I tell myself this every day

I tell myself this every day

Friday, March 17, 2017

The dog days are here

I've decided that I'm healthy enough to work. Because of how bad off I was, the plan was to get on disability pay in order to take the time I needed to get my meds straight and find some stability before I entered the workforce again. Between the russian roulette game that is figuring out psych meds and recovering from my termination and bullying at the bike shop, I was finding it impossible to get basic life tasks accomplished, so disability seemed like the only viable option until I got back on my feet, mentally. But now that the doctors and I know what I'm facing- not just bipolar disorder but also borderline personality disorder- we can treat it accordingly.

The meds weren't working because my bipolar wasn't the culprit, BPD was, and just like when I was diagnosed with bipolar 4 years ago, I hit the ground running to educate myself about the disorder. It's surprising it took this long to catch but BPD is exacerbated by stress and with my former boss doing things like mocking me to my face about my symptoms, it set off a BPD hell storm. By the way, yes, my former boss came up to me one day mockingly shaking his arms around and said "so, is this what we're going to do all day?" clearly making fun of my lithium tremors. Yes, my former boss mocked me like a child on several occasions and when politely asked to stop he threatened to fire me.

I was in a bad situation but I figured as long as I didn't give in to his bullshit then I could continue to do what I love- work in a bike shop.

The good news is that I no longer have to worry about disability or trying to secure odd jobs because I have finally entered the workforce once again- I officially work for the Richmond SPCA as a kennel assistant. It doesn't pay much and it's only part time but it will bring home pretty much the amount I would have been getting with disability. Since knowing, understanding, and treating BPD my mental state has improved greatly between DBT, CBT, and no longer throwing meds that don't work in the mix, my mental state has improved dramatically, and more importantly, I have complete faith in my ability to work part time in this particular job. I plan to find a way to move to a full time position eventually if I feel like I can handle more.

I will say that if there was a perfect job for me that doesn't involve bicycles then it will be one that involves dogs.

Me having too much fun when I was volunteering at the SPCA


I hate to do it but I'm asking for help one last time. My car payments have piled up since I had no income for 3 months and my phone is close to getting shut off. Both of these things I will be able to maintain with my new job but I won't be making enough to get caught up. I have a GoFundMe and Paypal, the difference being GoFundMe takes 10%. Anything and everything helps, I seriously mean that. I've been unable to sleep and have panic attacks whenever I think about my car being repossessed or my phone being cut off. These aren't the only bills that are behind but it's the only two I truly need help with enough to ask. Once these two are set I will officially shut down my GoFundMe campaign and be able to close that chapter of my life. Thank you for everyone who already contributed, you are responsible for me getting to where I'm at today and I will never forget that.

Car payment: $1,160.02        due as of 3/17/17
Phone bill: $369.15               due as of 3/17/17

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Nervous breakdown

Late November of last year I took 2 weeks of medical leave from work in order to deal with my overwhelming symptoms. I did so in order for my performance at work to stay at a functioning level; it was a preliminary strike in order to reign in my mental health before it seeped into my job performance. I ended up in a very bad place and I couldn't figure out what caused it, I reflected on everything and came up with no answers. Was it just the bipolar throwing me for a curve ball? But it felt bigger and much more complicated than bipolar disorder.

Rewind to a week ago, I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder in addition to bipolar disorder. I'm not shocked, I've had my suspicions but until a doctor says anything, was sticking to bipolar disorder as the culprit.

I've hit my research hard, reading, watching, and absorbing everything I can about BPD and when I did so, a new picture started to take form. I knew exactly why I had my nervous breakdown in November. It was the way I was being treated at my job. The more time I have to reflect on it the more time I'm glad to be out of the environment I was in, the more time I have to see that my boss firing me didn't come out of nowhere.

I was told to clock out if I was going to talk to customers for too long, which came as a surprise since my whole job revolved around talking to people. People love to chat when they come into the shop, anyone who's ever worked in the industry knows that. If a guy wants to tell be about the kayak he bought from Rowlett's 20 years ago, then that's what we'll be talking about (as long as I don't have any pressing issues or other people to attend to.) His talking about something that seems so irrelevant was actually a treasure trove of information for when the conversation circles back to cycling. I can gauge his level of fitness, whether he would do better with a road or mountain bike, and how much time a week he would be riding. All conversations greatly helped me in making sure these people got the right bike and the right equipment.

But I was pulled aside and told to clock out if I want to hang out with my friends at the shop. But they're... customers. I can call some of them friends but that's because I ride with them regularly. I don't really know them outside of a cycling context and plus, isn't that kind of my job? To talk to customers, whether they're regulars or not? To represent the bike shop as an active member of the cycling community? I was in sales, it's my job to listen to people to better figure out what they need in order to enhance their riding experience.

I was told if the topic isn't about cycling specifically then it's inappropriate and I need to clock out.



No one else in the shop was help to this strange policy that I found out was exclusively for me. Everyone else had friends come in the shop and hang out for hours at a time but the owner never felt like it was an issue to bring up with them. I didn't care that it happened, I just wanted to be held to the same standard as everyone else. My friends rarely came up there, when they did it was to buy something from me or to take 2 minutes to say hi and then be on their way.

This is just one small example of how I was treated so much more different than the rest of the guys, I'll write further posts about other ways I was treated unfairly over the next several weeks because I now know it's what set me off. I was being singled out and it was wreaking havoc on my mental health. I just wanted to do my job, I wanted to sell bikes, get people into cycling, and bring all the people that I know or ride with to come over to the shop I was working at. I was good for business. I brought in a lot of regulars.

But I didn't have any defence mechanisms for being treated unfairly. BPD causes me to internalize these things. The more I was treated poorly, the worst I got.

I was singled out long before I picked up on it. I think he was afraid of me since day one, thinking that at any moment I could have a "bipolar fit," which isn't even a thing. I had a BPD meltdown because of the way I was being treated, but that only causes harm to myself, no one else.


I just wanted to be in a bike shop and do my absolute best to serve the cycling community.


Thanks for reading

Thursday, March 9, 2017

A love letter to my husband

I always want to use the phrase "thanks for putting up with me," but I can't. In our 3 years together, and for the first time in my life, I've not once felt like a burden. I'm not something you put up with, you laugh with me when people would normally be laughing at me. You stand by my side when my mental health would, and has, made people run away from me. You've never shown fear towards me, despite experiencing fear when my disorders take a scary turn. You've had many instances where it would have been so easy to run or renege on our commitment, but your dedication since day one isn't just admirable, it's legendary.

You're the strongest individual I've ever met and that's not just in the context of my mental health issues. Your strongest trait (outside of getting free car parts off Craigslist) is your ability to pull through anything and everything that's thrown your way. We share that trait, the ability to end up on top in the end. You probably don't see this quality as clearly as I do but I observe everything you do; you're terribly fascinating to me. I never enjoy seeing you down but I always look forward as to how you're going to pull yourself back up, because you always do. You give me strength just by being you, by always ending up on top after being knocked down.



You knew I had bipolar disorder before we started dating, you had no idea what that would entail but you went forward anyway. I didn't think this relationship would work, not because of anything on your side, I thought you were perfect, but because of my life long string of unstable relationships. I either chose poorly or eventually sabotaged a good thing. Why would a relationship with a barely divorced bike mechanic be any different?

But you were different. You were kind. It was very shortly after I fell for you that I realized that a relationship with you was worth trying, even if it didn't work out in the long run. You were worth becoming vulnerable for. Every relationship someone has will fail until one doesn't and if you didn't work out, well, that was a risk I was willing to take. I didn't want a relationship when I found you. I didn't want to date, I still had so much to learn about myself and my bipolar disorder. I didn't want to expose someone new to my complete psychological mess.

I'll never be more thankful for the universe sending you my way. I'll never be more proud of myself for choosing a healthy and functional relationship. I was attracted to you because of all of the hard work I had been doing with my mental health. I was attracted to a higher caliber person because I was viewing the world through mentally healthier eyes. My bipolar (and also what we now know is BPD) didn't make that decision for me, I did. Gwyn did.



It hasn't all been rosy, you've experienced the wrong end of my disorders; watching me snap and bolt out the door in the middle of the night, with talk about throwing myself into highway traffic. I know you were afraid when I sat in a kitchen of broken dishes that I destroyed as you watched me switch from Typhoid to Gwyn and back to Typhoid over and over. You had every right to be fearful in those situations but what separates you from the rest of the world is your ability to keep cool and calm in order to make sure the woman you love doesn't end up in any more pain than she needed to be. You realized she wasn't hurting you on purpose, she was just a product of her flawed brain chemistry.

What makes you unique is that you have always been able to separate me from my symptoms. You knew you were dealing with my mental illness and not with the woman underneath.

Being brave doesn't mean fearless, it's being able to trudge forward despite overwhelming fear. I see you as by far the bravest person I've ever encountered, even more so than myself.

You constantly see me struggle and I'm always honest with what I'm going through mentally no matter how insane or dangerous it is. I have never felt the need to hide the darkest parts of my struggle because I have never felt judged and you've never made me feel crazy. I can turn to you and say "my brain is telling me to kill myself" without you freaking out or seeing me as a danger to myself. I can be 100% real and honest about what my brain is doing and you never look at me like I'm crazy, even when I'm... well, being crazy.

You make me feel human. You make me feel valid. You make me feel like I'm not alone.

Thank you for that.


Thanks for reading