November 26, 2015

Daily prompt - I have confidence in me

(In which I contemplate how bad I am at my job)

The prompt is
Are you good at what you do?  What would you like to be better at?
I'm a "software developer" which sounds to me like a pompous sort of job description.  When people ask what I do for a living I tell them I'm a "programmer".  Perhaps that's a bit outdated, but at least it's one word.

November 25, 2015

Second sleep

(In which I wonder about blue light and its effect on my sleep)

Chasing Phillip around bounce houses for 80 minutes this afternoon utterly exhausted me.  Came home and drifted off for thirty minutes.  Made it past his bedtime and fell asleep again at 8:30.  Awake at 11:30 and now I'm in the recently familiar conundrum... I've had 3-4 hours of sleep but still need to go back to bed.  I'm not tired so that may be tough.

November 23, 2015

My manic lamp

(In which I reflect on mania)

This is my version of a magic lamp.  My manic lamp.

I've had one long lasting mania with euphoria, grandiosity, distractibility, sleeplessness, and heightened activity.  It was immediately after Jacob.  That's the one I ended up hospitalized for and getting my diagnosis.

November 20, 2015

Daily Prompt - It builds character

Wasn't sure what to write today so went here to get an idea of something to write.  The topic for today is: "Tell us about a favorite character from film, theater, or literature, with whom you’d like to have a heart-to-heart. What would you talk about?"  Going to bend the rules here.  I am almost done reading An Unquiet Mind and although Kay Jamison is not a character but a real person, I'd love a heart-to-heart with her.
She is co-author of the standard text on bipolar, has tons of clinical experience, and has bipolar herself.  She has experienced so much and sounds like a fascinating person to talk to.  How awesome would it be to have her do a full case history of me?  I bet she'd have some real insights about therapy and possible ways to change my medication. 

Image credit wikimedia

November 19, 2015

Ants as symbols of productivity and little sleep

(In which insect infestation makes me thoughtful)

Coming into work today (walking into the home office room) there were ants at my office desk, behind my keyboard.  I don't really eat in front of the computer, so I'm not sure what was attracting them.  I had seen one or two before, but now there was an entire trail.

Kevin Hines

(In which I get blown away)

I recently went to see Kevin Hines in person.  An article here gives a good summary of his story.  Disclaimer: His story is very emotional.  Read the article and this blog post with caution as it deals with suicide.

November 17, 2015

31 days of bipolar meme

This is the 31 day bipolar meme created by theblahpolar It's a long post...

1. What flavor of bipolar are you? What does your diagnosis mean to you?
Bipolar I.  As I understand it's supposed to mean I have full blown manic episodes (as opposed to hypomania) and that I may have several.  Which means I might stay less time in bipolar depression.  Since I have had only one full blown manic episode after my first son was born, I tend to doubt the diagnosis a bit.  Even though just one manic episode is enough to "qualify" you for bipolar I.  I spend most of my time in depression.  If it weren't for paying the price of mania (plummeting to a long lasting depression), I sometimes think I wouldn't mind some more up times.

November 16, 2015

Telling off my counselor

So I couldn't take it today. It has been a long time since I saw my counselor.  Given recent difficulties I had made an appointment.  As silly as it sounds, it was because I did not make my next appointment back in April. Without that future appointment, I just don't call back.

I was supposed to show up at 9:00 AM.  Twenty minutes later and I'm still in the waiting room.  I told the receptionist it was ridiculous and I was out of there.  He called immediately later to apologize and the call went really well.  I had been letting it build up for some time.  Our appointments typically started at fifteen after.

November 15, 2015

Work merger

So wow, this Friday there was a company webinar revealing that after 13 years the company I work for is merging with a much larger company.  I have one week to decide if I want to continue my job with that company.  I was so stressed out I could barely make it through the day.  I walked away from work at like 3:30.

The things I am grateful for
  1. I still have my job!
  2. I don't have to move to another city where there is an office.  I still get to telecommute.
  3. My salary did not change.
  4. I did not lose vacation days, I actually gained vacation days.

The big unknown is health insurance.  Phillip (my four year old with autism) goes to therapy four times a week for almost five hours a week.  It's not clear if we will have to reduce his therapy.  Also my drugs are not exactly cheap.  They are luckily all generic at this point, but I don't know what the expense will be there either.

I really don't have much of a choice.  I've got to continue working for the new company.  In this town there's no way I could make the same salary as I do now.  We would have to move which is just way too much stress.  Service for Phillip are decent, I don't want to remove Jacob from his school, and our families are here.

Ultimately it's a huge unknown now on the horizon.  Does it mean may more job security and a company insulated from turns in the economy?  Probably.  But we'll see what it's actually going to be like!

November 11, 2015

Use of images

Wow so I'm only a few posts in and I'm glad I checked on how to use images.  I found this blog post concerning fair use where an author got into legal hot water for using an image that was not hers.

My header used to have the image of the flying phonograph from Neutral Milk Hotel, but I am definitely removing it pronto!

November 10, 2015

New light box

I broke down and got a light box as the time change seems to be influencing me somewhat as far as energy levels and concentration.  I wasn't sure which model to get but asked on a CrazyTalk forum and someone recommended the Verilux 10,000 so it's now sitting to the side of my computer.  It's a bit pricey but I wasn't confident about some of the cheaper models.

So far it seems to be making a slight difference but it's only day four.  I've worked up to about 45 minutes.  It isn't triggering any mania.  I think it is helping a little with my energy level.  Yesterday I tried to take a lunch nap and was just unable to fall asleep.  I had done it out of habit and not really from a low energy level (bed does feel nice after all).  It doesn't seem to be helping with me being so prone to distraction and having trouble concentrating.  I see that as a symptom of depression and anxiety right now.

November 6, 2015

Work, distractibility, and mood fluctuations

The last eleven days at work have been extremely difficult for two reasons.

First and foremost, my moods seem all over the place.  Honestly I can’t tell what I’m feeling half the time.  In the morning my mood is high and I’m extremely distractible.  So it’s very difficult to stay focused and concentrate on work.  At some point in the afternoon my outlook and energy plummet.  This may be related to me taking 30 minute “lunch naps” which are almost always a bad idea.  Toward the end of the day I usually panic as I’m certain I didn’t get enough done that day.  Finally, by evening I feel restless, hopeless, irritable, and agitated.  Nothing seems to help this.  I end up leaving the house to go to Target to buy odds and ends we don’t desperately need.  Scratch off lottery tickets are usually a purchase.  I’m worried I’m replacing the attempt to self-medicate with alcohol with the compulsion to gamble.

Second, I think my supervisor’s opinion of me might be slipping because of another much more ambitious worker who is on our team.  He is knowledgeable in areas I’m not, assertive with other co-workers, and organized.  I find his attitude abrasive.  As usual with someone who I perceive as aggressive I do not assert myself.  I think this looks bad to my supervisor, like me deferring to my co-worker’s expertise and therefore not looking nearly as strong.  Of course, working from home, I have no idea how much of this is just in my head.  All this contributes greatly to my anxiety.  The anxiety in turn makes me restless, hopeless I’ll catch up.  All of my efforts and obligations just seem so stupid.  Feeling like I’m not measuring up also creates anxiety about my job security and how I will provide for my family if I got laid off.  I feel like I have “high salary handcuffs” in that we have a standard of living that requires my salary (if not more).  I’m trying to chunk away at our credit card debt and thus we live paycheck to paycheck.