issues.

I guess that's tonight's big statement: Don't laugh at me....

Saturday, January 20, 2007

You Never Know

The Decision 2007 post may have come too soon. I'm now in the midst of waiting again, as the offer now looks so incredibly good I doubt I can pass it up. Essentially it looks like I'm going to be offered full-time pay for 32 hours/week. So this next week will be interesting. Time passes so slowly while negotiating. I am so bad at this. But thankfully I'm mainly negotiating with a friend, and I'm getting an offer that is so friendly to my disability that it makes me want to cry.

Today is a really exciting day in the life of my blog. I have now officially surpassed 1000 hits. I was so hopeful for a while that this would occur on the blog's birthday, but I missed it about 20. Today was a busy day on this site and at last check I'm at 1007 visitors.

I had thought that at this point I'd have something profound to say. Anyone who has followed this site knows it has been an incredible year in my life. Much of it was horrible, but the end result has been a better me. Somehow hope finally entered my life this year, and hope is good. Now I just have to work on trust....But instead of having something profound, I realized that this isn't more than a marker on a path. There is no real summary of events and the good that has come, because this is still all in progress. The story so far has been how I became incredibly sick and then recovered to the best I had experienced in years, and then my recent brush with depression and return to functioning without getting really sick. There is a lot of good in it, and I have learned so much about myself and about life. But it's so far from over. What I write about is no different at this point than it was a year ago, aside from what I write today is affected by how I feel today, and what I write tomorrow will be influenced by how I feel tomorrow.

The main thing I have learned is that life is never how we define it. When I started this last January I thought I would be writing about what I learned working in mental health while having my own mental illness. Within weeks so much of my life went wrong, and ultimately I wasn't even a mental health professional anymore. And now, 4 months after that, I'm considering moving on yet again, and returning to the world that was placed on hold a year ago.

You just never know......

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Decision Made

Well, so much for that decision. Yesterday I found out some more details, which included a reluctance on the part of the company offering me the job to firmly commit to "Just Me doesn't work extra", along with some other things, and I realized that I was pretty strong in my prior decision that I wouldn't consider this unless things were clearly and definitely different. I think it was when she said something about keeping my caseload lower so I could manage that I really knew.....I am not ever going to deny a patient treatment because I'm only "accepting" 7 patients right now, or whatever. If more than a minimum number of people need treatment, they need to bring in help, and if they can't promise that then they aren't doing this right.

Then I realized that thinking about change was stupid. I'm mad at my psychiatrist over changes that have frustrated and frightened me. My psychologist is constantly trying to reassure me he isn't leaving me and I just get mad at that because so much has changed in my life in so little time that I won't believe anything is staying the same, even though I need to believe he is going to be here long term. Every change in the last year has shaken my entire world, and I don't want any more.

So I'm staying. I'm going to accept the things I have to, including that my health does affect my career. Another day, another concession to disability. I'll deal with the things that concern me over time, and if next year I am still truly bored I will think again about what path to take. At that point I may branch out of therapy and try a different form of mental health work since that's what I love.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Happy Blogday to Me

I hate my birthday. Many painful things have happened on my birthday and I just would rather skip it. But of course I can't. I have no problem with growing older, in fact I ENJOY that part (I am so very tired of looking 18, you'd understand if I posted a picture). Therefore, this year I've decided to mainly celebrate by recognizing that this blog has been around for one year.

About 2 weeks ago I asked for questions about me to be answered to have something different on this day. Only one person answered, but with good questions. So we'll leave it open for more questions throughout the day, which means really into Tuesday as I don't have much free time on Mondays.

And the answers are:

1. I think you mentioned that you were previously married ... but that you aren't now. Am I right? (I don't need any details you aren't comfortable sharing but whatever you feel like talking about is good with me.)

Nope, in fact I am as single as humanly possible. I have never been in a serious relationship and in fact have never even been kissed. That's one of my stranger for 31 years old things, but back when I was much younger I was very firm in my beliefs about intimacy and relationships and where things should begin, mainly in marriage. As I went through some bad relationships and learned that I just wasn't ready for relationships to get that serious because my life had been too complicated (and I was just too bipolar but didn't yet know it) I decided to wait until I knew things were right before getting into any relationship at all. I haven't been well enough for the last 6 years for this to be much of a consideration, other than making me sad at times. Mostly though I know that I am right for avoiding relationships until I can handle it, as it is not fair to me or him, whoever "he" is. Overall this works well for me.

2. Do you have a favorite color? Why is it your favorite color?
Usually it is yellow. Sometimes green. I am affected by bright colors at times, so I tend to prefer tones in the "watercolor" range to be surrounded by. However, I choose to wear fairly bright prints on my scrub tops each day. When I'm not working I wear much more muted tones, deep purples, greens, and blues. My house has a lot of greens and peach in it. Some of the peach is a mistake and needs painted the milky color I want in my kitchen, which is to have purple accents. My dream room (ie hopefully I'll get there in the next 3 years room) will be very pale grey and the goal in that room is to have a very peaceful place to relax when there's too much stimulation.

3. What does your typical weeknight meal look like?
Ha! My grandmother would roll over in her grave.....Because I work unusual hours my dinner tends to be odd. I try to cook at least one big thing on Sundays to have several times during the week. Last week it was a casserole, this week a pot roast. I eat that several days. One night a week I see my therapist and have to eat out; that varies from Panera soup to pizza. I try to make it a cheap treat night. I frequently indulge my love of reuben subs that night. If things are not going well and I'm getting off late I eat a lot of subs, trying to stick to healthy ones. I also get a lot of restaurant carry-out during busy times. Not the best, but could be worse. I also do quick cooking as I can; this week I'll have fajitas sometime, barbecue ham sandwiches one day, etc. When I'm less able to manage I resort to Lean Cusines and canned soups, but I try to save those for when I feel bad because I get sooooooooooooo sick of them. That's one thing I miss about city life, lots more carry-out options in the much healthier range.
I love to cook but it's too much for me to handle regularly. If I take this other job I will have a day off mid-week to prepare another meal.

4. Do you wear glasses? If so, how do you deal with their physical pressure when you're feeling flighty? (I have this problem ... on my more-manic days I can't wear my glasses for fear that I'll throw them across the room when they get too heavy. I also have to have plastic frames and lenses so that they're lighter and more resistant.)
I do wear glasses. They don't cause me much problem though unless the frame is bent or something which actually messes up the correction I have so that is a fair reason to be disturbed. I have to be very careful with what lenses I get though because I need to have very little of the frame in my visual field or it bothers me. I've bent my frames trying to "fix" this before. I also get very light frames and lenses. I think it helps that I really, really need them. I have a weird problem where my left eye sees fine but doesn't like to do much work up close, so without my glasses my right eye suffers. Plus my meds cause me to have enormous and painful pupils which my glasses correct. Knowing that makes them much more tolerable. I guess it's like wearing a bra; not the least bit comfortable by required in public, but I can get through it knowing the moment I'm home I can do whatever. After all, who needs to see out of 2 eyes at home? I do, really, but I do take glasses breaks at home.

5. Do you have a preference for odd or even numbers? I struggle with this myself ... I have to end things on even numbers. Hence ......
No. At least not that I've noticed. And I would have because I write goal lists all the time that are typically 3 or 4 long and I don't care about either. I don't have a lot of OCD magical thinking type stuff, although my psychologist thinks a part of my noise problems, specifically my inability to tolerate music because it repeats forever in my head, is OCD like. Learning to control this is on my list of hopeful goals soon, although I haven't told him that yet.

6. What is your favorite board game? Scrabble. In fact that's one of my proudest things of the last year. I love Scrabble and have always loved playing it with my mom. We have the dorky Scrabble lover's deluxe edition and everything. Last year I quit playing because I wasn't good anymore. Eventually we got the lithium thing figured out but I still haven't been able to play because it was too hard and my attention was too limited. I was given computer Scrabble for Christmas and wasn't sure I'd be able to do it, but have been really enjoying it. So tonight my mom and I played and it was the best game ever. I only lost by 5 points and I was ahead most of the game. That was the best part of my not-yet-my-birthday celebration.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Decision 2007

Trying very hard to decide about this job situation. Right now I'm thinking I may take it if the offer is good enough. There are many huge issues affecting the decision, but one I hadn't thought much about is that I now need to decide if "easy" work is fulfilling enough. When I took this job I needed to get out of a situation that was too difficult for my coping skills. Now I am so much better, the situation would be better, and so the "too difficult" factor is gone. My current job is something I like, but it does not take a lot of my skills that I have just educationally, much less does it use many of the specific things I'm good at.

Last week, before I ever knew this was going to come up, I kept dreaming about this patient I saw last January. He had been placed in a "state school" (often a euphemism for "place to desposit the disabled" at the age of 5; he was now 40. He was congenitally blind, was diagnosed at deaf although he clearly had some hearing, and no communication skills. He was violent and had injured staff severely. I was brought in because of my experience with sensory integration, even though he was in a facility some distance from my own.

The first time I met him he was in his rocking chair. I knelt on the floor beside him and talked to him. He began trying to pace around the room. I paced with him, but eventually brought him back to his seat. Very, very gradually I touched him and started treating him.

The people who cared for him were shocked. One pulled me aside and warned me to not get close to him, he'd hurt me. I told her I'd be careful and went back to my thing. Over the next 5 weeks he never even came close to trying to hurt me. In fact he began to respond when I walked into the room and spoke.

He and I connected like I've connected with only a few people in my life. The exact way to help him came naturally somehow, and whatever happened, it was profound. He went from having daily violent episodes to only one in a month, and that one episode had some reason behind it. He started going on community outings with only 1 aide, as opposed to 3 in the past. His doctors were amazed at his response. He even had dental work without anethesia.

If I work in psych I can help people like this. If I work in a more standard setting I have a bit less stress. Yet eventually what I am doing now will start to feel tremendously boring, I think. Very little of what I do now takes particular skill or talent. My previous job made me feel like I was good at something.

Is it time for health versus happiness? Can I stay happy in a setting that I feel in my heart is boring?

Will the psychologist kill me for considering this?

Time will tell.

How on earth do I know the trade-off?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Plot Thickens

What a day! What a few days actually.

I finally, finally, finally am resolving things with my doctor. Not sure if I'd mentioned the total mess there, but I've had serious communication issues with her lately, and have been struggling to get meds changed for weeks without success. Anyway, I think the reason for the problem finally came out, and I got the changes. Plus I have a better way to communicate with her now without the difficulties.

Then today I got a call that my previous company is very interested in my return. Like interested enough to be willing to make some generous offers that I may not be able to pass up. I really like my new job but I miss working in psych. I miss it every single day and I am better at it, and my abilities are better used there than what I'm doing now. Initially I thought there was no way because of so many bad things that happened there, but apparently there have been huge staffing changes throughout that company and many of those I had issues with are gone. I don't know what to do with that information exactly.

It's hard though because there was so much anger at the end with that company. Some of the issues, especially the distance from my home, would not be resolved. But it's tempting and a lot to think about. I hope the actual offer comes soon so I can think with a clear picture in mind.

On the plus side I got a thyroid check today and as long as nothing is bad with this one I don't have to get any more blood drawn until May. Since today was my 15th blood draw in the last 9 months this is incredible news.

Two more days and this week is over.....

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Meds are so good

"I haven't had any meds in 3 days. I haven't had any meds in 3 days. I haven't had any meds in 3 days"......

It's my new mantra. I don't do well with no meds this long. I'm bursting into tears over nothing. I am having trouble falling asleep for the first time in many months. I'm having nightmares. And I keep thinking about how much I hate myself or other people hate me or how I'm worthless or all sorts of other things that are just not the realistic derivations of what is really going on.

Knowing my thinking is "off" at times and knowing to not trust it is a big part of my coping toolbox. I know to ask for confirmation that what I think is realistic during times like this, and to automatically reduce much of what I feel to "incorrect" status. I just am so frustrated that this is part of my life. Again, the frustration will be reduced when the meds start working.

Every time the temptation to not take meds is there I wish I could remember precisely how this feels.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Back soon

Just a note to explain my absence....stomach flu. Bad, bad stomach flu. Working in nursing homes tends to give you an immune system that is almost a full-fledge pre-tax benefit, but when things hit you they can be mean. This one is mean. And I won't even go into what it has probably done by messing up my psych appointment today and keeping me from taking my meds for several days....

So, please keep referring to my previous post, and I'll be back after I've had more calories in a day than my age.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Hi, I'm Just Me

In less than 2 weeks my blog and I will share a birthday. I started writing on this thing on my 30th birthday as a way to start something positive moving into this decade of my life. Aside from my career I am not able to give much back to the world, and over time I have developed a deep desire to give back in several ways. For one thing, I want to share with mental health professionals/those hoping to be mental health professionals things that may never come up in classrooms about who the mentally ill really are. For another, I want to state loud and clear to the world that I am mentally ill and I walk among you. Yet I cannot do that in a world less anonymous than this because it is a world of discrimination. I also wanted to find a way to help mentally ill Christians be more fully accepted by other Christians. This is part of my life I haven't written a lot about and I hesitate to discuss it much because I do not want to help extend the common belief that Christians are prejudiced and non-accepting. However, I know that by lack of exposure some people of my faith (as some people of any group) don't understand fully. Because I went to a very conservative Christian college I encountered this most frequently while in college and from people affliliated with the college. When I started this it was with the knowledge that it could be used as a resource for students at that school through my friendship with one of the professors. I will talk more about this as time passes; this year hasn't exactly lent itself to fulfilling any plan I had set forth.

Because I became so incredibly ill my blog has strayed far from what I thought it would be. Instead it's been more of the story of my life as I've traveled through this, with random thoughts dispersed throughout. That's sort of weird to me, because it's so far from what I really intended. For one thing I don't really do a great job of either being very open here or filtering things; it's a hodge-podge. Also, I say more than I ever thought I would about who I am. One could figure out a great deal about me if one desired. Either of my doctors would instantly recognize me. Yet it is much more than I let the world see. This blog is somewhere between the hard shell I protect myself with and the person I am with my therapist.

Further, my birthday is not my favorite day. That's a long story that is never going to make it onto the internet, but it just isn't. So distractions are good.

So I thought that perhaps it was time to try something new. I know that there are a number of you who come here regularly, and that I just don't write a particularly participation-inducing blog. That's fine, asking anything else would be like you asking me to reveal more of who I am, where I am, etc.--something that won't happen.

But I thought perhaps those of you who have been coming here frequently for a year might have questions about who Just Me is, or anything else. Obviously I'm not telling certain details, but in general I'll answer anything in my birthday post on the 15th. The more the merrier............

Monday, January 01, 2007

Doing the Right Thing

I called and left a message for my doctor today. This entire thing is more complicated by my doctor's change of practice, which leaves me not 100% sure what is going on. I have no clue what gets communicated to my doctor of messages I leave now, nor if she even gets them. Last week I called about when my appointment would be this month and both secretaries I talked to sounded as if I was crazy to think I would get an appointment any time soon at all and left with with the distinct impression they thought I was making up my story about having routine monthly appointments and being told I would be called to see her this month.

I am left with the feeling that I want to show up and introduce myself. "Hi, I'm Just Me. I'm not very stable, so get used to the sound of my voice. I don't lie about what I need though, and it's very hard for me to call the doctor so I won't do it unless I need to. I certainly won't lie to get appointments. Yes, I get insulted when you act like I am a pest. No, I'm not very articulate on messages when I feel bad. I get pretty annoyed when you sigh at me when I ask something that truly is reasonable; you were not present at my appointment or any of my appointments in the last 4 years, so really you don't know what the doctor and I have established. Mainly though, please remember I'm human and have feelings and know when you talk down to me. I am a psychiatric patient, and there's a reason I am seeing Dr. Wonderful at Famous Hospital, but I am not stupid." I also would like to inform the secretary I spoke to at the facility where I actually see the dr. (not her main office), that telling me with horror that if I need that much care I would need to see the doctor at her MAIN office, when that is clearly not what I have worked out with the doctor, does not help any situation.

So anyway, I have now done my part to get help, and if I don't get a call in a few days then I will start being more aggressive. I'm also going to talk to the doctor more specifically about avoiding this mess because it is stressing me out.

Happy New Year!