Friday, January 18, 2019

One Step Forward...


This post contains profanity. If that's something you'd rather avoid, you have been forewarned.

My first instinct is always that mental health issues have no business on a work from home blog, and I try to keep the gloomiest bits away from the Deliver Me blog. If anyone is interested in reading my less filtered thoughts on the subject, those reside on the Crazy Creatives Cheerleading Camp blog. This post will duplicate on Deliver Me, Crazy Creatives, and Horror Harridans Writing Sisterhood.
However, the truth is many people who are interested in working from home wish to do so because they live with mental health challenges. Also, I have seen a lot of positive changes regarding the discussion of psychiatric issues not only since the long-ago days of my youth when I was warned by my father that if it came out that I had ever seen a mental health professional no-one would want to hire me, but even since I finally received a proper diagnosis of type 2 bipolar disorder rather than the vague "depression with anxiety" or the incorrect "adult ADD" sixteen years ago.
I think it is important that the discussion of mental health issues not be hidden away in a musty attic and those stupid mantras like "stop that stinkin' thinkin'" go extinct sooner rather than later. The idea that people who are always happy and upbeat (or can at least pretend to be) are somehow superior needs to be put out to pasture and to fall in a sinkhole. Behaving as if people who are depressed can just "snap out of it" and are a burden or "seeking attention" for being unable to do so causes self-loathing, which helps nothing. It also sometimes gets people killed. This is an attitude that needs to be gone.


As I mentioned previously, I have type 2 bipolar disorder rather than unipolar depression, but I don't tend to need a lot of encouragement when I'm euthymic or hypomanic, so I tend to address the depression component.
I rapid-cycle. The pattern changed a bit after I went through menopause. Each state used to last for about ten days at a time. They last a bit longer now that I don't have such extreme fluctuations in hormones. 
I prefer being in a euthymic state even though I can be super-productive when hypomanic. I can also be all over the place and therefore not terribly productive when hypomanic. I had been euthymic for a while, and then things slipped into hypomania. I knew I probably had trouble coming on when I started feeling irritable. That's often a sign that things are about to go south, and I don't mean that I'm about to head down to the Southern states and visit the places where my favorite Southern rock bands got their start while eating plenty of good barbecue. (That's a bucket list thing.) I mean that any positivity I have is about to be hammered by a landslide straight down the highway to hell, and I don't mean I'm about to take a journey on the astral plane and have tea with my favorite musicians who have traveled to the other side.
Sure enough, I woke up the morning after looking in the mirror and realizing that I was starting to hate the face looking back at me instead of being able to look at myself and simply say "well, there I am." I am well aware that no-one thinks I'm any kind of raging beauty, and I am very glad to give no fucks about that. In fact, my take on having someone compliment my appearance is the same as Ozzy Osbourne's was back in the early '80s when he was voted "sexiest male rocker" on a poll in one of the music magazines. Ozzy said: "I find the idea that people think I'm sexy fucking hilarious." That's how I feel about it too. I'm the anti-fashion chick and not even in the same Universe as sexy, let alone the same zip code, and I stopped giving a damn a long time ago and couldn't be happier. 
In any case, when I start hating the face I see in the mirror rather than being neutral about it, I know I'm on a downhill slide. And, indeed, I woke up wishing an asteroid would hit me and end my misery once and for all. I thought:  "here I go, about to lose every advancement I made while I was doing well." My imagination was in the toilet, my desire to work with any survey or GPT sites was lying out on the lawn with a bottle of Night Train beside its unconscious body, and I reflected on the fact that I'm in my 50s and living in poverty, which is not something that anyone wants to say about themselves. My "fuck 'em all" attitude was whimpering in the corner and I was filled with self-loathing and hopelessness.
There has been a trend of discussing "self-care" recently. I will admit that I loathe this term, but I can't think of a better one, so we'll roll with it. The "self-care" movement seems to be divided into two camps: those who think that "self-care" involves foo-foo coffee drinks and bubble bath and getting your nails done, and those who think that "self-care" means putting your goddamn nose to the goddamn grindstone and doing all the shit that you don't want to do but need to do anyway, you goddamn weenie. 
I honestly can't say that I find either of these approaches particularly effective. One is impractical and the other leads to self-loathing. I rather appreciate my son's hyperbolic take on self-care, and I will share that here.
My son said there is a certain faction of individuals, many of them who are on Tumblr, whose definition of self-care is: "if you want to shit on the floor, you should go ahead and shit on the floor. You do you!" 
This approach is self-serving and does nothing to actually make your life better. It simply relives a momentary urge by a bratty inner child. 
The second approach is to say: "If you ever shit on the floor, you are nothing but a goddamn loser who can't control your bowels, and you might as well jump off a cliff, you fucking asshole, because you'll never be any damn good!"
That approach isn't very effective either. It only leads to ignoring your own needs and hating yourself.
The third approach is to say: "Hey, Man, if you shit on the floor, don't beat yourself up about it. Shit happens. But the sooner you clean up the shit, the better you'll feel. You don't want to leave shit just lying around attracting flies."
In other words, acknowledge your issues and work with yourself to try and create a positive atmosphere. Praise yourself for small triumphs. Maybe getting the allegorical shit off the floor is all you're able to accomplish on some days. Acknowledge that you got the shit off the floor and now things are a little bit better because you took action. Go you!
I had a night where everything was going wrong and the icing on the cake was looking and seeing that my gas gauge was below a quarter tank. I decided against going to work because I was in a truly odious mood. With my job, I'm not on a given schedule. If I show up and log into the app, I work. If I don't show up, I'm not penalized. 
I was beating myself up for being a loser and not going to work. I really didn't feel like going to work last night either. But I went in for a short shift. People were happy to see me, and I felt better because I managed to go to work.
I'll never be a "real go-getter." I do very poorly with 9-5 jobs because I always end up depressed to the point of non-functional. I can no longer do extreme physical work, which I did for many years, because I start feeling weak, dizzy, and confused fairly quickly. But I can still work, and I can continue working to create other sources of income outside of the traditional paths. It won't happen overnight, but it won't happen at all if I don't keep trying.
I think I'm back on track. Hopefully, there won't be a big mountain of bullshit in my path to bust my groove anytime soon.

Always Keep Fighting,
Cie



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