Mental illness and me

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1998 after 3 hospitalizations for depression.  I have bipolar II (depression/hypomania).  I was on Social Security disability for 2 years until I was able to go back to work full-time in 2000.  I also have generalized anxiety disorder and panic attacks.  I take various prescribed medications for my conditions and also see a therapist.

I have been greatly helped by the organization National Alliance on Mental Illness (http://www.nami.org) which was founded by family members of those with mental illness.  They run support groups for family members and consumers (people with mental illness), sponsor a fundraiser called NAMIWalks, and have various educational forums and conferences, as well as telephone support.  Monday night I went to NAMI Connections for consumers, held at Advent UMC in Eagan, a nearby suburb. 

I am planning my post-3M life and NAMI will be a big part of that.  The support group’s next meeting is September 10, the first weekday after my resignation takes effect.  I plan to go to NAMIWalks as well; it is being held at Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis on September 22.  Although I remain anxious from time to time, my future is taking shape.  I plan to see my psychiatrist on September 21 and ask her about applying for disability again. 

 

State Fair Time

Note to my fafithful readers:  thanks for following this blog.  As you may know, I am leaving my job for health reasons and my last day is Sept. 7.  Because I’ll have more time on my hands as I heal, I’ll likely write more blog entries.

After an emotional week, it was fun to go to the Minnesota State Fair yesterday and not talk about our issues.  The State Fair is one of the largest in the county and many people go every year.  This was the third time in my life I have come.  It tends to be the same from year to year, except for a few new things, and that can be comforting.

I went with my parents, my sister, and her children.  My brother-in-law was in France for pleasure and couldn’t come.

We bought our tickets at Cub Foods (local grocery store) for $9 apiece.  Normally adults are $12 and seniors and children are $10.

We did the usual (Little Farm Hands, chocolate malts at the Dairy Building, a brief peek at butter sculptures, the Skyway, and looking at quilts).  For the first time we participated in the Giant Sing-Along, group karaoke, and that was a lot of fun.

The weather was very cool in the morning but soon got hotter.  We brought water with us and bought food there (fried potato chips on a stick, sub sandwiches, corn dogs).

 

Endings and beginnings

I gave notice at work yesterday.,  My last day will be Sept. 7.  It’s bittersweet.  I will miss my team and managers but not the craziness.  The managers took it well (I said I was leaving for personal reasons and to pursue other opportunities and that I would be happy to work with Adecco in the future).  They already have someone in mind to replace me, who already works at 3M.  So it’s a good ending.  One of my coworkers, who’s also an Adecco employee, and I are going to keep in touch via email at her request.

I don’t know what the future will bring and that is scary but I am trusting the gods, goddesses, and my ancestors whom I work with to help me through it.  I see a therapist next Friday and my doctor again on Sept. 21.  Last night I got the best night’s sleep I had in a while.  My parents are supportive and they and I have money.  I hope to go back to work, at least part-time, in a few months.  I may get voc rehab’s help.

I am planning to make this new chapter in my life as positive as possible.  Our town is having the One Book One Rosemount program and I plan to participate.  The book is Moon over Manifest.  I ordered it from the library.  Then I plan to check out a Unitarian church in Bloomington.  Unitarian churches are open to people of all faiths, or of none; for more information, see http://www.uua.org

I also may volunteer, when I can.

As a last resort, I would apply for Social Security disability.  I was on it for 2 years before.

A good thing–a guest blog post I wrote for the Loyalty Scheme Blog in the UK was published on Thursday.  It can be found at http://www.iamloyal.co.uk/blog/customer-service-drives-loyalty-to-your-website.  So now I have been published on both sides of the Atlantic.  My editors and I invite comments on the blog.  I plan to work soon on another guest blog, this one on education, for a LinkedIn connection, and have another guest blog assignment in September. 

No matter what, I intend to keep writing and getting published.

 

The aftermath

I’ve been dealing with a lot of emotional upheaval since my last post, in which I came out as a bisexual pagan.  I’m not sorry I came out, but I wasn’t prepared for all the controversy.  That combined with work stress landed me in urgent care Monday night with a panic attack.   I had to spend an additional day at home, recovering, and I’ve decided I need to give 2 weeks notice at 3M.  So I plan to do that Friday. 

In the next few months, I plan to get my anxiety and bipolar symptoms under control and look for another job.  I am getting back into counseling and have an appointment with my psychiatrist tomorrow.

I also plan to work more on my writing.  I would like to write in this blog more regularly as well as fulfill guest blog commitments I’ve made and get ready to query magazines.

 

 

Midlife transition

On September 29 I will be 45 years old.  I am in the midst of a midlife transition (I prefer that to “midlife crisis”) and have decided to get rid of things that don’t suit me anymore and to make some positive changes.  I am beginning to see that I am more spiritual than religious, much more liberal than conservative. 

I have been unhappy with my church so I decided to leave, and to chart my own spiritual path.  Currently I am following a combined path of 12-step spirituality, Asatru (Norse paganism), and Wicca.  I celebrated a sabbat (pagan holiday) for the first time in months.  This one was Lammas, the harvest of fruit and grain, and the end of summer.  I also wrote and celebrated a new moon ritual and a menstrual ritual.

Unfortunately not everyone in my life is accepting of me and my spirituality.  Today I unfriended someone I’d been friends with for 25 years because he cannot accept my spiritual path as equal to his own.  He said some offensive things to me yesterday on the phone and this morning on Facebook, so he’s gone from my life. 

I have decided to vote no on the marriage amendment in Minnesota because I a) believe that same-sex marriage should be equal to opposite-sex marriage; and b) am a bisexual.  I fully expect I will lose friends over this as well.

Today I took off work to get new glasses.  I’m almost ready for bifocals (egad) but not quite.  Maybe later.  I ordered some new glasses at Lenscrafters and they should be in within 2 weeks.

I also decided to investigate going back to school.  I seek writing jobs and may get a Bachelors in Journalism.  I am looking at the University of Minnesota’s program.

I also want to move out of my parents’ house within the next 1-2 years.  I want to get a couple of cats as well.

Watch out world–here I come!

Of the Olympics and Frodo

I am really enjoying watching the Olympics this year with my family.  We watched the opening ceremony from Buffalo Wild Wings in Eagan on July 27, and I was enthralled by all of it.  I especially liked the depication of the Industrial Revolution, Kenneth Branagh and J.K. Rowling’s performances, and the skit involving the Queen and James Bond.  In the evenings my mom and I will watch the highlights from that day. 

I especially enjoy women’s gymnastics and have been taping that to watch later.  I was watching Jordyn Wieber from my home state of Michigan, and was happy when the USA team won the gold and Gabby Douglas the all-around.

I will be sad when the Olympics are over this Sunday because they have been so fun to watch.  I have also been keeping track of events from my work computer, as we can surf the Net when we’re not on a call.  I am looking forward to the 2014 Winter Games and the 2016 Summer Games.

August 1 would have been Frodo’s 15th birthday and I missed him a lot this week.  I didn’t celebrate his birthday when he was alive because every day with him was a gift.  Someday I hope to have other cats, not to replace Frodo, but to have other companion animals to love.