Overwhelm

That seems to be the theme of things these days.  I have a bit too much going on at the moment.  It’s final exams week at school, and I’m stopping myself before I start in terms of studying.  It’s been a difficult semester.  Autumn terms are always hardest for me, and this one, due to a bugger of a teacher and a difficult class, has been unpleasant, to say the least.  Now, I’m skirting the edge of actually being able to move forward with this course of study without repeating the class.  And part of me wonders if going back to school (again) was a mistake.  My thoughts turned towards returning to school after a year’s unsuccessful job search.  I wasn’t sure what else to do other than keep working towards a certification that almost certainly will land me a job.  I really like my current job, which is web-based.  Since we’re all considered independent agents, though, we have absolutely no benefits.  That makes it seem a bit less like a career-type job, and I’m ready for Real Life Work.  I feel like I’m playing adult again.  To quote a dear friend of mine, it sucks out loud.

Then there’s the baby thing.  I want to make sure things are as stable as possible for my daughter, and four months have passed since she first came into existence.  The first step, which I’ve started, is to secure more stable housing.  School becomes an issue there, too.  I don’t want the baby to be brought up by a nanny.  On a grander scale, there’s the family thing.  I have no biological family, and I worry that I won’t be enough for her.  My situation will make her different.  Other kids will talk about siblings, grandparents, cousins, and so on.  My daughter won’t have biological relatives, though.  And we can’t forget the cult stuff, of course.  She *will* be shielded from that.  I speak with the confidence of someone who knows how to inflict as much damage on upper-level cult members as they do on other people.  I’ve never used that against them, but when it comes to my daughter, I will have absolutely no problem with it.

One step at a time is what everyone says.  Those people have apparently never been overwhelmed.

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Madness

Let’s take DID out of the picture for a minute.  Now, let’s take out SRA.  (I know, I know).  At this time, bipolar disorder is what’s getting at me.  I have never *felt* bipolar, really, until this semester.  Now, it’s making itself the centre of my life.  It is disrupting my sleep, wrecking my concentration, and sending me from horrible depression to rapid, incomprehensible thoughts all in a day.  And this has been going on for nearly two weeks, on and off.  It’s been building.  It was at least nice enough not to happen all it once.  Tonight is the first time it clicked with me that those pesky neurotransmitters might be fighting with one another again.

The casualties so far have been work and school.  I’ve missed more work hours than I could afford simply because I’ve either not been able to quiet my mind enough to focus or have been too depressed to even consider getting the job done.  Right now, for example, I should be working.  Instead, I’m staring straight ahead, mindless, and typing sentences way too many minutes apart.

At school, I just failed a test.  It’s the second test I’ve ever failed throughout my academic career.  The first happened the day after my mother was diagnosed with lymphoma.  This one happened in the midst of my mind walking itself politely off the deep end.  Now I’m not quite sure what to do.  I’m allowing things to snowball.  Catastrophising with the elite.  It went like this:  I’ve missed too many work hours, but there is financial aid money tucked away for things like this.  But I failed that test.  Does that mean I can’t finish the programme?  Can I work nearly full time and attend a very intensive school programme full time as well?  If not, how will I get a career?  Master’s degrees are useless right now without further certifications.  How can I move forward?  What do I need to do to pull out of this rut?  Have I got *time* to pull out of this rut, and so on ad nauseam.

I feel like Alice going down the rabbit hole.  The world is descending into my madness.  Last night, I thought I was being followed whilst driving home from my best friend’s house.  I actually swerved off the road briefly trying to get away from the person who I thought was following me.  Then, I passed a policeman and thought he might know something about me and would come after me, as well.  In the moment, these things seem so real.  Absolutely no one can convince me that they aren’t happening.  Today, though, I see how out of touch I was.

Meds are a real problem.  The atypical antipsychotics affect my blood pressure and heart really very, very badly.  The bp gets dangerously low; the pulse gets dangerously high.  Abilify made me have a seizure, and Geodon nearly gave me heart attack.  I can stand Seroquel, but even at 200 mg, it makes me sleep for 12 hours and still drops my blood pressure.  I take the absolute maximum dose of Lamictal, which has probably literally been a life saver for me.  Something isn’t working, though.  I realise that meds won’t stop every instance of mania, depression, or mixed episodes for those of us with Bipolar I Disorder, but I’d like to find something to at least take the edge off severe episodes whilst still allowing me to breathe and retain a heart rate.  The psychiatrist is frustrated, I’m frustrated, and the therapist says the issue is just a chemical response to trauma.

Let’s place DID and SRA back into it and give a technical term– the internal kids say it’s icky.  I can’t argue with that.

The Disappearing Blogger…

It occurred to me today that I should update this blog.  And the other blog, for that matter.  My disappearance from the blogosphere can be explained in one word: school.  Summer courses are incredibly difficult.  I’m currently taking a course that condenses 16 weeks of material into 6 weeks.  Absolute madness.  I’m taking a shorter course as well.  Even though I spent *hours* studying almost every day, I’m behind.  Professors have a socially accepted form of torture.

So what else is new, you ask dear reader.  Not a great deal.  I and mine just went through a ridiculously difficult time of it regarding flashbacks.  Something in therapy started a chain of SRA programming that threw me into near constant flashbacks for a week.  My grip on reality was nonexistent for a few days, and I had to be very careful after my mind returned.  The memories involved human experimentation and all sorts of lovely activities.  Odd things turned into triggers, so I had to become *very* aware of my internal climate, lest I lose my grip and go completely off my face.  Very happy to report that things have settled nicely since then.  I’m back to the socially accepted torture mentioned above.  🙂

And my best friend and I are going away for a long weekend starting Thursday!  We’re both quite excited.  He could use time away from his semi-mad family, and I could use time away from studies.  We’re going to a nearby city that we both enjoy and haven’t visited in quite some time.  It will be absolutely lovely.  Hopefully, I’ll get a few nice photos out of it (and scan them in since my digital camera is now resting at peace) and a few nice memories as well.  We are both looking *so* forward!

That’s my blogging update, then.  Classes end in a few weeks, and I’ll make my grand re-entrance to the blog world soon after.   🙂

Major Changes

In London, I was training to be a physician assistant.  I was roughly 3/4 through the programme when we moved to America.  Putting on my best optimism hat, I took that as a chance to go further and enter in to medical school.  At University here, then, I started in premed.  Then changed to English.  Then to premed.  Then to English, et. c.

At the time, I didn’t know about my others.  I thought I was only plainly insane.  What a relief.  😉

Even though I’ve finished an advanced liberal arts degree, some of the insiders *still* hate literature.  Some wish we’d finished a med school programme or a nursing programme.  Just *something* medical.  On any given day, you can find me buried in a pile of chemistry and/or calculus textbooks working problems or memorising formulas.  By the afternoon, however, I might be working on a conference paper about Shakespeare’s histories or researching some obscure literary critical theory.

One of these days, I’ll be the best-read doctor in America.  🙂

Breakdowns

I do *not* know why I do this, but it’s a pattern– I make a great plan for success, work through it painstakingly, and then make sure it falls apart at the last minute.  Lately, at least, I’ve been able to put it all back together quickly enough that there’s no lasting damage.  Tonight is one of those nights.

I have worked incredibly hard to finish my graduate studies, and now that only a ten-page essay stands between me and it, the essay has become colossal.  I *know* it’s just an essay.  I know it isn’t even a particularly difficult essay.  However, I managed to overwhelm myself to the point that I rendered myself relatively useless.

It’s predictable.  I start strong, working meticulously and planning detail by detail my work for whatever the goal may be.  Somewhere along the way, I get frustrated.  And overwhelmed.  Overwhelm is a favourite of mine, she mutters darkly.  Things start to unravel then.  A bit after that, though, I get a second wind or something and rush back in to things with that same focus I had at first.  Then it falls apart.  Spectacularly.

So tonight, instead of writing an essay, I’m writing a blog post.  I *will* write the essay.  I just hate having to fight this hard to get stuff done.  Programming probably has something to do with it, as does general depression.  Maybe even a touch of mania/mixed episode stuff.  Procrastination definitely plays a part.  And this nagging *thing* I can’t figure out.  It’s a feeling like defeat, like I’ve already failed before I started, so why start.

One sodding essay.  Ten pages.  Two plays.  Four sources.  That’s all.

So *what* is my problem?!?

The Cracked Up Almost Weekend So Far

I should be cracking up.  Time is passing much quicker than I’d like, and *things* are ever-approaching.  I must have slipped in to delicious delirium, though.  It’s almost funny.  I’m working towards an end goal academically, realising that I haven’t got enough time to finish everything, and pressing on regardless.  I’m even taking time to breathe.  Whether or not bipolar is a valid dx for me, the stress and lack of sleep magnifies the symptoms quite alot.  And I get cranky alters.

Perhaps I won’t score as high as I would have liked, but one thing I’m slowly and painstakingly learning is that something less than perfection is acceptable sometimes.  Where was this sense of delirium when I was sitting for A-levels all those years ago?  🙂

Here’s to shirking responsibilities for a while.

Consistency

My mind is on overload, and for once, it isn’t trauma stuff.  Fortunately or unfortunately, life stuff is taking over for now.  I say fortunately for obvious reasons.  The unfortunate part is that I might very well be burying myself in school work to avoid dealing with those nagging little issues of grief and trauma.

I don’t care.  🙂

Really, it is a sort of welcome break.  People with DID (I’ve discovered I don’t like the term ‘multiples’) have a unique ability to put emotional stuff on pause for a bit.  The downside to all of this is my insomnia has returned and is making known its anger at being pushed away.  Bloody sleep.  I’ve found myself staying awake to avoid nightmares, then having them anyway when I finally *do* fall asleep.  It’s like, no matter how exhausted I feel when I fall in to bed, the things I’ve not been paying attention all day pop up for a visit.  Fun.

Otherwise, there isn’t a great lot going on in my life right now.  I’m trying to figure out how to balance looking for work, the part-time stuff I am doing, following up on job prospects, and school.  Not difficult at all, you know.

I’ve always heard consistency is good, though.

Tugboats and Arson

Last night on ‘Scrubs,’ the janitor said a line that I absolutely love– ‘Tugboats and arson.  That’s all I ever get from you guys.’  He had asked his friends for advice and, quite literally, they suggested those two tactics.  Beautiful.

In spite of the rather large amount of stress I’m dealing with at the moment, that line had me laughing.  Tugboats and arson.  For some reason it just seems fitting.  I’m out of ideas at the moment, and some of the issues dancing through my head seem impossible to fix.  Strangely, this has nothing to do with multiplicity or trauma.  Ok maybe the last one, but it’s a stretch.  It’s largely financial.  I’ve got bills to pay with no idea of how I can pay them, I’m planning a move with nothing but about $800 and some clothes (and a cat who I will *not* be separated from), and then there are tuition bills to finish a degree I’ve put blood, sweat, and tears into.

I’m just ranting.  Last month a friend of mine told me she felt tired and puffy, but as a girl, she was *supposed* to feel tired and puffy sometimes.  I can definitely relate.

And *that* is the Week So Far– grumpy, stressed, and deeply confused.

At least I’m doing something, though.  Even the smallest bit of action means I’m still moving forward.

The Messy Week So Far

Or month so far, as it were. May is not turning out to be lovely.

On an emotional level, this week has been much better than last. The grief issues are, for the moment, being pushed out of my mind. The problem is what they’re being pushed out by. My graduate studies are coming down to an eight-hour exam and the mercy of a committee, and I am starting to go completely mad preparing for this. I’m also kicking myself for not starting to study MUCH sooner. If I fail this exam, I fail my graduate programme, simply put. No pressure.

No idea why, as this is probably the most important exam of my life so far, but I keep putting things off. It feels like overwhelm or dread or something, but I’m guessing it’s also my lovely SRA background creeping up almost unnoticed.

I’m confident enough to say I’m a relatively intelligent person. I’m also confident enough to say I’ve done well in my studies. This exam, however, is throwing me. I feel like I’m trying to re-learn everything from the past couple of years in the matter of a few short weeks. One of my internal people, L, keeps reminding me that even though I started studying specifically for this exam a bit late, I’ve actually been preparing for it throughout my graduate studies. I have a decent foundation; it’s just the specifics at the moment that are really bothering me.

So what does one do in a situation like this? My strategy (after spending an appropriate amount of time panicking) is to push away the overwhelm as much as possible and just keep digging through. Lights at end of tunnel and all that.

This blog, then, might get rather boring over the next few weeks, as I will be spending at least 28 hours a day studying (yes, I know that’s impossible…)

Any positive thoughts or whatever your spiritual beliefs allow for luck, and support please send them my way. And when this exam is over, provided I actually pass, expect a post in all caps with many, many, misspelled words and emoticons. Fingers crossed!

The BUSY Week So Far

It’s the end of the semester, and everything I’ve been ignoring is due.  Not a complaint– just a statement of fact.  I’m buried in a pile of books, papers, and other fun things on which I’m likely to be tested soon.  One would think that, by the time you reach graduate school, the procrastination thing would be rather alot better.  I thought that, too, until I got to graduate school.  😉

I’m also working on a couple of projects completely unrelated to school.  One of my internal folk does *not* like the field I’m studying, so he’s doing a project in a completely different field.  No, it won’t be studied by anyone other than us, but it’s helping him express himself and giving him a chance to work on something he likes for a change.  Another alter, a teen, wants to spend hours at a time on MySpace.  That particular project is not going well, as I don’t have time to spend hours on anything that isn’t school-related.  She knows this but, being a teenager, she still complains quite loudly sometimes.  After classes and exams are over, I’m planning to give her more time as well.  We’ll all need a break by then.

Just a short summary for those of you who like reading this little series on my blog.

Right.  Back to the things I’ve been ignoring.