Monday, January 1, 2018

It's 2018.

I was primarily looking forward to this holiday break for the time off of work. I'm tired. Work has been stressful, I've had issues with my manager. All of it as a long story, with detailed explanations of why I think she's not a good manager, and how I feel she clearly dislikes me, personally.

I spent Christmas cooking for my brother's family, then headed back home to sleep for two days. I go back to work tomorrow, January 2nd. I'll have had a little over a week off, which is most definitely better than nothing.

It's been difficult though since I've been cooped up inside the house. It's been -20 to -30 these past few days. 

Having Buddy around has helped. He's a booger sometimes but he doesn't have a mean bone in his body. He's been a nice distraction and a cuddle buddy.

The manager I don't like is leaving in January, but I don't know who is replacing her, and what will be said of me to her replacement. I'm only on a one-year contract so it's stressful not knowing what's going on. We should know in February or March if we'll be re-contracted.

I'm trying to focus on my health but it's been hard lately. I feel bloated and exhausted. Seasonal depression on top of already being a depressive fucker doesn't seem like an ideal situation.

I'm still alive and kicking. I'm just not kicking too hard or too high. Limping and bunting.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Jenifer Lewis on bipolar disorder, and being the Mother of Black Hollywood.

Saw some videos pass through on my feed featuring Jennifer Lewis talking about bipolar disorder, and taking care of yourself. I thought her advice was on-point.
I got no problem talking about bipolar disorder or anything that I went through, or am going through. It doesn't go away. Mania is exhausting. It can ruin your entire life, and your families life - and those who love you. You gotta look in the mirror. You got to see that something is wrong. You then have to make a choice whether you want to live or die. It took my therapist 5 years to convince me to go on medication... You then have to be patient for your level of medication... 
Nobody is going to save you. Nobody is going to  rescue you. Nobody can wear your shoes. You have to make your own bed and build your own house. Do your best and leave the rest. Can't handle every fucking thing. Love yourself, so love will not be a stranger when it comes. And it will come, if you take care of yourself. 
For some reason I can only find the video on Facebook - which fucking irritates me to no end.

Also, this interaction with Josh Gad is pretty good. 

After a quick google search I see she was also on Oprah talking about being bipolar. 

She's indeed fabulous. There's also a wee bit on mental health on another piece on her on The Root's website, where she also talks about her work and playing "the mother" for many black-Hollywood productions. I think the first thing I saw her in was Fresh Prince.

Monday, November 6, 2017

I'm still here.

I am still around. Adjusting to my new schedule and the responsibilities of having a dog has been a lot ( he is trying to chew threw a box as we speak - I just stopped writing to try and fake eat his bone so he'd get jealous and switch chew-targets).

I've also been going to TMS 5 days a week for a month, and am only now weaning down my appointments. These have been daily and have included missing work time and taking some sick-time hours and vacation hours as not to decimate my paychecks.

Weekends have been busy, but I'm also tired.

The TMS clinic thinks I might have sleep apnea so I also tested for that and am waiting for the results.

I want to write, I just don't want to be sitting at a computer.

My work situation has ben nuts, it's a long, someone else's work situation story so I'll spare you. Long story short a project that should have taken over a year to plan and execute with a team twice our size is now being forced through in 3 months on an all new team. We're burnt out but for most of us it's our first job for the public service sector so we want to make sure we get repeat contracts.

Unemployment and poverty motivate.

If there's anybody out there that reads this stuff, I'm still here.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Black dogs.

I continue to be busy. I'm working and taking care of Buddy and going to TMS 5-days a week during work hours. It's been a lot. 

The weather has been unseasonably warm in Montreal, so the fall is only starting to make an appearance. 

I've been thinking about how I'd like to write about black dogs as a theme. I read a memoir called Killing the Black Dog, apparenly the black dog is a metaphor for depression

I find it an odd metaphor, since for me black dogs have always been symbols of companionship and familiarity, since every dog I've ever had was black. A black labrador retriever, a black schnauzer and now with Buddy, a black pug. 

The labrador, a confirmation of my fragility and the cruelty of life.

The schnauzer, a crescendo of anxiety and tumultuous happenings.

The pug, an acceptance of the absurd and an attempt to move on. 

Depression to me may feel like a fog that creeps into the brain and covers me like a cloud. Or an evil spirit that feeds off of my energy, joy and ambition. I don't think a representation of depression in popular culture has ever been as spot-on as Dementors in the Harry Potter universe. 

TMS has been going well. The appointments break-up my day. After the first week and a half, I felt my brain to be less cluttered and "cloudy" feeling. Less foggy. It's like there was this density and weight I couldn't see past, and it lifted. I would imagine it to be similar to feeling congested, except without being centrally focused in the sinuses. It's also similar to being sleep-deprived. 

The doctor at the TMS/neurology lab also wants me to be tested for sleep apnea, since I'm perpetually exhausted. I'll be doing that this upcoming Friday. 

If TMS continues to go well (I'm about half-way through the 4-6 week treatment) I may experiment with lowering my anti-depressant dossage, and see if it helps with my energy levels and sleep. 

TMS isn't invassive. It's a time commitment and a hassle to get to, but it's covered by medicare. I think one American I read about having done it paid for it out of pocket and he said it cost him roughly 15 grand. SO, I thank my lucky stars for Canadian healthcare because that's the entirety of my savings for a downpayment. For a treatment that may or maynot help me. 

The treatment itself is a little odd. You sit in a chair, not unlike a dentist chair, lean back, and a large flat thing is put on your head. It's places on your frontal lobe area and then you get tapped on the head. That's basically it. It send you magnetic pulses that feel like being tapped on the head by a woodpecker with a blunt beak. Tap tap tap, 5 seconds, beep, tap tap tap and so on. 

After a few sessions I started falling asleep. It's not painful, just weird and hard to ignore. Some times the magnetic pulses must be stronger, because sometimes it's harder for me to fall asleep since I really feel them, and they make my eye and nose twitch. Other times I feel like a cat leaning into a scratch and barely feel them, but it's comforting. 

I think about writing a lot, I just don't want to spend more time in front of a computer. In a few months time I may start working from home a day a week, in which case I could set aside a little bit of time on that one day a week to write. We'll see. 

I'll definitely keep updating about TMS, since I myself came to it through online blogs and personal accounts, and there's very little out there about it. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

One long day.

It's been really difficult to find the time to update the blog. I have had a lot going on with the dogs' adoption and work. I've just been very busy. I get home during the week and I walk the dog, I have dinner I take a shower and I go to bed.

On top of all of this I started TMS treatments. Everything happened really quickly: they called me, they gave me an appointment for a few days later, there was an intake interview (How depressed are you on a scale of sheetcake to paint huffing? Do you think you're a bummer most of the time, some of the time or all the time?) and I started treatments the same day.

I started this past week. I went in on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I will be going in five days a week for 4 to 6 weeks.

It's all a lot of unknown. I don't know how long this'll last, I don't know how I might react, I don't know if they'll keep me for the full six weeks or shorter/longer.

All I know right now is I'm exhausted and it's a lot to go in for treatments and to work full-time. I am missing work for an hour or two daily to go to these sessions so I'm using a lot of my sick days and possibly also my vacation days. It's causing some stress. When I get home I don't feel like being on the computer so that's why I'm not really on the blog these days. Maybe eventually when things quiet down I'll be able to put some time aside every week and spend more time writing.

I'm still here, doing my best, not dead yet.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Old dog learning new tricks.

It's been longer than a minute, I know. I've been meaning to sit and update, but when I'm at work all day on a computer I don't want to re-commit to a screen when I get home.

I've been at the new job for about a month and a half now and overall it's going well. There's still a lot of learning and training but overall I'm happy with my choice.

It being a "real job" with less down time means I can't log into my personal accounts while at work. Hence, less updating on here.

Sometimes I'd have entire days where I'd be waiting for work so I'd write or I'd work on other things.

When things settle maybe I'll have more time to write, but right now I'm still trying to figure out my schedule and my hours and what my life will look like while working a decent job.

I'm also only on a one-year contract, so there's still a lot of anxiety about job security.

The new job was a salary bump, and the same week I started our union signed a new collective agreement so my salary went up again. This amounts to sorcery since in the private sector capitalist models determine whether or not you're worth a salary boost. Basically, this means sales jobs get bonuses and raises and administrative staff get shit.

My salary has gone up by nearly 7 grand, or, to put it more accurately, it's reached a living wage. I still haven't received a proper pay check, but once I do I'll be able to see how much money I'll be making, and I can start putting money away for my house/condo.

I've been coming home after long days of training, and sometimes I'm so overwhelmed I just go to bed. It's been a lot.

But, the work conditions are better, the hours are better, and the forthcoming benefits are better. There are actual distinctions now in days off. Sick days. Vacation days. Volunteer days. Family-leave days. Before it was all my vacation time. Now I have an allotment for each. Since you know, you can get sick, a parent can get ill, roads can be closed, and other stuff fucking happens. Life fucking happens.

The new hires who started with me are both great, and my stress level has gone down significantly. It's nice to know I have a job where I actually do something. I see my accomplishments daily. They're tangible.

A good job helps. A living wage helps.

Along with all of this I've been actively looking to adopt a dog since I have the funds now to properly care for one. This is an ongoing project. It's difficult to adopt a younger dog. It's difficult to adopt a smaller dog. These are "in demand" dogs and I can't be everywhere looking for pooches. Size and age is a consideration because I'll be caring for the dog with the help of my mother, who will be the daytime caretaker. She doesn't want to wrangle anything, so size is an issue. I'd also like to train my own dog - so younger is preferable.

On top of all of this, my town has breed bans, so there are a number of dogs I am not even allowed to own. A lot of the dogs I've loved at the refuge have been pit-bulls, and they're on the ban list. A lot of pit-mixes are, which is a shame. I really love them, they're big babies.

So I'm keeping my eyes peeled for dogs that need adopting - but it's hard, people adopt quickly and there are a lot of factors to consider.

My friend C also came down from British-Columbia for nearly 2 weeks. This had me socializing and going out a lot. Probably more than I usually do in half a calendar year.

With my bi-weekly volounteering and some packed weekends, it's just been pretty nuts.

I happen to be online right now because a friend needed me to make a postcard design for her real quick while a printer we use is having a 25% off sale. So here I am, on the inter-webs.

I'll try and make more of an effort to take the time to update, or to sit and write on a given subject.

Wish me luck at living a life,

P.S - No news on TMS, I assume my fax is at the bottom of a pile somewhere.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

New news, continued.

Well, it's been a while.

I started the new job on June 5th and it's been a lot. 

The Monday I started I got home and was just so overwhelmed I could barely stand it. The change of culture, from private to public, the training for the job, the new names and faces, the size and scope of the office, leaving the comfort of the old job, all of it - it hit me that Monday afternoon. 

I was in the archive, having a moment, lost in a spiral. I spiralled pretty hard. There was a lot of worry about whether or not leaving the safety of my old job was smart. If I would be able to cut it at this new job. If I would make it. If I would be fired. If I would go back on unemployment. If I would live with my mother forever. If I was ever going to be able to take care of myself. If I would just curl up and die. 

I felt like I should cry, and desperately wanted to but wasn't able to. It was all just stuck in my throat. 

My first week was a lot. I'm just overwhelmed right now. There's change and there are a lot of questions and there's insecurity and there's a lot of unknowns for which I just need to be patient - not my strength.

In order for my contract to becoming official, I had to take a French oral exam, in order to be classified as "officially" bilingual. If I pass with a C (grading goes, C, B, A, X for a fail and E for exempt) then I'll be "officially" bilingual and will be offered a 1-year contract and should also receive an 800$ raise. 

The test ended up being this past Friday. The whole ordeal gave me a headache. I'm now dependent on those results for an official one year contract. 

I'm just really tired right now.

Overall I'm feeling pretty good about the job itself, it's just been a lot. And I feel like my mind is racing. I'm just trying to take it one day at a time. 

I'm really tired.

I haven't heard back from the hospital about my request for TMS, so that was a build-up and let down as well. I'm just in this weird internalized place that I can't really get out of. Sometimes I feel like I need a hard re-start.