Friday, September 14, 2012

Feeling kind of blah, but having dreams despite it

I spoke the other night on  panel of speakers at NAMI Pinellas' meeting on the topic of C.I.T. (Crisis Intervention Training). Also on the panel was my friend Terry who won the C.I.T. International consumer award recently because she has been speaking at C.I.T. trainings for like 15 years. If you're not familiar with C.I.T., try searching online for information or on this blog for other posts about it. It's a great program which saves lives. Part o the training involves the law enforcement officers being trained listening to an mp3 player with what sounds like voices that someone who is psychotic might hear. During our meeting they passed these mp3 players around so the audience could get that experience too. I was told that it can be a trigger to actually hear voices if you are already prone to doing so, so I couldn't try it out. But I think it's a great exercise to help law enforcement officers understand what it is like to be a member of our voice hearer club.

I'm feeling very dull and blah. I keep getting stuck inside my head, which is, I think, because of the "negative" symptom side of psychosis. For instance, tonight I went and rented a movie, but then I couldn't watch it. I tried to watch  it, but I couldn't concentrate to follow it, and then I just closed my eyes and laid there on the couch listening to the movie. But I couldn't tell you what the movie was about at all. I eventually decided to just go to bed and retreat for a while, which is what I do a lot when I'm like this. The movie was Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which would probably interest me a lot more if my brain was working. Earlier I went to a bookstore, flipped through a couple books for a couple minutes, realized that this is futile when you can't read **(how often I manage to forget that fact!), and then left. I can't concentrate to read my textbooks, and it's affecting me negatively in school. For one of my classes we have to brief legal cases and we have to read a lot  of legal cases for this. So I haven't been able to read hardly any of them. But on the successful end, I did get a notetaker for that class by approaching the professor and giving her my letter from the office for students with disabilities. I explained, briefly, that I needed a notetaker and she helped me by approaching a student who seems bright and engaged in the material, and asking her to do it for me. She said, "I am asking this as a personal favor", which I thought was nice of her because she really took the pressure off of me having to be like the "I am labeled disabled, please help" person.

At the same time, I've been thinking a lot about something I'd like to do, and that is to travel abroad. I've never been outside the U.S., and I know I'm not up to doing it right now even if it was financially possible, but I'd like to think maybe I could do it next summer. I'd have to get a study abroad scholarship or something, but my financial aid situation with college is complicated by my years of dropping classes and getting "W" grades (for withdrawal), so that might be impossible. I have wanted to see Europe (and other parts of the world, of course) for my whole life, and have never gotten the opportunity. Since I'm taking a Spanish class right now, I've been thinking about how much Spanish I could learn if I was actually in Espana for a few weeks. It would certainly give me something to look forward to in the future. So I'm looking into doing that, and trying to figure out a way I could afford to go somewhere outside the U.S. in the next year. It probably won't happen, because of money, but I can dream.

My car was having major fits, and I got her two new tires today after weeks of being barely able to steer her, and after being ripped off, yet again, by an auto repair place that rips people off, so I am glad that she's now driving steadily. I'm very grateful to have a car, because I lived without one for years, and it was really hard for me to get places. I generally lack the energy one needs to walk far and take buses, especially because where I live there is very little public transportation compared to some other places, and so, I am glad I have a car, even though I know I'm leaving a carbon footprint that's not so good by driving. My car is covered in bumper stickers with quotes and sayings I like, and I have told people that it is my way of increasing the literacy of the general populace, because it gives them some reading material at red lights.

Back to the brain...I get a little worried that the Navane is making me dull. I feel very dull. I feel like life is just a big ball of blah. I wish I knew how to feel alive, and I have the unfortunate habit of shopping sometimes to feel more alive. I've ordered a number of clothing items online recently because getting new clothes in the mail is exciting, but I can't really afford to be doing this. I'm not manic or anything, and I don't spend tons of money, but I do shop too much. It's odd since I'm really not a materialistic kind of person, but I guess I am grasping at straws for a way to feel better, happier, more alive.

My mom keeps telling me to find a new psychiatrist, because I have been having so many problems and the community mental health center doesn't seem to have all the answers. But there is no magic cure. No other psychiatrist will be able to cure me. And I don't really know a lot of good psychiatrists that would be worth going to. My experience has mostly been within community mental health, so I haven't been to a lot of private psychiatrists. When my favorite shrink left the mental health center a few months ago, it was really devastating, because I knew that he knew how to help me better than anybody else I'd ever seen, and I really wish he was still there. It takes a long time for me to explain my brain and all its issues with a new psychiatrist, and the process is not that easy. There is one private psychiatrist I met in a hospital years ago who I liked a lot. He told me my diagnosis and had me watch the movie A Beautiful Mind to understand it. He told me "you have the same illness as John Nash", and that gave me hope that I could get better. Not many people who read my blog back then still read it, but Kate my remember when I went by the pseudonym "beautiful mind, complex life" because I identified with that movie before anybody told me why I identified with it. Too bad I'm not a genius who's going to win the Nobel Prize, like John Nash, but you can't have it all.

I've been late for work a few times lately because of not being able to get up in the morning. My sleep still sucks, but I was told after I had a sleep study a couple months ago that I do not have sleep apnea. I missed my appointment with the sleep doctor (pulmonologist) after that, because I was too tired to go. I also don't think he has any plans to help me. His advice was to get rid of the TV in my bedroom, and I don't watch TV every night in bed so I don't think doing that would really fix my horrendous life-long insomnia. Plus he's not somebody who sees people experiencing psychosis every day, and I don't think he understands my reasons for needing something to listen to at night. Usually I listen to music, but sometimes it is the banned TV.

Okay, so I will close this post by saying if you live outside the U.S. please let me know if I can come visit you! Just kidding, but I would love to do so if it were realistic. I would so love to see other parts of the world.


  1. Be sure and let me know if you go to Spain. I went a few years ago and LOVED it. I went on the cheap, too, staying at hostels and making most of my own meals.

    The best place I stayed was here: -- the owner is originally from England and is such a nice, funny and helpful guy, and a great cook to boot. It's in the south, in Andalucia. I also went to Granada, Cordoba, and Madrid.

    I was really interested in the Islamic/Moorish history of Spain. Some sites to see are listed here: -- I didn't get to them all but I did get to most.

    Hosteling and traveling by train/bus is the way to go. I went alone, with no Spanish, and did fine even if I had to use hand signals and waving my arms in the air to communicate sometimes :-) -- people were so friendly, the art and history was great, and it was all so interesting.

    I hope you do go.


  2. Spain is gorgeous, I've been once and hope to go next year if I can get back to work. You're more than welcome to come to Australia and stay with me!!! I would love it.

  3. Hi Jen "Daisybee",

    You still have a beautiful mind and a complex life and yet you have come so far in a relatively short time. Remember when you had just broken up with your boyfriend and you didn't have a job and you were feeling negative and hopeless? Despite the struggles you continue to go through, you sound so much healthier now. You can't read much right now, but, girl, you can still write!

    Feeling dull and blah might just be yet another coping mechanism, a kind of temporary cushion. Sometimes you need to turn off outside stimulation. Sometimes you need to stop.

    Yes, definitely dream, even plan, to go abroad. It will open your eyes by broadening your experience and language skills. I've been to Spain once when I was 19 years old for a couple of weeks and it was great. Be sure to visit two great cities: Barcelona and Madrid. Till then enjoy learning the language in and out of school.

  4. Maybe not reading, but still writing very well. I realize NJ isn't much of thrill, but if you ever want to visit ;o.~Mary


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