I’m cautiously optimistic, and I’m trying not to get too hopeful

I had an interview on Tuesday, and it went really well. Funny part of the whole thing was after I had the interview they created the job that I had to apply for. I’m tentatively supposed to meet with the higher-ups next week, I just haven’t heard when yet. In many respects it seems like this position is being created around my experience and education, but I’m trying not to get too hopeful that this is going to work out. I’ve been let down too many times.

But it’s hard to not get excited about the mere prospect of not only a job, but a job in my field, in a branch that I would love to get involved in, that not only is relevant to my MBA, but also my biochemistry degree. This seems like a match made in heaven, right?

I don’t want to get ahead of myself here.

But for the first time I have hope, which is something I haven’t had for a long time. To be honest I’m not quite sure what to do. I’m part a ball of anxiety, part general nervousness, part hope, and part preparing for disappointment. I’m hoping to hear something tomorrow about scheduling the next interview.

If/when anything happens, I’ll keep you posted.

This waiting isn’t good for me though. I immediately jump to worst case scenario. I assume I’m not going to get the job. So while part of me is feeling hopeful, part of me is preparing to be completely let down. It’s an internal battle and neither side is gaining and retaining ground. As soon as one side starts to pull ahead in the battle, the other side resurges and gets that land back. I can’t win.

The worst battlefields in the world are in people’s brain.

I need to have confidence in myself, in my talents, in my skills. I need to believe that something will come along. I need to hope that when something does come along that it’s going to be worth the wait of the last two years since I graduated.

I’ve just had so much disappointment over the last few years. I’m scared to let myself feel hopeful.

Let’s talk it out

I’ve talked before about all of the things I regret in life. But there’s nothing for that now. What’s done is done. All I can do at this point is try to make the best of a bad situation, right? Er… right. Well, at least I can try.

Let’s get down to it, shall we?

I can always go back to working in a lab. Yes, I hate it. No, it isn’t what I want to do, but we’re getting to the point where I may not have a choice. At least working in a lab I can get a decent salary, and I’ll probably have to work another part time job. Ok, cool. That could work. It’s definitely an option.

But I guess what I really want to – no, need to figure out, is what I really want to do with my life, my education, and where I want to do it.

At the end of the day, I’m not against moving for the right job. Mike isn’t thrilled about the idea, but he knows that it’s not off of the table. What I’d like is a low cost of living city that’s a decent size, with a growing job market. I want a city that the bands we like will travel to. That there’s cultural things to do – the opera, musicals, symphony, art. While Mike, I’m sure, would like to stay closer to our families, I’m not going to let myself be hindered by that. If it’s a good job in a good city, I’m going to apply.

But what do I really want to do? I like the operations side of business – supply chain, stock movement, labor forces, etc. But what’d I’d really like to do is work for a non-profit that deals with anything from women’s rights, science in politics, healthcare advocacy, animal rights and treatment. A friend of mine and I joked back in February when her position took a hit that we should start our own non-profit. Honestly, I wouldn’t be adverse to that. Maybe it’s something to work toward in the future.

But at this point? I’m not going to be picky. I just need a job. And I need one that’s not going to cause my mental health to suffer. Good luck, right?

I was definitely pretty low there

Welcome back.

I reread my last entry, as well as the few messages I got regarding it, and realized just how low I was. Mike and I talked for a long time about everything I wrote about and everything that was going on.

I didn’t realize how bad I perceived things to be. I’m not going to say that I don’t believe everything I wrote last time, because in many ways I do, but… I tend to be very fatalistic and look at things from a very negative standpoint. I don’t regret my education. Far from it – it has opened a lot of doors and exposed me to a lot of different things I never would have ever even encountered otherwise. But sometimes it’s really hard to look at something that you put so much work into, so much money into, and so much literal blood sweat and tears into, only to see no payoff from it.

I think the hardest thing I wrestle with is that for so many years I’ve worked so hard, and overcame so much, to achieve so much, only to watch people that have done nothing but screw up, screw around, and half-ass everything, only to have everything absolutely handed to them. As unfair as it sounds, to me they don’t deserve it. People that screwed their way through college, drinking every night and missing class, barely passing making 6 figures because Daddy got them an internship at his golf buddy’s company. It’s not jealousy, it’s not that I really even covet their success. But I want my own. And it’s hard to watch people get what they really don’t deserve.

God, that sounds so catty and jealous, but I was always told as a kid that if you work hard, success will come. That’s all I’ve done for the last 20 years. I feel like I’ve been lied to my whole life. I grew up in the 80s when the mantra was “you can be anything you want.”

Bull. Shit.

I’m just frustrated. But after talking to Mike I’m trying to stay positive, and really make sure my resume is out there. I’ve been spending 4 nights a week plus multiple days on my lunch break either paging through Indeed and savings jobs, or applying for jobs. I am going to turn things around. I am going to be successful. I am going to make my own way.

It will happen eventually. I have to believe that. Because if I don’t…. I think I’d just give up.

New year, new me?

I’m normally not one that’s big on New Year’s resolutions. But I need to make some changes in my life, and New Year’s seemed like as good a time as any.

So I quit smoking. I did switch to vaping, but my intention is by the end of the year to be off of that too. I started at a lower nicotine level than I probably should have, but so far so good. Haven’t had a cigarette since the first. Go me. I know some people will say that that’s not really quitting blah blah blah. But I quit this way before when every other method I tried failed miserably. My doc and my shrink on board, it’s time to do it. It helps that Mike and I are doing it together.

I need to lose weight. I’m overweight, and I carry all of it between my middle and my knees. I feel like I’m waving a welcome sign for type 2 diabetes. So grocery shopping today wasn’t buying the crap we normally consume. I bought salmon, a butt load of chicken breast, avocados, a ton of fruit and vegetables, whole grains. I’m going to do this. I’m not getting any younger (as the turn of the year made me realize I’ll be 37 this year), and I realized I don’t want to be like my family. I love them all dearly, but they’re all overweight with a ton of medical problems. I need to get this in hand. Now.

I finally took my shrink’s advice and started CBD oil to try and help with my anxiety. I went with the vaping route since I was doing that anyway, and also the research I did said you get a higher bioavailability if you vape it versus using it as a tincture.

I need to get healthy, I need to get my shit in order, and I need to get a new job. I need to make a concerted effort to do all of these things. No more screwing around. Time to get serious about my health, mental health, and physical well-being. I am the first to admit that since the depressive episode in 2017 my mood has been much more stable. I feel more grounded. The bipolar tendencies are mostly under control. For the first time in a long time, I actually feel stable. I think quitting that toxic job has a lot to do with it, as well as finally being on medication that actually works. But my anxiety, I recently told Mike that’s become like an old friend I take everywhere with me. I always have a low level of anxiety simmering in the background. And then it spikes. And I want to crawl in a corner and die.

I did email my therapist. I haven’t seen him in a few months, but I think now is as good as time as ever to get back into it. I think everyone assumed that when I quit my job my anxiety would magically disappear. To a degree it did, but in other ways, it’s worse. It’s almost like my body and my brain don’t know what to do now that they’re not under constant stress, so the anxiety just simmers in the background like it’s waiting to be called on.

I need to change. This is my commitment for the year. New year, new me. I’m done screwing around.


Most people assume that their life will progress on a linear track – go to the right school, marry the right person, get the right job, have kids, get promoted a few times, retire. But for a lot of us, especially those of us with mental illness, our lives are full of starts and stops, jumps, regressions. Breaks for self-care. Times when taking a lower paying job was a necessity. Times when taking a step back from life becomes life-saving.

But I think that sometimes that’s a hard thing to process. Sometimes you need to take a step back, reassess your priorities, and take a new path. But what new path?

I’m going to be honest, I don’t know what the hell I’m doing with my life. I don’t know where to go or what to do. I’m spinning my wheels and I just don’t know what’s next. I look at job postings and think ‘yeah, ok, maybe,’ but nothing really makes me say yes, that’s the job that I want. I guess that my next job doesn’t have to be The Job, but I’d like to have some direction in my life. Or at least feel like I have some direction in my life.

This whole state of affairs is not really great for my mental health situation. I’m stressed, I feel like a failure, I feel like I’ve let everyone that’s supported me down.

I had Mike hang up my diploma in a place where I see it every day to remind myself that you did it, you have an MBA, now it’s time to use it. To remind me of my accomplishment.

I don’t know. I honestly don’t anymore.

Anxiety lies

There’s been a lot of posts on Facebook and Instagram recently (at least on the pages that I follow, which to be fair there’s more than a few about mental health) about anxiety and how it doesn’t look like a lot of people expect it to. Even when I first got the “official” anxiety diagnosis a year or so, I didn’t realize that a lot of the things that I was experiencing could be attributed to anxiety. Headaches, upset stomach and digestion problems, irritability, insomnia, jumpiness, anticipating the worst (I honestly thought that this was a bipolar thing, which it very well might be, but I personally think it’s the anxiety).

But how can you trust yourself when your brain is constantly lying to you? Telling you that you’re not good enough, making up scenarios with absolutely no evidence and then convincing you to believe them (things like your husband is cheating on you while you’re at work, that everyone is just pretending to be your friend and they really can’t stand you, and on and on and on), making you reinterpret things that happened into something totally different.

My anxiety, at least, gives me these really dark, fucked up thoughts. These are not rooted in any kind of reality, but these are the things that my brain has convinced me are legitimate fears, no matter how times I’m told these are not going to happen.

***This is going to get a little graphic, so feel free to skip this paragraph if you have a weak stomach.***

We have an alarm system on the house. Not because we’re worried about things getting stolen, but because I’m convinced that someone is going to break into the house and mutilate, maim, and disembowel the cats and hang their bodies on the wall. I know, this is totally fucked up and has no root in reality, but this is one of my greatest fears. Not many people know about this, but the ones that do all agree that this is one of the most fucked up things that they’ve ever heard and very not likely to actually happen.

I know that. I know this is irrational. But I can’t make it go away.

***It’s safe to start reading again***

I’ve talked about these dark thoughts in therapy (and believe me, this isn’t the only one, but probably the most common for me), and the best solution we’ve come up with is to acknowledge them, understand that this is not reality, and try to move on.

Yeah, easier said than done.

What people don’t realize is that when your own brain is the one that’s lying to you, it becomes really hard to differentiate what is real and what isn’t. Mike and I have played the Real or Not Real game a few times when I really need help sorting through these thoughts. Sometimes they get so bad that I really can’t make sense of things.

I wish that there was a better course of action other than the “acknowledge, understand, move on” bullshit, because I have to tell you, sometimes this is almost impossible. Please don’t take this as bragging, but I’d like to think that I’m a fairly intelligent person. Which makes not being able to trust myself that much harder. I hate it all. I don’t wish this on anyone.

Anxiety lies, and she is also a cruel mistress.

This was the right decision

I quit my job almost three weeks ago now. It’s amazing the change. My mental health is more stable, my stomach and intestinal problems have just about gone away, my hair has stopped falling out, and I’ve lost ten pounds.

But my mood… oh my God I had forgotten what it was like to feel this good. I actually called my shrink the other day because I thought I was getting a little hypomanic-y. He told me he didn’t think so – I’m just feeling “normal.” I’m still sleeping normally, eating normally, not talking fast, not starting any crazy new projects, not irritable, none of my normal signs. I just feel… good. It’s scary.

Which got me to thinking – how screwed up is that I don’t know what it feels like to truly feel good? As soon as my mood goes up, I immediately start to worry that we’re on the edge of a hypomanic (if not full out manic) episode. I’m well aware that my normal “baseline” mood is kind of apathetic. I go through the motions, not depressed, but just kind of plugging along. But as soon as my mood starts to shift up I start to panic. Why shouldn’t I be happy? Why would I not deserve to be happy? I think that’s the problem I’m really wrestling with.

At the end of the day, I feel like a failure. I know I’ve accomplished a lot in my life, I shouldn’t feel like it’s been a colossal disaster. I know that disease that’s inside my brain has warped my thinking to make me feel that way. I know that that’s not true, it’s not reality. But I can’t seem to convince my brain of that.

It’s still a war I’m fighting every day, even under the guise of “stability.” It’s a war that seems like it will never end. But all I can do is keep soldiering on, hoping that things will get better. But how do you win a war that’s being waged inside your own head?

I did it

I quit my job. God, I feel so liberated. The stress immediately melted off. My anxiety was reduced to almost nothing. My mental health almost immediately rebounded. I feel SO MUCH better.

Granted, things are going to be a little tight until I find a new one, but we decided that ultimately my mental health was more important than a paycheck. I think we both knew that I was on the verge of a breakdown. I had told my psychiatrist earlier in the week that my mood felt very brittle. I was soldering through and maintaining, but it wouldn’t have taken me much to break. And it was going to be a big break. Bigger than last year. And I couldn’t have told you which direction it was going to go.

So we talked, and I sent an email.

It’s done. And it feels. So. Good.

I had forgotten what it was like to be out from under all of that stress. I feel human again. I’m sleeping better, I’m eating better, I feel like a new person.

The last week has been filled with getting our ducks in a row, but starting tomorrow the job hunt begins full throttle.

Regrets and the current state of affairs

I have a lot of regrets, and if I’m really being honest, I’m not happy with the direction my life has taken up to this point. But, I’ve started working on changing that – really knuckling under and making time to look for a new job, trying to get my finances in order, etc. But at the end of the day, yeah, I’m not happy. Not in the slightest.

I shouldn’t have gone back to college in the first place. I should have done the smart thing and gone to a trade school to be a mechanic or a welder or something along those lines. Going back and getting a 4-year degree is one of the biggest regrets of my life. It put me tens (that’s an under-exaggeration if ever I heard one) of thousands of dollars in debt. I don’t really care for the field I’m in. And when I wanted to change jobs, it was more of the same kind of place that I’m currently working. And I don’t want to do this anymore. My second regret is going back and getting an MBA. I fully understand that that is literally the only hope I have of getting out of the field I’m currently in, but yet again, more debt. But at the end of the day, everything related to my education I regret. A lot.

I shouldn’t regret getting an education. It should be something I’m proud of. But all I can think of is the debt that comes along with it, and the lack of success I’ve had finding a job. And I really think I should have just gone to be a mechanic and have been done with it. But that’s not something you do in my family. Everyone goes to college. It’s just how it is. And when I dropped out of Pitt, I felt a lot of pressure for the next three years to go back and finish. I wish I would have told them all to go hang.  I think that in the long run, I would have been a lot happier. Definitely a lot less stressed. Dear College Education, I shouldn’t have done you. You were a waste of time, money, and effort. I shouldn’t have listened to my family and instead did something totally different. Maybe I’d be no better off, but I wouldn’t have all of this debt. Or stuck in this godforsaken job. Maybe it would be another godforsaken job, but it wouldn’t be this one.

Between the house and our cars, we’ve had a number of things go wrong in the past year, and everything ended up getting put onto credit cards. We didn’t have a choice – we needed a new furnace/AC, we had to get the roof fixed, Mike’s car needed a couple thousand in repairs, the list goes on. But it’s put us in a bad spot right now. But I’m working on fixing it, and I’m starting to make some progress, but it’s going to be a long road.

I hate to even say this, but sometimes I regret staying with Mike. It’s not that I feel that I’d be better off alone, but more along the lines of he wouldn’t be saddled with me and all of my issues. And to be honest, there really are times when I would just rather be alone. I know that sounds selfish and kind of insane – I have a supportive partner that loves me and treats me well, why would I want to give that up? Sometimes I think it’s because then the only life I’d be screwing up would be my own and I wouldn’t be dragging him along for the ride to hell. He doesn’t deserve it.

I sometimes wonder what it would be like to be happy. I mean really, genuinely happy with life and the direction it’s going. I look at people I know that seemed to have gotten everything they’ve wanted, and I have to wonder if they’re even happy with that? Or do they just keep wanting more? Another promotion, a bigger house, another kid. Where and when does it end?

My mood these days is… brittle. Maybe that’s not the right word, but it’s all I can come up with. Generally, it’s fine (ok, my anxiety is still pretty bad, but that’s mostly manageable), but it feels as though one good hit and it’s going to break. Nothing is really wrong, per se… but I feel a little off-kilter. Not really unstable, but more like on uneven footing. A small pebble shifting will cause the whole hillside to go.

I’ll get through it; I always do. I just hate feeling like this. I hate all of it. I just wish I was a typical person that didn’t have to worry about these kinds of things, that didn’t have to feel these kinds of things. That didn’t have to worry that they were on the verge of their life falling apart because of an episode.

I need a new job. And a vacation. And a stiff drink.

The drink I can at least do something about right now. It’s White Russian time.

A little bit of everything – work, music, books, mood, and suicide

I don’t think I’ve ever been so busy in my life. Between the two jobs I’m working between 70 and 80 hours a week. The money is good and is definitely helping our financial situation. But good grief, I’m practically never home. I sleep there. Maybe spend an hour or two trying not to fall asleep before it’s time for bed so I can spend some time with Mike or getting caught up on email, or both at the same time.

We have made some time over the last few weeks to see a few concerts – The Wrecks (who if you’ve never heard of them go give them a listen) toured with The Stolen and The Orphan The Poet (who have both made it into the music rotation in the car and at work), and then Thirty Seconds To Mars toured with practically all of the big bands from Sirius’s AltNation. Both great shows. We first encountered The Wrecks about 18 months ago at a Nothing But Thieves show, and I’ve kept up with them since. They’ve easily become one of my favorite bands, and we dragged my brother and a few friends to the show. Good time was had by all. The Thirty Seconds to Mars show was just me and Mike, which was nice having some time that was just us. Despite a few annoyances due to the weather and a few of the people around us we had a really good time. Walk the Moon absolutely killed it; we’ll definitely go see them again if they come around again, headlining or opening.

Despite being busier than all shit and constantly on the move my mood and anxiety haven’t been that bad. There was some drama at my full-time job (I mentioned it last post) but that seems to be over. I got a nice big reprimand, but bottom line I can’t screw up again. I’ve decided between that and some other things that are going on I really need to make a point to find a new job and soon. I need to prioritize the job hunt and get that moving.

Anyway, yeah. My mood has overall been pretty good. I’m tired as hell, but I’m still getting a normal amount of sleep so it’s not like I’m sleep-deprived or not sleeping enough. But this constant motion means I don’t get a lot of downtime.

I need to get back to reading. I was blowing through books for a while there, and I seem to have stalled out on Undeniable by Bill Nye. It’s not that it’s not interesting, it is, I’m just not as engaged with it as I was Neil Degrasse Tyson’s Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. Maybe I need to take a break from the science books and read something a little more fun and one that doesn’t require as much active thinking. Between that and the Truman biography I’m reading, while both interesting, there’s not a lot of “getting lost in the story” kind of thing going on. It probably also doesn’t help that the Nye book isn’t written for people that have a four-year degree in the sciences. It’s written for more of a basic understanding.

I wasn’t going to bring it up, since they’ve been talked about ad nauseum, but someone recently asked me what I thought about the Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. They were horrible. It’s horrible when anyone feels that the only way out of their pain is to kill themselves. Whether it’s an 11-year-old who is being bullied of a 60-year-old fashion designer that seems to have everything. For days after both Facebook and Twitter were full of infographics with suicide statistics and numbers for suicide hotlines. But I know from personal experience that when you’re depressed it is literally the hardest thing in the world to reach out and ask for help. Last August when I was stuck in the pit of despair it took more effort that I knew I had in me at the time to reach out to my psychiatrist and to find a therapist. I had even called the local crisis network and the whole thing was exhausting. And then when it turned out that my psychiatrist was out of town for the next week I couldn’t handle it. Everywhere I reached out I wasn’t able to actually get any help. I wasn’t suicidal so checking myself into the hospital wasn’t an option (believe me, I asked), my shrink was out of town so an emergency appointment and possible med change was out of the question at least until he got back. And I had to wait to go even make an appointment with a therapist (I didn’t have one at the time) until I went through an intake interview. Only one person reached out during that month to see if I was ok. I had basically disappeared from everything, I went to work because I had to, but I did my job and didn’t say much and I found out later that everyone knew something was wrong but no one knew what. Fucking ask. Sometimes just having a person to just talk to can be the best thing in the world when you’re that low. Even if you don’t talk about what’s going on – talk about the latest Marvel movie or the newest episode of Chicago Med. Talk about the fucking weather. Just to have someone engage with you can lift your mood, even temporarily, and make it so you don’t feel like you’re the only person in the world and nobody cares. Just a connection, even for a momnt, to someone else.

I was greatly saddened by both Kate Spade’s and Anthony Bourdain’s passing. One of the things I had promised myself is that when I got a big girl job I was going to buy a Kate Spade bag with my first paycheck (or parts of it, two, and three). And while I wasn’t a religious follower of Anthony Bourdain’s shows, I did watch them when they were on and I wasn’t invested in anything else. But more than anything it makes me sad that a person can feel that much pain and despair.

I’ve heard a number of people say that suicide is the coward’s way out. But I really don’t agree with that. And I’m probably going to get a lot of flak for saying this, but I think that suicide is the act of someone desperate. Desperate to make the pain stop. Desperate for it to end. Not necessarily for their lives to end, but for the way that they feel to end. If you haven’t experienced that kind of soul-crushing depression you can’t understand why someone would see suicide as the only solution. I empathize with them, I sympathize with them, and I can completely understand why someone would think that that’s their only and best option.

It makes my heart hurt to think about someone suffering that much.