Life Today

Did I mention I’m tired all the time?  I’ve thought about writing several times this past week, but just felt too exhausted to drum up the energy.

Part of it is, I think, the amount of trauma work I do.  Almost every one of my clients has some degree of trauma in their history, and a couple have such severe trauma that even I, with my history, marvel at their ability to survive as well as they did.  Which, let’s face it, wasn’t very well considering their current legal troubles.  Drugs and alcohol play a role either directly or indirectly in almost every story I hear.  Talk about keeping it green!  I think that even if I hadn’t been sober for 18 years (as of this past Monday), I might well quit drinking after seeing and hearing all the pain it has caused in the lives of others.  Then there was the the poor man whose fiancee was abducted and gang raped by 3 men when she stopped at a convenience store on her way to visit him last weekend.  Even as he was wracked by guilt over this, she broke up with him because she felt too shamed and dirty by what happened to her.  He’s shattered.  For her.  For him.  It pours off of him.

After all of that, 2 days off just don’t feel like enough time.  Practicing self-care has become an imperative.  But I have books I need to read on my own time in order to better help my clients- interventions and techniques that might enable me to help them move forward; so many are stuck.  I feel like I have too much to do and not enough time to do it all.  In a stroke of blessed serendipity, my Internship II professor chose the same text we used in Internship I, so I don’t have to do the readings for that class.  And the text for my other class is a fascinating and easy read, so that helps.  But on weekends when I should be turning off Aravis the Therapist, I’m focusing on that role even more.

Then there are my concerns over my future post-graduation.  I was initially told that the DOC hires licensure candidates and gives us 3 years to get our license.  But, as it turns out, that only applies to CSWs (Clinical Social Workers), not LPCs (Licensed Professional Counselors), so I can’t get hired when I graduate after all.  I have to spend the next 3 years somewhere else until I’m licensed before I can apply to work in a prison.  It seems they only started hiring LPCs over the past few years, and nobody in the union (it’s a union job) has ever advocated for the same rights for LPCs that are offered to CSWs.  So I’m screwed.  I have email notifications set for LPC job openings around the state to see what’s available, and the answer is: not much.  So I’m worried about finding a job.  I have massive student loan debt looming over me, and need to start acquiring my clinical hours so I can become licensed as quickly as possible.  I’m sure I’ll find something and land on my feet, but I’ve never been fond of uncertainty, and that’s what I’m left with right now.

On the bright side… dogs.  They drive me nuts but make me smile, and even laugh.  If nothing else, they distract me when I’m down, like all good dogs will.



Posted in College Life, On Being an Alcoholic, Random Thoughts | 1 Comment

Allow Me To (Re)Introduce Myself

It’s been too damn long, and you might not remember me.  Then again, I’ve changed a bit:

  • I’m on my final semester in grad school.  I’ve almost achieved my MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • I’m interning at a minimum security men’s prison.  Believe it or not, it was a dream of mine.  I’m loving it.
  • I have two dogs now in addition to our cats, Patches and Wheezy.  They’re Chauncey (a 6 yr. old Australian Shepherd) and Katie (a 10 yr. old shepherd mix).  You’re sure to hear a lot about them.  They try to dominate my life.  They’re pretty successful at that, too.
  • I don’t get to read for pleasure nearly as much as I used to do.  I’ve missed that, and am hoping that someday that might change.  But I’m enjoying some of the books I have to read for school and professional development.  That helps.
  • I’ve gone from complete couch potato to being able to run 6 miles, thanks to C25K and 10K.  I wanted to try for a half marathon, but my knees had other ideas.  I enjoy running, other than that.
  • I’m tired all the time, but it’s usually a good tired.
  • I’ve managed to complete some home improvement projects, most notably my living room, although that still needs a couple of decorative touches.  I have plans for the rest.

I think that’s enough to get on with.  I’m always on Facebook and rarely on Twitter these days.  I’ve recently added Instagram.  These things have been more convenient than blogging.  I came so very close to letting my domain name and website go this time around, as I’ve considered in the past.  In fact, it came down to the final days when, at the last moment, I decided to renew.  I’ve had versions of this blog since 2001, and I just couldn’t let go.  Lately I’ve also felt some stirrings of the old desire to write more deeply than FB or the other venues allow.  Besides, I don’t feel like I can share some things in other venues the way I can here, due to some of my followers.

So here I am again.  For those of you who still follow: thank-you.


Posted in College Life, Home Improvement, Random Thoughts | 4 Comments

Enjoying Some Freedom

After having to make some adjustments, the Latuda is working extremely well.  My mother says it’s like having me back; I’ve been withdrawn for so long.  Now my adventurous spirit is returning, and I’m far more outgoing.  In fact, I’m sitting here bored out of my mind with the day yawning endlessly ahead of me.  How to fill it?  Because just sitting around doing nothing isn’t as appealing as it used to be.

Next Saturday will be a different story.  I’m going canopy zip lining with a friend from school.  Located further up in the Berkshires, there’s something like 9 zip lines, 3 rappels, and a couple of suspension bridges over the course of a 3 hour canopy tour.  Not to be confused with a certain infamous 3 hour tour that landed Gilligan and his companions on a (really not quite so) deserted island.  I can’t wait!  I’m working my way up to perhaps trying hand gliding or sky diving.  Zip lines first, though!  It’s something I’ve wanted to try for a long time.

Okay, I’m off to find something to do today other than ramble at you.  Actually, I’m on vacation from school for a couple of weeks, so perhaps I should try to find lots of things to do.  Have a splendiferous day!

Posted in College Life, On Being Bipolar, Random Thoughts | 1 Comment

Getting – And Staying – On Track

I saw my APRN and am working through things.  I was on a low dose of Latuda, and it simply may not have been therapeutic levels for me.  We’ve increased the dosage, and two days later it seems to be helping.  I’m also taking it with dinner instead of my bedtime snack.  It’s supposed to be taken with food in order to be better absorbed by the body.  I may not have been eating enough with the medication for it to be properly absorbed.  Here’s hoping the combination of increased dosage and food intake will lead to resolution!  I’m still feeling a bit scattered, but am better able to focus.  I’m also not acting as impulsively, and am stopping myself from buying just to buy.  I’ve still purchased a few things, but they’re school-related and serve a purpose; I was planning these purchases for some time.

I’m not depressed and I’m not hypo-manic (I don’t think), so that’s a good start.

In other news, I have an interview for a practicum position!  It’s not with the prisons.  They are really dragging their feet, and the deadline is fast approaching.  If I don’t have a placement by the time classes start, I would have to drop the class, switch to part-time status, and wait until Fall to take Practicum.  I’d lose a semester.  Don’t want that!  This interview is at the community college I used to attend prior to transferring to Saint Joe’s to complete my undergrad.  My therapist told me that she has a colleague who works at a local community college just over the border in MA.  That therapist sees all sorts of people, including many veterans with PTSD, or people who went to prison, who are trying to rebuild their lives.  It then occurred to me that people who go to community colleges tend to be different than those attending regular 4-year liberal arts schools.  Many are starting over in some way after major life changes or crises, or are in the midst of those events.  I also enjoy helping people discover what they want to be when they grow up, and then figuring out how to get there.  I’ll be able to do that working at the community college counseling center.  A position there isn’t certain, but my contact graduated from my same program at Saint Joe’s in ’06 and is really excited to meet with me, so it’s promising!

Here is the current plan: if nothing changes between now and Wednesday when we meet, I’ll accept a practicum placement there if offered.  I can always continue to try to get an internship in one of the prisons, but since Internship I isn’t until the Fall semester, that buys me more time to work with them.  This way I have an interesting placement and can stay on schedule and on track to graduate next year.

That is important!

Posted in College Life, On Being Bipolar, Random Thoughts | 3 Comments

Hanging In There

I have been up, down, and all around since the last time I wrote.   At the moment I’m falling on the depressed end.  My therapist has been sharing space with another one.  The other lady, Laura, has a sweet little dog named Soleil.  Soleil has been a highlight of my visits.  She doesn’t come into my sessions with me, but greets me before and after.  I love that little cutie!  But my therapist needs to move offices, and I won’t be seeing Soleil anymore; today was the last day.  I felt a little teary as she licked my cheek for the last time.  Doesn’t that just suck?

Speaking of sucking, school hasn’t been so great.  I’m doing well academically, don’t get me wrong.  But I’m bored most of the time, and am clashing with one of my professors.  We got into it last Thursday, and I’ve been seething on and off all week.  I’m going to try to treat tomorrow’s class as a new day, a fresh start.  I’ll chalk last week up to a bad day; hopefully that’s all it was.  Otherwise Jesse and I will need to talk.  I felt dismissed and ignored.  To top it off, two older classmates with whom I only just get along rolled their eyes and started writing notes about me at the end of the class while I was discussing a point I disagreed with.  I know they did this because they sit right next to me; I could hardly miss it.

To say I was pissed off by the end of the class is an understatement.  I came home and indulged in some retail therapy.  That night I bought a new Kindle Fire HD.  Since then I’ve also bought a new iPod Nano, and Google Chromecast for the TV.  No, wait, that’s not true.  I was going to buy those, but when Randy realized it he bought them for me instead, so technically I didn’t buy them.  Still qualifies as retail therapy.

The problem is that shopping is a sign of hypo-mania, one end of the bipolar spectrum.  Now I’m depressed.  I’m realizing that being on Latuda is like not being on anything, except that the symptoms are blunted.  In other words, neither end of the spectrum is resolved, as is the case with most medications.  Latuda targets both ends, and so wipes out neither.  I’m cycling through the spectrum, but the symptoms aren’t as severe as they would be if I weren’t on anything.  Still, I feel a loss of control that I used to have.  I want to see if I can train myself to regain control because, with the exception of acting out on symptoms, I’m a lot happier and more social than I’ve been in years.  But if I can’t control my impulsive behavior, I’m going to need to change back to Lamictal, I think.  I’m meeting with my APRN next week, and hopefully she and I can arrive at some solutions.

In the meantime, as you were I guess.

P.S.  There is good news: I celebrated 17 years sober on Sunday.  There are positive things going on too, see? :)

Posted in College Life, On Being an Alcoholic, On Being Bipolar, Random Thoughts | 3 Comments

Out of Control

The past few days have been rough.  I waited until the last minute to do homework (more on that shortly), so had to dedicate myself to that.  Then school, quite frankly, sucked.  Specifically, Thursday night classes were a waste.  I was bored.  I was frustrated.  I was defensive.  By the end I was downright pissed off.  It’s complicated, but it came down to a textbook that I can’t trust despite being required to do so, a professor who seemed displeased with my critical thinking because it didn’t agree with his, and two women who are older than I am (!) who acted as though they were in high school.   They don’t like me (the feeling is mutual), and rolled their eyes while I argued with the prof.  One leaned over to the other while I was talking and wrote something about me in the other’s notebook.  I know this because they were sitting right next to me.  I couldn’t see what she wrote, only my name.  Bitches.  I also know for a fact that they talk about me behind my back, because some of it got back to me.  This makes them dumb bitches.

I need to let it go.

To make myself feel better, I bought myself a Kindle Fire HD when I got home.  It wasn’t a totally random purchase; I’d been thinking about it for awhile.  I just finally decided that I deserved it.  But the spending worries me.  I’ve also bought Rosetta Stone: Spanish, albeit half-off, some jewelry, a blouse, and an area rug.  Spending money is a symptom of hypo-mania, and I’ve felt it.  I’ve also felt mildly depressed.  And I’ve experienced anxiety again, though not as much as I used to.  I have trouble focusing (which is why the homework wasn’t done until last minute), and am bitchy.  I’m questioning the medication.  I sometimes think that it’s like not being on any medication, except that the symptoms are duller than they would be if I weren’t taking anything.  I feel a little out of control.  I wonder if this is something that I can learn to recognize and regain, or if this means that I need to go back onto the Lamictal instead.  I’d miss the energy, the sociability.  When I’m on, I’m on these days, and it feels great.  I’m focused and happy.  But when I start to swing in either direction, it’s challenging.  I don’t stay on either end of the spectrum for too long, and the symptoms aren’t too intense, but they are noticeable to me.  I see my APRN again in a couple of weeks, and I suppose we’ll make some decisions then.  In the meantime, I’ll experiment with trying to regain some control over my behavior and impulsivity.

And I’ll refrain from smacking those women, however tempting it might be.  I’ll even try not to argue with my professor as much.  Most of my classmates loved my mood the other night.  They laughed and said I was “really on fire” with my jokes and quips.  Glad my bad humor translates well to others.

I may be a bitch, but I’m a funny one.

Posted in College Life, On Being Bipolar, Random Thoughts | 2 Comments

I Love You, But…

As I’ve grown older, I’ve become a romantic once more.  I say “once more” because I was deeply cynical for years.  What can I say?  Bad experiences can take their toll.  But I’m in a loving and stable relationship with my husband; we’ve been together for almost 21 years.  I believe in love.  I believe in happily-ever-after (albeit with work… it doesn’t just happen).  But no matter how much I believe in love and romance, you know what I don’t believe in?

Making another person your “everything.”

Because it really sucks when you lose everything.  And where do you fit in if this other person is your existence?  If they are your everything, you’ve already lost yourself even with that person by your side.  And if the other person loves you, do they really want you to lose yourself?  Not if they’re worthy of your love.  Now, I sometimes call Randy my “everything man.”  By this I mean that out of all the men I know, he’s everything I want.  Hell, out of pretty much everyone I know, he’s everything I want (beloved family has to count for something, too).  However should something happen to him, I’ll feel lost, but I won’t be lost.  Not really.  Does that make sense?  And I won’t have lost everything.  I will have lost the single most important person in my life, but not my life itself.  Nor would he want my life to end with his.  After all, he loves me, too.

So when I see friends making their significant other their “everything,” I worry.  I realize that for many it’s a figure of speech, and I get that.  But there are those who really mean it.  Whose every breath is, in their mind, taken for this other person.  How burdensome!  What happens if it ends?  It often does.  After all, having someone put all of that on you can be like a noose, suffocating you until you feel like a wolf ready to chew off its paw in order to escape the trap that the oppressive “love” has become.  So it ends, and “everything” is lost.  Despair!


Get a hobby.  Preferably one that doesn’t include stalking the loved one.

Seriously.  Find yourself, and enjoy every aspect of your life.  Make your loved one a part of it.  Even the biggest part.  But not the only part.  You’ll be happier, healthier, and have more to offer.

Posted in Random Thoughts | 6 Comments

Death Wish?

It may be that the Olympics will be bad for my health.  How so?  Well, I’m thinking of taking up snowboarding.  My brother has worked as a snowboard instructor and told me that he’d be happy to teach me.  The question is: am I brave enough to try?

I don’t know.

I loved skiing when I was younger, but gave it up because of physical problems, especially back and knee.  So why I think snowboarding now would be a good idea is beyond me.  But I feel like it.  I’m nervous, though, so haven’t followed through.

I suspect the only way I’m going to accomplished a YOLO, however, is by (painful) accident.

Posted in Random Thoughts, Sports | Comments Off

Peace and Love

Yesterday was beautiful.  Randy got out of work early because of the storm, and we were able to spend most of the day together doing nothing.  It’s so rare to get the man to just sit.  It was the perfect day for it, though.

As if to make up for it, too many people called out of work today so he has to work until closing.  He opened.  I hate when that happens.  It’s Valentine’s Day, and I wish he was home now.  Still, he’ll get home early enough for us to have the evening together.  That’s all that really matters.


Posted in Creativity Expressed, Random Thoughts | 1 Comment

Laziness Rewarded

I managed to review the chapters, and survived the class discussion.  The fact that I was mentally napping throughout should be overlooked.  My eyes were open and my lips were flapping out pertinent sounds.  That counts as class participation, so I’m golden.

School was cancelled tomorrow, so my slacking ways have been rewarded.  I would feel more guilty about this, but I feel karmically justified.  After several years of accepting nothing less than perfection from myself, I’m due a little chill time.  Pun not intended.  We’re expected to get up to a foot of snow.  I worry about Randy and others driving in the mess, but otherwise love these storms.  So pretty!

See how drastically my mood improves when I get my way?  Shouldn’t I get my way all the time?

If you said “Yes,” you haven’t been paying attention to my blog at any time during the past 10 years.  My way can be dangerous, especially when I’m bored.  Consider this your last warning.

Posted in College Life, Random Thoughts | Comments Off