Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Monitoring bubbling symptoms and wishing the world really understood what it's like when you have to do that with your brain



Hello, friends. I think of you readers as important people, and I just wanted to mention that. Your support in my difficult times is very helpful. You are much more than pixels on a screen to me. You listen. I am sorry I have not had time to keep up with other people's blogs much the past couple weeks.

The struggle continues. Many adjustments are going on in my life. The move, finally, happened. It is sort of done. I have moved into a new apartment, but have much to do to set the place up, unpack, decorate, etc. But the worst of it is over, for now. The place I'm living isn't the best, but it has some new things like kitchen cabinets, a fridge and a stove that were recently put in, which is nice. Sometimes you have to find pleasure in the small things. Not having mold in my bathroom is also a plus.

Because of my Fibromyalgia and arthritis, moving by going up and down stairs was really hard on my back and knees. It doesn't help that I'm overweight and get out of breath easily now. I am really worn out. My mom and my brother helped a lot, as did the maintenance guys who moved much of my stuff for me, after some negotiations with the agency that owns the apartment.

The anxiety about the circumstances leading up to me moving was so bad, it led me to vomiting and, many bouts of hysterical crying, which I can't really explain to you except to say if you knew all that happened, you would understand the tears. I am not comfortable going into any details about where I live exactly right now on this blog.

I have to decide whether or not to take classes over the summer. I do not know yet if I'll get into the other university I've looked into attending, and I do not know that I can go there due to transportation issues if I do get admitted there. I do not know what to do about this whole issue. I really don't like the academic program I'm in, but I'm really unsure it would be a good idea to ditch it. It's very hard to know what to do without knowing if my car will continue running in another month. Last week repairs on the car cost me a thousand  dollars, which is a lot of money when you only work part time. If the car thing wasn't an issue, I'd just try to go to the other college, but it is an issue, because I can't buy a new car, and this car has had many things go wrong with in the past four years. I have put into the car, in four years, the same amount I paid for the car when I bought it.

On top of these issues, my mother is pressuring me to take a trip to accompany my grandmother on a plane back to the state she lives in, at the end of April, right when my final exam is coming up, and on the same week of a presentation I have to do for my class; it is really bad timing. Everyone's going to think I'm a jerk if I say I can't do it, but everyone doesn't hear voices, and I do. I know how much stress I can take at once. Moving, school decisions to make and school work, my job and recent ongoing changes there with a new  boss, my car problems, my health problems, all my family members' many, many problems, obligations to the organizations I volunteer for, money issues, and having symptoms of psychosis combine to make this a very bad time for me to have to take a trip and be responsible for taking care of my grandmother, plus taking time while I'm up there to visit my other  aging grandparents in their nursing home, which is something I would have to arrange transportation to do, and that's complicated because I'm not close with my relatives, though I would love to see my grandparents........I want to do it; I really do. But I just don't feel up to taking this on right now. I even told my mom repeatedly, "Look, I'm hearing voices right now, I'm having a lot of symptoms, and I have obligations with school not to mention work, so this is not a good time for me to take a trip." But she refuses to listen. She puts a guilt trip on me about how my grandmother needs me to do this, and doesn't understand that it just might not be possible for me to do it. Then I think, what a horrible thing it would be if my grandmother passes away and for the rest of my life I have to feel badly that I didn't accompany her on this plane trip and I'll have to hear my mother tell me exactly how horrible I am for it....ugh.

I have to say I'm really tired at the moment and I just feel that I am constantly trying to maintain homeostasis and not let the delusional thoughts bubble up to a boil where I am bothered by them all the time. I am managing, but I am always on guard, waiting for the next shoe to drop. I think that after I got my biweekly Risperdal Consta injection last Friday, the psychotic stuff lessened. I'm not hearing as much right now, which is good.

Another issue that is going on is that my case manager who has been a big part of my life for the past six years has to close my case. I haven't been in a hospital in three years, and so I'm not eligible for case management at the community mental health center, and she has kept my case open longer than she was supposed to already, which was very  kind of her. I have talked to this woman every week almost for the past six years. She knows a lot about me. She has seen my apartment when it was trashed, and helped me clean in up. She has gone to bat for me, and has checked up on me, and has gotten  me in to see the doctor when I need a sooner appointment may times, and has taken care of issues I've had with getting my medications, among other things. Mostly, she has been a big comfort. And I feel like I have needed that comfort.
Maybe I don't meet the criteria, but who is making this criteria? It is all based on money. The state government is always cutting funding for mental health so htere is not enough money to help all the people who need help.

I really believe that having a strong support system is a vital part of treatment for people who live with mental illnesses. I don't think the whole solution comes out of a pill bottle.  I really believe that my case manager, and my therapist, who I can only continue to see for a few more months, have kept me going. I spent years in abject isolation with no real human connections, and that kept me out of my mind. It was when I met my case manager that I finally had somebody who actually cared where I was living, and would keep tabs on me, and not  write me off if I stressed her out too much. I really like her charismatic and quirky personality, and I am going to really miss her and be lost without her.

In June my ten-dollar-a-session therapy arrangement that my case manager got for me ends, and that means my therapist of the past four years will no longer be in my life either. Losing these supports is a  dangerous thing for me, I'm afraid. Again, I think about the government and funding cuts, and I just wonder if some legislators knew what it was like to live with Schizoaffective Disorder or Schizophrenia and not have adequate support and not have adequate and  affordable treatment or not be able to keep a roof over your head...if they knew what that was like, would they make different decisions.  And I'm afraid the answer to that is no, they wouldn't. I have written letters telling them exactly what it is like, but my response to those letters has never been anything more than a bland form letter.

I have to say that if more people understood what life is like with a serious mental illness, life would be much better for all of us who live with those illnesses. Society's ignorance really creates deficits in our lives that don't need to be there.

Monday, March 21, 2011

It will come again.

Today I heard several women scream my name. It could have been someone calling her friend named Jennifer on my college campus, by yelling across the building, but when I looked I didn't see anyone calling anyone that I could discern, albeit I didn't look for long. Because I knew. The way I always know. The "voices" are back. The other day it started out as olfactory hallucinations. I was having a yard sale and I thought there was dog crap around that I kept smelling but there wasn't and there was no dog (and nothing on my shoes, thank the universe) and then other smells happened within that same 24 hour period that were probably hallucinations. Though I can't, of course, be totally sure something is not real when it seems very real.

Then today at work this woman called, and I was totally sure it was a person who I knew once years ago who I would really, really not want to be in contact with again, and who I would not want to know my whereabouts at all, and so I started freaking out about that and how she tracked me down, so I changed some settings on Facebook to make it harder for her to harass me. And I was sure, because I work in a call center, that I was being monitored today by my boss, but then when my boss left, I still kept hearing the noises on the phone that would indicate someone was monitoring me. So I thought it was my boss's boss, and then I thought it was the police or the FBI. Another person called and she said something to the effect of "we got you" or "you can't get out", something like that, I can't remember the exact words, and I knew what she meant and it had nothing to do with my job. Another woman called and she said, "you're okay, Jennifer," and I thought, oh, this is someone who's in on it but is trying to be nice to me.

And all along I knew none of this was really happening. Probably.

I think I mentioned in my previous post, which was all of yesterday (yes, I have been posting a lot of misery here lately, sorry) that I feared psychotic symptoms were starting up again. And they are.

Who knows how far down the rabbit hole I will go. But I will not go willingly, that much is for sure.

The mental health agency that owns my apartment is screwing over the people who live here. It is a long and rather sordid tale, and I don't feel comfortable giving out too much personal details about where I live right now here, so I'm not going into it, but suffice it to say, I have been through hell over this situation and I am still in the situation. I really wish these people would think about who they're dealing with here. It is, after all, A FUCKING COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH AGENCY, which might lend one to believe they should be concerned about their tenants' mental health. And they obviously are not. I am not the only emotional wreck in the building right now. My neighbor below was told she had to move with less than two weeks notice; she is very upset, and I don't blame her.

I'm tired of dealing with this situation, but it's not going to end any time soon, because of the circumstances. So all I can do is try to hold on tightly to the sanity I do have and watch carefully whatever happens with the sanity I lack.

I will get through this. I can get through a lot of things. So I can get through this. I am sick to my stomach at all times, a frenetic, disorganized disaster and an emotional wreck with a mind that won't work correctly and experiencing psychotic symptoms, but I will get through this.

My friend Kate sent me a nice care package the other day and it couldn't have come at a better time. I met Kate by writing this blog. So, this blog has had some positive effects on my life. It has given me a place for my voice. It has given me comrades in the throes of it with me. It has given me a home where I can let out who I really am any time I want. It has given me solace. It has given me a way to track my symptoms, and monitor the highs, the lows, the medications' side effects, and what triggers me to have more symptoms. Without this blog I might not know that stress can cause me to be where I currently am mentally, and that as long as that stress continues, the symptoms will likely continue as well.

Above all, this blog has given me a way to tell my story of how I survived suicide, so it would be antithetical to come here and write about the aftermath of that for six years, and then go and kill myself. I will not kill myself. I will continue the "good" fight, though it doesn't always feel so good.

One of my favorite poem bits:


A lively understandable spirit

Once entertained you.

It will come again.

Be still.

Wait.

— Theodore Roethke





Sunday, March 20, 2011

sad & anxious mix

I cannot describe how anxious, terrified, and severely depressed I am right now. Suffice it to say, it is the worst it's been in years. I don't normally feel like this anymore, and I am concerned about developing psychotic symptoms which seem to be starting out already with mild ones. I am going through a situation where I have no idea  where  I am going to be living soon. And that scares the hell out of me. After you've been homeless and lived in three different shelters in the past, it is terrifying to lose your stable place of living. I have fleeting thoughts of suicide, which is very abnormal for me now that I'm doing better than the years when that was frequent. I definitely will not kill myself, but that I feel so low to think about it, well, that's how low I am now. That's about all I can say. These songs explain the rest.

Edit The Next Day: This post is really lame. I apologize. It sounds pathetic and stupid, and these songs are dumb. I would delete it, but you know, everybody is lame once in a while. So, oh well. It was late at night when I wrote the post and for some reason it seemed like a good idea at the time. Usually I don't get this depressed, so of course getting this way again, reminded me of my days when I was young and always depressed, and I suppose that is why I posted that music. Sorry about that.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Changes

I changed the look of my blog. I'm not sure I'll like it tomorrow (which already started). I just wanted to try something different, and see how it would look to people. So please give me your input, if you have any (the blog used to have yellow and green polka dots, and though I always loved the colors, the title of the blog never fit into the sidebar it was squeezed into, so it didn't look quite right, and all the gadgets were on the left, when I prefer them to be on the right.

Anyway...at my job we moved our office to another room down the hall last week, and I got a new boss. So that uprooted me too.

And, of course, I'm still supposedly moving. I really am extremely anxious and quite depressed right now because of this whole situation. I'm not sure Wellbutrin is working for me anymore. My ARNP (psych nurse who prescribes meds) put me on Lamictal, and I haven't taken it yet, because I don't really want to add yet another drug with possible side effects to my repertoire of meds that rule my life.

I am scared. Moving scares me, mostly because I don't think I can possibly handle this on my own. I did get a little help. My case manager came over and while she was here, she helped me sort through a container of clothes. My therapist, who I've known for three - four years actually came into my apartment for the first time, too, and she brought me boxes and put my books into them. But there is still a lot to do. My mom's idea of helping is telling me to through all my belongings in the garbage, which I will not do. Yes, I am a bit of a pack rat. But no, I am not a hoarder, and there are no dead animals or unopened boxes or clothes I've never worn here. There a lot of clothes, mostly because I stopped fitting into everything due to the weight gain caused by the meds.

I would like to sell some of my stuff, but because the landlord, which is a community mental health agency, has not bothered to tell me the date when I am moving, I do not know that I will have a chance to do that this weekend.

I called, repeatedly, to get an answer about when I'm moving. They first told us back last fall that we'd be moving by December. Then they stopped doing the construction on the building, and we figured there was no way we would be moving soon, so nobody packed anything. Now they are apparently nearly finished with the construction work, and I couldn't get the woman I deal with at that agency to tell me when I will be moving. After several phone calls, the other day she told me it would be at the end of this month. Which is why I am freaking out. Because the agency that owns my home is not the same agency that I go to for treatment, there is no communication, and I never hear anything from the landlord.

I also am in the middle of trying to change my college major.

Overall, I am in the middle of nothing but changes and stress. I guess that's why I changed the look of the blog. It seems like as good a time as any. Everything about my life has been uprooted. I am very lost. I am very scared. I know this will sound stupid to some people, but managing my life requires a level of routine. I have to know that I have some stability to count on or I get anxious and freaked out and physically sick and have psychotic symptoms and suicidal depression. I'm not suicidal right now. But I'm not exactly doing great either.

I had dinner with my mother the other night after she gave up trying to convince me to throw my belongings in the trash and I gave up on hoping she was going to help me. She said I seem depressed. She also said she thinks she gained a lot of weight on Lamictal and maybe I shouldn't take it. So now I'm conflicted about that too. It's not really a good time for me to be messing with my medications. I need that routine the most. It is the only thing that keeps my life manageable besides sheer will power.

I often think about how far I've come to get where I am. That may sound arrogant, and I don't mean for it to sound that way. It has taken me a lot of help to get this far. And while I'm very grateful that I'm now able to keep a roof over my head, the memories of all the times I had to move while I was psychotic, and while I had no place to really go to, well, those memories are haunting me night and day right now. I'm afraid I won't have the packing and the cleaning done in time to move, and they'll evict me. I'm afraid I'm going to end up with nowhere to go again. I think the memory of this unrest is what is making me anxious and depressed. It's been four years I've lived in this little apartment, and it's been the only period that long where I've lived in one place as an adult. And now, I am leaving it. I'm not going far, but everything is getting piled into boxes, and I feel like I am lost without a compass right now.

I don't know how I'm going to get through this time. Today, I didn't make it to my class. And I dropped the other class I was going to start today, because I want to change my major. Since I'm only in one class, there is no reason why I shouldn't have gotten there today, but my alarm had a problem, and I never woke up, until it was too late. I did go to work, of course, because I can't afford to lose my job on top of everything else. I'm glad I am able to keep up with my job despite feeling really depressed.

I know - because everything always does - that this, too, shall pass. But it won't be soon enough. I am very focused at this time on keeping myself out of the hospital. I can't afford to lose my job or drop out of school, and I can't afford to lose all my belongings to someone throwing them in the trash, as did happen to me years ago when I was in hospitals. I must move forward and manage this disaster. Somehow, I will find the power within myself to do that.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Honoring the lives that were lost to institutions: two projects on people locked away in state mental hospitals


Elyn Saks, in her excellent autobiography about life with Schizophrenia, that came out a few years ago, The Center Cannot Hold, made a statement about how she received flowers when she was in the hospital for a medical procedure, but whenever she was in the hospital for psychiatric reasons, she never got flowers or cards. I loved that she pointed this out, because it is so true. Few people in psychiatric wards and psych hospitals get flowers, or cards. Many never get a visitor. When I lived in Virginia, I had several hospital trips that my family in Florida didn't know anything about, and I didn't hear from anyone. I never got flowers or cards or any visitors in those hospitals, except when a couple former patients from a previous hospital stay came back to visit me in one of my other hospital stays.

In Florida, my mom was always pretty good about visiting if I was in the hospital. Once a former patient came to bring me a copy of Surviving Schizophrenia, and some art supplies to have something to do, because I was in there for the long haul. Another person who was in with me, got released, and weeks later was allowed to come back and visit. Two coworkers visited me and when I told them I had just been diagnosed with Schizophrenia, I never heard from them again. I got flowers from my mom, I think it was, at one hospital, and they wouldn't let me keep the flowers in the vase in my room, so they had to stay at the nurses' desk. I think I eventually got to have them in my room by putting them in a plastic water pitcher.

I've been in hospitals at Christmas, a really depressing time on a psych unit. My mom brought me presents, and I had to open them all to the nurses desk, show them to the staff and only if they were approved could I keep them. I wasn't allowed to keep more than three sets of clothing, so most of what she would bring me, would be sent right back out with her. Candy, for Christmas, could only be kept in the locked up kitchen and you could ask for some of it at a snack break if you got one. Christmas cookies, you couldn't keep because they didn't come directly from a manufacturer. I saw a lot of people bring in stuff for patients that the patients were not allowed to keep. I saw a lot of patients who nobody ever brought anything for. These people would be stuck walking around in hospital gowns.

My mom would bring me Diet Coke sometime, because it was one of my favorite things, but if it wasn't in a plastic bottle at some places, you couldn't have it. At other places, you couldn't have plastic bottles, so you could have it in a can that stayed locked up where you couldn't get to it. And then you could get some at mealtime upon request. During my longest hospital stay, which was the one where all the people above visited me and the one where I definitely got more visitors than ever before, a nurse actually brought me a whole case of Diet Coke, and sneakily locked it up in the kitchen where I could get it at meal times. Another nurse brought me an extra pair of glasses she didn't need, because one of the meds messed up my eyesight so badly I couldn't read at all.

But for the most part, being in a psych ward, you spend a lot of time alone. I remember hoping my dad would call me, and how sad I would get when he didn't. I remember the one trip where he did visit me, and what a big deal that was for me, because it meant he at least cared about me right then. That was after I almost shot myself. I made my dad a card, and he cried a little bit, which is one of the only times in my life he has ever done that in front of me. But I spent months after that in the hospital where I didn't hear from him much, and I always wished he'd come back. I think the hospital, once he saw what a psych ward looked like, really freaked him out, and he didn't want to return there if he didn't have too. Can't say I blame someone much for that.

The walls of psych wards are typically blank painted cement or otherwise sturdy, and blank walls. There is little artwork. I always used to decorate my room's door with some kind of artwork. I'm not an artist; when you're really sick you find pleasure in little things, like crayons and paper. It would be the only way I could make myself feel comfortable there.

So when I came across this art project online the other day, it warmed my heart. It really did. If I were an "installation artist" (and can't say I really know very well what that is), this would be a project I would want to do. When Anne Schuleit wandered around the grounds of Northampton Hospital, near Smith College where I almost got to go to school once, she became interested in the stories that were left in this abandoned mental hospital. She set out, later, to transform an abandoned psych hospital for two days of celebration, where classical music was blasted throughout the halls, and former patients got to tell their stories. When she realized that people in mental hospitals rarely get flowers, she decided to fill an entire, abandoned mental hospital with flowers. And that she did. You can see her amazing project, Bloom, here. It's a beautiful idea, and a wonderful work of art and life, to do what she did there. I want people to recognize the efforts like this that some folks make to remember those of us with mental illnesses who spent our lives locked away in hospital wards, forgotten and abandoned by the world, treated like less than human, and certainly like less than a person in a hospital for a medical reason.

Reading about this beautiful project reminded me of another project, one that I first read about a few years ago, where people cleaning up an emptied psychiatric hospital came across tons of suitcases that were left behind by former patients who spent their lifetimes locked up there. They set about to tell the stories of the people who owned some of the suitcases, and created a website about it, The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic. Then they created a book, and a traveling exhibit to showcase the stories of these poor people and to give their lives some dignity by telling people what they learned from the contents of those suitcases and the records of the people who owned them. If you've ever driven by an abandoned state mental hospital, as I did once in New York, you understand it's a scary place. I also walked through the halls of the gigantic Sheppard Pratt Hospital, which is still open and running, years ago when I saw a therapist there, and it was scary too. There is something terrifying about knowing that people spent years, and even lifetimes, locked up in these places for illnesses like the one I have. For all the flaws with community mental health -and there are many - I would not want to spend my life in a hospital, warehoused away from society as if I were just a big acne scar on the face of humanity.

So I think it is honorable that people have done projects like Bloom and the suitcases project, and would love to see that suitcase exhibit in person. Please take the time to explore these links to honor the memories of those whose lives have mostly been forgotten. For all my complaints about my lonely, depressing hospital stays, I was very priveleged, in fact. I did get visitors sometimes. I did get out. I did not get forgotten by the world. I did not have to stay there for years, or for life. I got to leave. Which is more than can be said for people who went 100 years, or even 50 years, before me. People got kept locked up then, and their history books were never written.


Side Note: I wrote a post for the Understanding Invisible Illnesses (UII) blog of Jennifer Pettit, and would love for you to check it out.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

International Women's Day and Women with Mental Illnesses In History


Today, March 8th is the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day. To celebrate, Google changed its graphic on its main page to the above design. You can find an article about that on the Huffington Post. And Google partnered with Women for Women International (an excellent organization to support) to organize a worldwide event of women gathering on bridges to commemorate this day. And here, the Huffpost displays pictures of some of the world's most influential women, but I'd argue that there are a LOT more than 19 very influential women on the globe.


I am dealing with a lot of issues, but I would be a remiss feminist to not post anything on International Women's Day, much less on its 100th anniversary. This website gives a lot of information about various events that occurred today to celebrate this date.


March is also Women's History Month. It's nice that we get one month out of the year, since our history isn't portrayed accurately or completely in most of the history books that have ever been written throughout the history of (wo)mankind In honor of this month, I decided to look up some information to share with you here on the way women with mental illnesses have been treated throughout history. Over at Women's Mental Illness: A Response to Oppression, Katie Frick writes about how patriarchal oppression causes the myth that women are the "weaker" sex, when we really are the we-get-the-discrimination sex. She talks about various mental health diagnoses and their definitions in the 19th century. It's an interesting page.


In Mad, Bad, and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors, reviewed here on Jezebel, Lisa Appignanesi writes about some of the barbaric treatments (or torture) women have been subjected to in efforts to cure their mental illnesses throughout history. I haven't read this book, but now that I've found out about it, I will.


It was in a Women's Literature class in the late 1990's that I first read the story, "The Yellow Wallpaper", by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and learned what "hysteria" was really all about. In the story, Gilman's character is prescribed the "rest cure", which was often prescribed for so-called mental illnesses (then referred to as Hysteria) to women who were a little too self-confident, who expressed anger, who had career aspirations, and who just weren't mousy and pathetic enough to suit the status quo. Many of these women had no mental illness at all, yet they were confined to bed, to waste their days away doing nothing, and if something like that doesn't make you get depressed, you're a pretty lucky person. The story is somewhat an autobiography, because Gilman herself was prescribed the "Rest Cure".


I remember my first psychiatrist, a very conservative, right wing, Christian man who talked about God too often to be professional, telling me that I couldn't leave my Ms. magazines in his office because it would, "offend women clients" who didn't want to read that. He also told me that I suffered from a "hatred of men" or "anger at men" problem. I thought he was a sexist jackass with his love of Freud and his obviously patronizing attitude towards women. I still look back at this and laugh that this jackass was in practice at all, and am glad I eventually got away from him. What I really suffered from was severe, recurrent Major Depression, and Anorexia Nervosa, and he knew that so I don't see why it was necessary for this old white right wing man to tell me that I had anger at men just because I expressed displeasure with the history of thousands of years of oppression women have suffered. Any anger I had at men was justified. I do live in a patriarchal society, so sometimes things like that are going to happen.


This Timeline of women with mental illnesses throughout history gives some interesting stories of how women were treated by the mental health system during various time periods.


If you want a great place to find a TON of info on women's history/ herstory, go here. This is one of my favorite topics, and I could talk about it all day, so I am trying to sum a lot of information in one brief post that I want to complete before the end of March 8th which is looming in a few minutes!


If you don't know about Dorothea Dix, go here or go here, or go here and learn about this amazing, brave woman's contributions to mental health advocacy in a time period when were still caged up like animals. She is one of our foremothers, and a heroine who should never be forgotten like so many historical women have been. Dorothea is the one in the picture at the top of this post.


Happy International Women's Day and Women's History Month!

It's been a long trip, with little days in it and no new places


The title of this post is a line from an Anne Sexton poem in the book, "Live or Die". I always think of that line and say it to myself when I'm depressed. I memorized the poem when I was 17. That was a long time ago. Anne is pictured above.

I've dealt with depression since I was 13, which means many, many, many years. The psychosis, in this past decade, was my main problem and outweighed the depression, but the depression always returns, like a cancer on my brain.

I think it is largely situational right now. I have a number of things on my plate that are worrisome. I am finishing college late in life, and I have to decide what major I am going to actually complete, which involves deciding whether or not to move to another city, a task that is very daunting to say the least. Where I live now, I have my support system set up. I have my therapist, doctor, case manager, nurse who gives me my injections of Risperdal Consta, and my little apartment, and my little college, and my decent, part-time job that is not too strenuous most of the time. But to leave all of that behind....

I couldn't do that. I also couldn't find a decent, affordable place to live in the other city where I wouldn't have any mental health services set-up before moving there, since community mental health centers only see you if you live in their community. Yet, moving to this other city would be pretty much required for me to get a degree in social work, which is the degree I want to get.

It's a conundrum. It's really a nightmare. I am investing a lot of time and money right now into a degree that I'm not sure I'll ever be able to use and that I'm not sure I want.

And then there is the move hanging over my head, looming ominous as a black cat on Halloween right after you walk under a ladder. I don't think I am going to be the least bit prepared to move before the time comes, and the time is coming soon. The landlord still hasn't returned my phone calls to tell me when I'll be moving, but the construction workers told my neighbor it would be at the end of March. That leaves me no time, since I can only do a lot of packing and housework on the weekends, and I have a lot of stuff, mostly clothes that need to be sorted through that have been various baskets and piles on my bedroom floor for the past year.

I have to get through this time period, by I am so overwhelmed with anxiety, I never know where to start. I made some progress on cleaning my apartment this past weekend, but that is nothing compared to what still needs to be done, and this is all before even beginning to pack. It really pays to procrastinate at all times.

I wish I was the kind of person who didn't get overwhelmed, panicked and severely depressed when faced with difficult tasks. But that is what I do sometimes. I'm afraid I'm on the verge of a breakdown type period. Which cannot happen at this time. I really need to figure this situation out and dig myself out of this hole.

Off Topic Blog Note:I have improved the Suicide Resources page and added an FAQ page to this blog at the top, because so many people have asked me the same questions or have visited here looking for information on suicide. Your feedback would be appreciated. If you have suggestions for additions to these pages, please let me know.

Being able to come to this blog and write how I really feel, while all else in my life right now is about pretending to be happy, is quite a relief.

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