Just another ramble

Hi all,

It’s me again. Checking back sporadically as always about inane details of my life. I’m officially signed up for coding bootcamp that starts in January! I’m really excited and nervous about this. Excited  because I feel like I am finally going after my dream of working as a tech nerd, and nervous because I’m not sure how much I’ve recovered- and if I have, how much my body (and mind) is capable of tolerating the long hours. I mean, much like after a huge physical health scare, of course that will be a worry- the relapse. In my mind, it’s something inevitable, as I have already proven to myself this week by getting sick from overworking (read, it was just homework for a class). So, I may not be physically ready for this thing. I don’t know. But I do have until January to get back on track with my physical health.

Another thing that happened was, that I reached out to some people who used to be in my life. One was a best friend, and the other was my ex-boyfriend. I never would have done this if my therapist hadn’t suggested it. I will tell you that right off the bat, what happened was drastically different. My best friend took me in with open arms, even when I apologized for my inappropriate bipolar driven behavior towards her, and we are now back to being friends like nothing ever happened. My ex, on the other hand, was a different story. He also apologized, but for the failed attempt at communication (which I didn’t think was the main reason for the relationship’s demise, but we can agree to disagree), and told me that he was seeing someone else. He did add that we should meet for coffee if I was still in Chicago, but I think he might have just added it as an afterthought. Who knows. All in all, I thought it was nice of him to respond. My therapist noted from both reactions of the people who responded, that one knew me, the true me, and that the other one, didn’t.

Speaking of friends, I’m making new friends! After being frightfully lonely from self-isolation, (for the fear of being found out about having bipolar and the stigma,) I decided to say yes to making friends. I looked for meetups and said yes to every opportunity thrown at me. I even said yes to going to a music/dance festival even though I’m way too self-conscious and don’t like dancing in public, and it turned out, I actually had fun!

I’m finally near the finish line for completing a course that I always wanted to take since college (but couldn’t because I had other degree requirements to finish), which is Algorithms. I took it through Stanford on Coursera, and while it was difficult, I got through it.

Running is going well! I started with 1 minute walking, then 2 minute running, then increased that to 10 minutes of running slowly, then upped that to 20 minutes.

Today I’m down with a cold, but looking back at September, there were many milestones I should celebrate.

What a week

I slept more than how much a cat sleeps in a day today. I couldn’t help it! I was just so tired. I’ve had two technical interviews/assessments this week for a software engineering/coding bootcamp, and I mostly blame it on that. Those things are exhausting. On top of that I had class at night, and a bunch of studying for the said class during the day. I’m glad that I’m doing all this because it makes me happy and I love it, but sometimes I forget that just because I don’t mind doing it, doesn’t mean I get a jail free card from being exhausted from doing too much.

I am super stoked that at this point in my life, mental illness doesn’t define me. It definitely has in the past, if you scroll down to some of my earlier blog posts from a few months ago. I’m actually doing everything I love/want to be doing right now, which is running almost daily (although not very much), studying what I love learning about, and of course, having some sort of purpose/direction in life. Even though things are not perfect, I could have more friends, and I’m not “there yet” (we never are, or we’d we dead) I am so grateful to be at this point in my recovery for everything that I can do again. I mention this a lot about finally becoming stable because, I used to believe that I was going to be depressed forever, and have serious symptoms of bipolar forever. But nothing is forever, and even if some of it is, you learn to cope with it. So I pray that you, reader, can find some hope in reading about my high points in my life- it will come to you too.

There is still a ton of things left to do, such as another technical interview for this other school I applied for, and more studying to do on higher-order functions and closure (which are difficult topics at first for someone studying computer science). My month long class ends next week so I’m hoping I can get a breather when that ends.

Life update: improvements!

Hey there! I know it’s been awhile, but a lot has changed (for the better) in my life, and I’m happy to say that I’ve been busy.

  1. Meds: I’ve come down on my lithium, finally! I was taking four little pills worth 1050mg per day, but now I am down to 900mg. I asked my doctor about this because of my hand tremors, and out of the three things I was taking, lithium seemed to be the one that was probably causing it- and plus, I have been feeling a lot better lately, so this was a good time to lower my dosage. I’ve asked about possibly coming off of lithium completely, and it sounds like it’s a possibility, but something we would reconsider more down the road.
  2. Career Choice/School: I signed up for a boot camp preparation class for software engineering, which is very INTENSE. There is pre-readings, the classes themselves (4 days a week), then the homework which follows that. It’s made me very busy and I am so happy that I am at the level where I can occupy myself with something other than just my recovery. I’m also really glad that I’m on this set path with a clear career goal. I’m really excited to be embarking on this challenge.
  3. Yoga: I went back to my yoga practice, which I abandoned almost a year ago. I’m doing vinyasa style yoga, which means that there are almost no pauses between poses, and moves very fast. I am hoping to get more toned and a little stronger because I’ve atrophied a lot from my depressed days when I stayed cooped up at home for days. Yoga just makes me feel good.
  4. Therapy: I’ve faced some of my demons, and I am becoming more self aware about my relationship with them. Some of the main ones were workaholism, having bipolar itself/self-stigmatization, things from the past that have been fueling my PTSD, anxieties, my situation (where my life suddenly just fell apart) , losing friends etc. I’ve really made peace with these, and I feel good about it. There is still a lot more that I need to tackle, but some progress is better than no progress.

Those are the main ones I feel improved in the past month or so. Since school is taking most of my time out of my schedule, I think I will continue giving short updates like these every few weeks, so stay tuned!

Manic Sunday Funday

I have several rules when I feel manic. No online shopping, no signing up for things, no making of such decisions that are possibly life altering unless consulted with a family member. Writing a blog post is not barred by any of these above rules, so while my unreliable sense of excitement about writing something lasts, I’ll be writing this post.

It feels like this: it feels like a prophet has come to you from the heavens and has given you your life mission, in this instance, it is writing this post. It could be anything really, like draw a lot of heads, or read until your eyes hurt, or look at job postings hour after hour without needing to rest. None of which, in hindsight, are not really things that should be “goals,” but rather everyday tasks. It feels so exciting to be doing such said task, you forget about everything else. Sometimes this is good if you want to forget all your life’s troubles for a while, but if it does persist, too much excitement for too long, can really do harm.

What are your rules you have for yourself when you are manic (if you have them)?

 

Support group review

I went to a bipolar support group today and it was the most helpful thing that I’ve done for myself in a while. I thought I would be better off by staying busy and distracting myself from my condition and my situation, but that was not the right thing to do in hindsight. After having gone to this support group in the city that was solely for people with the experience of having bipolar, I realize now that instead of distracting myself, I really had to lean in further to my situation, not distract myself away.

Every time I’ve convinced myself that I’ve accepted my life situation, that I’m finally okay with having bipolar, there is always more that I have to accept about living with this illness. It may be a new situation that arises, or it could it could be something that I was ignoring. This time I was ignoring the fact that I was isolated. That I had no one to talk to, face to face, about what I was going through. That I had no friends in the city. I had my online connections which I am so grateful for, but I really suck at reaching out online when I need the help the most. Plus, I was lacking in real human interaction, and real talks. I didn’t think I needed it as much as I did. It was so nice to have bounced ideas off of people about some of the decisions I’ve been struggling with, and to hear from their experiences.

So all of this made me realize how normal it is to be where I am right now, for someone with bipolar, having had gotten my diagnosis only a little over a year ago. Struggling. Trying to find my way. Find myself. Embrace my situation. While being confused by all the choices, and not knowing what might be the best thing for me.

Support groups are so awesome, and I am so lucky to have found one. If you are ever debating whether or not to try one out, you totally should.

 

I can’t wait to go to sleep

I wish today was over already. Weekends make me depressed because my life has basically been a weekend away from most of my adult responsibilities in the last year or so, so when you give someone a weekend away from the weekend, then that’s when things get a little stressful. How would you react if someone told you to relax when you are already bloody relaxing? Maybe it’s time to get a job/go back to school you ask? (Not you, reader, but I’m addressing my negative self-talk) Well, I wish I could, but seeing as I’m still struggling physically to get out of bed and do things sometimes, I desperately want to get back to having a life, I cannot. I am still not able to hold down a job, go to school, or be in a relationship of any kind. I’m just not there yet, as they all say. I tried, you know, I tried to go to full time classes and freelance just last month- the result was a horrendous downward spiral into a really dark time.

I draw to keep myself sane these days. I draw every single day. Sometimes, that’s all I can manage. Otherwise, I have no desire to do anything today. I feel pretty much nothing, and things (regardless of how things are realistically) seem futile and pointless. Life seems pointless (no matter what the truth is). I can’t shake these feelings that pull me further and further into another depression, it’s like watching myself fall- in slow motion.

It’s almost 7pm right now, and there are only two more hours until I can go to bed without feeling like I’m wasting my life sleeping. I cannot wait to not be in reality.

Going bonkers

Therapy (emotionally) hurt today. It was like putting salt in the wound, or breaking a piece of bone that was healing the wrong way. I’m not mad about it, but I acknowledge that it hurt really badly.

It was about my workaholism and how I bend backwards to please people who are paying for me to do any job. I noticed that whatever I do, whether I love the thing that I’m doing or not, I get obsessive about it. I compulsively checking for errors, or redoing things that don’t really need redoing just because I see flaws. And I see flaws everywhere in my work- I cannot unsee it. That usually ends up costing me my health and my sanity, and sometimes, as a result, my job.

It’s a sensitive topic for me because I am more self conscious about my work product than myself as a person. I can laugh off jokes about how I look and how I talk, but I have a hard time laughing off jokes about my abilities or intellectual capacity. I take other people’s opinions about them more seriously than I should, and it’s a weakness that I’m aware of.

I hate that I had to go back and access the memories right before I got hospitalized etc. to talk about these issues I had with C, but there was no other way to process. I got really upset talking about it and had to miss my class afterwards because I felt like I was retraumatized. I think it was a useful discussion to have, but with my confidence so low and my depression not yet gone, it was extremely difficult for me to talk through reasons why I could not stay at my old job like most normal people.

Speaking of normality, I feel isolated and sad because I remembered that I lost all my friends before my diagnosis. I made some new ones, but it’s hard to have the same kind of conversations with someone new. I worry that once I get older and when my parents are no longer there, I will literally have no one, and that I’m going to die alone in my apartment and not be found while my cat eats my face to survive.

I just read everything again, and clearly I’m spiraling tonight.