Uncertainty

I’ve got a diagnosis confirmed by 3 separate doctors, however, what if they’re just confirming it because of how I describe everything?

 

Mental health diagnoses are just based on the words that come out of your mouth.  There are guided questions.  If you have an internet connection, you can diagnose yourself with anything.  With that information, you can get the drugs you think you need.

 

There’s no blood test, there’s no measurable symptoms.  Just “sometimes I feel sad.”  “Sometimes I’m unmotivated.”  “Sometimes I think dying would be fine with me because I could finally sleep.”

 

I quit grad school and went to a psychiatrist for anxiety and depression.  Benzos and SSRI’s were prescribed.  At the same time, I went to therapy for an eating disorder.  The ED was symptomatic of other things, but it felt alright to at least be poking one of my dragons with a toothpick.

 

Pharmaceutical drugs and recreational drugs were used over the next 10 months.  Both were steadily increased.  When I had a “bad reaction,” I was told I was bipolar and that my current meds needed to be stopped cold turkey.  Hallucinating on my bathroom floor for 2 weeks and then ending up in the hospital thinking my brain was bleeding was the result of that.  I was diagnosed as bipolar and told I needed some mind numbing medications.  I said fuck that and continued my life without sgarting a new medication.

 

6 months later, I ended up back in PA after a whirlwind adventure in Seattle.  I went to a doctor there because I didn’t think I could physically work without jumping in front of a bus.  Everything felt bad and the pressure was on to get back on my feet.  I again was diagnosed as bipolar, but I also knew the symptoms and knew I just wanted to be medicated.  A different medication regimen was started.  The meds made me tired.  I wasn’t motivated to get a job, but I was motivated to get out of the house I was living in because it was not a good environment for me.

 

That doctor stopped prescribing me medicine when I moved so I went through withdrawal of both medications.  During withdrawal, I scheduled an appointment with a new local doctor.  Third diagnosis with bipolar, but the symptoms of withdrawal can mimic a million things.

 

My meds make me feel dull and beige.  I can never trust what I’m feeling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How was Seattle?

Well. Well… where do I begin.

Last time I wrote in here I had just started my job in Seattle as a fledgling barista. I loved it. I hated it. I was a wage slave and the constant pressure and constant face time with customers drove me mad. I would wake up and zombie crawl to the bus stop, fighting off a panic attack while picking at my skin. My feet twitched as I sit on the bus, watching the disappearing Olympic peaks from the window seat.

Once I got to work-almost always with about 60 seconds to spare til I was late-I turned on my alter-ego cool Seattle chick that’s not internally melting. I don’t know how I did it. I think back and it is unreal. My hours were unpredictable, my weekends were split. The schedule would be posted only a few days in advance so I didn’t have much time to mentally prepare for the onslaught of training, 2 scones heated up please, bold or mild?, this one has some blueberry notes, it’s divine, mop up the floor from that lady that passed out on top of her latte, etc. I have some really cherished connections I made while hating every second of my existence. Maybe a stable person would have found this enjoyable.

The interactions with customers were usually short and sweet. I’d get compliments on my shirt or my glasses or my haircut. Thanks, I just got it at Goodwill. Thanks, I used to wear contacts but I like these. Oh thanks, I cut it myself. I’d be so tired after a shift, all I could do is eat popcorn and smoke a bowl. It’s cool, shit is legal there. And most times I didn’t even want to do that. I’d arrive home and try to keep up both me and B’s sanity on my shoulders.

Money was trickling in and hemorrhaging out. I rapidly cycled between things are great let’s stay in this land of opportunity and I’ll kill myself if I have to get out of bed again. This went on for months. B ended up in the hospital multiple times for likely stress-induced body failure. The medical bills are still assaulting his mailbox. I tried to get into some kind of therapy. I was breaking. I could feel it every moment. My mind was going to snap along the spidered cracks and would be irreparable.

We didn’t have a car so we walked our groceries between the store and the bus stop and home. We dropped a Pyrex casserole dish across the street from the apartment while trudging through the rain with double fisted double bagged paper grocery bags. We had come so far and were so close. The dish was shattered and broken and the people that scoffed at us leaving it there didn’t know the journey that resulted in that resounding crash.

We talked for weeks about leaving. About staying. About the future. About ourselves. We were fracturing every second but also keeping each other afloat. Christmas was brutal. I wanted to cry but couldn’t even feel the connection between my tear ducts and my lack of will to breathe.

The sprawling city was crawling with people and cafes and subcultures and boundless activity. My wallet was as empty as my continued survival. There was a good bye dinner filled with hugs and cards and “we’ll see you laters” and “come back soons.” I had a suitcase full of misconstrued potential and thrift store shoes.

The plane to Pittsburgh was encased in a crystal ball rolling down a mountain. Speckled grey airport walls interrupted the airborne anxiety. I had missed most of the Pennsylvania winter and we were greeted with the white fluffy stuff. I slept most of the ride back to B’s mom’s place. I hugged him good-bye and greeted my best friend with a wordless mixture of enthusiasm and defeat. There was a pit stop in the frigid tundra of winter-time central PA and the rest of the ride back to my mom’s house was cold and silent.

While at my mom’s, I spent time with friend groups I was an outsider to. I was a new commodity that interest waned in quickly. I stopped drinking after an incident which maybe I’ll discuss in detail later, but it left a negative association between me and that ethanol. So I became a glorified designated driver for people I barely knew. It wasn’t terrible, but I would have rather been covered in cats and curled up in a blanket at home in the basement.

There was constant pressure to get out of bed there. I was urged to get a job. To just get off my ass and do something. Stressed out brooding between Netflix marathons and Metroid sessions became my day to day style. Jobs weren’t appealing. I couldn’t even be a person let alone a person with responsibilities other than maybe brushing my teeth and making coffee to immediately undo the mundane robotic cleaning I barely had the energy to do.

The crushing derailment of my plan train to nowhere in particular baffled and consumed me. What I thought my life would be stemmed from the idea that I had potential. Potential to do what? Am I just a roller coaster on the peak of a drop? Am I a floating sphere of mass that can traverse galaxies on a whim? I never thought of what the potential was for, it was just drilled into my brain space that it was there. Being back in the house I lost my first tooth in… the place I spent countless hours becoming some counterfeit person… crumpled what shred of rationale I retained. I was trapped with a barrel on my chest and shackles on my feet. There was no place to go and nothing I could do about it but ride the wave to inevitable deterioration of everything I’d taken in as reality.

So somehow… I got a job. I got a car. I moved. I am working out and eating healthy. I write and meditate and sing and draw. I saw a doctor. I saw a glimmer of hope. I am in chemical limbo. I am artificially sane. For now.

Oh yeah, I moved.

I’ve been at Seattle Coffee Works for a little over a week now.  I’ve learned tons and also doubted my intelligence about a million times.  Multi-tasking is hard work!  My brain is a tool that I need to utilize better to be the best at my job, I think.  Currently, I feel like I’m floundering around and unsure of what I’m doing.  But in all honesty, I’m doing alright.  I’ve been a great student in the past, but I wasn’t ever a great learner.  I am fantastic at temporarily knowing how to do something and then letting it drift into the nothingness that I will refer to as my mind bog.  I went to school for what seems like forever but all I ever learned was how to cram as much into my brain as I possibly could and then I would soon forget it once I neuro-vomited onto a sheet of paper.   I was an academic student from 1993-2013 but I’m slowly realizing that there’s so much more to everything than the things I easily grasped but rarely truly understood in those 20 years.

Enthusiasm is great, but the actual desire to learn and make the world (and yourself) better and/or more understood is what’s important.  Memorizing what drinks we offer are called and remembering the notes about specific bean flavor profiles I read on a card is fine for an amateur, but that’s not what I’m aspiring to be.  I guess I’ve misconstrued my past passions for things-to-maybe-get-good-at-for-no-personally-good-reasons-and-then-eventually-abandon.   Being able to say “12 oz Americano” to a barista and actually knowing what the fuck that means doesn’t seem like that much of a leap, but you’d be surprised what that little gap in knowledge can accrue to when it is in every aspect of everything you think you know.

Whether it’s music, television shows, foods, beverages, hobbies, passions, moral standings, or anything else… I feel like I have never made a decision that was 100% my own.  Maybe this comes from a decrepit excuse for self-esteem.  Now that I’m 25 it’s really biting me in the ass.  I was thinking of what I wanted to be for Halloween this year.  Do I even like Halloween?  What am I into?  My mind is completely blank.  It’s like I’ve been spoon fed everything and now that I’m trying to be my own person I don’t know how.  I don’t want to just steal other people’s styles or musical tastes or moral compasses, but sometimes they’re really cool!  So the journey of self-discovery is life-long and I’m starting at square one but that’s ok.

That’s all for now.  🙂

Vagrant

Things are going well on paper I guess.  But I have the encroaching feeling that I want to just listen to Elliot Smith on a walkman somewhere on the side of a high way while I ponder whether or not I want to jump into the lanes but I decide against it at the last minute because… just because.    

Update shmupdate.

Where to begin?

 

First, I’m off my meds.  Yay I think.  Feeling more like myself although I did have a horrible period of derealization and withdrawal and suicidal existentialism.  Everything was meaningless.  Pain was eternal.  You know, the fun stuff.

I moved in with B’s family.  His dog, Zoey, is currently next to me and scaring herself with farts.  She is legitimately alarmed by her butt.  It’s pretty cute.  

We’re living in the attic.  So far it is constantly stressful.  Like holy-crap-how-is-this-real-life stressful.  I thought it’d be a nice respite to not have rent but I walked into a war zone.  

I am still reliably unstable.  So I’ve got that going for me.  My doctor diagnosed me as bipolar which is funny because my diagnosis changes every fucking time I go in.  Wants to put me on depakote but that’s silly.  I don’t want to be medicated any more, it doesn’t help.  It just makes me constantly on edge and doubting whether what I’m feeling is real or “just the meds.”  Not a really great place to be 24/7.  

Anyway, let’s see.  I don’t even feel like complaining about any of the crap that’s happened.  It’s just been way too fucking intense.  Way more intense than I was prepared for.  

Lots of life changes in a relatively short amount of time.  I pile it on myself pretty hard.  I find it almost impossible to relax.  Sleeping is difficult.  I head butted B in the face this morning when I jolted awake.   I thrash and am not well-rested.  I wake up jittery and anxious and have to distract myself and tire myself out all day in order to maybe, just maybe, get some shut eye 20 hours later.  

I vary between totally hopeful and optimistic for the future and then reality punches me in the teeth and reminds me that everything is precarious right now, and my gap in employment is only growing larger.   I wish I cared more, haha.  But my happiness doesn’t stem from money or career fulfillment.  That’s where the problem stems from I suppose.  I’ve tried to gain happiness.  It’s not something you can just achieve by completing levels and beating bosses.  If it were, I wouldn’t have this blog.  

I’ve got hopes and dreams but I’ve also got some deep pessimistic futility.  That’s probably redundant.  I suck at words.  It’s hard to put everything that’s been happening into text.  I’ve tried drawing and writing and singing and a slew of other activities.  None of it seems to completely release the tension.  I’m pretty wound up.  Turnt up.  TURN UP THE WHAT.  I don’t know.  

If I keep writing it will be easier to formulate a concise blurb about what is actually going on.  For now, I’m gonna end this.  OB LA DI.  OB LA DDAAAA.  Gonna go read some creepy stories and apply for 1043 more jobs.  

Note to self: start to take down the walls in interactions with others because the only person I’m hurting is myself when I lie and say I’m fine.  I’m not fine and that’s fine.  Sometimes things are ok.  Sometimes things are hopeless bullshit soaked in sewer gunk.  

::grinds teeth::

My feet are dirty.  My fingernails are jagged.  Stomach is rumbling uncomfortably.  It’s easy to get lost in the right now when I’m so used to forecasting years down the road and reliving every horrible second of memories I wish I could forget.  Gotta get that balance thing down.