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!

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…

 

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.

 

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.

Hitting refresh

Hi folks! I’m back on WP after a few weeks off. The break gave me time to read a lot of books and get caught up on the news. This freed me from my inner thought patterns a little bit and gave me perspective. I think we all need a vacation from all aspects of life, however enjoyable it might be, from time to time.

Where I’m at now: I think I’m finally stable, and will be for quite a while. I’ve said that I was sort of stable before, but this time, I’m actually, for once, confident in saying that. And it feels amazing and improbable at the same time that this period will last. I can’t remember feeling this well for this extended amount of time in years, including the years before I got diagnosed with bipolar.

Also, here is another responsibility that comes with feeling stable: I need to figure my shit out. Maybe not right away, but soon. I need a direction: personally and professionally. I was so cocksure of where I wanted to be and where I would be in life before my breakdown spiritual awakening, but since then, I feel like my elaborate life plan has been wiped off from the dry erase board mistakenly by a maintenance dude overnight. So yeah. I’m still lost with how to recreate myself and spend the rest of my life (or even just the rest of this year).

Instead of this assignment being a burden (as it was a few months ago), this time, it feels almost a little bit exciting, thanks to the stability in my energy levels and mood. I’ve been working out every single day, like I used to (because I finally physically can!), improving my art- both drawing and painting, rebuilding my wardrobe to fit my true style, and just enjoying the weather.

All in all, this is just to say that I have no idea where I’m headed, but it’s all right for now. So, we’ll see.