A budding clinical psychologist with Bipolar I & OCD

At the end of the day I’m an angry old man who has been through the ringer with Lyme Disease, Bipolar Disorder, OCD and a LOT of associated anxiety. Right now I’m at the end of my rope with my life, and while I’m resting at the bottom I’m spending my time balancing rage over the poorly run organization I work for, depression, and my physical health. I’m going to make some changes, and I think some of the changes I’m planning on making would be beneficial for other people in similar boats. (Mine is periwinkle blue though and really hard to keep clean).

At work I’m the rock for the 4 women I take care of with intellectual disability. I chuckle to myself that I can play mom and advocate for them, but I’m terrified when I get a phone call or even get a car wash. I’ve had my car for 5-6 years now and never gotten it washed. How ridiculous is that to admit? And why? Pfft, I can do that CBT exercise where you work backwards to find out why it’s so scary and at the end realize, oh I don’t want to look stupid in front of people even if they’re strangers I’ll never see again, but beyond that, periodic exposure therapy hasn’t been that much help.

That being said, my first change is that I’m going to start cutting out sugars. I did some research on the effects of the body and mind and my three major goals are to reduce Lyme symptoms by feeding the bacteria with sugars, increase my concentration naturally, and have more energy. (Sleeping all day when you’re depressed is also really easy, but not very healthy) I don’t like taking 5 hour naps on my days off and feeling like I need to battle to stay awake every single day. It’ll be a slow process. Cut out pops, juices, desserts, drink more water, eat more lean meats and avocados, blah blah. It’ll also help me lose the weight I’ve been working on dropping with exercise 3 days a week. (That’s a healthy choice I’ve already made).

For the emotional component, I’ve started praying on the daily. I’m a Catholic but I don’t often get to church (Maybe if I had more energy I would). Seriously though that has little to do with the point of this paragraph. The prayer has given me some empowerment over things I can’t control. A little peace of mind and spiritual balance.

Got an autistic sister who you’re horrified for because she won’t express anything to you and has poor sleeping and hygiene habits and you can’t do anything about it? BOOM prayer for her. Obsessive fear (I’ve had this for years) that your house is going to burn down and everything you own destroyed forever? Pray to prevent it. Hey, I know prayer isn’t for everybody, but some sort of ‘spiritual’ balance could be helpful, even if it’s just a peaceful mindfulness that can be practiced. Throw out your positive vibrations into the world you hippies. Do what you have to do. On top of the praying I’d like to find some good guided meditations and practice relaxing my body and speedy thoughts. In the past I’ve done guided meditation and been talking in my head the whole time. It ruins it. When I was in intensive outpatient therapy I used to secretly look forward to guided meditation days, and tried SO hard to make it through the whole half hour long process without messing it all up by thinking.

Lastly, and this is more or less just for me, I’m at that point where I feel like I’m ready to leave my job. I’ve talked a lot in this blog about the injustice that happens there, and how I’m pretty much not interested in being involved in a place run like that anymore. I’ll try to stay in contact with the women so I can always support them to the best of my ability, but I also will never be able to afford an adult life on $12/hour and am shortening my life with the amount of time I spend upset on the daily. In fact my direct supervisor who is a hard working genuinely caring woman is quitting for the same reason after working there a much longer time, getting out of working with the population entirely, taking a HUGE paycut and going to be making what I make. That says a lot when you want to get out THAT bad. And I understand that 100%.

I’m making a change to work at a hospital or clinic I think, working on my updated resume now. When I have the degree in hand in a few months I’ll be qualified for a lot better jobs and would like the clinical environment experience behind me to nudge me in front of the next guy, even though I already have a a year and a half of experience in “the field” now. Psychology, by the way. And when I apply to grad school, I’ll have a year and a half of (unrelated) empirical research on mental health stigma (in particular, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), to take with me.

I know the rest of you out there on the sea of troubles are all coming out of different ports, but if I pass on my pirate knowledge and experience maybe it’ll help you battle the next sea monster. That’s always my #1 hope while in this blogging community. I mean that’s why we go to group therapy too, right? 

15 thoughts on “A budding clinical psychologist with Bipolar I & OCD

  1. My relationship with God has helped me a lot it’s kinda like a rock when all the facts of life swim around in my head He provides a few truths that anchor my soul.
    Ps my boat is green and rocket propelled

  2. Keep on fighting! Don’t quit this job until you get a new job. You need to keep your health insurance. I don’t know how you stayed so long in that place. You are very strong. They are lucky to have you.

  3. Glad to see you fighting back, in general! I think I’m battling SAD because this big, bad, depression-monster is eating my head off. Black days, black days! I think you know what I mean though. 😉

    And yes, prayer definitely helps. I’m a bit rusty in that category. (Note to self, “Pray more, damn it!”) Currently, I’m lying in bed polishing up my avoidance exercises (it’s easy: DO NOTHING) and stressing over all 5 of my classes this semester. It’s only week 2 and I’m drowning. 😦 Reeeeeally struggling, but I know I’ll come out a winner: I always do. (Even as I type those words, I know they’re true, but damn if things aren’t uttertly black right now. Bottom line is: you’re not alone. 😉 But you’re going to come out a winner too. You already are. 😉 x

  4. A few thoughts….you know I always have them. Ha.
    I cut out sugar for the most part. I do splurge now and the, but if I eat much it’s hard to stop again, and I feel icky. And it’s just too sweet.
    Advice about that. Do not go to artifical sweeteners, they trick your brain to make you think you are eating sugar anyway. They will still make you crash.
    At first, eat more fruit, don’t go cold turkey no sweet taste….if you were thinking that.
    Try to also cut back, or eliminate white breads…processed stuff like that…full of sugars and other crap. If you eat grains keep them whole, you will stay full longer. Im not saying you can’t eat them, that’s up to you, but that bleached out, full of sugar stuff…that’s going to mess with your compromised immune system.
    When I was detoxing off of soda, I couldn’t go cold turkey. So I started by having a big glass of water for every soda I drank. That cut the sodas down. Then I uped the amount of water per soda, until I just didn’t feel the need for the soda. Didn’t take long. I had one recently, the first in a few years, it was weird, soooo sweet. I just wanted the bubbles.
    I can tell you one biggie I know that sugar does with me. If I eat it I will have hot flashes, if I dont, well I dont. There’s other stuff but that’s really noticable. My sister consumes a lot of sugar and caffeine and has horrific hot flashes, she says her brain is boiling. I don’t have that. I no longer have night sweats. Menopause is much easier. My cognitive function is better and it is compromised due to my illnesses. Ect.

    The meditation. I meditate, have for a long time, I still have the chattering monkey. My mind wonders, even more since I can’t do guided meditations. Be gentle with yourself it’s not about being perfect, it’s about the practice. Just the relaxation and the attempt to focus…you really are doing some..will benefit you. The longer you do it, the easier it is. I’d start at about 10mins guided. Just 1 – 5 on your own. If you email me and tell me the kind of things you like to focus on, I will try to search out some good meditations for you. I’m really into mindfulness. I might just send you some stuff.

    Suggestion, if you have a good relationship with the supervisor who is leaving, you might want to get a letter of recommendation from her, or ask if you can use her as a reference at a later date.

    I’m about to fall asleep…so enough of my wisdom for tonight. Pffft. Snort!

    xo
    w

    • I’m pleased you told me about the artificial sweeteners. I read this message a thousand years ago but didn’t get a chance to respond/didn’t have it in me from the sheer depth of depression I was in. But I did avoid them, and I did splurge on Easter with sweets and totally paid for it. I’m doing decent making bread choices too 🙂 Or cutting them out. I went to this burger place a month ago and took off the bun, subbed fries for broccoli (with dipping sauce on the side). It was tasty and rewarding that I made some anti-carb choices. I totally have to e-mail you about what I want to focus on, it’s so funny but I can’t focus on focusing. Does that count? It’s one reason I’ve been absent to the world of WorldPress. I also got a new and better job 🙂 I’ll update you soon about it and the blog. Just wanted to finally make some progress and step in to reply to your comment after all this time. I’ll be checking up on you! 🙂

      • I’m so happy about the new job. I understand the depression, I was recently put on a new med and it has changed so much!!! I feel much more like me. It’s been over 2 years in that cloud, sometimes it was stormier than other times, but the cloud was always there. I’m always here for you, and love to hear from you. Remember, I care. xoxo
        wendy

      • ❤ ❤ ❤ ditto dearie! You know talking about the depression meds and clouds…well it reminds me that Chris was really snappy with the idea of depression meds the other night. He said I probably don't even know who I am and how it would make him a zombie and make him stop feeling, etc. I know that when I for the very first time went on meds for mood I felt the same way, but when you know better it's so miserably hard to be like, "HEY IT'S NOT LIKE THAT MAN!!!"

      • Ugh, why are people so dumb?
        I know what I’m like without my meds and I’m not that person.
        My meds help me feel like me instead of being tortured.
        Our brains aren’t firing the right signals, if they were the meds might make us crazy.
        I’m not making sense.
        Why is it that if you have a physical disease no one questions you taking meds, but if it’s mental?
        We are supposed to suffer.
        Chris needs to be educated.
        Don’t do it when you’re angry though, unless you want to fight. Ha.
        I’ve printed out articles or studies that explain why we need meds, or what bipolar means for people who just didn’t get it from just me talking.
        It usually works. If the person is a little open minded.
        Your relationship with Chris is complicated.
        I do wish you knew that you don’t need him.
        Love him, care for him, but don’t make him the end all.
        You need that much self confidence to make a relationship work.
        I’m rambling, it’s late, and I’m soooo behind in my email inbox.
        As you can tell since I’m just answering this.
        xoxo
        I’m here for you…many miles away.

      • People are often stuck in their own realities. It’s when those hurt other people that you have to take a stand. Or educate them, if they are willing. A lot aren’t. I hope he gets his head out of his butt. 😞

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