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.

A thought about jealousy

I felt like crap looking at my linked in contacts, so here I am writing what you can do to change your feelings when you are feeling embarrassed, jealous, envious from comparing yourself to others around you.

This might be a bit cliche, but life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. And also, when you’re old and wrinkly, job titles, awards, and where you went to school matter a lot less. 

Not everyone comes from the same background. We don’t have the same productive years. You may have even lost a few years of your life to an illness (that would be me). How fair is it to compare you to another person who had not had this experience?

Keep your head up, stop comparing, and do you coding homework.

The state I am in

You know when things are off when you need to take a day off from art class (also known to me as, the most relaxing activity in the world).

I’ve fallen off the bipolar horse and am getting trampled by it again, big time. I’m dissociating pretty badly, and I’m still numb, lacking appetite, and feeling pretty confused, and out of it.

People often equate bipolar as getting a boost of creativity, but that’s a huge misconception. When I have depressive episodes, I can’t even pick up a pencil, let alone finish something. I’m making myself paint because I think I would feel much worse if I didn’t. I can’t say the results are that good.

I’m trying to stay away from social media as well as actual people, because I know I’m super vulnerable right now. Any small comment can throw my mind into symptoms of PTSD and all of that fun stuff. And I will get defensive most likely.

Sorry, this post isn’t all that interesting to read, or enlightening. In a city of millions of people, I just feel pathetic, sick, and so so alone, even when I’m with others.

 

Rant.

It amazes me when someone outright judges with a straight face, to my face. It’s hard to know if it’s intentional sometimes because it’s so outrageous, or if the person is just blunt about everything and has no filters. I’m pretty blunt sometimes, so maybe this is the taste of my own medicine.

I was chatting with a classmate at the art studio after painting, and we got to talking- which was mostly her asking about my personal life. My life is pretty complicated to explain because I choose to be more secretive than not, so I give her the clean abridged version, which is that I’ve switched from Finance to Illustration, and that I’m freelancing. I should mention here that she had no affect. Couldn’t read her emotions from her face, so here is my take on what she said and meant. She goes on to make snide (or what sounded like) comments about how math and art are similar (e.g. topography, which, is not; math explains beauty, but art displays it, leaving the interpretation to the viewer.) And rhetorically asked if my mother “got depressed” after I told her that I quit my high paying day job to do something that’s not sustainable like illustration, and finally, my favorite, if I had a chance to marry one of my coworkers from my day job, because “at least then you could probably make a living.” I was having a little cringe fest inside. My soul died a little from this reminder that people who think like this are out there.

First off, who are you to care about how I make my own living? I’m not stupid- I didn’t just choose what I’m doing now without any consideration to how I’m getting my next meal. Second, I myself got depressed not my mother. Third, I would never marry someone for their money- I would want to be their equal, that’s what partnership is about for me. Unlike someone.

Granted, she was an elderly lady who seemed a little resentful, but I just still cannot get over the fact some people (other than my extended family, but they’re family,) judge strangers in plain sight and to their faces when they only have seen the tip of the ice berg. Sorry (not sorry) lady, you’re wrong because you don’t know the full story. If you did, you’d probably judge anyway and tell me that having bipolar is my fault or something ignorant like that.

There’s just so much negative energy in me right now, I can’t even begin to work on my commission.

I’m an illustrator! How my life took a dramatic turn (once again)

I feel like it has been ages since I last posted. I should say that it was not because of something bad happening, but it was because of something normal. More than just normal, but good. I’ve been very busy.

I have some good news- and it is especially good because it is about my career and where it is headed. I mentioned before that I was struggling quite a bit to find out what I was going to do for the rest of my life, and I know now. Not fully, but well enough to feel pretty secure. And it’s a cliche, but it had been under my nose all along.

It was this one week, you see, when everything changed. When everything clicked. When it felt like it was a sign from the universe, or God or what have you. It was a validating hug that came from all directions.

First, one of my classmates from the art class I was taking reached out to me to ask if I was interested in some illustration work. She knew a friend of a friend who needed illustrators. My illustration so far had been only for my own pleasure, or what someone might describe as “just a hobby, nothing more.” It had been more than that; it was my therapy- it was where I found peace. I constantly sketched, painted, inked- mostly animals, especially my cat. But a year had passed and I found my skills good enough to draw professionally! The guy wanted animal illustrations (in my own style!)-I was stoked because I could not call myself a commercial artist or illustrator until this day, technically. He liked my portfolio on instagram, and we got to work. I was so proud and happy at the thought that I could maybe make money while doing something I love. I took it as a sign.

The same week, I got another commission. It was for several pet portraits. This time, it was similar- I was at church, and I showed my instagram (which is basically my portfolio) filled with ink drawings and watercolor paintings of animals, and she wanted some of my work for her bedroom! I was so excited to have not one, but two projects come up when I least expected it. I usually don’t believe in this stuff, but this was the universe giving me a thumbs up to what I have been doing with my time, and perhaps a sign that I was heading in the right direction.

My therapist was not surprised when these boons came my way. She had the “I told you so” look on her face. She said that she told me before that I was a good artist, and she knew something like this would happen. She said that she saw a lot of clients who struggle with their creativity and artistic abilities because society isn’t very accepting of us creatives. Instead the message is, “get a stable high paying job, start a family and retire early” and not “do what you do is best suited for you.” I don’t think my math degree and my subsequent job in finance was a waste of time. But I am rather glad that I found out early enough that I had something better waiting for me.

The next step for me would be to keep taking classes, get better at my craft, and above all, create more places online in order to reach out to people to sell my art.