Torn

I seem to be in an impossible situation right now.  My living situation is volatile, to say the least.  My housemates, especially one, tend to be violent.  Based on ties from my past, though, I can’t move out.  This leaves me, to some extent, trapped.  I’m trying to come to accept that, although I do still fight with it from time to time.  The best choice here is just to accept it and work within the confines.  Hence the reconnecting bit.

Today, an opportunity presented itself.  I’ve been working from home for many years, which has been both a blessing and a curse.  It has shielded me from the stress of commuting and allowed me to set my own schedule.  It has also allowed my social anxiety to grow and let me seclude myself.  Working a full-time job is a bit overwhelming to consider; working part-time is turning out to be less viable these days.  The opportunity that came about today is a part-time job in a place I truly love.  I know I can do the work, and the fact that it’s only part-time makes it doable.  The problem?  My housemate, who became threatening at the thought of my working outside the house.

This has led to me being overwhelmed, confused, and torn.  At the time of the conversation with the recruiter, all I could think about was my happiness at the thought of working in this place.  Then, my resolve faltered with the words of my housemate.  Now, I’m overwhelmed and questioning everything.  Will I still get to spend enough time with my cats?  Will I be able to handle my routine being interrupted?  Will I be able to juggle *two* part-time jobs?  I can’t answer those questions, and I’m really not sure whether they should stop me even doing the interview.

Life is so confusing sometimes.

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This Is New

I am *angry.*  Not the positive, motivating anger.  The boiling over, feel like screaming anger.  And I don’t particularly know why.  It’s not an emotion I’m accustomed to.

The obvious guess, of course, is that grief is making me angry.  Time of year, as far as SRA goes, also stirs up some powerful Stuff.  I realise those two issues are likely the cause of my anger, but I can’t quite pinpoint the specifics.  I just know I’m angry and, when I’m not angry, I’m incredibly sad.  Neither of those are particularly pleasant emotions.

The funny and somewhat frightening thing is, I’m not sure I *want* to feel better at the moment.  To some extent, I want to let myself feel miserable until I no longer feel that way.  Another part of me (in a non-DID sense) wants to fight tooth and nail to crawl out of this pit.  I feel too tired to work at not feeling miserable.  And I’m wondering if allowing myself to feel miserable for a bit (but not too long) is actually healthy.

I feel very vulnerable and open right now.  Quite possibly, the anger is protective in that nature.

There’s no real point to this rambling post.  I’m just trying to step out of my mind for a bit by putting my mind on screen, for lack of better terms.

Bipolar Disorder Sucks

to use an American phrase that sometimes says it perfectly.

I’m having trouble.  Today, I’m hypo-manic but rapid cycling all the same.  I can’t slow down my thoughts, which are racing from intense anger to deep sadness.  My hands are literally shaking from the energy, and I can’t deal with even the slightest of changes without going right in to a tizzy.  Good thing my routine is staying stable, she says sarcastically.

I just started a new work schedule.  I like my job and will always be grateful to have a paycheck.  However, the merge of our company and another has a great deal of my job mixed.  I do *not* like working for the other department.  We had very little training and are constantly being told by the director of that programme that we are horrible at our jobs, my coworkers and me.  I’d be much better if they’d bloody train me as opposed to giving me a twenty page model and telling me to read it.  Not helpful.

A major change like that affects my ability to tolerate small changes well.  My best friend is going on a well-deserved holiday.  In years past, I would have assumed he’d go away, realise he could do so much better than me, and walk straight out of my life when he returned home.  Now, I know with absolute certainty that things will carry on as normal once he returns.

The schedule shifts, though.  We miss a weekend together, and this time our Friday night will be cut an hour short.  Neither of those are big changes, but with the bipolar symptoms raising and the issues with work, the small changes become a big deal.  One of my insiders feels that our visiting with my best friend on Friday nights keeps him awake beyond his comfort level.  No matter how often we assure her otherwise, she holds the belief.  She’s taking this leaving an hour earlier bit as proof.

I’d phone the shrink, but she would immediately put me in the crisis unit.  She told me she would do that the next time I got unstable because the symptoms shift so quickly.  Unfortunately, that means I’m not willing to phone her this early.  I’ve started Zyprexa– the prn med– and am hoping I caught things early enough that there won’t be a progression.  I’m not hallucinating, which is a great sign.  In retrospect (as usual), I see symptoms that I should have picked up on earlier, but I’ve definitely started Zyprexa earlier than I did during the debacle over the summer.

I really hate bipolar disorder and the way it affects my life.  My job suffers, my friends are affected, and my general health gets bunged up.  I think a change in meds is necessary, as well as a commitment on my behalf to keep a more regular schedule.  Anti-psychotics are awful in terms of side effects and long-term risks.  If taking the Zyprexa keeps me from becoming truly psychotic, though, the risks will just have to be taken.

Breaking Points

All those years ago when I was supporting my mother and sister, I knew that if I broke everything broke.  That might sound dramatic, but it was true.  At one point, soon after my father left, the rent and all the trappings of supporting a family fell on me.  Anyone would have done that– in survival mode, we do what we have to do.  Still, until I got in to a stride and a routine, I felt that as a heavy weight on my shoulders.

I feel that same weight now, but it’s not as easy to take on, for whatever reason.  I have this constant knowledge that my biological family are gone.  They weren’t particularly helpful when they were alive, in all honesty, but I still felt like there was a safety net in place.  Just a precarious one.  A recent really negative performance review brought to the front of my mind the possibility of finding myself without a job.  What happens from there?  It took me 18 months to find a job.  I feel like I need to take time off from everything and just rest for a while, but there’s no one to fall back on.

Let’s look at this realistically.  As my therapist is fond of pointing out, I’m not the only person out there who hasn’t got biological family.  Somehow, she thinks that should make me feel better.  I’m also grown.  Even if my family were alive, they wouldn’t have an obligation to take care of me whilst I stopped to figure things out.  Still, there’s something about knowing that isn’t even possible.  The fact that I did keep things going with two other people to support should give me some confidence, but I feel like I get overwhelmed much easier these days.  I’m not sure I *could* have kept our family going if I were as I am now.  Back to that if I break, everything breaks feeling.  Only this time, I seem to be breaking regardless.

Swings and Roundabouts

It’s an English phrase meaning each advantage of a situation comes with a disadvantage.  To me, it’s feeling like a very appropriate description of bipolar disorder.  My moods are swinging in pendulum fashion, and my thoughts are going round and round in incoherent flashes.  I’ve missed work, which leads to financial issues, and my ability to concentrate is gone, which leads to school issues.  Self-sabotage, once again, is a term that might apply.  Still, I really feel like this is bipolar disorder rearing its ugly head in response to tremendous stress.  One of the plates might have to fall, and that plate will be school.  But, I can’t think about that right now.  It will make the swings wider and the roundabouts more narrow.  I’ve just about had it with this disorder.  Too bad a snap of the fingers won’t make it go away.  I have a call in to the therapist.  That’s a first.  I never phone the clinic for extra assistance.  My moods are absolutely mad at the moment, though, and I’m just looking for someone to help me even things out.

Money and Such

Just finished budgeting and am now completely overwhelmed. I’m short about $200 in total next month, which means I can’t make my car payment. After that, I have a $56 margin. Tried to get more hours for work, but all of the sub hours have been taken. I’m feeling a bit pouty now, and rather worried about how to ‘make ends meet’ as the saying goes. Pardon the whining, ranting sort of post. Just wanted to let the Universe know I am appreciative of the little gifts it has brought this year. And tell it to sod off. Stupid cosmos.

Pining for the Single Life

And by that, I mean life before I knew about the others in my head.  It was simpler then.  [Sad movie theme interrupted by sarcastic chuckle.]  Things are a bit interesting here at the moment.  Not bad interesting.  Just different and a bit overwhelming.  Although there have been more than a few upsets in my life these past few years, I can state whole-heartedly that I am *not* a fan of drama.  I just have a way of finding myself in odd situations, sometimes caused by silly actions on my behalf and sometimes caused by actions out of my control.  (I felt attacked recently by a dear friend in terms of the attracting drama bit, so I’m stating my case here.)  Anyway, times is interesting.

After last month’s bipolar panic, I was actually happy to see the psychiatrist on Monday.  Very, very little came of that meeting, though.  We’re keeping the meds as they are, using the Zyprexa as needed, and attempting to ward off the weight gain. The shrink was concerned because the therapist had not seen any signs of manic behaviour in me.  I tried to explain, and the shrink finally understood, that I can feel absolutely miserable to the very core and appear perfectly fine.  Even my best friend and brother-of-choice, the two people who I’ve given almost complete access to my mind, have trouble ‘reading’ me.  Upon reviewing her trusty DSM-IV and reading criteria aloud, the shrink noted that I had had a classic mixed episode.  At least I’m normal in some regard.  She also read some of the therapist’s comments to me, alerting me to the fact that the therapist writes out quite a bit more information than she admitted.    That conversation will be had tomorrow.

But back to today.  The overwhelm is just increasing. One of my teenaged alters recently made a life-changing mistake, and I’m trying to work on how to adapt life based on her mistake.  I know I am responsible for the actions of my others, but that doesn’t always combat the fact that they *can* and sometimes *d0* act independently of me.  I think that’s true for all systems, regardless of how centralised and balanced they appear.   My internal teen’s mistake, in combination with fallout from the mixed episode, has me overwhelmed completely.  The inability to study productively due to bipolar fog led to my failing a test (see previous post), which led to a very low grade in the course, which led to my panicking about my grades and career and future plans and so on…  Now that the mood stuff is relatively stable, I’ve got this other minor issue to deal with thanks to my lovely internal teen.  We have an exam on Thursday, which I need at least a B on in order to bring my grade up, and all I can do is stare at the textbook and contemplate dealing with my insider’s gift.  Which leads to worries about my grades and career and future plans and so on…

Ah, to be blissfully singular again.

Welcome to Debtor’s Prison

I can’t afford to file bankruptcy.  That’s one rather frightening realisation I came to during my Wednesday morning meeting with a bankruptcy lawyer.  Mind you, I’m pressing on through this lovely little process.  For those of you (the many, many of you) who are considering this journey, let me take you along mine for a bit.

A few years ago, I was quite successful.  I was in school full time, working almost full time, and paying my bills with money left over.  At the beginning of this year, I was fighting my way through debt.  In April, I gave up entirely and stopped paying certain bills.  Last week, the lovely folks at Discover card let me know they’d be taking legal action at the end of this month.  This week, I went to see a lawyer.

I can’t quite claim to understand the American governmental system, even though I’ve lived her quite some time now. I do know, though, that the losing party in a legal case pays all court costs.  I did *not* know that that included paying the fees for lawyers arguing the other side.  Lovely.  If credit card companies take people who can’t pay the balance to court, do they really think those people will be able to pay court costs?  I don’t quite understand how that process works.  I do understand, however, that it makes my head hurt.

Bankruptcy, for someone with the sort of debt I have, is relatively simply.  I haven’t any assets or anything else, really, of great value.  I have got a loan on my car and a few student loans, but the whole process affects neither of those (in my case, at least).

The packet of paperwork is daunting.  Page after page of list this and sign that.  I feel like a child who has been bad and needs her wrist slapped.  The lawyer told me I’d go through something similar to that.  I’m guessing that will come with the $100 dollar financial counselling process that comes before and after filing.  My favourite part of the process, though, is the $1500 dollar fee that comes along with it.  $1399 is needed up front.  That’s understandable– a bankruptcy lawyer won’t quite expect their clients to pay them unless they collect the money up front.  It’s still a bit of a stiff price for someone filing bankruptcy to start.  Argh.  As I told my best friend, I’m saving up to buy myself my very own bankruptcy lawyer.

In the meantime, I’m gathering up all the information needed and speaking to the most wonderful creditors one has ever spoken with before.  Here’s a note to collections agencies *and* credit card companies:  most of us who are in debt are not people who have neglected their finances.  We’re people who lost jobs and decided basic essentials were more important.  I rather enjoy having soap, you know.  Electricity is nice, too.  It’s winter.  Things get cold without heat.  In truth, I guess I should apologise to the lovely people who answer phones at these organisations.  I didn’t realise I was stealing money directly from their pockets.  I must be, though, considering how many of them have told me about people like me making this country morally and financially bankrupt.  I didn’t realise I was so important.

I’ve read quite alot of 18th-Century literature and, being a Brit by birth, I understand well history of the class system, including the start of the proletariat .  Communism is starting to make sense.

Support for the Supporter

Years ago, while searching online for information to help me in dealing with my mother’s DID, I found an excellent source of support and quickly signed up.  In the decade or so I’ve been part of that group, I’ve been fortunate to meet people, some online and some in person, who have become like family to me.  When someone I consider family is being disrespected, I get annoyed.

Let’s face it– being in a relationship with someone with DID, whether romantic, familial, or friendship, is hard.  As with any other relationship, there are highs and lows.  The lows with DID, though, can be a bit stranger, for lack of better terms.  I say all of this from the perspective of someone who was once a Significant Other (SO) and as someone who brings DID into a relationship herself.  My best friend can attest to the fact that, even though we both consider our friendship to be unbreakable, there are times when my insiders and I do not make things easy.

Those in relationships with people who have DID need a bit of support all their own.  They need a place to share the things that make their unique relationships special, but also a safe place to vent about the inherent difficulties.  That venting might seem resentful at times, and it might actually *be* resentful– I remember many times writing in complete frustration that I simply wanted a mother, not a mother with children, teens, protectors, and a whole host of others who sometimes required me to act as parent for them.  Guess what?  Feeling resentful at times is OK.  It’s done in relationships that don’t involve multiplicity as well.  In the end, the SO feeling resentful at that moment likely loves the other person in the relationship quite strongly.  There are just times when the relationship gets overwhelming.

I’m writing this because I feel that a dear friend of mine is being attacked by a couple of people in an environment that has always been supportive.  The environment, by large majority, still is supportive.  I just feel like a couple of people have really singled out my friend and are being a bit attacking.  This opinion is mine alone.  I haven’t even mentioned it to my friend and am not likely to.  It’s just my perception.

The golden rule in relationships with multiples (as well as with non-multiples and probably in pop psychology overall) is that it’s not about our SO– it’s about our *reaction* to them.  In the end, that’s really the only thing we control.  Those of us who have at one time been SO’s of multiples, whether or not we ourselves are multiple, understand that our emotions about the situation run the gamut from bliss to anger.  And that’s OK.  We’re allowed to feel and express our anger, fear, and sadness regarding multiplicity in a safe environment where our SO’s won’t be triggered by our reactions.  Our relationships are actually stronger for that.  We’re also happy to talk about the wonderful times we’ve had with our SO’s as well as their others.  I *loved* playing with my mother’s child alters, and some of her teens were hilarious.  I shared coffee with some of the adults from time to time.  Each person brought another dimension to our relationship.

As SO’s, we learn from each other.  We rant and receive support from those who have faced a similar situation.  Sometimes they can even tell us how *they* dealt with that situation and help us in facing our own.  We share good times and provide hope for those who feel like they have nothing left to give.  We support each other as we learn to support the special person in our lives who just happens to have brought along a few extras.  Becoming catty and attacking amongst ourselves hurts everyone involved on both sides of the relationship.  We can certainly disagree with each other, but respectfully.  A quick glance at any reference book will show a simple truth that I think sometimes gets forgotten– the words support and attack are opposites.  In discussing our relationships, it’s so important to remember that.

Numb

My therapy assignment from this past session was to practice feeling emotions.  I was supposed to find a safe place, attempt to summon an emotion, and really feel it.  The idea was to pay close attention to my physiological responses so that I could use those to recognise emotions in a regular setting.  I don’t know if too much attacked at once or exactly what happened, but last night, things went very, very badly.

It started with anxiety.  I certainly didn’t try to summon the anxiety.  I don’t have the least bit of difficulty recognising that particular feeling.  It snowballed, though, which isn’t unusual for me.  One worry led to another until I was in a mad panic and so scared that I could barely breathe.  Then that *thing* happened– I cut.  Months and months of successfully stopping myself from SI all torn apart in one stupid night.  SI has never been something I’m proud of, but it’s something I’ve dealt with for many years now.  Going back and reading this post, I noticed it also has a somewhat cyclical pattern these days.  I guess that’s a good sign– it used to be what I fell back on during *any* period of strong emotion.

Today I feel numb.  The slight burning from the cuts and break through bleeding from the deeper ones feels comforting somehow, and that frightens me.  It feels embarrassing to write that, but this blog is an honest look at mental illness if nothing else.  I guess the cuts just feel like a blanket– something to soothe those out-of-control emotions.  In the words of Sarah McLachlan ‘I need some distraction.  Oh, a beautiful release.  Memories seep from my veins.’  I fell asleep almost immediately after cutting and woke up this morning feeling numb.  Maladaptive as it may be, self-injury does work for its purpose.  I just wish it didn’t work so well sometimes.