Getting – And Staying – On Track

March 9, 2014

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!

Hanging In There

February 26, 2014

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? 🙂

Out of Control

February 22, 2014

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.

I Love You, But…

February 17, 2014

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.

Death Wish?

February 16, 2014

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.

Peace and Love

February 14, 2014

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.


Laziness Rewarded

February 13, 2014

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.


February 12, 2014

Here’s what I mean about lack of focus.

Last week’s Wednesday class (Career Counseling) was cancelled due to the snow storm.  This means that it’s been a couple of weeks since we met, and a couple of weeks since I read the material we’ll be discussing in class tomorrow.  I should review it, and I tried, but I just can’t.  I’m not interested, and it’s not sticking.  Nor have I been able to complete the new readings for tomorrow, knowing that we won’t be covering them all because we’re behind a week.  I’m still going to be responsible for the info by next week, but can’t be bothered with it now despite it technically being due.  This lack of focus is bothering me, but not enough to do anything about it apparently.  My current game plan is to give up (which goes against the grain) for tonight, and try to review the material again tomorrow before class.

The thing is, it’s not like I have anything else I’d rather be doing.  I don’t.  I’m feeling a little restless, in fact, in need of something to do.  Reviewing constructivist and social constructionist theories of career development isn’t making the short list, though, anymore than finishing chapters regarding career development in children has.

Then there are Thursday’s classes, for which I’ve likewise done nothing.  There’s going to be a quiz in one of them (Family Therapy), but I don’t care.   It helps that a massive storm is predicted and those classes will likely be cancelled.  I’m not feeling the need to get anything done, knowing that we probably won’t be meeting.  Watch that come back to bite me in the ass somehow.

I may not know what I’d rather be doing, but I know I’d rather be doing something else.

But hey!  I’m now certified to conduct human research trials.  That ought to be comforting to… nobody.

Bah!  I think I’ll give this day up and go to bed.  Here’s hoping the Productivity Fairy visits me again in the morning, because Apathy Fairy seems to have put in her time today.

Two Days In A Row

February 10, 2014

Hello again.

This is me not doing my homework because, quite frankly, it couldn’t get much duller.  Three chapters on career development in children, which is basically child development.  Again.  Over it.

I’m a bit cranky today.  I have tendonitis in the heel of my hand from sanding the ceiling the other day.  I have to rest it, rather than finish the job.  Irritating, and painful.

In addition to that, I wanted a new theme here but my site redesign refused to cooperate.  I finally decided that it wasn’t worth the aggravation.  This one will do.


I’m enjoying the Olympics for the most part.  The coverage sucks and it can be tough dodging spoilers, but it’s still fun to watch.  Certainly more fun than reading about how Piaget’s 4 stages of cognitive development compare to Super’s Model of Career Development for Children, or Gottfredson’s Theory of Self-Creation, Circumscription, and Compromise in relation to career development in children.

Also interested in Michael Sam’s story of coming out before the NFL draft.  I’ll be watching to see how this plays out going forward.  He was projected to be a 3rd round draft pick, but may now go undrafted.  Surely some team will have the balls, so to speak, to pick him up.  Again, so to speak.  That’s a team I’ll cheer for.  Unless it’s the Jets or 49ers.  I have my limits.

Now, will you kindly hope that CT gets a big snowstorm on Thursday so I don’t have to go to school?  It would spare me back-to-back classes, and I would really enjoy the break.




Adjusting to Changes

February 9, 2014

So much going on, so much on my mind.

I’ve been put on a different medication to treat my bipolar.   It’s a new one, called Latuda.  Overall I think I like it.  I no longer feel anxious all the time, which is such an odd feeling.  I can see stressful situations from a healthier, more balanced viewpoint.  The consequences of even the smallest of failings used to seem too devastating to contemplate.  Now, I just shrug and say “Meh.”  And…everything turns out fine!  Freaking out about things didn’t make me a better student, just an anxious one.  I’m still getting things done without getting an ulcer in the process.  Nice.

Of course, that’s anxiety, not bipolar.  It’s just a nice side benefit that my anxiety levels have dropped.  The main improvement is that I no longer live in a constant state of depression.  I have energy and motivation.  I’m finally finishing projects begun years ago but left incomplete because, in my depression, I only had so much energy to give to life.  Now, slowly but surely, I’m reclaiming my space and doing those things I’ve long wanted to do.  I’m also beginning to go to bed a little earlier, but that shift is still a work-in-progress.  I’m working on it, though.

I’m also much more social.  I accept most invitations to do things now.  Before, I struggled to be around people.  My mother told me that it’s nice, seeing this side of me she hasn’t seen since I was younger, before my mental illness took its toll.  I’m having fun again.

But there’s a down side.  Because, in case you didn’t know, there’s always a downside to every medication.  I have trouble focusing now.  It makes it difficult to do my homework.  The lack of anxiety means that when I get a case of “I don’t wannas,” it’s harder to make myself do it.  I still get it done, but it tends to trigger irritability when I have to force myself.  Writing papers is much more challenging because it requires a high degree of focus.  Still, I’m getting by I think.  I’ve found that I do better at certain times of day, and if I can settle in to work then, I’m good.  I have to stay on top of it.

There are other things on my mind.  Things like my fears for someone close to me whom I love.  I’m almost positive she’s using heroin again.  I keep reaching out, letting her know I’m here if she needs me.  But I think she’s avoiding me.  She knows I know.  There’s nothing else I can do but try to keep the line of communication open.  But in the wake of Hoffman’s death (and Twister is on TV right now- his face appeared even as I wrote his name), I’m feeling more weighed down by fear and sadness for her.

On the flip side, I’ll be celebrating 17 years sober in a couple of weeks.  Hard to believe.  I’m so grateful for the life I have, and all of my friends and family.  You all enrich my life in immeasurable ways.  Thank-you.