Welcome to My Bumpy Ride.......

Before you all read on, I guess it is best to introduce myself to you and let you know a bit about myself. I am Susan, and first and foremost, I am a mother to a wonderful young man. Though he is grown, he will always be that three year old little boy, that asked all those questions and expected answers to them all. Though I will tell you much about myself in this blog there is no one or nothing that is as important to me as him, even if I don't discuss him much, because he kina likes to remain private.

For years I was actively trying to find myself, but that was a big waste of time, since by doing so I was not living. All my life I have always known that I was "different", but was unable to know why that was. I first thought that perhaps it was because I was adopted, but that was not the case. Turns out, I am bipolar and pretty much have been all my life. This was explained to me about nine years ago when I had a major melt down. I tend to be more on the depressive side, but have on occasion been quite manic. My last episode was early thru mid 2008, with full blown depression. For five months, I bearly left my house, let alone my bed. Why am I telling you this? I just want it out in the open and let you understand that I discuss my illness from time to time.

Present day, I am currently a full time student, studying social work. At the end of 2011 I was approached by a mentor of mine, who mentioned a new program that was going to launch here in Rhode Island. This new program called the Peer Wellness Coaching, was something that I had always wished would become a reality and to add even more excitement was the fact that this mentor was inviting me to train for a position as one of the Peer Wellness Coaches.

So currently (spring 2012) I am part of the three phases of training and should be employed by the fall of 2012. What is even more excellent about this program is that they are aware of my education goals and are willing to work with me on maintaining those goals.

Also you might hear me mention NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), because I am actively involved with them. I am a facilitator and state trainer for the NAMI Connection groups (peer run support group) here in Rhode Island, and I also help teach high school and college students about mental illness through NAMI RI's Inside Mental Illness program.

So with all that being said...I hope you read on to my daily activities and thoughts and such.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May 31, 2011 Expectations

It is five thirty in the morning and I am up for the outpatient program.  I have to be there by seven forty five, so that means that I have to catch the bus by six forty five.  I am not happy about this early morning thing at all, but I do admit that I am not opposed to it though; just wish they made it a little later is all.

New situations are not good for me, because I don’t like not knowing what to expect.  I think that is why I spend the day before every new situation in a state of anxiety.  Yesterday was no exception at all.  You all should see me between each new semester, I obsess about what to expect as far as the classroom, the course, and the instructor for the whole time.  I am always playing all different kind of scenarios in my head and it drives me crazy.  I try to distract myself all the time, but it always comes back.

So here I am trying to distract myself and it is not working; most likely because I am writing about it.  Because of this, I am going to switch gears and tell you what I did yesterday.  I originally planned to stay home, but when I left Denny’s house on Sunday, I left my meds there, so I had to go and get them.  I figured that I would only stay for a little bit, but stayed because it was so hot and he has AC and I don’t.  We didn’t do much but we talked a lot, which was very productive.  We talked a lot about our feelings, and I was able to get a lot off my chest as well as him.  I finally told him that I had been keeping his sister up to date about him for months and was happy to find that he was not mad, but actually happy that I cared enough about him to let his family know of my concerns.

We went to Walgreens and planned to just pick up a few things, but managed to pick up many things that we both needed.  Since I had always been the one to pick up all of his basic needs from tooth paste to shampoo and soap, he never got to get that sort of thing since I left.  Saturday I had picked up a lot of that stuff for him but there was still much to get because it had been since September that any of those things were picked up for him.  He really needs to get used to getting stuff for himself and I expressed that to him yesterday.  He says he knows and he also told me he was sorry for making me feel as though I had to do so much for him. Part of my care taking self really likes to do that sort of thing for him, but some part of me feels used at the same time, and that is not healthy. 

Next weekend is jam packed with helping Denny’s landlord get the apartment above Denny ready rent out in July.  The kids that moved out last night really did a number on the place and I have to assess the damages and let the landlord know what needs to be fixed (he lives in NC).  To those of you who are wondering, yes I will be paid for this.  The landlord is giving Denny a huge discount on one month’s rent and in lieu of that Denny is helping me finance a few things that I need, so everyone wins.

Also next weekend, we are going to go get an air conditioner for my place and I am going to be taking one of Denny’s living room chairs.  I am happy about that because all I really have is my bed and computer chair for places to sit.  Since I am in a studio it works as far as space goes but thankfully I have the room to add one of his chairs, so I will have a place to sit comfortably and read.

Well that is about all for now, so let me see which photo I will share today…

Alright, since I showed you a picture I took of my one cat Poohdog, here is the picture of my other cat, Roo.  I was actually quite amazed the curator at the art gallery that is interested in my photos really liked this photo.  This was taken one day when I was laying on the kitchen floor at Denny’s when I lived there; I was trying to see if I could capture the flame when Roo went to investigate and I was able to catch this shot.  Well that is it, and now I have to get ready to go, since it is almost six thirty.

Monday, May 30, 2011

May 30, 2011 A Small Amount of Relief

Went out with Denny last night and really enjoyed myself for the first time in quite a long while.  The only thing is, it was short lived.  This morning I woke up and felt that black cloud over me again.  What the hell is wrong with me?  It is one in the morning and I am in a state of dread and wide fringing awake. Usually it only takes about fifteen minutes of TV to fall asleep, but so far I have watched Kong fu Panda and two episodes of Two and a Half Men and still wide awake.  It wouldn’t be so bad if I was in a good state but this bites!

Well I will tell you all about last night and maybe that will help.  I met Denny after he finished work and we headed to a place called Local 121.  It is a restaurant that uses mostly local grown ingredients and their food is far from typical restaurant food.  We ordered chowder that we shared and two entrees that we also shared.  The entrees were chicken with different type of veggies and this great sauce and scallops that were garnished with what looked like clovers you find in the grass that I didn’t even try because it kina grossed me out. 

After we ate dinner and had a great conversation we headed down to the Waterfire and took many pictures.  I used my camera and the new tripod I picked up.  Denny used his point and shoot camera and I tried to explain to him that he would not be able to get the kind of photos that he wanted.  I still have not mastered the whole night photo shots, but I think I am getting closer.  The new tripod is awesome.  It is one of those twelve inch grip ones that you can grip it to other surfaces and it does it quite nicely, even with my heavy camera.

Here is one picture that I took at Waterfire.  Let me know what you think…

We walked slowly back to Denny’s after we finished at the Waterfire.  Usually I don’t like that walk but the night was the perfect temperature and there was a light breeze that made it so much better.  We finished the night with the movie Sandlot.  I really like that movie and I am not quite sure why.

Ok I just talked about what I did Saturday night and still nothing is different.  My God what is wrong with me?  I think what is bothering me most about this feeling is the intrusive thoughts that run through my mind.  It is because of these thoughts that I agreed to go in patient.  I can’t believe I am saying this but I am really glad that I will be going to the weeklong intensive care outpatient program.  Maybe they will figure something out to help me out with these thoughts.  I was hoping that the new medication was starting to work but I think it was the distraction of going out.

I am wondering what kind of things I can do to keep myself distracted that doesn’t cost a small fortune.  I do know that if this does not go away by September I will not be taking any classed.  There is no way I am going to go through what I did the last three months again if I can help it. 

At my mental health center there is a program to help to lose weight and I might do that.  It is the least they can offer since in most cases the weight gain is from the friggin meds they prescribe.  You should see the waiting area over there.  Almost everyone is overweight and you can tell that it comes from the meds.

Well I am going to try and fall asleep again.  I only have a small window of opportunity with the med I just took before I started this.  Wish me luck.

Friday, May 27, 2011

May 27, 2011 Guilt and First Celebration

Spent the last five days inpatient in a hospital this time and can’t say I am fixed or it was a waste of time, but I can say at least at this moment I can have a bit of concentration, but definitely typing quite slow and many mistakes so far.  This is just something to note for the doctor on Tuesday when I go to the Partial Hospital thingy.

Something I feel really bad about is the fact that I lied to my parents about where I have been.  I made up stories about places that I was going to that was keeping me from being able to call them.  Dad won’t even question anything and honestly I don’t feel that bad about him, because his memory is slowing down a bit right now so he might not even notice the gaps in me calling him.  Mom on the other hand is quite alert and she might catch on.  So you might be wondering why is that I kept this from them, well there are two reasons really.  The first and most important is the fact that at this stage in their life it is not something they need to worry about, that is of course if they do in the first place.  Seriously, sometimes I just think that they pretend to care about the happenings in my life.  Second reason is important to me because of the fact that I really don’t want to have to explain to them that I have lots of intrusive thoughts and I don’t want to have to explain the process in which my mind is going.  The guilt of my lying is a lot lower then dealing with explaining shit to them.

Well the hospital Doctor didn’t like the choice of med that the crisis place gave me and he prescribed Geodon.  I am deliberately trying to not to look at side effects but kind of took a quick look today because of a faint feeling that I had.  That feeling could have been from the sun, but who knows.  I going to try and stick with the meds for now and try to be on time with them. 

There is going to be a Waterfire here in Providence tomorrow and Denny and I are going to go to it and have dinner.  It will be the first time we dine out since his alcohol drink, and I am a bit nervous but going out is going to be a bit of a celebration of his recovery.  I am wondering if I can find some kind of card or something to get for him for his first month.  He forgot to get his chip today but he will remember for his next meeting.

Since I will be trying so night features on my camera at the Waterfire, I figured that I would share with you I shot I took before so you can see how bad I am at taking night shots…

In case you want to know about Waterfire

Monday, May 23, 2011

Entry for May 23, 2011 Back Home

Finished my semester with a 3.6 and an overall of 3.75, so that means I am still in the running for the 30% off of tuition at Rhode Island College and I actually made the Dean’s list this semester.  I honestly don’t know how the hell I managed to achieve that, but I did and I will take it.  What I do know is that if I don’t feel any better come this fall, I am going to drop the classes that I have scheduled, because I am not going through that again.

Decided to go in a crisis unit for a bit, by the suggestion of another, it was either that or it would have been a hospital.  Seriously though, I am not sure what help it really did, but to have me make some sort of commitment that honestly I am not sure that I can keep, but as of today I guess I will. 

Been taking meds now for ten days and seriously not finding it any different than before, except now I don’t have to worry about classes to try and get through.  I know it is not suppose to be some kind of magical drug that would work overnight or anything, but shit, give me something for now!

Went to an Al-Anon meeting last night. Was not expecting anything special from that meeting.  Well at least I finally got that first meeting jitters away for now.  I will say, it is not at all what I expected at all.  I suppose I will go again next week and see how it goes for a while, at least for now anyways.  I did however like the John Prine reference that was made by a member which is pretty kewl.

My past therapist, who was at the crisis center, suggested that I have some structure this spring and summer and I know it was something I was worried about before I was this sick, but right now, I don’t think I can handle something like that.  Each day that I am not home, all I keep on thinking is when will I be so I can lay down and just let the TV decide for me what to think, so I don’t have to.  I am not liking at all what my mind is thinking at this time, and honestly I am not sure how much I can really handle of my thoughts. 

Ok, time to look for a picture…

Ok this is a picture of my twenty pound cat named Pooh, that currently still resides at Denny’s apartment, because I don’t have the money to get his shots up to date and I need to be able to get him to a vet and pay for the deposit for him to stay here.  Sometimes I think, if I had him here perhaps I might feel better and then in that same thought I wonder if I will be able to care for him in the way he expects to be cared for.  Anyways, this shot was taken on the day I am home and I think it came out pretty well.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Entry for May 10, 2011 Trying to Unleash the…

Sometimes I just wish I could cry and let all this shit out.  I just spent the better part of an hour trying to get myself to do so.  I figured it out; it has been well over two years since I last let out the tears.  Part of me is way afraid to let them run, because once they start, will I be able to stop them and will the tears make me so uncontrollable that I will totally lose it?  I have come to terms with the fact that I might never ever be able to do it again.  Even in pain, I have no liquid coming out of my eyes.  Just figured that I would write this so I can document it and see how much longer this is going to be.  Oh fuck it; I am done even thinking about it for now. 

Exam tomorrow.  Worked the study sheet and feel ok about the exam for now anyways.  Have to work on other study sheet, but I am done for now.

Never met with Denny’s therapist, because the program messed up his discharge day.  You all know how it is, it is all about insurance.  Well that is all for now.  Just waiting for sleep to come on to me.

Entry for May 10, 2011 Thinking Things Out

Today is a “family” meeting at the program that Denny is at and he wants me there around two.  So I am going to have to put on a mask to let the counselor think that I am healthy enough to help him.  This should be interesting. Guess this is going to be the time that they tell me what I am doing wrong in helping him with his recovery.  Most likely they are going to tell me that I am too controlling with him.  It was not me who asked to have me take over his bills.  Already he is asking for his bank cards back.  Fuck it, if he wants them he can take care of his own bills, because I am not going to try and get him out of debt and have him sabotage everything that I do. I know that will be brought up, because he already said that he wants to talk about it.  Hey, screw it; I will not be the one that is homeless.  He has no idea how lucky he is that his landlord is so mega kewl about getting late checks or bounced ones.

Since I have moved out eight months ago, he has never paid his rent on time and he bounced the check at least four times.  He has had his cable turned off two times and he has had to borrow money from me and a two week loan place.  Now this would not be so bad except for the fact that he makes plenty of money.  I have told him for years that all he has to do is keep four hundred dollars aside to pay his bills a week and I even convinced him to break up his direct pay between two accounts and when I lived with him I was able to guide him along.  Whatever, I am done.  I am not going to help him, if he can’t let me help him.

I have a final tomorrow and I can’t seem to wrap my mind around it.  I have a study sheet and I can’t concentrate enough to do it.  At this point, all I am thinking is that I have to show up and do the best that I can.  I will pass the course regardless anyway.  I am not as sure about passing with the final I have on Thursday so I guess I will force myself to get some kind of studying. 

I am giving some consideration to going inpatient at the hospital.  I really seriously hate to go, but I am beginning to scare myself.  I really don’t know what the hospital is going to do for me that I can’t do for myself.  After all, all I really have to do is take some meds and get some regular sleep and build some kind of structured days for the summer.  I think that what is scaring me the most is I have resorted to doing things I have not done in years and well if it is found out I might end up in the hospital anyway and not on my own accord like I would want it to be. It is a lot harder to leave when someone else decides that you need to go in.  I figure if I have to do what I have to do to stay out for at least these three days then it will be ok.  I mean I am not hurting anyone but myself and I am really doing anything way out there.  Guess I am sitting here trying to convince myself that everything will be ok and starting on Thursday I will take meds.

Hopefully my body will be used to the meds before I start classes in the fall, but if not I will choose classes over meds, because I have proven to myself that I am able to do a whole semester without them.  Sure there are tough times like right now, but if I can’t concentrate on my classes it would be worse to fail because of a chemical that does not need to be in my system.  If my cycles remain the same, I will actually be alright for about two years, I just have to get through this summer and I will be golden. 

Denny wants to go to the movies tonight since it is six dollar movie day here at the mall.  I think he mentioned that he wants to see two movies, the fast and furious one and Thor.  At least one of them will be at IMAX and 3D.  Alright so let me take a look around for a picture for today…

So for today I am picking one of the Niagara Falls shots that I took almost two years ago.  I am picking this because of how my thoughts are running it is like the power behind the falls themselves.  It is almost like all my thoughts are running down into this pit and well you get the idea.  Just wish that I had a river that the thoughts could run down, instead of the dam that holds on to them and recycles them. Well that is it.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Entry for May 9, 2011 Circling All Around Me

I still see everything around me, but it is like I don’t belong there anymore. I feel like I am just moving with the motions and don’t really have control on which way I turn.  To others around me, I am the me they know, but inside I am the me that only I know and hate.  Some who are close to me can see some difference and they note it, and tell me they see it and I am really sick for apologizing for it.

My thoughts just circle and circle all around me and I try to dismiss them and work around them, so I can function.  Sometimes to dismiss them, makes them stronger and harder to work with.  I can only medicate them for so long before they start to take over and I just disappear.  Sometimes I don’t want to turn down the volume, sometimes I just want to listen to the music loud and clear.  But it scares me to listen, so I dismiss and pray that I don’t get lost somewhere.

I hate this illness. If I could have one wish in this world, I would wish that I was never inflicted.  I do the why me scenario in my head so many times that now it has joined with the other circling thoughts within my mind.  I hate that when I am better; there is always that underlining wonder as to when it will return.  I never get too excited, because like life has shown me, there is an end. I am always prepared to fight, but I am never prepared to lose, yet I lose so much.  I know of only one way to end the illness and sometimes I think about it all the time.  I fantasize about it and see me doing it.  I know it is not healthy to think about, but lately that is where my head is at. 

Everyone says that God has a plan.  What is my plan?  Have I done it already?  Was my only plan to be my son’s mother, something I didn’t even do right?  Was my plan to have the shit that I was dealt?  The bible says we have the right to free will and that God has no control over those that do harm to another.  What the fuck is that about?  Isn’t he to protect?  I thought I heard something like that in the bible once or twice.  If I have free will then what I choose should not put against me because we are given that much power over ourselves. 

Two finals left to go.  I am almost done.  So what next?  I am not sure exactly, but I have some ideas.  Not sure it is something that I want to share as of yet.  My girlfriend knows me to well.  She said something that I was thinking and she called me on it.  So what do I do?  That is something that I will decide soon enough.  Oh yeah, picture time.  Let me see what I can find…

This picture I took in Hartford, NY some time ago.  To me it is my view of how the world works with me.  There is me up front and all the rest of the people behind me.  Only thing is in this those people are all dead and I remain still intact.  They are shells of their former selves and I must remain in the hell that is earth alone, though in a way they are still there.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Entry for May 6, 2011 When One is Sick, the Rest Follows

Two exams to go and I am done!!!  Can’t believe that I have made it.  So on Wednesday and Thursday I have exams and then that is it.  I was going to stay home all day today but decided that I would return the three books that I am all done with today.  Who knows, maybe I will stop at the mall.  I am desperate need of some new jeans and since I am getting some money back for the books, I might just have enough to get new ones.  Well at least I am functioning enough to be able to do this stuff.  Honestly though, I am by the means that I didn’t want to take, but at least I am doing stuff.

Denny is doing quite well in his treatment.  His doctor wants to put him on some sort of drug that will give him some kind of bad reaction to alcohol.  The doctor told him though that he really has to be committed to be able to take the drug.  I am wondering though if he is serious enough to really go through with taking something that will make him extremely sick if he fails. 

I am worried about everyone I know.  It seems like everyone is going through something.  Funny thing is, I have run into this sort of thing before with everyone I know, except for Denny and now here I am with all the people I love and even Denny going through something.  I am sick myself and can’t be.  I can’t even take the time to deal with my shit and here everyone is in crisis mode.  So where does that leave me, well I guess I can write here, like I have been doing.

Honestly I am kina done with thinking about all the crap that is going on.  Sometimes I think about the nothingness that one of my friends had been talking about once we are done here on earth and it seems quite welcoming.  I imagine what it would be like not to feel anything, to have complete peace.  Then of course that is when I also thinking about how there could really be a heaven and well that even seems better.  I imagine floating up on a cloud and having no flashbacks or mental pain and well that is usually when I try and fight with those thoughts and say that I really need to be here for all those people who are usually there for me.  Now I am just thinking here, I am not in a planning mode, just thinking is all.

Maybe that is why I am forcing myself to get up and head out of the apartment today.  I will take a long bus ride and return my books and see about getting some jeans and then take care of some banking for Denny and come home and find something for me to do for the next day.  I just hope that I can keep my mind on those that need me, rather than anything else my mind will think.

Well gotta catch a bus so let me go look for a picture for today…..

Alright this is a shot I took from the Double Tree hotel in Cambridge, MA a couple of years ago.  I was actually quite surprised at how well it turned out.  I really love the pink in the sky, hence the reason I took it in the first place.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Entry for May 5, 2011 Seven Days to Go

Friday night I called my mental health center’s crisis line because my thoughts in my mind were all over the place and I did not like where they were going.  I did not like them one bit.  When I called though, the woman was not helpful in any way what so ever.  She just kept on repeating that I should go to the ER and I explained to her that it was not an option for two reasons.  I basically just got off the phone with her and called my girlfriend and talked to her for quite a long while.  Now see that helped.
Ended up taking something to help me to crash in my bed and managed to fall asleep for a couple of hours.  Not saying that things are much better at this time but I am managing.  I am aware of the intrusive thoughts and dismissing them as best as I can for now.  Took some of the same as I did Friday night, last night and I might be able to keep that up for the next two weeks.  I have one day of classes left and two days of finals and then I am done.  That will be seven days from now.  I have made it this far and I am determined to make it the rest of the way. I figure if I concentrate on Denny and helping him and my classes, I should be able to do it.

I wonder though if I am just talking myself into it.  Whatever it is that is working, I guess I will go with it.  Like Saturday I went to Denny’s house and cleared it out of alcohol and other means of getting a buzz.  I did however forget to take his cooking wine out of the house.  I called his roommate and tell him to take care of that for me. I didn’t clean his room, because I got to thinking about something important.  He is going to have to fill his days with something rather than going out and drinking, so I left his large pile of laundry for him to do.

Two exams today.  Two papers to turn in also.  I think that I am ready for the two exams today, well no matter what I have to be ready.  There is no threat of failing a class, so I guess I am good on that end.  Funny thing is, last semester I had to get A’s, but this semester all I care about is at least passing.  I do know that if I don’t feel better by the first week in September I am going to withdraw for that semester.  I AM NOT GOING THROUGH THIS AGAIN!

So here it is six in the morning and I am dressed and ready for my classes and let me tell you how friggin difficult it was to get out of bed.  At least tomorrow I don’t have to go anywhere at all.  Let’s just hope the friggin building manager doesn’t come knocking on my door to try and fix whatever problems they found when they came here yesterday.  Well that is about all for now.  Wish me luck today.  Oh yeah that is right…let me find a picture for today.

Alright, this shot was taken on Tuesday, during my walk to Denny’s.  I have been trying to get spring shots to try and boost my mood.  Doesn’t seem to be working, but at least I am trying.