I tell myself this every day

I tell myself this every day

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Taking a break

After 6 months of medication complications and instability I have been left weak. Bipolar disorder isn't just being moody, it's losing control over what you feel at any given moment with long bouts of negative feelings and states of mind. It wears you down and getting proper help is just as difficult as surviving the dark places your brain takes you to. The doctor and nurse practitioner I have been working with over the past 6 months has been detrimental to my health. They gave me very bad medical advice and did not handle my prescription drugs in a safe and responsible manner. For this I have suffered more than has been necessary. For this I'm the one rendered almost incapable yet have to pick up all the pieces. I've decided an inpatient stay is what it has come to, unfortunately. I wouldn't have had to go this route if I hadn't been terminated from my job the way I was. That silly little bike shop job was 1/3 of my happiness in what had become a daily struggle to survive.

Because of the physical side effects of the medication complications I couldn't ride, which is a pretty big hit to my mental state in itself. I didn't have a choice- the withdrawals had my whole body shaking and the lithium had me off balanced with hand tremors. I was a danger to myself and others if I hopped on a bike, so I didn't. What kept me going was knowing that once everything settled I could then figure out how to get back on the bike. But in the meantime I had a way to fulfill that part of my life- working at the bike shop.

It sounds so stupid but my brain craves bike life. Riding, talking about it, being a part of it. It's some sort of sick weirdo thing I have but it's just part of who I am and I've come to accept it. There are worse things to be obsessed with, so I've heard.

I don't think I can express how much I not only love riding but how balls deep I am in love with the sport itself. What I gained from working in a shop was the fact that I thrive off of getting people up and out riding. I live for getting people pumped about cycling- from the little old lady who wants to cruise a quarter of a mile comfortably down the street, to getting people set up for their first Iron Man- everyone counts the same for me. You want to ride a bike? Well, you're my new favorite person. I didn't care if you took 30 minutes or 8 hours of my time. I didn't care if you were spending $200 or $10,000- you were going to get my best. I didn't work on commission so my payout each time was the level of their satisfaction and enthusiasm. You only get enthusiasm from a "customer" when you're selling people exactly what they need and not just what you can get them to pay the most for. I loved every minute of it.

I also hate using the word "customer" when talking about people who came into the shop. A customer is someone who buys something from you and is a much more sterile type of interaction. "Good day, sir. How may I help you?" That's what you say to a "customer." When I see you out riding on the same road or trails as me, or riding in an event with me, you're not a customer. You're part of the community. If I have to solve issues that deal with chafed or numb genitals (and guess what 99% of people have?) then I'm not just another sales person and you're not just a customer. 

Most people don't trust you to solve their testicular area disaster unless you're a doctor or a bike shop employee.

I will say my proudest moments were ones where I hadn't thought much of it to begin with. I hosted clinics for women to help them learn how to change a flat tire if they get one during a ride. It's so simple to a lot of us who ride more often than your average person and something we rarely think about. But the reaction I got from these women week after week wasn't something I had expected. These women were so grateful that I took the time to host free clinics in order to help them learn this basic skill. The emails and handwritten letters I received over thanking me were what I did it all for- people deserved to be treated as important and capable, especially women in the cycling industry. Here I was receiving all this praise and I just saw it as bike shop basics- you should be helping out the cycling community in this small way., and I had the advantage of being a female. I didn't think of this as special, this is what you're supposed to do. But the way I must have been conducting these clinics was better received than I had hoped for. Ladies (and the brave men who showed up) had fun. They got stoked and gained confidence. That meant the WORLD to me. I don't need commission or extra perks, getting people enthusiastic was the ultimate pay off for me.

Cycling loads me up with a stockpile of happiness and a provides a sense of freedom that I have yet to find elsewhere. If I couldn't ride, the thrill of bringing happiness to other people's lives via bicycling kept me going. So when I was fired because my boss found my blog, I can't tell you how big of an emotional hit that was. I worked so hard to make sure my disorder didn't jeopardize my job, yet just having the disorder and being open about it is what cost me that piece of happiness in my life.

I had lost my source of income, but more importantly I had lost a main source of happiness.

Now I have to make a decision that's incredibly difficult but necessary. I have to be able to recognize when I need help, more help than I'm able to provide myself. My situation has gotten to the point where I need to have constant monitoring of my meds and symptoms. Nothing is going to get better in its current state. I would like to put out there that I am not suicidal, a lot of people think the hospital is only for when you're trying to kill yourself. It's not. I'm in a crisis situation but this is one of the few times it hasn't involved suicide. 

I'm having behaviours that worry me, like ignoring the danger behind a gun someone pulled out because I wanted to beat his ass for pulling said gun out. He pulled a gun out and instead of my brain saying "run," it just wanted to grab the gun, flip it around, and beat his skull in with it. You'll have to check my Facebook for the rest of that story, but yeah, someone brandished a gun in order to try and intimidate me the other day because I mouthed off after he said rude things while catcalling me.

Needless to say, I've earned my trip to the nut house this time. Life keeps throwing shit my way but I keep dealing with it. I'm in a bad place but I know I'll get through it, even if the timeline is unknown.

I'm still financially struggling, well more like financially bottomed out. Once released from the hospital I will be applying for disability. Until then my bills will go unpaid without knowing how I'm going to be paying them, which is another added stressor in this whole kit of life upheaval that's been so graciously dropped in my lap.

And the joy of waiting 3-6 months to get cleared for disability....

If you would like to help I have Paypal and a GoFundMe campaign. GoFundMe takes 10% and PayPal goes straight to me. If you don't know me personally and are afraid your money will be ill spent, know that I'm drug and alcohol free with no history of addiction issues, I was employed full time before this, am a mother of 2, happily married, and responsible. I've always been on top of seeing my doctors and taking my meds, it's just recently I had to switch doctors and the new set completely fucked me over.

I don't know how long I'll be in the hospital for since it is an inpatient program and my release is based upon my progress. Could be a few days, could be a few months. Just know that anything helps- if you want to donate dog food (some people locally have offered to donate time to help care for my dogs while I'm gone), toiletries, I will leave contact info for my husband so he can manage all of that while I'm gone.

To everyone who has already helped in some way- thank you. I will be better soon.

Thanks for reading

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Just put me in a wheelchair, get me to the show

Just like clockwork, my winter depression has hit and is disrupting my ability to conduct my daily life. I'm having a hard time getting out of bed, staying on top of hygiene routines, and staying motivated to do anything. I sometimes still can't believe I have a problem with my brain that inhibits me from performing basic functions like making sure I shower every day, there's more to it than that but sometimes I try to find the humor in the simplicity of dumb things this disorder does to me.

Depression makes you immobile and incapable. It's like it takes your arms and legs away for a few weeks, or months. I'm not physically incapable but the areas in my brain that should be firing off the command to do these things isn't working.

I'm day 2 into the symptoms becoming problematic and beginning to interrupt my ability to operate. I woke up at 6:30 am today but didn't get out of bed until 9:15. Yesterday I woke up the same time but didn't get out of bed until 10am. That's not good. Sleeping in, or even laying in bed for that much time after I've woken up is not ok. Most people would think that's great- wake up when you want and have the luxury of staying in bed until you want, getting more relaxation time snuggled up in bed during the cold days of winter. Sounds great, right? It's what everyone rushing off to work thinks about every morning while getting ready for the day.

That's the problem- I don't want to be there. I don't want to be in bed, I don't want to mindlessly veg out on my phone or fall back asleep. I want to get up and start my day, get on top of everything I need to be doing at this dire moment in life.

But I can't.

My mind checks out on me. I tell myself 5 more minutes, or that I'm going to put my phone down after I read this one last article, but an hour will go by and I'll take no notice of it. It's just *poof* 2 hours later and I've done nothing mentally or physically. When I am finally able to get out of bed I feel absolutely awful, mostly for not getting up sooner, and that's when the best part of my day starts. I start beating myself up.

"You're lazy. You lost your job and spend your morning doing nothing."

"You can't get out of bed, how do you expect to do much else today?"

"How do you expect to do much else in life?"

"Other people out there are actually sick or physically disabled. Your legs work just fine."

"Remember that big project you've been working on? How about you just give up on it. You know you're going to anyway, just admit you're a failure."

"Every minute you spend in bed is one less minute you get to enjoy today. You're just throwing your life away."

"Don't think this morning was it. You're going to get lazier and lazier and eventually you'll be spending only a few hours a day just trying to get something productive done."

"You probably shouldn't even try."

"You know what? I know you won't even try. Because that's who you are."

Depression talks to you, through you. It doesn't directly control me, it manipulates me. When I'm hypomanic or manic by brain just tells me what to do "go jump off that curb, go write a whole book in a week, go repaint every ceiling in the house for no reason." Depression manipulates you. It uses your own thoughts against you.

You're not a willing participant, you're a prisoner.

Thanks for reading

If you would like to help you can donate to my Paypal. I was recently fired from my job because
my boss read my blog and decided that he didn't want someone with a mental illness
working for him. You can read about it here.

I also gave a Gofundme campaign if you rather donate there. Anything and everything helps!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Scream my face off

There are no laws in my favor when it comes to my situation (read here if you’re wondering “what situation?) which I don't necessarily see as defeat. I actually feel like it frees me up to be able to speak out about what happened, I don't have to keep things to myself because of a pending court case. This way I can scream and yell about it until mental illness is normalized and I have nothing to yell about. I took audio recordings of quite a few conversations, especially the one where I was actually fired. I have emails, and text messages backing up everything I say so I kind of have more power over the situation this way than if I did have a legitimate lawsuit. Well, how I view power anyway.

None of the discrimination laws cover me at federal or state level but I rather use this as a way to speak up for those who can’t say or do anything for fear of their situation ending up like mine. I worked at a bike shop, I loved it and it requires a lot of specific knowledge and dedication, it isn’t a skill less job, but my position wasn’t exactly a career one. I could, in the grand scheme of things, afford to lose that job the way I did. I didn’t lose a career.

I’ve been told if I didn't want this to happen then I shouldn’t have thrown my private life out in the open for the world to see. It’s not a matter of just my life, I am just an example of what already happens to others.

I think about people who went to school to establish themselves as a professional. Not that going to school is the only sign of working hard, you’re reading the writing of someone with a GED, and I have no doubt my writing style might have already told you that. I’m referring to someone who did go through school, acquire student debt, fight to get into a particular field, and bust ass to stay there- all while dealing with depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder, OCD, borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia, or any other serious mental illness. THAT person would be absolutely devastated if the same situation had happened to them, if they were dragged into their boss’ office because it was discovered they had a blog about their very difficult health problems.

I can't imagine a school teacher being fired for a parent of one of their students finding their writing about dealing with their mental health. It’s not a problem that it’s out there, mental health should be treated just as serious as physical, it’s a problem because they could lose their career due to the stigma still attached to it.

What if she’s an outstanding professor or he’s a special education teacher? What if one of them ends up fired because of they talk about their disorder in a constructive way? Not that it has caused any interference with their job, but because the people in charge decided having a mental illness was a threat?

It’s terrifying, and not just as a hypothetical, but because you and I know it happens all the time. All. The. Time.

I'm a tough son of a bitch and will get through this. I can't imagine someone who is a caregiver for an elderly or chronically sick family member being in this predicament. If they lost their job like I did what the fuck are they suppose to do then? How do you go home to that? How the hell does anyone expect someone to deal with that? What if they didn’t have the solid career they had hoped for and was already forced to live paycheck to paycheck trying to survive life, mental illness, and caring for someone else? This shit blows my mind and creates and overload of emotions, non bipolar related ones, actual empathetic and sympathetic feelings.

This system and cycle is what creates the down and out cases who can’t do anything about their situation. The world expects everyone to run a marathon while some people have broken or amputated feet.

I have 2 kids, something I always mention but never really talk about, mainly because it’s boring. I get the luxury of being the "other parent." My ex husband and I are great friends but when we split he was able to be a stay at home dad and has a large family support system so it made sense that the kids live with him. I see them whenever I want and their dad and I are still great friends. My husband and I go on double dates with him and his current wife if you really want to be weirded out by how undramatic it all is. I don't have to financially support my kids but what if I did? What if I had to come home after being fired, dealing with my mental state that I've been in, and walk into my house, trying not to blow my brains out?

You have mentally sick mothers and fathers trying to support their children who can’t say shit about what they go through for fear of losing everything.

It happens all the time. All. The. Time.

I feel lucky that my job in the grand scheme of things was not that important. I’m lucky I didn’t just have a career ruined. I won’t be able to work in another bike shop again, I’m sure of that, but that was a risk worth taking. That’s a huge bummer but compared to the scenarios I mentioned above, I’ll take that consequence any day.

I rather get my story out so people who can’t afford to lose their livelihood and careers don’t have to break their silence, or, hopefully, break the stigma behind mental illness so they don’t have to hide their suffering for fear of backlash. I’m not speaking up for anyone, I’m going to scream my face off for you.

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