A budding clinical psychologist with Bipolar I & OCD

At the end of the day I’m an angry old man who has been through the ringer with Lyme Disease, Bipolar Disorder, OCD and a LOT of associated anxiety. Right now I’m at the end of my rope with my life, and while I’m resting at the bottom I’m spending my time balancing rage over the poorly run organization I work for, depression, and my physical health. I’m going to make some changes, and I think some of the changes I’m planning on making would be beneficial for other people in similar boats. (Mine is periwinkle blue though and really hard to keep clean).

At work I’m the rock for the 4 women I take care of with intellectual disability. I chuckle to myself that I can play mom and advocate for them, but I’m terrified when I get a phone call or even get a car wash. I’ve had my car for 5-6 years now and never gotten it washed. How ridiculous is that to admit? And why? Pfft, I can do that CBT exercise where you work backwards to find out why it’s so scary and at the end realize, oh I don’t want to look stupid in front of people even if they’re strangers I’ll never see again, but beyond that, periodic exposure therapy hasn’t been that much help.

That being said, my first change is that I’m going to start cutting out sugars. I did some research on the effects of the body and mind and my three major goals are to reduce Lyme symptoms by feeding the bacteria with sugars, increase my concentration naturally, and have more energy. (Sleeping all day when you’re depressed is also really easy, but not very healthy) I don’t like taking 5 hour naps on my days off and feeling like I need to battle to stay awake every single day. It’ll be a slow process. Cut out pops, juices, desserts, drink more water, eat more lean meats and avocados, blah blah. It’ll also help me lose the weight I’ve been working on dropping with exercise 3 days a week. (That’s a healthy choice I’ve already made).

For the emotional component, I’ve started praying on the daily. I’m a Catholic but I don’t often get to church (Maybe if I had more energy I would). Seriously though that has little to do with the point of this paragraph. The prayer has given me some empowerment over things I can’t control. A little peace of mind and spiritual balance.

Got an autistic sister who you’re horrified for because she won’t express anything to you and has poor sleeping and hygiene habits and you can’t do anything about it? BOOM prayer for her. Obsessive fear (I’ve had this for years) that your house is going to burn down and everything you own destroyed forever? Pray to prevent it. Hey, I know prayer isn’t for everybody, but some sort of ‘spiritual’ balance could be helpful, even if it’s just a peaceful mindfulness that can be practiced. Throw out your positive vibrations into the world you hippies. Do what you have to do. On top of the praying I’d like to find some good guided meditations and practice relaxing my body and speedy thoughts. In the past I’ve done guided meditation and been talking in my head the whole time. It ruins it. When I was in intensive outpatient therapy I used to secretly look forward to guided meditation days, and tried SO hard to make it through the whole half hour long process without messing it all up by thinking.

Lastly, and this is more or less just for me, I’m at that point where I feel like I’m ready to leave my job. I’ve talked a lot in this blog about the injustice that happens there, and how I’m pretty much not interested in being involved in a place run like that anymore. I’ll try to stay in contact with the women so I can always support them to the best of my ability, but I also will never be able to afford an adult life on $12/hour and am shortening my life with the amount of time I spend upset on the daily. In fact my direct supervisor who is a hard working genuinely caring woman is quitting for the same reason after working there a much longer time, getting out of working with the population entirely, taking a HUGE paycut and going to be making what I make. That says a lot when you want to get out THAT bad. And I understand that 100%.

I’m making a change to work at a hospital or clinic I think, working on my updated resume now. When I have the degree in hand in a few months I’ll be qualified for a lot better jobs and would like the clinical environment experience behind me to nudge me in front of the next guy, even though I already have a a year and a half of experience in “the field” now. Psychology, by the way. And when I apply to grad school, I’ll have a year and a half of (unrelated) empirical research on mental health stigma (in particular, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), to take with me.

I know the rest of you out there on the sea of troubles are all coming out of different ports, but if I pass on my pirate knowledge and experience maybe it’ll help you battle the next sea monster. That’s always my #1 hope while in this blogging community. I mean that’s why we go to group therapy too, right? 


Humans of WordPress: Stories

When I was in elementary school we’d have silent reading time. Since everyone already knew I was an avid reader I one day decided to further impress them with my book repertoire and read the dictionary. In elementary school this was actually something people gossiped about in relation to how smart I was. Damn f’n right they were.  I was also a little turd sometimes.

Now speaking of books, I’m still an avid reader, which strengthens my writing I feel like, but there is one book I’m reading now that’s got me all tweaky while in the midst of my depression. And also envious (that’s the one of the 7 deadly sins I suffer from the most). I’ll explain.

Fiction books pull on my heartstrings as an emotional reader, especially if I’m in a manic, depressive, paranoid or obsessive state, but also are great tools for feeling good about myself having a legitimate hobby that I enjoy that double as an escape route that’s healthier than sleeping in my spare time. If you’re feeling low on yourself and need something to pull you out of it, pick something up to read. Even if it’s a magazine. Maybe you’ll like the whole line of the magazine’s you read, then maybe you’ll become knowledgeable about a subject, and hey, that’ll make you feel good too.

I don’t read much non-fiction honestly, not for any particular reason, but I received the book Humans of New York Stories from a friend for Christmas. I’m 3/4 of the way done now and really recommend it, especially for a community like ours (thoughtful bloggers) because it showcases pretty much the everyday person on the street – in this case, New York (which is the whole point of it). I guess it’s also a blog (I had heard of it but never had any interest in reading it). I still haven’t searched the blog.

The stories are not these hugely long. It’s like a big book of photojournalism that showcases snippets. Sometimes the stories are a page long and sometimes they’re a single sentence quote. Great for when you want to read but are in that zone where your thoughts are moving a million miles a minute.

In fact, it reminds me of a large book of writing prompts. “Hey, here’s an excerpt from a character that’s beginning or end to the story isn’t included and leaves you feeling a little uneasy or longing for more”. I thought that was a great way to write this book, but (ENVY) I could have done that! I want people to appreciate MY work! I didn’t go to school for creative writing or journalism and so I can’t even comfortably say I’m a ‘writer’ or have anyone take me seriously as a ‘blogger’ because I don’t have a couple million person fan-base. F YOU AUTHOR!

Since I’m not 100% selfish when it comes to people sharing the same hobby as I have (writing) I do like that it makes me feel a new appreciation for every single person in the world. Everyone has a story worth knowing. It makes me feel grateful for the people who do read this blog, the people who have stuck with me I’ve never met on WP and the people maybe one day I’ll meet, whose stories I appreciate too. Even on a small scale, we may not have mass followings, but our stories are heard.

The photos as a collection are really strong even though as stand alone photos without the additional text snippet wouldn’t be very intriguing. But it’s raw and real and I wonder to myself while reading how the author asked people to pose, or if he asked them to pose, or how he asked them to take the picture for each picture, or if he asked at all in some cases.

So in the spirit of the stories of humans, I’m going to pluck some excerpts from blogs I read, and link you to their authors. Maybe I’ll do this again sometime. Maybe I’ll pick all different blogs every time. Maybe I’ll never do it again, maybe a month from now I’ll cringe because I felt like this post was cheesy and I’m a different person, but today I’m doing it.


“I feel the winds of destiny blowing gently on my face and I believe when you know you’re calling, you have a responsibility to fulfill it. Your steps toward that place depend not only on your own life, but the lives of those who you will touch along the way. In that altruistic way, I can look forward to my future with great love and excitement, knowing I’ll be making necessary changes in the world for the better.

But today, I’ll start with myself.” monochromejunkie.com

“I don’t think those without mental illness truly understand. How could they, after all? No person with a chemically balanced brain wakes up in the morning and wants, with all their heart, nothing more than to die. For absolutely no reason at all. They couldn’t possibly fathom what it feels like to not know who you will be the following day. What it’s like to not sleep, and instead, lay awake and think of every little thing that is wrong. I really don’t believe that people without mental illness could get it. After all, I don’t have the slightest idea what it is to be normal. To not be ruled by my rapid and extreme emotions. To live a functional life, even. So how could they possibly understand me, when I could never understand them?” https://zedmondson.wordpress.com

“As I received no definitive instructions, I didn’t know exactly what God called me to do, but I chose to identify with mystic saints and believed that God called me to seminary training.” http://kittomalley.com/

“That is one of the major problems with the chronically ill, especially with people like me who are mostly house bound, we become extremely lonely.  Ah…but that could be a whole other post.” http://picnicwithants.com/

“My Agoraphobia has reached an all time high.” https://larainstitches.wordpress.com

“I’m kind of having a really bad day.” http://despairtodeliverance.com/