Tag Archives: bipolar

Floating with The Fault in Our Unemployed Stars

Despite purchasing a Kindle last year for my trip to Thailand, I hadn’t gotten around to using it for much beyond travel guides until this recent period of unemployment. Between then and now I’ve downloaded a library of inconsistently-themed books on a whim, since books are much cheaper to impulse buy and excuse oneself for at the sake of becoming literate and literary.

Given I tend to shop to offset the feelings surrounding negative occurrences in my life, I downloaded a few more books at Amazon’s suggestion hoping that I’d get through all of them and be able to say I had accomplished reading more in a few weeks than I had in the last 30 years. Instead, for the most part, these books are just collecting pixel dust on virtual bookshelves.

In two weeks of unemployment I’ve forced myself through 50% of the historical fiction tale The Daughters of Mars which, in all of its historical accuracy about being an Australian army nurse in World War I, hasn’t quite aroused my speed reading chip. Another book I downloaded on a whim — The Fault in Our Stars — seemed like a wise trade in honor of the accomplishment of getting half way through the other book – a quick-read, tragic young adult novel where the main character — a 16 year old girl from Indiana — has stage IV lung cancer and spends the book living and dying simultaneously while being as normal a teenager one can be while living and dying respectively simultaneously. I figured I’d read the book before one day soon watching the movie on an airplane.

Continue reading Floating with The Fault in Our Unemployed Stars

On Being an Overly Sensitive Potentially Bipolar Person

At 11am, I glanced around looking for any possible way to escape – not the room – but my life. My heart was heavy with a twisted mixture of sadness and anxiety. By 3pm I had regained my composure. At 4 I felt empowered and free, like I was given a jolt of confidence in the form of a crown and I was ready to rule the world. By 6 I felt hopeless again, miserable, and unable to lift my spirits.

There is clearly something very wrong with my moods. I just often get so overwhelmed that every little thing effects me so strongly. It’s distracting and keeps me from being happy and/or productive at times, and I’d like to somehow change this about myself. But I honestly can’t. You know people say just stop being so paranoid or anxious, just stop thinking so much, just change the way you think about things and you’ll be fine. It’s not so easy. Continue reading On Being an Overly Sensitive Potentially Bipolar Person

Pretzels and Aging, and Money and Roller Coasters

If it seems like I’m posting an awfully lot lately about my fears of my adulthood simultaneously while being an adult, you’re quite astute. I am, it feels, either at a crossroads or the end of a formerly cyclical journey where I’ve gone through first-world chaos and landed back where I began.

At 17, I left home for college, not because I wanted to go to college, or knew what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I knew what I didn’t want to be. I knew I didn’t want to live in a house with parents screaming at each other night and day. But I also was well educated in the suffocation of stagnant suburban life. The long nights with crickets chirping. The circumference connecting one mall to another mall to another mall which stood for the area in which my life took place, sans occasional outings to the big city. Even New York felt small in comparison to the whole world, its looming skyscrapers twinkling into the night sky, and thousands of people dispersing from subway stations and walking every which direction, was just a speck of a world that was far from reach. Continue reading Pretzels and Aging, and Money and Roller Coasters

Desire for Chaos, Lust for Stability

Is the meaning of life chaos or consistency? I hunger for wealth, but why? Beyond this “wealth” seeming impossible to achieve, I lust for a life of guided spontaneity, for someone, or someones, to take me out of my comfort zone, to force me to live a life of some sort of excess; perhaps one of indecency, of sin and vice, of gluttony or lust, of jumping out of metaphorical airplanes and pulling the rip cord moments before slamming into the earth, the adrenaline rush of youthful risk, with everything to lose at a moment’s notice; instead of coming home to warm, cozy, love, security, and sleep.

It’s so easy to forget how awful it is to be alone, how awful it is to be amidst the chaos, how any longing to live a life of deep emotional turmoil, passionate kisses, hellos and goodbyes, is not what one should want, or does want, when presented that fate in the moment. I spent my entire life feeling so alone, and with him I’m home. I’m not traveling the world, I’m not out at the symphony, I’m not sharing a $100 bottle of Chianti in the Italian countryside, or over a gourmet dinner, or bringing home another woman to the bedroom, or seducing someone who I’ve longed to have, or having that seduction reversed, where I’m the prize, won in a fight of an intellectual bullfight where each glance is a flick of a red cape.

Yet I’ve never felt at home amongst artists, emotional yet pretentious, nor businessmen, competitive with a constant hunger to win, nor housewives, humble caretakers who find happiness in being someone else’s home. I feel at home with him. We have stillness. Our love is the clearest night when thousands of stars twinkle across the sky. It is the calmness of a puddle that forgot the downpour from which it came. And that is what I see in the future of my life: a glorious puddle. No more want, no more desire, no more longing. It’s all here, whether I make millions of dollars or get by on a salary of less than what I make now, I don’t understand how wealth helps matters any — with it I’d have an option not to work, but I could never not work, I don’t enjoy quiet time, I’d be terribly bored, I can’t live with stillness, I can’t even allow my mind to shut off to sleep; instead I stay awake and try to understand the future that this path is leading me on, try to comprehend my choices as another year has turned its final page to the next chapter.

What do other millennials do for fun? According to my Facebook, those who are the most successful tend to go to the bar or a club the second the weekend starts on Friday, and remain blissfully intoxicated until the weekend concludes. They take vacations to beaches or ski resorts where they waste hundreds of dollars on drinking in bars where they socialize; they wear bikinis and go to Las Vegas where they play Blackjack and lose or win, it doesn’t matter, and they have their friends over and pour cocktails and sangria or pass around a joint or eat mushrooms or snort cocaine or roll on ecstasy and despite illegalities these are all elements of life I’ve see that people my age do in order to lead a normal life. They go on dates, to concerts, and above all they are living their lives in a way that aligns with what all of society tells us that 20 and 30-somethings are supposed to be doing prior to marriage and officially settling down.

Is that what I really want? I’ve spent too many days traveling for work to conferences with some of the most impressive people in the world, out at parties, at the bars, and I feel terribly awkward in this situations, I wander around, alone, look in my purse to pass the time, check my phone, and I am alone, a voyeur of normality, yet it all seems so terribly odd to me; I am a ghost of an onlooker, and even thrown into the center of what I think I want I find it isn’t at all what I want.

Still, I watch my stocks, I invest, I hope to turn my $150k networth into something much much more so I can not worry so much. Or so I can buy a life. How much money do you need to buy a life? How much money do you need to buy friends? To buy experiences? To buy laughter and to buy feeling not so alone in real life, not on some social networking account where it’s easy to collect friends and fans and followers?

I think I am a capitalist. I live to want. I hate that about myself. My boyfriend is a hippie socialist who thinks desire is the root of all evil. I agree with him. He is sweet and I love him and I love everything we have together. I couldn’t bare to be with another capitalist, I’d hate them, I need a bleeding heart liberal to remind me of my values. I dated a man once who refused to give, now I date a man who would give everything if he could.

But this isn’t about who I’m dating exactly. It’s about finding a life for myself independent of my relationship. And finding time for it. And figuring out what that life is. Social lives, however depressing, are rather easy to define a purpose for when you’re single. Your life revolves around finding a partner. And when you do — then what? What does all the money in the world provide when you have someone and have no one to share it all with in occasional gluttonous excess?

Or do I really deep down still want someone to provide the financial stability, the social stability, someone who can help define my life instead of my being thrown a lump of wet clay to mold without another strong hand to reach in, grasping over mine, to guide our creation with a purpose, to mold life together, with passionate kisses, with trips around the world, sharing a bottle of red wine, a dance, a surprise, a cruise, something messy, sticky, imperfect, uncontrolled; I long for someone to make a life of art with me; or to find my own art, and find out how to make it, and to not feel so alone on this global canvas with each solitary yet substantial brushstroke.

Feeling Needed: More than money can buy

After yesterday’s monologue about my overwhelmingly successful yet somehow hopeless sentiment about life, I had to take a long public transit ride home from work since I can’t drive for a month. Even though it’s only six miles away, the train and bus times don’t line up at all for people traveling my direction, so I took a two minute train ride and had to wait an hour for a bus to take me three miles up a large hill. That gave me some time to think, and wander around a mini mall.

I decided to spend that hour in a CVS, because drugstores are oh-so exciting. Kind of like a museum of cheap things that define American culture. While in the store, I was wandering for a while and at one point this 40-something year old man came up to me and asked me a very weird question — what should he do about a spot on his head that was both dry and oily. Really weird question. I was immediately suspicious of his motives, first thinking he might be working fraud protection for the store and attempting to determine if my hour-long wandering around was actually me stealing a bunch of stuff (of course it wasn’t, I was just killing time I didn’t have to kill).

I tried to blow him off, saying “I don’t know,” but he was pretty set on getting an answer from me. Then I thought, I have this hour to kill anyway, can’t I help the guy out? He wasn’t hitting on me (or if he was he was doing a terrible job at it) and if he happened to be a store employee testing out my motives for lingering in the makeup department with a giant purse and backpack, then I might as well play along.

I told him that it sounds like he has combination skin, so he should probably get a moisturizer without oil in it. He was perplexed — “a moisturizer without oil, what do they use for moisture, water?” So I took him over to the aisle with the moisturizers and acne products, which he thought was in a “woman’s” section of the store. I showed him some anti-acne moisturizers that were oil free, then decided those wouldn’t be right for him since he was, apparently flaking. I found him another Aveeno moisturizer that I thought would be good, but it was $16, and he didn’t want to spend $16 on moisturizer. So I then identified a CVS-brand moisturizer that was labeled “for combination skin” and it was $9. “Here you go,” I said. “This is perfect for you.” He thanked me, and I walked away.  I have no idea if he actually bought that, or if he was just a nut job, or a security guard.

Either way, when I left the store, despite being mildly creeped out, I felt really good. After a long day of feeling hopeless, I, with my not-so-deep knowledge of moisturizers, might have helped a man solve his skin problem. How random is that? But I know I feel good when I feel helpful, and I feel depressed when I feel helpless. So I guess the question I need to solve is, how do I make myself feel less helpless and out of control and drowning on a daily basis? And can I afford the psychotherapy required to help me get to an answer to that question?

The Rocky Road of Life

There are moments in life when I’m not terribly depressed. Those are the moments that go by quickly, when time disappears, and I miss its passing. These are the days, weeks even, when I barely sleep, when I distract myself by watching too much TV, randomly browsing the internet, in my limited free time. But more and more life is just a run-on sentence of mild success and the ever-growing fear of failure.

Yesterday, the 22 year old co-founder of a social network called Diaspora was found dead, a victim of what was rumored to be suicide. The motives for this potential suicide weren’t broadcasted on the news, but plenty of people could guess it was due to a failed endeavor. So much hope for success, so much hype, and such a long way to fall. Continue reading The Rocky Road of Life

Why I Want to Be Rich / What Rich Means to Me

There is a growing discontent in this country about the difference in wealth between the super rich, and the rest of us. Forget semi-rich, middle class, and the poor. It’s them against the rest of us. I want to be one of them.

Unlike other personal finance bloggers that write about debt, I write about my middle class life and my dreams of wealth. It’s not like I’d buy Gucci underwear if I was a millionaire… I’d just love to have life free of financial burden. What is the dollar figure on that? $1M isn’t enough. $5M might be enough. $10M in networth would probably be the point where I would feel rich.

I’d spend some of it on myself, sure, but if I were rich…

  • I’d love to buy my friends exciting, meaningful presents. Like the time I bought my friend a dishwasher for her kitchen that she couldn’t afford.
  • To help friends out of debt, especially the ones who are in educational debt because they weren’t as fortunate as me.
  • I’d take my friends on vacation to some beautiful resort, and make memories worth more than the cost of the trip.
  • I’d donate to charities I believe in.
  • I’d start an anti-bullying organization
  • I’d invest in my art, I’d go to school for painting, I wouldn’t waste away my years in art school worried about what is going to happen after I graduate.
  • I’d have a family — maybe three kids — and I’d raise them in an upper middle class community. I wouldn’t spoil them, but they’d be able to have the same middle class luxuries that I grew up with — classes and clubs, occasional vacations, the ability to explore their passions.
  • I’d pay my parents back for my undergraduate tuition
  • I’d buy my parents a special trip to Europe that my dad could take given his poor medical condition, and difficultly walking
  • I’d buy a large vacation home where I could have my family members come yearly to see each other.
  • I’d start my own company (prob need more than $10M for that!)
  • I would probably end up giving most of it away when I die, but I’d make sure that I could give to the people who deserve it while I’m alive.

If I were rich, I wouldn’t want anyone to know. But I’d be less afraid of what the future holds. I wouldn’t ask myself whether I should have kids because of my bipolar disorder, afraid that I’d lose a job and not have enough money to keep a house or maintain a reasonable lifestyle. I’ve always dreamt of being wealthy. I feel like, in a way, I have many of the tools to get there. I clearly need to start my own company, to find the right ADD medication to help me focus, to find the right psychologist to get me out of my head for long enough to succeed.

Life is short. You can be happy on a $30k paycheck and you can be happy on a $1M paycheck. I want freedom. Financial freedom. Every year is another lottery ticket. Every year is another chance. But I’m running out of chances. Sure, I’m still young… gah, I’ll be 28 next month… it just feels like I need to find wealth before I turn 30, 31 or 32. That’s when I really have to start making a family, if I’m going to. That’s when I’ll want to be able to work part time and be in my children’s lives. That’s when I run out of this time called youth to win, and win big. If it wealth were so far out of reach, that would be one thing, but somehow I’ve managed to put myself on a path where it’s possible. There are still a lot of unknowns. Still a lot of needing to focus my mind to impress, fighting my anxiety to be known, believing in myself, letting go of guilt for privilege, and kicking some major ass.

I don’t even know this person I’ve become. Six years ago I was on the verge of suicide, applying for hundreds of thousands of jobs, unable to get even an entry level position. Then one opportunity after another made its way against the tide of possibility, and each failure opened up a new door with a brighter tunnel to walk through, and somehow I’ve gotten where I am today. Some of it I’ve faked, some of it I deserve, some of it is sheer luck. And any day I could fall. Living with bipolar (II), it feels like everyday I’m running on the edge of a cliff. It’s thrilling, it’s exhilarating the rush of defying gravity, and yet I know one of these days I will trip and fall yet again, and have to climb all the way back up. The trick is to never stop climbing, and better yet, to run fast enough that your feet barely touch the ground, to run so fast you’re practically flying and no one knows can figure out how to stop you, because the moment you look like you’re about to hurl yourself over that cliff, you’ve landed on an even bigger success, and even bigger improbability, and you just keep going.

 

 

Living in the Shadow of my Narcissistic Parents – Part 2

I’m not sure how many people actually read my blog these days, but if you’ve been following along you likely read my long rant yesterday about the dinner I had with my father, and how his narcissistic personality disorder tendencies gnaw at me every time I see him, or talk to him.

One commenter posed the question “are you sure he is the one who is a narcissist?” and I wanted to respond to that. Clearly, my post yesterday — and many of my posts — sound self absorbed and ungrateful. Shouldn’t I just be so thankful that my father (and mother) gave me lots of “stuff” in my life — clothes, nice furniture, a college education — beyond stuff, what does a girl really need?

How about love? I’d never argue that I had or have a hard life. I’m way more fortunate than a large percentage of people who live in this world. But I grew up in a love-less house. No one knew how to love themselves let alone anyone else. And, yes, I became a narcissist because it’s the only way to survive when both of your parents are narcissists. It’s a never-ending cycle. The only value I had to my parents was how my existence benefited them. And, as any kid, a big part of me wanted to make my parents happy. It was pretty clear that I couldn’t – that I’d never be the perfect kid they wanted – and I hated myself for it more and more as the years went by.

Continue reading Living in the Shadow of my Narcissistic Parents – Part 2

Riding the Manic Bull, This Bipolar Life

I didn’t sleep last night, even though I had planned with my life coach that I was going to sleep at 10pm and wake up early to exercise and have a productive, regimented day.

Instead I stayed up, played some online poker, sang, read news, got quite a bit of work done that I’ve put off to the last minute, and felt an overwhelming sensation of nervous energy keeping me awake. I must be in a hypomanic state now — as my mood is entirely different than it was months ago when I was most certainly depressed. Now I’m not exactly happy, but I have more confidence, which is helping me get through the days. My anxieties mixed with the confidence sometimes have ill side effects (ie irritability and sadness, though not depression) and generally speaking leave me frustrated. I guess when I’m hypomanic I feel like perfection is possible, and when things don’t work out I get upset. When I’m depressed, I feel like perfection — or anything close to it — is impossible, and I just want to disappear. Neither side of the swing is any good for me, really, but at least on this end I can be productive and somewhat social.

In any case, thank goodness it’s Friday. I need the weekend to get some sleep and screw my head back on straight.

Bipolar II — Handling the Swings, Finding the Balance

For years I wondered what was wrong with me… especially when I got so down in the dumps, as I’d be crying non stop and contemplating something between suicide and running away, and then a few days later, or weeks later, life would be wonderful, I’d have this sense of unstoppable calm, and so my life would go…

Only a few years ago did someone finally suggest that I might have Bipolar disorder. No, not Bipolar I, which means extreme mood swings all the way to mania when you’re off your rocker. No, this was Bipolar II, which included swings of depression and hypomania, but without the extreme mania.

For a while, I didn’t want to believe it. I’ve been diagnosed with just about every disorder in the book, so why would this one be right? Then — every time I felt myself on one end or the other of my mood spectrum, I had to accept it. This explained a heck of a lot. This explained how some months I excelled in my jobs and other months I couldn’t get myself out of bed, and I’d ultimately lose my job. Continue reading Bipolar II — Handling the Swings, Finding the Balance