A More Personal Update

January 22, 2015 § 2 Comments

There’s a certain paranoia that comes with being mentally ill, particularly when you’re like me and have been ill for most of your life. I’ve been under a lot of stress lately which has tired both my mind and body. When I was so depressed, I spent so much of my free time (what little I had of it) in bed, zoning out, napping, or disappearing into Netflix Land. I felt physically tired almost all the time.

Now, when I’m on three anti-depressants, I feel paranoid, thinking that the exhaustion I’ve been feeling lately is my body rejecting the medication or perhaps my depression is growing stronger than the meds. It makes you think “Oh god, am I *not* actually better? Am I supposed to feel better than this? What do normal people feel like if not this?”, questions that flooded my mind when I first began to see that I was depressed. How does a sick person distinguish between the exhaustion of healthy people under stress and the exhaustion that plagues the unmedicated depressed? I’ve been given permission by my shrink to double my dose of Wellbutrin, but I’m incredibly hesitant to change anything about my meds for fear that it’ll have a strong negative reaction that I don’t want to experience and simply don’t have time to deal with.

So I’m just riding it out. Living in paranoia, but afraid to make a change. Perhaps all is well. Healthy people get stressed too.

There’s another side effect of the recent stress I’ve been under that is likely more worrying. I’ve been aching to cut myself. My wrist physically aches right now and my brain says that cutting it is the only way to alleviate that. Believe me when I say I am in no way suicidal. I’ve got a life now. I’ve got a wonderful family, I’m in the best relationship of my life, my dogs are young and healthy, my future is open to all opportunities, I’m learning to cook with high success rates, and I’ve got plans for marriage and children. Not suicidal. In any way. But the urge to cut has been growing steadily as my stress levels are maxing out.

Something definitely has to give. I can’t keep working 7 days a week. I can’t keep working 50+ hours per week, at least not at the restaurant where I’m bored out of my mind 90% of the time. When we’re busy, I’m totally fine, but when there’s nothing to do or we’re waiting for people to leave so we can close shop and go home, I find my impatience bubbling like a volcano. I don’t get paid enough to waste my time like that. $9 an hour? I can’t even buy a movie ticket or a meal unless it’s fast food. I’m hoping since I applied to grad school by the earliest deadline that I’ll hear back soon. They said late-January to March, so cross your fingers for late January just so I can know if I’m staying here or leaving sooner than later.

I’m struggling a bit with Jason too. Don’t get me wrong — I’m unbelievably happy with him and love him dearly. But I’m having a hard time dealing with some things lately. He’s applying to grad school too and has some serious self-loathing about his past and even his potential. It drives me CRAZY because he’s an incredibly capable, intelligent, charismatic man who can do whatever he sets his mind to, but in his own perception of himself, he only sees a failure, a Lost Boy. He’s taking a depression test next week for his new shrink, so we might be a true depressive household. In my unprofessional opinion, I don’t think he’s chemically depressed. He has a solid appetite, great energy level, doesn’t have mood swings, etc. None of the signs that were so prevalent in my youth and early adulthood. But I do think he needs counseling to work through some very deep-seated issues of inadequacy that likely stem from his family start (teenage mother, tried multiple times to abort him, depressed for a long time after he was born, non-existent father, etc.) and his turbulent adolescence. High school and college were particularly trying times for him and he made a lot of bad choices, which he still beats himself up for with no mercy. Well, he beats himself up for some of them, not all but what’s done is done so I should let that go. Anyway, he sees his academic failures and shortcomings as something wrong with him, with his intelligence and capabilities. I’m really struggling with pulling him out of that, focusing on who he is and not what his grades are. But he’s convinced he can’t put together a good application for grad school because of his grades, his expulsion from school, his past mistakes.

I’m doing my best to help him with his application, I’ve even recruited my dad to help him with editing his personal statement. I’m working with him on the front end, trying to get him to relax enough to talk fluidly and comfortably about who he is and what he wants to do. Maybe I should get him drunk? I’m not sure. I had him write stream of consciousness responses to a few questions yesterday which I think was moderately productive, though most of his writing was filled with negativity and evidence that he’s convinced he is and will be a failure. It’s heartbreaking to me and something I’m not prepared to deal with. I don’t have those skills to coax him out of that negative realm, probably because I’ve lived there myself for so long.

It’s a learning process, I suppose. I’ve got to make a better effort not to get frustrated and yell at him when he dips into these depressive modes. I need to keep him focused on the task at hand, the personal statement, something tangible and doable and deadlined. I’m such and INTJ sometimes…

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An Overdue Update

January 20, 2015 § Leave a comment

Okay, so it’s been awhile! A long while. Lots of things to process, that’s for sure.

2015 has been a year of serious highs and lows so far. So much so that I’m hoping it’s getting out all the “excitement” in the beginning and the rest of the year will be smooth sailing… That’s silly thinking but a girl can dream.

Let’s start with the good:

Jason and I got an apartment together! It’s a cool space with a lofted bedroom and a wall of windows (though they just look out onto a little valley and other apartment buildings’ back decks) plus 1.5 bathrooms which is great for two of us and a two floor apartment. The move went okay, not super smooth but not terrible either. Jason has been really kind to let me unpack the apartment and put things where I want to put them which has made me incredibly happy (since I’m a slight control freak sometimes). It’s been a week since we’ve officially moved in and the place is 98% unpacked, which is a huge relief to someone like me who nests. I tried to hang art today but it’s been difficult since I’m tired of looking at all the same art I’ve had on my walls for years. Time for new art, my own and from others, but the budget really doesn’t allow for that right now. Living together has been fantastic and a huge stress relief for me since before I was constantly going between our apartments with the girls and my clothes for work, sleep, going out… It was incredibly stressful especially since Jason never gave me a copy of his key so we were constantly leaving the key for each other and occasionally there were times when keys were forgotten. We’ve had no problems with sharing space in the new place and are very respectful of each other, which is an amazing feeling (particularly compared to alec’s constant tv-watching and video game playing). And he’s still incredibly affectionate and attentive despite us living together.

Basically I’m living in domestic bliss.

Unfortunately, that’s the highlight of the year (don’t get me wrong, it’s a HUGE highlight, but a lot of things have been speedbumps to truly being happy right now). 2015 has been really rough. Financially, we’re both really struggling after the holidays where we spent more money and took more time off from work in addition to the cost of the move. I sprained my right foot right before (literally hours before) we left for a trip to UNC Chapel Hill, driving of course. We were visiting the campus and the foot was a big pain in the ass though I still made all my appointments and we got to see a lot of campus and the surrounding neighborhoods. I couldn’t help Jason with the driving though which was rough. But we used Couchsurfing.com to find a place to stay for free, so that’s a plus. The trip was great — freezing cold but we fell in love with Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and the school. I guess we should move the trip to being a good thing in 2015!

But days after I got to take my boot off my right foot, I sprained my left ankle. It’s likely that the ankle was strained from being put under so much pressure while my foot was sprained and then with work (where I’m on my feet for 10 hours) and the move (lots of stairs and carrying heavy things), it ended up spraining. So that was a pain because of course I couldn’t take off work or slow down the move, so I just had to slap an ACE bandage on that puppy and keep going.

Literally a day after we moved into the new apartment, Jason’s car broke down. That’s been a pretty big issue not only because it’s going to be $800-1,000 to fix the car but he still has to get around town to and from his old apartment (which still has some stuff in it) and the new apartment as well as to and from work, school, appointments, etc. He refuses to drive my car because 1. he claims it’s a death trap and 2. he’s too big for it (it’s a tiny 2-door hatchback) so he’s spent a LOT of time literally walking around Birmingham which wastes a lot of his time that he could be using for more productive things (did I mention that he’s taking FIVE classes this semester in addition to working 30+ hours per week?!). There are other things related to the car breaking down like getting keys and getting things out of the truck that have caused extra stress and frustration.

Winter has officially hit Birmingham (well… for a couple of days anyway) and my car has no heat or defroster so sometimes I have to drive around with my head out of the window because I simply can’t see well enough through the windshield to drive. I’m basically just crossing my fingers every day that I have to drive like that, hoping to god I won’t wreck and either die or kill someone. It’s a hell of a gamble some days…

Jason is also having serious though occasional pains in his lower abdomen which is probably just stress but has me super worried and in Super Nagging Girlfriend mode. So now he has to go to the doctor on top of all this other crap and stress.

As for my life, I’m working 6-7 days/50+ hours per week and it’s killing my soul not only because I’m bored SO MUCH and the tasks are so repetitive but it’s just so much of my time spent for not a lot of money. Plus I have my own bills piling up like crazy that I haven’t been able to pay because of the holidays and then the move. And my stupid student loan people are saying that I have to start paying $400/mo in February! Craziness. Absurdity. Just one more thing I have to make a phone call about.

I did apply to a potentially promising job at an arts non-profit in Birmingham that I’ve volunteered extensively with, which I hope will lead to a permanent (salaried!!) position. The downside and why I think I might not get the job is that I applied to graduate school at UNC Chapel Hill (for a dual Master’s degree in Public Administration and Social Work) so if I get accepted (I honestly have no idea what my odds are) then I’ll be moving to NC in August. But if I don’t get accepted I could be stuck in Birmingham indefinitely, in which case it would be amazing to work for the non-profit I love and respect and could do so much for. My interview is at the end of next week. Cross your fingers and I’ll keep you posted. That job (or any 9-5 that pays more than $10-12/hr) would seriously improve my and Jason’s lives. We need the money. Badly.

So 2015 is filled with ups and downs. I’m hoping we’re getting our downs out early so the rest of the year can all be happy, exciting things like getting into grad school (for both of us preferably, otherwise if just he could get in, that would be amazing), getting “real” jobs, getting engaged, etc. Happy things. Exciting things. Things we hoped for when 2015 was right around the corner.

Surely, good times gonna come. In the meantime, I’m just thankful for my wonderful boyfriend, family, and apartment!

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