Saturday, December 29, 2012

The good things about holidays is that they only come once a year.

I can't say I don't like holidays. I like time off work and school. I like buying presents for people, picking out special things they may or may not like, wrapping them up. I went to see a display of Christmas lights at the Florida Botanical Gardens with my mom one night. I liked that sort of. I mean that I liked the lights. They were pretty. And the ballerinas dancing were good. And it was all very festive. But there was this heinous crowd of people there and I couldn't handle that at all. I kept saying, "I really need to get out of here now. I can't stand all these people around me. There are way too many people here." My mom just ignored me and looked at the lights in her manic way, saying, "Come on, look at this!!" and "I KNOW WHAT WE SHOULD DO TOMORROW!! GO TO DISNEYWORLD!!" Um, no. That was not about to happen. I  hate Disneyworld. Hate it. I hate going there with my mother more than just about doing any other activity I can think of which I've done in my life. Numerous times it's been a complete disaster.

Here is how it goes:
-Kids screaming
-People bumping into me
-Lights and colors everywhere
-Music coming from everywhere
-People talking, yelling, and laughing everywhere
-My mom totally in a manic rage getting irritable more and more by the second till she eventually blows up and creates a huge mortifying scene.
-Smells of various foods
-Moving rides
-Constant walking and standing in the hot sun and sweating and feeling tired and achy
-Hearing voices
-Anxiety attacks
-Need to flee
-Freaking out

And that is so much fun!!!!!!!! I know, it is totally worth 90 bucs!! Right???  Yeah, so I avoid this catastrophe whenever possible. Unless I am nbeing really stupid. At Christmas time about four years ago, I was really stupid and it was a miserable nightmare.

Anyway. So back to now. I liked the display of Christmas lights even if it was hard to deal with the crowds.

I also found out I got A's in both my classes, which makes me happy because it means all the classes I've taken at the University, I've gotten A's in, so that's nice.

But overall, I'm glad that the holidays only come once a year. This year, as usual, Christmas was greeted with family trauma drama. My brother, who is an alcoholic with untreated bipolar disorder and no health insurance, is sleeping on my sister's couch because he has had nowhere to live for years, except for his time living with my mom or living in the halfway house which he should have stayed in. My sister is mad at him and doesn't want him to stay living with her. He is mad at her and doesn't want to live with her anyway. He felt bad he couldn't afford to buy Christmas presents, but yet he didn't even get my mom a card at the dollar store for fifty cents. And I offered to drive him there.

My mom, as usual, spent a bunch of money on us all, but she did not spend as much money on my brother as she did on me and on my sister, which made me feel bad for my brother who has nothing.

My mom, as usual, put a huge guilt trip on us because my parents have been divorced for 24 years, and we still have a dad who is very much alive, who we visit every holiday. My mom, as usual, called me five or six times and left countless, lengthy messages for me while I was at my dad's house, even though I had already spent Christmas Eve night with my mom, and all day on Christmas from 10 AM to 4 PM with my mom, before I ever saw my dad.

My sister, as usual, was mad at my dad and decided to ditch his house right after opening her presents, making it very obvious how much she values her relationships (or lack thereof) with him, just like he values the lack of one he has with her and with me and with my brother.

My stepmother, as usual, talked a lot, and very fast.

I felt, as usual, guilty. For no apparent reason. And for every possible reason you can imagine.

But, I took pictures and videos, and spent time with my family. We laughed and played games when we weren't being passive-gaggressive or manipulative or pathetic in our  behavior. We talked about things that don't matter, and , as usual , avoided the things that really do. My sister said behind my brother's back that she's kicking him out of her apartment as soon as the new year comes.

And then my mom, and my sister, after Christmas, left to go to Baltimore, because they can afford expensive plane tickets and travel like that, which I cannot, so they are up there in the snow visiting my family. I am down here feeding my mom's cat.

I did get together and see Les Miserables, which was amazing and wonderful, with my friend Kathy, a few days after Christmas, because we get together and exchange gifts each year. I loved the film, and wished I had seen it on Broadway, which I haven't, as I bet it's amazing in the theater. The music is beautiful, and I've already memorized most of "I Dreamed a Dream".

I've been in a low state of deep depressive despair pretty much. I haven't been doing anything much at all in the past couple weeks other than the getting ready for Christmas stuff. I neglected chores that needed to be done. I have been lying around staring at the walls again, wishing I was elsewhere or someone else, something, someplace, some other being.

I think I'm always going to be alone, that I'm always going to wish for true love and never actually have it in my life, that I'm never going to meet someone who wants to be romantically involved with me who lives in the same country as me, and that it doesn't really matter anyway, because I hardly care. I think it is going to be really hard going back to school and work after being off for two weeks, because I work for a  college, and the college has been closed. I have gotten in to the obviously DEPRESSIVE habit of staying up all night and sleeping all day. This is not useful in real life. But it doesn't matter when you have nowhere you have to be. I really need to get my shit together.

Tomorrow I am going to a memorial service for a wonderful advocate named Nancy Durstein who did more for people who live with mental illnesses and their families than most anyone I know has ever done, in her life, and who passed away recently from breast cancer. She was a wonderful woman. It will be a sad day.

I've been lying on the floors, staring at the walls, just breathing, barely alive, I've been feeling like I'm not even a real person. I feel like it's impossible to do every day tasks of daily functioning. I feel totally overwhelmed by my life. And I don't want to go back to work or school like this. I don't know how I can.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

dumb numb hum drum

I have been in a depressed state lately. This is probably somehow related to my failure to get my Topomax refilled, and the fact I ran out of it sometime last week.

I this this fact combined with the end of the semester at school, and the heinous killings in CT that are constantly on the news every day all the time, and the holidays coming up which are always a time of stress, all combined has led me to feel rather down.

It could be worse. I probably did okay in both my classes. I don't know what my grade is in the law class I took, but my grade in Spanish should be an "A" because I did pretty well in there; it was easy. You just have to memorize a lot right before a test.  That seems to be the key. I also think my professor had emotional problems that led her to be an easy professor to have for Spanish, so I am taking a second Spanish class with the same disturbed professor next semester. Hey, ya gotta do what ya gotta do, right? I am 37, and this is not the prime age to learn a foreign language.

I will be 38 next month. My birthday always, always depresses the hell out of me. I feel like a failure for every year I didn't get a Master's Degree, didn't work full time, didn't own a house, didn't get married, didn't have a baby, didn't write a book, didn't travel the world, and didn't do a zillion other things I wanted to do. Actually, I never cared that much about getting married. But the older I get, the more obvious it is that I'm never getting married. This fact is, in itself, depressing. More depressing is not having true love. I thought I had that a couple months ago, but it apparently was a fleeting thing that maybe wasn't real. At least not to the other person. So that doesn't really count.

I feel really alone sometimes. And it seems like it will always be this way, like I will always be really alone. And it seems like nobody is there who would understand that. 

A couple months ago I thought I was in love with someone who was also in love with me, and I thought I was going to take all the money I could come up with and travel to the ends of the earth to see him and it would somehow work out. It was unrealistic and he didn't really love me at all. We had never met. So now there is nothing really exciting to look forward to, nothing to think of as a great thing for the future. There is no traveling anywhere. because I don't have enough money anyway to do that.

And that's life. Tomorrow I need to do laundry.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Mental Health Funding and Gun Control

In case you weren't reading here in July (which most likely, you weren't), I wrote a similar post after James Holmes allegedly shot 70 people in a movie theater.

If you haven't noticed yet why the U.S. needs gun control, please indulge me while I try to explain. We have over 32,000 shooting deaths a year here. 18,000 are suicides. The rest are murders. That was one statistic I read in more than one place. Even if you go with a lower estimate, there are at least 10,000 shooting deaths a year here by homicide. In countries where guns are illegal there are more like 10 per year (NOT 10,000). I'm tired right now so I'm not going to add citations here, but it's all online, and you can all look it up.

In 2005 I bought a gun. I went to a gun store, of which there are many where I live in Florida. There are many more gun stores in the US than there are McDonald's according to another statistic given out by the media. I was floridly psychotic, suicidal, hearing voices, hallucinating, and suffering from severe delusions when I went into that gun store. But I could fill out a piece of paper just fine. I made my purchase based on advice some assholes on a "pro suicide" website had given me, as to what gun and which bullets would definitely kill me. I told the clerk what I wanted. He gave me the form. I filled it out. It asked if I had ever been judged mentally incompetent, "No", I answered. I did not mention to the clerk that I had been in psychiatric institutions in recent years some 15 times as a patient. The form did not ask me about that. I bought the gun. It cost $400 which I had saved up for this.

Three days later, I went back to the store because the "waiting period" was over, and I could have the gun now. Nobody had checked my mental health records, of course, because they can't as those are confidential. I took the gun, and I went to a shooting range. The gun was a .357 Magnum. Kind of like the kind that was used by Adam Lanza in the horrific murders this past week. He used a semiautomatic to shoot the children and adults he murdered, and he used a .357 to shoot himself. That was all I planned on doing, shooting myself. Nobody else. I bought a certain type of exploding bullet that would be guaranteed, according to the experts' advice, to kill me but not go through my body and hurt anybody else.

I was worried about the bullet going through the wall to the house on the other side of my apartment (it was an apt. attached to a house), and I didn't want anybody there to be injured or killed by a wayward bullet. I was real concerned about that.

At the shooting range, I asked men who were avid gun enthusiasts to show me how to shoot the gun I had bought. And they did. One referred me to someone who could give me special private lessons for "self defense" (my supposed reason for buying this gun). One showed me how to shoot a shotgun. I came home from the firing range with the bulls' eye I'd hit on the target I had shot at. I was proud of it. I would kill myself well, and it would not fail. This was my plan.

I wrote a living will. I bought gifts for my friends and family members. I wrote them cards and letters. I wrote a letter to the police who would find my body. I set it all up. I sat down with the loaded gun in my bathroom of my little apartment. It was a small bathroom with yellow bath mats and a yellow shower curtain. I got a bottle of Vodka somewhere, and I decided it would help me to drink and take some of my Klonopin when I did this, so maybe it would be easier to do it. I also had a Bible with me. I'm not religious, but this was when I still believed I was Jesus. And of course, Jesus dies. I also thought I was pregnant, and had been thinking that for four years.

I took the gun, loaded it, and held it in my mouth. I tasted it. I still remember the metallic taste of it. I could have pulled the trigger. But I didn't. After sitting there crying and debating what to do and talking to myself for hours I decided that I would go to the hospital one last time to have the four year old fetus removed from my body since I thought it was dead. And then I would go and kill myself if that didn't work. Of course, that didn't work, so  I left the hospital.

By this time, the guy I mentioned on here in past posts, Kevin, had contacted my brother and my dad at their office, and told them I had bought a gun. When I was in the emergency room, my mom called the hospital and told them I had a gun. My brother came to the hospital to meet me there. I was just going to say goodbye to him and go shoot myself. I left the ER, and he was outside in the parking lot. They hadn't gotten the fetus out of me, so there was no use in trying anymore. It was time to die. The gun was loaded in the trunk of my car.

My brother said, "Do you have a gun?" I said, "Yeah, but don't worry about it. It's not your problem." I then went to leave.

About eight police cars arrived. They took me in handcuffs to the hospital. They took the gun. My dad came to the scene, and was drunk and cried. My mom came to the scene and was screaming at the cops and at me. I tried to escape the hospital but no such luck.

My life had just been saved.

And that is how I almost shot myself. But didn't. I never almost committed any homicidal acts, because that never was something that I felt compelled to do, no voices told me to hurt anybody else other than myself, no signs and no messages pointed towards doing harm to others as a mode of action I should take. But the voices, the signs, the messages, they all told me to shoot myself. And I almost did.

I strongly believe in gun control. In fact, I actually believe the Second Amendment should be abolished, and all guns should be banned completely from everyone in the U.S. How many more innocent children and how many more innocent teenagers, and how many more innocent adults have to die by homicide or suicide before we outlaw the damn guns???

I also strongly believe that our pathetically under-funded mental health system (Florida now ranks 51st or 52nd amongst the states, after Washington DC, and I believe Puerto Rico, in mental health funding), needs an overhaul, with extreme additions of funding and resources. More research needs to be funded by the government into the causes of illnesses like Schizophrenia and the possible cures. More money needs to be put in rather than, as it usually is, taken out. And perhaps we should consider that possibly closing down all the state hospitals didn't help everybody who is now homeless on the streets in a psychotic state since there are no beds for them to go to.

I believe Assertive Community Treatment needs more funding everywhere in the US, and it will keep people out of hospitals, off the streets, and out of jail cells. I believe suicide and homicide are preventable, espeically if we get rid of guns and start having open diaglogues about metnal illness and the reality of it in our lives.

We, who have mental illnesses, are more likely to victims of crimes and violent acts than to commit them. But there are some who commit violent crimes because they are:
1. suffering a psychotic break
2. have access to guns
3. don't know how to get help

And we must prevent those deaths. The homicides, the suicides, and the combination homicide/suicides. We must.

Edited to Clarify:
I don't relate myself to people like Adam Lanza or any any other killers. I think it is a mistake to lump everyone with Schizophrenia or a psychotic-like disorder into one category, and I certainly don't know what was going on in the mind of that young man who slaughtered all those innocent children and adults.

I'm not like him. I wouldn't intentionally hurt anything but a fly or an ant or a cockroach, and only in the past would I hurt my own self. I never would, even in my most psychotic states, have harmed others. But I think the plethora of gun violence we see in this country is related to the plethora of mental illness that exists, and that's really all I'm trying to point out here.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Her Name was Fern

This week my grandfather, who lives in an Assisted Living Facility in Maryland, has been down here in Florida visiting. He is staying at my dad's house. He says he is "on Parole" from the facility, for "good behavior". He is a very funny guy, who likes to tell jokes, with a dry sense of humor and an easy-going personality. He has been that way all my life. In recent years, he has been dealing with Alzheimer's, and that is why he now lives in an ALF. When my grandmother, who passed away in May, was still alive, they lived there together. They were together 60 years. He loved her the entire time, and still does.

With Alzheimer's, he seems to focus a lot on the past, the distant past particularly, and tell stories from 50 years ago, whereas he frequently forgets what he said 5 minutes ago. He was talking to me today, and we hit on an interesting subject. It's a subject that has been a tabboo topic in my family for my entire life. I have known about it since early adulthood, but I was never privy to any conversations with my grandparents where it was mentioned, except when I was told never to bring it up again. It is the subject of my great-aunt who committed suicide. My grandfather's sister. Her name was Fern.

She lived in rural Texas. It was the early 1940's. My Pop Pop, as we call him, was 11 years old. As he told me today, he heard screaming. He ran into her room. She said, "Help me! I drank stricknine!" He ran and told his family. His brother tried to start the car but it wouldn't start. So his brother ran to his teacher's house, who had a car. Two hours later, she arrived, according to the story as he told it today. Then Fern got taken to a hospital. The teacher came back that night, alone. His mother screamed and cried for a week. Fern was dead.

"She did it deliberately," he said. "And the thing I don't understand, I'll never understand, is why she could do that when she had two kids. How could anybody do that when they had two kids??" He said, "There must have been something wrong with her mind. I think there was a brain problem."

I think. there was. a brain. problem.

70 years, and this man has never talked to me about this, or talked to, as far as I know, hardly anyone about it. And now his grief is coming out, now that he's dealing with Alzheimer's, and his wife is gone, and he's remembering old history all the time. And he's remembering his sister who was 19 and committed suicide, even though she had a husband and two sons. His sister who he loved. His sister who I know nothing about because all my life she has been a tabboo subject, and I haven't been allowed to learn a thing about her. His sister, the source of pain for so many people for so long. His sister who died of mental illness.

Three days ago, I went to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Florida Conference in Sarasota, FL. To get there, I had to drive over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. The significance of this eluded me as I focused on studying for my final exam for Spanish class, and visiting my grandfather, and getting to work, and finding someone to feed my cats while I was at the conference. Then I was there. It was the first time I had driven across that bridge since 2005, when I tried to drive off of that bridge into the water. The bridge is 150 feet high. It is a landmark for suicides here. People commit suicide by jumping off all the time. My novel idea of driving off came only after years of contemplating jumping off, and never doing it because of my fear it wouldn't work. When I was hearing the voices telling me to drive off the bridge, they were screaming at me through the car radio, and I was seeing the messages on billboards, and I was hearing the messages everywhere I went. "Die, Anne," they would say, because I was Anne Frank, and I was meant to die. I was supposed to drive right off that bridge.

I took my mother's car, and I drove to the top of the bridge, sped up to top speed, and veered the steering wheel sharply to the right in an effort to force the car over the guardrail. The police later told my mom that the car had flipped three times, according to eyewitnesses. I survived with my soul intact.

Thursday, this past week, I drove over that bridge. "I can't do this" I thought. "What if the voices start up again?" I told myself, "BREATHE". "JUST BREATHE". I said outloud, "My name is Jennifer. I am driving a Toyota Camry. I am driving over the Skyway Bridge. It is December 6, 2012. I can do this. I am going to be fine. I am here and my right foot is on the gas peddle, and my left foot is on the floor of the car. My hands are gripping the steering wheel. I feel them. I am driving this car."

And I made it.

When I got to the other side of the bridge, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. It was like having run a marathon. I was shaky, but I knew it would be alright now. I had done it. I still thought about it a lot for the next three days. I talked about it. I told people at the conference. "I just drove over the Skyway Bridge for the first time since I attempted suicide there seven years ago". I needed to tell someone. Somebody asked me, "Why didn't you ask one of us to ride with you?" I didn't think of it, I said. Because I hadn't.

I thought about Dick from our NAMI affiliate, and how whenever I talk with him to a group of people, such as the police during Crisis Intervention Team training, he likes to make sure I get the story of the Skyway Bridge in there, because he always says how the audience's jaws drop, and they are shocked to hear it. It helps them to understand it is real. I thought about how Dick's wife Nancy was dying of cancer and how I would like to tell them both, "Guess what??!! I drove over the Skyway Bridge again!!"

The next night I got the email. Nancy passed away. I never got the chance to tell her. Nancy was a one in a million heroine. Someone who, when her family member had a mental illness, she stepped up to the plate and said, "No, I will not be silent. No, I will not be ignorant. No, I will not put on deaf ears. No, I will not be told it is a tabboo subject. Yes, I will talk about it." Nancy and Dick answered the helpline for NAMI Pinellas every single day for most of the past 15 years. Even during her cancer treatment and her difficulties, even during that, they didn't want to give up the helpline. They liked to talk to other family members, and to consumers, and give them advice, and listen to them. They are amazing people. Not everyone can do what Dick and Nancy did. Not everyone has NAMI to go to. My grandfather didn't. He lived in rural Texas, and he wasn't college educated, nor was his family. They didn't know about psychiatry, and they didn't know about NAMI in the 1940's because NAMI didn't exist then. So they did what they thought was best. They stopped talking about Fern. It was too painful. It was better left unsaid.

But I am Fern. 70 years after her death, I still live with serious mental illness. Unlike her, I am not dead. Not for lack of trying, but only for bueno suerte (good luck). (I got an A on my Spanish exam, I think.) I am unlike Fern, because I know how to get help. I didn't know how in 2007 because I thought all psychiatrists were part of the New World Order/ Illuminati conspiracy to kill people like me and to make us give birth to unwanted babies. But I do know how to get help now. I do have access to medications. There are medications availasble to help me. Fern, she might have been told that only a labotomy would work, if she had even had access to medical care, which she did not have. She was dirt poor in rural Texas in the 1940's and where did she have to turn to? Who could she talk to? Who would have told her "these are symptoms of a disease in your brain"?

I can only hope to honor her memory now by keeping it alive here, and never letting her be forgotten. I wrote a poem about her once, years ago. I can't  remember anything but the first couple lines, "Her name was Fern/ she grew amongst the wild tumbleweeds of Texas".  My hope is that 70 years from now, we will no longer have to be silent about our close escapes. We will be able to look at our family members and say "I tried to kill myself too, several times and it almost worked. I did it because I have a serious mental illness just like a lot of other people in this family". My hope is that it won't take 70 years for us to get to that point.

Monday, December 03, 2012

devastating loss

I went to my therapy appointment today, and my case manager who I have worked with (or who has worked with me), for seven years, was there. She wanted to tell me something.

She's leaving.

My case manager at the mental health center has been my staunch advocate and has stood by my side through everything I've ever gone through in the past seven years - which has been a lot of things - and has never let me down. She has stood up to people for me when I couldn't do it well enough on my own, she has gotten me doctors' appointments and gotten the pharmacy on the phone, and gone to visit the social security office with me and called my landlord when I couldn't pay my rent. She has picked up trash in my apartment and carried bags of it to the dumpster, which is NOT in her job description. She has told me so many good things about myself, things that I never would have thought up on my own. She has introduced me to people as her "amazing client" who "does everything", and told my doctor and therapist when I got A's for exams or final grades. I would walk in for an appointment and here this, "Oh I hear you got another A", and I would know she had been there. She has been a listening ear to more stories than I can count about my life and problems and things that have gone on. She has given me good, solid, logical, trustworthy advice.

She has been like a mother figure and a friend figure and everything you could want from an advocate. She has laughed with me, and cheered me on, and patted me on the back, and encouraged me and uplifted me so often. I could never thank her enough for everything she has done for me.

But the time has come for her to move on, I guess. This happens frequently at the mental health center. It happens with nearly every doctor I get there, with the nurse who used to give me injections, with many people, and they move on and you never see them again.

Somehow I didn't think this would happen with my case manager. Somehow I thought she would have to close my case, because she always said for years she was going to have to close my case, but that she would still be there, and I thought I would be able to call her or pop into her office or something and see her again. I guess that is not to be.

She is leaving in a couple weeks.

I just saw her on Wednesday, but she wasn't telling any clients about this yet then. She said I was the first one she told about it.

It will be a real loss losing this case manager. I have another case worker now, my recovery specialist who visits me from the landlord agency *(which is not the same as the mental health agency I go to for treatment). But that is not the same thing as someone you've known for seven years. I met my case manager who's leaving when I was in the hospital in 2005, right after I almost shot myself in the head. I had been psychotic, floridly so, for seven years. I was just realizing I was sick.

She helped pull me out of the woods and save my life.

I will be forever thankful to her for that.

It was hard in May when my psychiatrist left. I got worse, and I didn't think I could stand to have yet another new doctor. But I stayed at the mental health center for the fact that my case manager works there. That was the reason I stayed. Because she's there, and because my therapist works there part time. But for no other reason did I want to be there anymore after my doctor left. And now, with the case manager leaving, I have to think, maybe it's time for me to move on from the mental health center myself. I don't know. It's just not the same there anymore. I have my therapist, but we have only worked together this year, because the one I had before her for four years wasn't allowed to remain being my therapist after Medicare wouldn't pay for her anymore. And that was one issue. My therapist I have now is great, but she only works 1 1/2 days there a week. So it is not as if it is always easy to reach her. I'm not sure what to do.

I feel very alone right now.

Funny, one of the things I was talking to my therapist about today was feeling alone after my New Zealander broke up with me and decided he only wanted to be friends. She said how she had read an article about how loneliness and being alone get mistaken for the same thing, but really being alone is a good thing, because it teaches you to take care of yourself, and if you add one more "L" to "ALONE" it says, "all one". I liked that concept. But I've also spent the huge majority of life alone. So I should definitely be all one by now.

I'm really going to miss my case manager. I talk to her every week, and I don't know how you go from talking to someone every week for seven years to never talking to them again at all.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

doing ten million things at once

I'm really tired, but there are things on my mind, and I know I need to write, so I am just going to write about what went on this week. Let's see, in the past week I got broken up with by my so-called boyfriend, or was that earlier? I don't remember. I mean he was my boyfriend to me, but not really to him, apparently, evidently, even though he was the one who asked me if he could call me his girlfriend. It's all so mature sounding, isn't it? And anyway, so I got broken up with, and I cried, and I groveled, and I lacked sleep for days because my brain was a wreck. And then I hallucinated and heard voices again, which was great, but during this time, also,
-on Monday, I went to work and worked 5 hours, and in the morning before work I met with my case manager/recovery specialist

-on Tuesday I went to work, worked 4 hours, and then went to school, for a few hours, and class, and showed a video of myself and my group partner speaking Spanish, and interviewing my boss who is from Panama in Spanish, and then I did something, something, but I don't remember what, studied or something,, I definitely didn't study....I don't know what I did

-On Wednesday, I went to work, and then left early, then went to the mental health agency that owns my apartment building and spoke on a panel before an audience of about 20 staff members about being a client with a mental illness and how they can help us (the other panel members were NAMI friends), and then I met with my NAMI cohorts at the community college I used to go to where we're going to be running the peer recovery group for students next semester that we've been trying to get going, and we had a meeting, but no one showed up so we strategized, and then we went out to eat

-on Thursday, I went to school, my group had to present a legal case but I had done research to avoid being one of the people presenting the case in front of the judges (who were actual attorneys), and we were all nervous and I got in an argument with one of the girls because she slacked off and didn't contribute in the group project at all and the rest of us will be graded on her lack of efforts, and that ticks me off, but I shouldn't have done that, I mean, argued with her on emails, because that wasn't nice, and so I went to that class, and then I went to my other class, and then I went to the community mental health center, and I got my Prozac (FINALLY RESOLVED) and I got my injection (WITHOUT A HASSLE EVEN THOUGH IT WAS A DAY EARLY) and I talked to my case manager (who I adore), and then I went to the Client Advisory Board meeting upstairs.

-On Friday I worked, and then I went to a meeting at the college where I used to be a student and where I am now an employee, and I spoke with someone from the disabilities services office there and the executive director of our NAMI affiliate about the NAMI on Campus group we're trying to start and how we're going to get the word out about it and get people involved and interest them in it without scaring them away and how wouldn't it be great if I could go and talk to them in person myself because obviously I have a tremendous amount of t ime on my hands so, of course, I volunteered to do that.....and then because my cell phone which was about 10 years old, had completely broken IN HALF the night before (an old flip phone), and I had no phone I went in search of a phone (which is hard to do without a phone), and I got a used phone from my stepmother/dad's wife, and I got it turned on and then I went and typed up the report I needed to turn in for the meeting on Saturday of the Florida National Organization for Women where I'm on the board of directors

-On Saturday (today), I woke up at 3:30 AM because I set the alarm clock wrong and thought it was actually 5:30 when really it was 3:30, and I got all ready to go and then realized I had two more hours I could sleep so I set the alarm again and went back to bed, and got up again at 5:30 and drove to Land O'Lakes, which is a town far away, and met up with some other NOW feminists and rode the rest of the way to Orlando for the meeting with them in one of their cars. And then I spent the entire day at the meeting, and afterwards, my sister, who was acting odd because she has untreated mental illness herself and who never really wants to ever spend time with me but suddenly did wanted to go shopping, I went shopping with her, so then I came home and watched a recorded episode of Grey's Anatomy and browsed Facebook....

-And in the middle of all this I've emailed and texted, and actually called the New Zealander a whole bunch of times, but we can't seem to work out any time with the 18 hour time difference when we can chat online because I can't stay up till 1:30 AM most of the time since, at some point, I try to sleep.

So that is what I have been doing.

I must say for a person who others may view as an overweight, lazy, underachieving slacker, I do keep pretty busy. My case manager at the mental health center is always telling people there, "This is Jennifer, and she is the busiest woman I know." That's how she introduces me to people. She has known me for almost eight years. She knows a lot about me. A lot, a lot, a lot. So for all the people who might, for whatever dump people's reasons assume that I'm just a lazy, overweight, underachieving slacker, there is also someone like her, and I need those people in my life so I truly value them.

Oh and I didn't even talk to you about picking up my brother, which I also did on Friday, picked up my brother who has a backpack with some clothes, and dropped him off at a dumpy motel he wanted to go to because he wants to throw his life away, and because he has no hope. And I just dropped him off there and I did not give him money because if I did he would spend it on alcohol, and I can't afford to give him money anyway. I just dropped him off and left him there. Alone. To wait for his enabling girlfriend to arrive. So that is another stressor in my life. My brother is drinking himself to death once again, didn't take long for that to start back up.

And I also didn't mention that, in this time, my mom called me 30090 times to tell me what a horrible person I am because she is sick with some stomach illness and it is everybody else's fault and she wants me, as usual, to fix all her problems, and one night we went out to dinner - she and my sister and me (I guess it was Monday night), and she said to me some weird thing about remembering how abusive she was when I was a child, and I said, as usual, "yeah, you say this every so often, just forget it, it doesn't matter anymore, what do you really want me to say anyway?" And it was all the usual awkwardness with my emotionally abusive, passive aggressive mother lately, with her hanging up on me on the phone every day and then bitching about how I don't talk to her enough, and all the usual nonsense because she is SO INCREDIBLY BORDERLINE AND UNDIAGNOSED.

And there is that.

And that about sums up how my week has been.

Next week is my final exam for Spanish, and the week after that is my final for my law class. The day after tomorrow my grandfather comes down from Maryland for his first visit to Florida in 15 years. And then next weekend I go to the NAMI Florida conference they're sending me to for free, and then I come back early to see my grandfather, and then school will soon be over and hopefully I'll get A's and not B's but more likely I'll get one A and one B and that won't be too great, but it will have to be enough and in between all of those I hope to talk to my New Zealand friend again, even though he has decided to be nothing but my friend, because I am lonely.

I'm tired now so I guess that will wrap up this little post.