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!

At crossroads

Options are great. Really, they are a privilege. I know this, but it’s still agonizing.

Every night I’m up, thinking about how I haven’t made a decision about my career. I’m impatient, of course, and never have been able to “enjoy the ride,” as my therapist recommends. I mean, how can you when every single moment that goes undecided seems like lost time that I could have spent focusing on one thing and not on trying to decide?

My dilemma is one of which many artistic people had to struggle before me.  Do you choose what you love to do (fine art in my case) as your career, or do you choose what is practical? I’ve seen both sides argued eloquently, and I’ve seen successful people on both ends.

Now, while I love the idea of following your North star, your intuition, and following your values, my compass seems a little broken and points to many directions all at once. I would love to do what I love on a daily basis. But I also love the idea of a stable job, independence and good health insurance that usually comes with the package. There’s also the perils of failure. If things don’t pan out for whatever reason, what is the worst it can happen?

So I sit here paralyzed, once again with this privilege of choice. One of these days, I’m going to flip a coin…

 

This is… Anxiety

I’m shaking. I’m a mess. Freaked out and paranoid. I feel untethered and insecure. I feel like there is no one for me out there to be a friend. Hell, I don’t have any close friends left. I feel like I did something wrong, but can’t remember it, or that I’m not aware of my mistakes. Something feels so so wrong, I’m slightly dissociating.

I know all these feelings are just feelings and not real (or at least not 100 percent), but it’s uncomfortable to be sitting on it right now.

The days I don’t have class or something obligatory, I feel absolutely useless. I’ve been truly working on my workaholism by not overscheduling. But when I don’t have things to do, I’m in a panic (or I’m drawing, that’s the only thing that calms me down), frantically looking for things to do.

I feel like I’m not enough. People are telling me that I am, in fact, enough. They also tell me if that isn’t going to happen, at least make myself believe I’m enough- but that’s just not possible right now.

Everyone is telling me to get back on my workout regime. I really would have if I could, and if I had the energy. I have trouble staying awake, so I should probably work on that first.

I’ve been looking for a new psych because of my insurance, and I’ve been rejected by three so far. Some of that mentioned that my case was too serious, and they could not take the responsibility. Well, that’s awesome.

What is missing? What am I doing wrong? Why am I still sick? Am I just being impatient? Do I just suck at being an adult? Do I suck at everything I do? I am getting depressed again? Why is life so difficult?

Career path: too many thoughts

In retrospect, I don’t know if the things I accomplished thus far were “a step forward.” Malcolm Gladwell asserts that you need to have 10,000 hours behind you to call yourself a master,  or get more than just “good” at doing something. But the caveat is, you have to do it right. If you practice wrong, you’re practicing to be bad at something, theoretically. I look at 10,000 hours of waking life that is behind me and ask myself, did I do my life right?

If one is asking that question, the answer must surely be no. You don’t really question things you did right; most of the time, they are taken for granted. Was it since college? Before college? Was it my major? Or that one internship? That relationship? That friend? I could ponder this question to get to the bottom of where “things went wrong” but I know it’s stupid to expect a cut and dry version of the unfortunate origin for it all.

While it was all happening, though, it felt right. It was difficult, but what isn’t difficult that is worth achieving? I managed to get through it all. It was the wrong kind of difficult, sure, the depression inducing, bipolar eliciting kind, but I didn’t know this at the time.I was, in a sense, practicing life wrong, if you will.

So from where I stand now, effort seems futile if it’s misdirected. And if I overwork. If I trust my decision making skills. Right now is when I need to trust myself the most, I feel as if I have the least amount of confidence for it, after all that has happened. Right now is when I need to take a leap of faith, but I am the weakest I have ever been.

I’m scared that this artist thing isn’t going to pan out. I already started looking at becoming a graphic or UX designer instead. The job where you do everything on the computer. Jobs that are digital are more viable, it’s a no brainer. But I look at both and try to imagine 5 to 10 years from now on, how I would feel about my choices then, and I just can’t- things are too hazy, there are too many moving pieces for me to be able to predict what might happen, and what might be a better choice. Again, the leap of faith awaits.

I know that it’s a luxury to be able to sustain indecision. I’m not that young anymore (neither too old), but not young enough to be trying every single thing that’s out there to see which career fits like a glove. I shouldn’t even be thinking about this at this hour.

 

Two steps back one foot forward

Thank you for being there for me, everyone. Your comments, likes and reads have helped me to hold on to dear life this past week. I truly think your thoughts and prayers got heard, and the mental health gods decided to spare me this time, again.

Motivation is coming back to me, slowly. I’m not as triggered by things and the dissociation went away. I’m so thankful that this depressive episode was just a short one.

Here is where I went wrong. I thought I was safe, and that my rapid cycling bipolar had stabilized because I had been more than OK for more than two months. But it humbled me again with another episode. I’m never safe. I’m never cured, even with the help of anything. It has to be managed. I think I put too much stress on myself by taking up full time classes and freelance jobs. They were great experiences, but I feel like I put those job related things before my mental health- and if I don’t want another episode in the future, that really needs to change. So, this month has been two steps back. We live and learn.

It has been quite a while, depression

I didn’t really see it coming for me this time. I know I had been really busy, and it was a bit of a stretch right now to be doing anything full time in my condition, but I did it anyway.

My perception shifts, once again, to the negatives I have in my life. The negatives I have not even thought of for a month or so. I have no real friends where I am, I have no job, I live with my parents, I have no idea what to do about my future. It’s all doom and gloom. I try, at the same time, to remember the upsides, but it sounds like a false prophet. I don’t really feel it. I feel numb, and gratitude can’t be felt with all this numbness.

Call it what you will. The ripple effect from Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. But that’s not what this is about.

When I shift into this kind of mode, as I’ve written about it before, the colors literally look less vibrant, and I can’t emote. I can’t work out, and everything is a catastrophe in my head. Everything I’ve ever done is useless, and I feel like a victim in every episode in my life. I see in my head, a full house of the people who know me, laughing at me for where I am in my life.

My head decided that today was a mixed episode kind of day. So I’ve painted the whole day away, and I don’t feel even a little accomplished or joyful.

I’m going to try to ride it out. But this sucks.