Being Bipolar & Working the Night Shift

My lazy all consumed ass full of excuses anytime a challenge arises has veered away from writing for all too long. Here goes my current mind’s frenzy of thoughts:

I did not have a deep connection to Linkin Park or Chester Bennington, I did own a CD of theirs at one point though. My connection is that I suffer from depression. Not to sound coldhearted, but I did not shed a tear or think too deeply about the news. I don’t like to dwell on news that is sad because sometimes it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy and then I find myself in a stupor, also why I don’t like watching the news.

Initially, when I hear about a suicide I think about how selfish it is. It seems dramatic and self serving. But then as I start to get down on myself about taking a story so lightly, I have to really think back. I suffer from depression, however, when I am happy, the feeling of depression and how bad it feels is not near in my memory. When I am happy, or even-keel, lets say that- the strong emotions brought on by a depressive episode are so subdued and remote that I forget how bad it actually feels. I have to remember when I would talk my negative self talk in my own head. I have to remember what those lonely conversations were like.

It was an awful carousel ride that I couldn’t get off of. It was constant anxiety and worry. It was impossible to enjoy anything. EVERYTHING felt like work. You want so badly to be able to control at least one happy thought. Not to be too transparent, but having a bowel movement was the highlight of my day. I swear, I’m not saying it to be funny but because its the truth. Think about it. When you come home from a long day and have the urge, you go and what do you feel after? That’s right, better! It was the only thing that gave me temporary distraction and relief.

So on with depression I go. Then like a cloud passing by the sun I would have a glimmer of hope and happiness, just to know that the next cloud probably wasn’t too far off. If you have actually felt depression before you might be sitting there thinking- this girl is spot on. However, if you have never been in the thralls of a full blown depressive episode lasting more than a couple weeks, you’re probably thinking, “What the F is this bitch talking about?”

What I am talking about is this: depression is real. No, it is not tangible. There is no lab work or radio-graphic imaging that can be done to diagnose it. It will not leave a rash on any of your extremities. Actually, sidenote- at the tail end of my last “Great Depression” I developed a rash called pityriasis rosea that lasted for several months and made me to look like a leper. It is a rash that is of unknown etiology and is self limiting. I think I now the etiology of my case though! My body was wiggin’ out from being in flight or fight mode for eight months strait!

Back to Bennington, it is true. IT (depression) can get that bad. You have these feelings for so long they start to drive you crazy and in turn your reality becomes very different from everyone elses reality. A person in a healthy state of mind may see a beautiful two month old baby and be in awe, want to hold it, smell its head and in turn their blood pressure would probably become reduced. A depressed person would not see the beauty. They would see a beautiful baby that would bring the slightest bit of joy to anyone’s day, and immediately feel overwhelmed and start to think of all the downsides to a baby. “Oh, imagine all the diapers you have to change, what if you can’t find a babysitter, they are so expensive, they cry all the time, imagine how many times a day you have to change their outfits.” When you are depressed everything seems like work and just thinking of things causes severe fatigue.

So as I was saying, I remember thinking, “There has to be a way to make this stop. I cannot keep acting and slugging through my days like this. I AM MISERABLE!” I was calling my psychiatrist’s office weekly, sending emails- I was desperate! I am too afraid to kill myself, and I always think of my loved ones no matter how bad my situation gets. I love my people so much that if I had to, I would probably live my life in torment than put them through something that traumatic. On another note, maybe I have never experienced my depression long enough or maybe it just hasn’t gotten severe enough. I believe that with all suicides comes psychoses. When you are psychotic, you are not all there. I’d like to think that every person that has taken their life was temporarily not all there. They were hallucinating, delusional , etc. I don’t believe a person can be in their “right mind” and follow through with a suicide.

I have been on a journey as all of us are. This journey has led me to great peaks, especially in the last year. In August 2016 I married the love of my life at my childhood church with twenty people in attendance. It was one of the most inexplicably beautiful days ever! We just had our “real wedding” just over a month ago, but we will get back to that in a little bit. December I graduated from nursing school. Valentine’s Day this year I passed the NCLEX, also known as “the state boards” and became a licensed registered nurse. About a month later I got hired by my first choice hospital, on my first choice unit. I started my “dream job” in April. Then at the end of April, my family threw me a beautiful bridal shower. At the end of May I went to wine-country for an amazing two night bachelorette extravaganza with some of the most awesome girls I know! THEN June rolled around. I started on the night shift working 7pm-7am. I worked my first week of night shifts, three in a row to be exact and at the end of that week hopped on a red-eye to make my way to Massachusetts, Cape Cod actually. On June 17th 2017 we had the most gorgeous backyard wedding in a quaint little village named Cotuit. Cotuit is where my heart is when I feel like I need to escape California. Every joint in my body aches for Cotuit when my check engine light appears on the dashboard during my crazy journey, my life.

In one paragraph I have probably made any reader out there exhausted. Like, screw this biotch and all the great things that have come her way in the last year. I will let you know that none of it came easy and I chugged like the little choo-choo train chugs to make all those wonderful things happen. In 2011 I graduated University with a bachelors degree in communication studies. I chose that major because I didn’t want to do any more math and science if I could help it. Also, it was broad, I didn’t have any burning passions at the time and lastly, because I had always entertained the idea of journalism or becoming a news anchor or an author. I know, it sounds so vein to say, “I wanted to be a news anchor,” especially because I don’t even like watching the news. Also, I always feel like I’m a hypocrite for wanting to be an author one day because I don’t feel I’m worthy due to my lack of reading. Why would you write if you don’t read. Ok, so I read, but I feel like if you want to be an author you should read a shit load if you don’t want to be a hypocrite. Hey, I’ve been known to have illogical thoughts from time to time, so don’t mind me.

On that note, of illogical thoughts, lets get back on track. My mind is going a million miles a minute- I don’t event think it knows exactly which point it wants to make. But I sit here, on our couch that has been handed down twice before it became ours in our “tiny house” as I call it and type this at 0502, yes in the morning. This is because I cannot sleep after working three night shifts in a row. I totally jinxed myself because I was telling everyone what a great transition it has been so far and then, like a ton of bricks, I was hit with a shit storm of shitty shifts. I am still precepting, or in training as most people would understand it. The confidence that God has afforded my over the last year is quickly dwindling away. Maybe you could even say that I have “been swindled” or had it sucked out of me.

Let’s back track some more. How did I even get to the point of graduating nursing school? Well, like I said I got that degree and sat on it for a year as I continued to work my server job at the Cafe that is perched on the third floor of Nordstom. Thankfully I worked for a miserable little man whose misery was infectious. Due to the misery I became motivated after the holiday season of 2012 to get on the job hunt. I got hired by a third party administrator called Sedgwick as a workers’ compensation claims examiner. Ironically, this company handles all of the leave of absences and workers comp cases for both Nordstrom and Providence, my new employer.

I was just so excited to get the F out of my serving job, away from my miserable boss and into a “professional position.” I took a chance, and that is what life is about, right? As Einstein said, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” So I started out on this journey that began with taking a chance on something new and within less than three months I found myself in a deep pool of depression. It was my third major bout with depression, but my longest lasting one. It was hell on earth, it was like a mortal Purgatory.

Signing off for now…my hunger is getting the best of me.

Advertisements

Surprise Surprise

I have come to the realization that there are many types of surprises I do not like. My significant other and I have this debate here and there. I believe I like surprises, he begs to differ.

However, I received a text this evening from my thirty-one year old brother. It was one of those…call me when you can. In other words, its not just for a: “hi, hello, how are ya?” I was baby-sitting at a house in the hills with minimal cell reception…which is what I told my brother. He responded “landline?” Then I was like, “Fuck, this news is not going to be good” (for me at least).

I went ahead and called, though the service wasn’t great, I could hear him. Of course he started out with, “I have some good news I want to share with you.” Automatically, because our brains can think that fast, it can come up with several possibilities in a matter of ten seconds, I thought, Shit did he get his girl pregnant? Thank heavens no, it was the second conclusion I came to: he married the Canadian girl just as my mother and I had predicted just a couple short months ago.

I dont understand why, but every time I receive news of this sort my immediate reaction is to feel a strong sense of betrayal. Maybe it is jealousy masked in betrayal and anger, whatever it is, I don’t like the side-affects that accompany the emotion. My neck tenses, my mouth dries up like a puddle in 100 degree heat. I feel that thunderbolt of rage though my abdomen and chest, and then feel it go back and fourth a few times, not as severely as the first jolt.

I have never met the girl. Joey hasn’t mentioned anything that would indicate a possible nuptial other than the fact that “Marla” is a Canadian who doesn’t currently posses American citizenship. I immediately thought of the trips I made to see him in prison, which he was released from just a few days shy of a year ago. Anyway, I could make the trip up to see him, put money on my account so I could speak with him on the phone, cover for him every time someone asked how he was doing-okay, not every time, because some people could not be fooled. I did this for him, and he doesn’t have the decency to give me a heads up. Instead he waits until four days after the ceremony, despite the fact I had just spoken to him the night prior. Instead, he feels it necessary to inform me at midnight while I am out babysitting.

I don’t know what I feel. I just know that I have felt these emotions before. I notice them when I receive any news of this sort, an unexpected pregnancy, an engagement, an unexpected rush wedding (I should be used to it by now). But I am not. I think I feel stuck, stuck in a pile of muck while everyone else is passing me in the race. However I’ve thought this before. I’ve also seen how it ends. The sprung wedding lasted little over a year before papers were filed. The unexpected pregnancy followed by the shot-gun wedding proved to be quite the challenge that never seems to meet a resolution. These are just a couple of mentions.

Every time this type of news comes along I believe I am tricked. I, for a short moment, think that other people have it figured out. They have uncovered the artifact that we are all searching for, that “ah hah” moment we are all waiting to experience. That epiphany we all believe we will one day experience. Love at first sight, the accident that brought true love, all the bullshit that most likely doesn’t exist.

I guess I’m a bitter old hag because I am five years in. The sparks are losing there force–the force that keeps the sparks “sparked.” I am engaged, broke, and waiting to be accepted into a nursing program. I’m waiting to get into a program even though I am not sure its what I even want, or worse, something I can manage. I mean I know I could, but will I dread it and sludge through or become inspired like I’ve hoped I will. To add to this list, my fiancé hates his job, bitches and moans nearly every day, and doesn’t offer me the sense of security and hope I once felt from him. I didn’t worry that he would figure things out, do something he could tolerate, and make some decent cash. But who am I to judge, I’m bipolar Belinda over here, depressed and unsure of myself one day and ecstatic and overconfident the next. I am a hot mess, so why am I judging. Again, I need to be independent and accountable for myself. I make “me” happy first. Then I take on another type of happiness that can only come from another soul.

Is anyone ever happy before they take on that second responsibility, I mean is it possible? Happiness wavers like anything else that is in constant motion. Its never the same, its always more or less than the last “happy” and one will never know when it will go next or come back again.

Return of the blog

So it has been quite some time since I have turned to WordPress for therapy purposes. My world has turned upside down since the last entry. I am now more than a year past my most severe episode of depression. My depression began last March (of 2013). My friend said odd years are just that–odd. After the suffering of last year I would have to agree, or I would just have to agree because I would like to hope that “even” years are my breath of fresh air, as 2014 has treated me well. Despite the fact that my future father-in-law died, January 4th of this year, and this event set a dismal tone, the year has reinflated much since his passing. Yes, it is hard for me to empathize with my fiancee as the death of a beloved parent is one which is unfathomable. It is an experience which robs you of your breath- the most coveted and vital activity. Yes, breath-it keeps you going, and if your body can help it-it is an involuntary action. It is the action that carries us. Even when we don’t want to voluntarily chooch our own trains-our pulmonary arteries beg to differ so long as they are provided with ample resources to preservere. 

SO I ramble, let me! Although I cannot mention in my sober speech, this is my dream. My ultimate dream is to be an author. One that can make a living off her words. So my words are raw, and nothing of the late Maya Angelou’s-they are words that mean much to me, and that are my talent. I cannot sing, and though I am somewhat academically inclined in that I have the discipline it takes to pass some courses, I have learned this past semester I am no genius! I do not contain the gene that permits photographic memory, or the gene that allows Steven Hawkins to thrive despite his physical incapabilities. I am human, I like to garden. I like to lay on the beach; I hate to exercise, I love to stay in touch with my siblings, and my parents are my best friends. I enjoy playing tennis if it is an available means of entertainment. I enjoy pretending to know more about wine than I actually do. Lets just say the only thing I excel at (involving the grape) is that I can get to the end of a bottle and still have the nuts and bolts to write a snippet in a blog and somewhat edit it upon posting it.

I enjoy making others feel noticed and appreciated. I thrive off the fact that someone, anybody willing to, can look up to me and say, “She has got her head on her shoulders and I think she can teach me something.” I love my siblings: Joey, Billy, and Julia. They are the extremities that I have been given to help me lift my down-spirits when they cannot peel themselves up from the tar-ridden ground. They are some of the most important reasons I preservere, fight my disease, and push on-even though it is toward a future I am not sure I am destined to lead.

I am currently enrolled in Anatomy and Microbiology. I am not performing stellar-ly in either class-but I am performing. I am facing a fear I have had for over half a century. I have feared that these classes were something I could not follow through with. Here I am 9/10ths through the semester-passing. I can do it. I can do what I set my mind to. I can face my fears and beat them with a stick. I can do.

It feels good and I have no regrets. For now this is my path.

I just want to thank God. I have not been to church in a quite some time. Maybe it has ben six months, but I do believe in a power beyond me. One that has a plan-one that cannot be foreseen for we are too limited to comprehend. We are only strapped with the capability to have faith. I have recently learned how to maintain faith. I know I will need boosters to maintain my faith-as sometimes we are thrown curve balls that may cause these strong feeling of hope to diminish. But I promise God I will never forget the power you returned to the palm of my hands. I will never forget the dignity, the spirit and the honesty you restored to my soul. I prayed hard enough, apparently, and I received. Thank you. I did not want to take my life. I knew that if I continued down the path I was going, eventually it would lead to that being one of my prime options. As for those 8 months that were interrupted by maybe sevens days at most of refuge, I felt agony I have never felt. I felt agony that did not dissipate and if it did it only returned full-fledged. I felt something that was a midpoint between purgatory and hell. It was indescribable. But most importantly, I am no longer there and I know its because you knew in your heart that you had a plan for me. You knew you could work through me or make an example of me. I will listen to you although I may not always participate in the activities you would prefer me to, I will always kep an open mind. I am still human, but I am your child.

 

Though most people DO actually SUFFER from mental illness, it isn’t ALWAYS the case!

Though most people DO actually SUFFER from mental illness, it isn’t ALWAYS the case!

Though I am bipolar, and it is extremely difficult to fight my own battles, surviving my father’s manic episodes have been if not just as difficult, more difficult. I have learned that throughout the years I have developed control issues. … Continue reading