Texas: Part 1

The decision was made without my input.  My husband and my parents and perhaps his parents made the call that I was to go back and live with my parents where I could receive 24/7 care for what I was dealing with.  I felt betrayed by my husband and was scared what it would mean to live with my parents again at 32 years old.  I was going home again and I didn’t like it.

My dad flew into New Orleans so he could drive my car back with me in it.  We stopped off in Austin to stay with my brother for a night because it takes 17 hours to drive between where I was coming to where I was going.  I was still rail thin and remember the meal that my brother made us for dinner that night: grilled brauts with grilled cabbage.  It was good and it felt weird to eat an actual meal.  I remember taking my medication and looking at my brother and he was shocked in how my eyes looked after I had taken my meds.  I guess my eyes dilated or something when I took my anxiety medication.  I don’t know.  I was treated with kid gloves.

My dad and I got up the next morning and packed up and made our way up to the Texas panhandle.  It’s really flat there and there are no trees. You can see a thunderstorm rolling in from miles away.  Sometimes I miss being able to see the weather roll in like that.  In New Orleans, there are too many trees and houses to really see anything roll in before it hits you.  But, I digress…

I arrived back home to my mom who was so worried about me.  Of course she was.  She had come to stay with me a few times leading up to my final return to Texas.  It turned into a fight between my husband and her as to who knew better how to take care of me.  I still don’t know who won that argument.  Me?

I slept a lot when I first arrived.  I didn’t have much to contribute to what was going on in the household and my mom let me be.  I appreciated that.  I was in no place to worry about laundry and dishes and chores and all that I was supposed to be doing as a resident of that household.  She just let me sleep.

I fished out my old library card and started going to the library weekly checking out a handful of books that I could escape into.  I picked out books that I didn’t know anything about and books that I loved and books that I had been meaning to read.  That’s actually where I found the name of my blog.  I read the “Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver.  She has a line in her book about the river being a “slippery crocodile dream” and I just changed it to alligator because I live in New Orleans and that is  what we have here.  That book was a brilliant read for me and I would recommend it to anyone.

So, I spent my time sleeping and reading.  My mom tried to get me to go to the grocery store with her and I couldn’t even manage to do that because I was so overwhelmed by the outside world.  I reconnected with a few old friends, one of which flaked out on me, but that is another story entirely.  I had one constant friend who I still have to this day and is one of my biggest cheerleaders.  I love him immensely.

I was still reading into the cars and the radio.  I found a new psychiatrist and a therapist.  I would go see him I don’t remember how often but I would see my therapist weekly.  I liked my therapist alright, I just didn’t like my psychiatrist.  He would maybe take 10 minutes with me and he always had med students in our appointments with him.  I get that I was going to a teaching hospital but I wasn’t of sound mind enough to be able to handle their presence.  If I had been, I would have asked them to not be in our appointment, but I just endured the time I had with him so I could get my medication.

My husband and I were pretty estranged at that time because of me cheating on him and him trying to wrap his head around what was going to be the new normal.  We still spoke daily but it was short and tense.  I know he wanted me to get better but wasn’t seeing results and that frustrated him.  I don’t really know to this day what he went through during that time.  He tried to stay in touch with our friends in New Orleans but they eventually dropped him/us.  It’s funny how those things tend to happen.  Major crisis and the rats go running away…

So, Texas was proving a slow process.  I was just barely functioning and going through the motions of existing.  I took walks, read books, and slept.  Not much progress was going on during the first month and a half that I was there.  I was still paranoid and emaciated.  My mom was cooking for me and made me eat avocados every night.  Not that I complained about that, because avocados.  But, things were slow moving.  My parents were doing their best to hold their tongues and just let me be.  I think that is one of the biggest gifts they have ever given me.

More Texas soon…

Did You Know I Could Be…

I have a good rapport with my psychiatrist.  I trust him completely and I feel like he lets me be in the driver’s seat of my journey with Bipolar Disorder.  I have been seeing him since I returned from my sabbatical in Texas.  He is very knowledgeable and calm and all the things you want your psychiatrist to be.  He spends about 30 minutes with me each appointment, which is not what I had experienced previously with my other doctors.  He really talks to me and jokes with me and I am really lucky to have found someone so very much in my corner.

That being said, I have lately been feeling like I want a little mania in my life.  Irresponsible thoughts really.  I take medication to balance me out, but I have yet to find my true happy self since this has happened.  I always have that depression lurking in the background and it makes me sad to think that I will never be the spontaneous girl who moved to New Orleans on a whim and a dream.  But, I want to change that.  It is just going to take a lot on my part to find that joy from within.

My medication consists of one pill to control the mania and one pill to control the depression.  That equals a well adjusted individual.  I don’t feel as balanced as I should be because I still have anxiety.  I have another pill I take to quiet my nerves, which is a big help.  When I feel anxious, it makes me feel like I’m having my break all over again.  I probably shouldn’t rely on this magic pill for everything, but it’s what works and I’m sticking to it.  I don’t use it all the time, just when I am feeling anxious, which is about 2 -3 times every two weeks.  Not a whole lot of pills on that part.

Back to mania.  I think I want the mania because I want that uptick in energy and self confidence.  My self confidence is rock bottom right now which is making me kind of stall out in what I am supposed to be doing (i.e. finding a job).  Perhaps I am just making excuses, but I am so afraid of being fired from another job.  I have a pattern of this happening and I could try to go on disability, . but I’m not disabled and my doctor would never sign off on that anyway.

I try to put on my best face for my psychiatrist to show that I am functioning well.  I am always afraid he is going to prescribe another medication and I think I am numb enough.  Speaking of numb, it takes me a lot to laugh out loud and to cry.  He recently upped my depression med because I was crying at every little thing.  That is not the way to function so I am happy to have that edge taken off.  But, I want to laugh.  I want to be silly.  I want to dance around my kitchen singing silly songs with my husband.  That hasn’t happened in a long time.  It will come back, but I don’t know when.

I want to be manic but I don’t want to pay the price of being manic which means I would go back to the mental hospital.  Every time you have a mental break, it damages your brain and I don’t want to do any more damage than has already been done.

I guess being an adult means you have to create your own happiness.  Find things that bring you joy.  I’m just having a hard time because I have few real life friends and I like to hide behind my computer.  It’s easier that way and I can create the image that I put out into the world.  I’m not perfect, not in the least respect of that word.  I just want that high of being manic.  My doctor is not going to let that happen and I’m not going to stop taking my meds because the consequences are too great.  It would just be nice to feel good about myself, even for an afternoon.

I Don’t Blame New Orleans

My husband and I moved to New Orleans on a whim.  I had finished my master’s degree and was working at a symphony  but was not seeing any upward movement and he was working at the hospital.  We were in a good place financially and we both looked at each other and said, “Where do you want to go?”!  I said New Orleans and he agreed.  So we quit our jobs and moved.  No real plan.  Just moved.  It was crazy and romantic and everything I had hoped it would be.  He found a job quickly, it took me a bit longer to find something.  I didn’t realize that I was on the beginning of a psychological roller coaster that would lead to my ultimate demise.

We moved and it was hard.  He was working, I spent my time cleaning the house and thought I was the next best thing to June Cleaver.  Ha!  Then I found my job and we were thrown into opposite schedules and the downward spiral began.  We worked and worked and put an offer in on a house that we loved and the day we were to sign the closing papers, I lost my job.  Apparently I wasn’t cutting it.  I tried so hard at that job but I wasn’t quite getting what I was supposed to be doing because I had received 2 days training.  Big mistake on their part and big mistake on my part for not speaking up more about my training.  In hindsight, the mania was starting to creep it’s way in.

I lost my job and was left with being June Cleaver again, only it wasn’t so glamorous.  The house wasn’t as clean as when we had first moved down.  I was finding means to numb the situation and that was not good.  But, I kept looking for work and eventually found something part time that was really rewarding.  I worked there about a year before I quit because I couldn’t take it anymore. What couldn’t I take?  I couldn’t really answer that question to this day.  It was a good job and I did well working there.

I finally found a job that was honoring my educational ambitions and intellectual ambitions and I worked really hard at making that job stick.  I would stay up all night thinking of new ways to make things better and they were well received, but then I completely came unraveled.  I was going into a complete manic meltdown in front of my new co-workers and I didn’t even quite realize it at the time.  I knew something was wrong but I chalked it up to not sleeping.  They fired me after 6 weeks.

That was the turning point.  That was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  I lost my mind before I knew I had lost my mind.  The rest you can read in the archives.

Bottom line, I don’t blame New Orleans for everything that happened.  It is hard to live in this city with the prices of housing and the pay that doesn’t reflect that.  But, this is a city of rebirth and a fighting attitude.  If you can make it in New Orleans, you can make it anywhere.  I love this city and I have no plans of leaving it anytime soon.

I have been dealing with a bit of depression lately.  I don’t have a job right now and I’m trying to find the inspiration to find another one, but it’s not coming.  Eventually I’m going to have to take the first one that offers me a job, but until then I’m going to try to write all my comings and goings.  Writing helps center me and I have forgotten that.  Anyway, if you have read this, thank you.  I’m glad to have you check out my blog.  If you are an oldie but goodie survivor of this blog, thanks for sticking with me.  I’m trying to pull out of my funk.