I thought having previously conquered my reservations about sharing my experiences with bipolar depression, I was prepared to share again, but when it came time to talk about my anxiety and mania, I found myself overwhelmed by the prospect...
This essay was published on The Mighty on January 31, 2018.
Depression, instead of giving me a break for any length of time, chose instead to be an obnoxious guest, crashing on my couch and putting the empty box of Froot Loops back in the cupboard without telling me before I went grocery shopping...
This essay was published on The Mighty on September 25, 2017.
I tell myself that I believe things will get better. I tell myself that I believe life is worth living. I tell myself that I believe someday I will be happy. All these lies I tell myself in the hope they will eventually ring true and I will come to believe them...
Happy birthday Mom. I know I've never come out and told you - a shameful failing on my part - but you are one the kindest, most genuine, and sincere people I know, and I'm thankful for everything you've given and shared with me.
I love you and wish you the best day.
Of course, as things always must, along with the good comes some bad in tow. After forging ahead and keeping my focus, doing what needs to be done to reach my goal, I find myself on the cusp of attending University. Everything has been lining up, and with only a part-time job left to be found, I've been pleasantly surprised with my lot as of late.
So of course, my hearing aid decides to give up and die. For anyone who may not know, hearing aids are not cheap. Each one can cost $1500 - $2000 at the low end. The lowest ones are only effective for one-on-one conversations and quiet spaces. The mid-range (which I have had for the past six years) is supposed to cut out approximately 50% of background noise, suitable for small gatherings, movies, etc. Ultimately, I need two at the top end (with up to 90% super awesome background noise blocking power), but when I purchased the recently departed earpiece, I could only afford the one middle-leaguer. On sale, and with the government supplying $500 (they support $500 per ear), it still cost me roughly $1800.
The icing on the cake is the fact testing showed the hearing in my right ear (the one that has gone without aid) has since declined, so I'll be at an even greater disadvantage when dealing with lecture halls, busy crowds, and the challenges that come with learning proper pronunciation in my Japanese course.
Yet somehow, I'm not discouraged by this. The me from a year ago would have been sent plummeting, but the me from today figures I'll get by, and there are so many more pluses than minuses happening in my life that it's tougher to complain. I can't see myself coming up with the $5500 I've been quoted for a replacement solution, but I'm not going to worry about it. I've gotten through worse and there are too many things people are saying in the world right now that I'd rather not hear anyway. I'll just have to make sure I always get a seat at the front when I'm ready to listen.
Having a bit of a down week but recognizing it and focusing on staying above it. Challenging to stay out of bed but thankful that these episodes are occurring less and less frequently lately. I think having something to focus on, working towards a goal, moving my life in a direction I want instead of one that's simply available, all these things help to hold me up. Some days you just need to go with the flow and let the down work its way back up. You never escape anything by going around, only through. I accept the challenge and I'll see you on the other side.
Throughout this whole University application process I have concentrated on tackling each stage as soon as it became available. This morning was the launch of the class request process, and not wanting to leave anything to chance, I was ready and waiting. Literally. With my finger hovering over the button, eager to submit my carefully planned schedule. I had researched my courses, double-checked any requirements, and saved my choices in preparation for the quickest submission possible. I even took steps to verify my stored selections were still in place and my router was working, with the same page loaded on my phone in case I had to fall back to my cell data.
Overkill? Perhaps, but I made the decision to gain and experience everything I can from this new adventure in my life and I'm determined to do that to the best of my ability. I'm not willing to risk anything less by being unprepared or lax in my actions.
So there I was at 9:25 on a Friday, waiting patiently for 9:31am when the window opened (the actual published time was 9:30am but I gave it a minute longer to allow for any time difference or delay).
Excessive? Perhaps, but who has two thumbs and a first choice schedule in the system. This guy.
A little ditty while taking care of business: The Clash "London Calling"
First time in a while, I'm up and in motion at 6:30am. Time to spread a little awesome. Don't forget to do your bit. Jump in the water, the temperature is perfect. Only two rules; bring a comfortable floatee and don't be a dick. The first you can find at Walmart, the second you can find through empathy, and if you can only manage one, make it the second. Contrary to some peoples' misguided beliefs and many "that's what she said" jokes, we can use less dicks in the world.
A tune to cannonball into a Wednesday: The Fugees "Killing Me Softly With His Song".
I've spent a lot of time over the past year attempting to get a better handle on myself; who I am, who I want to be, and where I want my life to take me. I've logged a lot of hours walking alone and corralling my thoughts and emotions. I still have a way to go and doubt I'll ever reach a final destination, but that's what the journey is about. That's life itself. The trick, I believe, is in being fluid. Doing your best to get where you want to go, but keeping your mind open to new experiences as they become available, and being willing to adjust your plans to suit. Ultimately though, you need to check yourself at each of these junctions and determine whether these new opportunities are things you really want, or if you're jumping track simply because they're available. Too many times I've fallen for the latter and ended up where I didn't want to be after all. Experience has taught me you need to remain true to yourself and that's the trickiest part. Who is the true you?
I think I miss many aspects of the "old" me. The "way back" me. I truthfully have no idea how far back that was, but somewhere along the way I lost myself and began giving up little pieces to suit the world around me, rather than building my world around my goals and dreams. You should never let go of your dreams. They're what make the whole thing worthwhile, even if you're only ever chasing them.
No more. I'm making changes - both inside and out - and for the first time ever, I like what I'm seeing in the mirror. I look like me and I feel like me. I'm enjoying who I'm becoming and I look forward to seeing where I go.
Expressing our feelings for one another has never come naturally, but I want you to know, and always remember, how much you mean to me. To wish I'd grown up with a better father would not only be selfish, it would be impossible. I love you Dad. Happy Father's Day.
You know how sometimes you sleep on your hair wrong and it gets pulled in the wrong direction or something long enough that when you wake up your scalp hurts in that area? I hate that.
I also hate when people leave their dogs outside for long periods of time while they bark and whine at the door, cars parked haphazardly across two parking spaces, and those stupid memes on Facebook that say things like "I bet I won't get even one share" - but right now? Mostly the hair thing.
After having survived the infamous bed head incident this morning, I picked up my car from the garage and discovered my bill to be half the estimated cost. Drastic improvement already. Next step, keep the momentum rolling.
Here's to hoping that this is the greatest tribulation I'll be facing on my Tuesday.
A song for the follicly antagonized: The Beatles "Something".
First official walk of 2018.
Time to bring out the music, slip on the red converse, and exorcise some winter demons.
Just waiting for Mother Nature to bring her green to the celebration.
A song while we wait: Barenaked Ladies "Enid".
A graphic designer, an illustrator, and me. Out and about in the sun for an open house tour of local artists. Great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Thanks for letting me tag along Janet and James.
Ugh. Morning. Early. Stupid adulting.
In a determined attempt at mind over matter, I have decided to relabel my panic attacks as pancake attacks. Admittedly, there will be a risk of weight gain involved, but if successful, I won't care. Other potential challenges include a strain on budget due to purchase of large quantities of batter and frequent laundry runs to tackle what I have already termed "pocket syrup syndrome", a side-effect of remaining adequately supplied while on the road. All to be outweighed by the reduction in stress an irritability.
I feel calmer already and full enough to take a nap.
Sweet, sweet, sing-song: Carpenters "Close To You".
During the night, I woke and felt like I'd been drinking (quite heavily) before going to sleep. I was convinced I'd be facing a hangover come morning, so I changed my alarm from six a.m. to eight as a preemptive measure to mitigate the impact. When I woke again, I realized I'd been dreaming and hadn't had anything to drink at all.
I still feel like shit but it's a normal, everyday kind of shit and not a hangover level kind of shit, so in a bizarre sort of fashion, I actually started my day thankful for something. It's all good in the hood. Or, as a white, 46 year old male with no defensible claim to a life situation and an environment which Collins Dictionary defines as representing "a lower class housing where minorities, immigrants and the poor live. Mostly attributed to African Americans and government housing known as the projects", it's all good in the Old Navy hoodie.
And yes, that is pre-shower bedhead and a toaster oven in the background. I am both unkempt and low-tech so I like to think I'm hardcore in my own questionable fashion.
Just got to ride the Hump Day, Wednesday wave, baby. Ride the wave.
A sober yet super tune: Gowan "Strange Animal".
I've been working hard to be more positive lately. I really have. I've been lining up contract work and budgeting things to get me through the next few months, and I'm close to making it happen. I have some potential timing challenges with payments from clients lining up but I'm not dwelling on it. I've been confident things will come together and for the first time in a while, things will be a little more secure, at least for the immediate future.
One to shimmie to: Willie Nelson "On The Road Again".
Should have known better, I suppose. Took my car in for a much overdue $95 wheel alignment, came out with a $1,200 quote and a car they were concerned about me driving home for fear of the front end collapsing to the ground at the first bump in the road.
One to shimmie to: Willie Nelson "On The Road Again".