Thursday, October 31, 2013

Psychology Application


Below you will find my personal statement for my psychology program applications:
One of the things so bad about depression and bipolar disorder is that if you don’t have prior awareness, you don’t have any idea what hit you. ~Kay Refield Jamison
My mind was racing and my palms were sweating as I sat down to take my oral exams at the University of Notre Dame.  I hadn’t really slept in weeks.  Fueled on little but caffeine and an unreal rush of energy, I would later learn was mania, I gripped the table in front of me and tried not to throw up.  I knew everything, had memorized every reference, and took every outlandish studying cliché to heart.  All the facts were floating in front of me just waiting to be plucked from the air.  Now was the moment of truth.  With my mind whirling in a ten different directions, I fought to control myself, listen to the questions being asked, and speak clearly, as speaking slowly was no longer a possibility for me.  For forty-five minutes my committee questioned me about the 19th and 20th century American religious history and for those forty-five minutes I thrived.  Completely un-medicated and unaware I was bipolar, I had no idea the hell the next few years had in store for me.  At that moment, all I knew was that I had become a doctoral candidate.  I had arrived.
            Now, fast forward past a successful dissertation proposal, a flurry of fellowship and grant applications, and a fully funded month in Europe during which I discussed my work at two different international conferences to the beginning of my fifth year.  I was teaching classes at Indiana University South Bend, and dissertating while attending therapy for anxiety issues when I began noticing that I was sleeping ten to fifteen hours at a time.  My therapist, a young psychologist, assured me this was normal, but I knew something was wrong, just not what.  I normally ran on very little sleep and, suddenly, slumber was all I cared about.  By December, my problems had become more serious.  A minor relationship hiccup manifested itself in what I would later learn was a dissociate episode and something close to hysteria.  Combined with the inability to pull myself back together was a complete loss of my once prolific productivity.  It was as if my creativity, my drive, everything that defined me had, like a light switch, been turned off.  By January, I was sitting in the school psychiatrist’s office having scored a 25 out of 26 on a depression inventory.  I was considering suicide, and, if I had been a little healthier and capable of rational thought, I might have wondered where the girl who powered through her exams, proposal, and grant applications had gone.
            For the next year and a half, my psychiatrist saw me on a monthly basis, diagnosed me as bipolar, and found the proper drug regiment to stabilize me.  Slowly at first, and then suddenly, like a breath of fresh air, I returned to myself, and yet, the person who existed prior to the diagnosis had changed.  At first, I fought with the stigma.  “I’m bipolar,” I’d think.  “Something is wrong with the way my brain works.”  Due to the embarrassment and shame I felt, for a time, I hid unwilling to share my experience with others.  Until, finally, in the midst of my self-imposed exile I came the realization my brain chemistry was not a death sentence to my productivity or my ability to contribute as a member of society.  In fact, in some ways, my being bipolar better equipped me to help others.  Because with the diagnosis and proper medications come understanding and empathy.  Psychological principles such as mindfulness and behavioral regulation suddenly took on a new meaning, and I wanted to help others struggling with mental illness which brings me to this application.
            My goal now, at the age of the thirty, is to pursue a life of studying mental illness and applying what I have learned to help others.  In particular my research interests center on how anxiety issues, ruminations, and obsessive thinking intersect with unipolar depression and mood disorders.  If accepted into the clinical psychology program, I will dedicate myself to pursuing the mission of the University of Kentucky’s psychology department.  I will communicate the knowledge of psychology to undergraduates through teaching positions, to scholars through my research, and to my patients through therapy.  I will research and develop new knowledge in the field of psychology in order to better meet the needs of my community, and finally to apply what I have learned through the wisdom and guidance of my academic advisers to the needs of others.  In sum, if accepted into this program, I will dedicate myself to life of service.

Halloween: Boo!

I hate, and I mean hate, The Addams Family.  That television show scared me when I was small and I still find it creeping and annoying, like Disney's Haunted Mansion which my parents took me on when I was four.  Why is Halloween so fucking creepy?  I hate it.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Yuck!!

This was my reaction to the sticky toddlers I had to babysit this morning.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Insult to Injury

Also, just to complicate matters and add insult to injury, allow me to point out that: There is one program in Indiana I am a fucking shoe in for but guess what?  I can't apply there because His Awfulness happens to live and work there.  So fuck me.  Yeah, I know.  I hear you. I could apply anyway and just ignore him, but its not in my nature.  I'll move back to that city when hell freezes over!  I'm nothing if not committed to my refusal to deal with him.

Answers NOW Please

I have sent out a shit ton of emails tonight asking various and sundry questions about graduate school applications. And, okay, yeah, sure, many of these emails went out about two hours ago, but that doesn't change the fact I need answers. NOW.  Not later. NOW.  Do you people have any concept, even a remote idea, of the kind of stress I am under?  Come July, I have no freaking idea where I am gonna live.  None.  I need more than a plan of action.  I need fucking income and quick.  I'm not a nice person at the moment.  In fact, I'm probably not a sane one either.  Give me my fucking answers and nobody gets hurt!

Wine FOR Dinner

Listen Folks, Yours Truly is hanging by a thread here.  No, seriously, my sanity is slipping.  Case in point, I had wine for dinner.  Not wine WITH dinner.  Wine FOR dinner.  This day needs to officially end.  And, just so you know, I have no sympathy for other people's problems at the moment: SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Wide Awake and Waiting

It is going on 2a.m. and my email obsessive adviser has yet to reply to my message.  As a result, I am laying awake, wide eyed and nervous.  Technically, I'm not positive she can actually do anything to me because my co-chair has already bestowed his blessing.  But I'm nervous nonetheless.  There's nothing like uprooting your entire life to make a person rather uneasy.  I just need her to answer.  Of course, when she finally does, I'll slam my laptop shut without reading her reply because I'm scared to read her reaction.  She's the nicest person...but you never know. I keep imagining her replying: "Curse your surprising, but inevitable betrayal" except not in a funny.

It Can't Be Quantified

"I remember everything. I remember too much. And some of it's made up, and some of it can't be quantified, and there's secrets, and..."  Tonight, I told my adviser I'm leaving my University in May.  Now, here I sit waiting, nervously, on her reply and thinking about the past couple of years.  Coming out of the closet, so to speak, about being bipolar hasn't been easy.  My close friends have been super supportive, but other reactions have been less than comforting.  And I'm left wondering whether I will ever be whole again.  Whether my life will come back together.  Because right now, everything is in shambles.  Like River Tam, minus the super powers, I remember everything.  I remember too much.  And some of it's made up, and some of it can't be quantified, and there's secrets.

Nobody Cares!

This is how I react to other people's success at the moment.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Can't Break Free

"It's about a girl who gets turned into a swan and she needs love to break the spell, but her prince falls for the wrong girl so she kills herself." ~Black Swan.  Dear Lord, help me.  Its a Xanax night.  No, seriously, this Lady is coming unglued.  The obsessive thoughts have taken hold and I can't break free.  What happens if I don't find a job by this July?  What if no psychology program will accept me?  What if I never get over him?  I've got no answers and there's no fixing me at the moment.  The best I can hope for is sleep.  Sadly enough, it should have been a good day.  I attended to a rockin' Halloween party and successfully made a Jack Skellington pumpkin.  He's awesome...  Now sleep.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Guess Who!

Guess who might have a paid internship to plaster onto her psychology program applications?!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Doom and Gloom

The weather is gloomy and so am I.  Nothing worked out the way I'd hoped.  Not graduate school.  Not the job market.  Not him.  I hate that I'm still hurting over all this, especially him.  I never get over things easily, no matter how hard I may try.  I guess all I can do is wait it out.   Eventually, I'll heal.  Find a new career path.  Move on.

Unread Email: Scared

Admitting you are bipolar never gets easier, or at least, it doesn't for me.  Things have been rough going lately, Folks.  I am applying to psychology programs in December and leaving my Phd program this May while balancing "playing the game" in my current program long enough to keep my health insurance.  In order to fund this little venture and then get a job (psychologists are somewhat in demand; at least more so than historians) I had to email my former adviser from undergrad.  Now keep in mind, said Adviser is the nicest guy you'll ever meet.  He has always been my advocate, but he doesn't know I'm bipolar or I'm leaving my program....so last night I emailed him, admitted the truth, and asked the questions I needed answering.

1.) Do you admit being bipolar in a personal statement?

2.) Would he write me a letter?


3.) Is studying mood disorders out of fashion these days (i.e., do I need to pick another topic?)


And, guess what?  My kind Undergraduate Mentor emailed me back at 5am this morning.  But here's the catch.  I cannot bring myself to open his email.  I've just got no idea what it says and, maybe he's kindly told me to forget getting a degree in psychology and go on with my life.  I dunno.  Maybe he's said if I couldn't hack it at Notre Dame then why would I be able to get a degree in a different field.  Or maybe he's just answered my questions and everything is fine.  The problem isn't with him.  Its with me.  I admitted two scary things: A.) I'm bipolar and B.) I'm leaving Notre Dame.  So here I sit with an unread email.  I guess I'll just go back to sleep.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Move Up, Moron!

This is exactly how I feel when dumb-ass drivers refuse to pull into the intersection when making a left turn.  Pull up, Moron!  (If you can't tell its been a long couple of days)...its also the look I wear after dealing with colleagues or my adviser.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Jobless and Sad

So this is what being jobless feels  like (and without family money to pay for school)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

This One's For You

So, according to my therapist, the fact that I respond to any mention of He Who Shall Not Be Named with anger and disgust is normal and healthy.  That's right, I'm talking about the bastard that played with my head while I was sick.  For the longest time, I blamed myself for his actions.  If I had been better, prettier, smarter, something more, he'd have treated me right.  Of course, that's bullshit.  He was NEVER gonna treat me right.  He can't.  Maybe not because he's a bad person but because he's an incomplete one.  Someone who isn't strong enough to just be a real friend or let me go.  Instead, he strung along a bipolar chick and never felt remorse.  My friends assure me I dodged a bullet...and that they didn't like him to begin with...so that's good.  But tonight, I still feel anger and hurt.  Hurt because he never even apologized and anger because I let it go on so long.  These middle fingers are for you, Pal! 

Can You?

“There’s always going to be part of me that’s sloppy and dirty, but I like that. Can you say the same thing about yourself?"

Friday, October 18, 2013

My Reaction

You Think I'm Crazier than You?!

How I feel when I look back and think about him: You think I'm crazier than you?

You Know Blue Moon

Money is beyond tight.  I have yet to find a job.  And my car is quite literally coming apart at the seams: clogged air conditioning line, problems accelerating, check engine light flashing, a broken shifter, and my bumper is duct-taped to onto the frame.  Oh, and my great uncle died today.  Peachy.  The hits just keep on coming and I am left wondering at what point do I take to the streets and start screaming?  The human mind can only endure so many traumas, so says, Jasmine (see above), a woman who rambles nonsensically to herself and anyone who will listen, mumbling: "Blue moon was playing...you know blue moon."

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Losing Control: Blue Jasmine

"You choose losers because that’s what you think you deserve and that’s why you’ll never have a better life."

Traumas: Out of Time





















"Anxiety, nightmares, and a nervous breakdown.  There's only so many traumas a person a can withstand before they take to the streets and start screaming."  

When the similarities between your life and onscreen portrayals of heartache combined with mental illness wax too familiar you begin to ask what's going on.  Personally, I did a double take and reassessed just what type of film I'm living in here: A Painful/Enlightening Romance Comedy (Silver Linings Playbook) or a Tragedy (Blue Jasmine).  Now, that is an important distinction, my Friends.  Believe me. Because here's the deal, Guys: David Russell's Tiffany Maxwell, a character who ends up happy and in love in Silver Linings Playbook, is not norm.  No, that isn't what usually happens to people with fucked up personal lives and a severe mood disorder.  Instead, the reality is much closer to Woody Allen's ending of Blue Jasmine, a film in which Cate Blanchett, Jasmine, is out of options.  In the final scene, she sits alone on a street corner talking to herself.  She is officially out of time both literally and figuratively.  Nothing is going to work her.  She ruined or squandered all her options.  The scene harkens back to Elia Kazan's final scenes  of Streetcar  Named Desire when a physically and mentally broken Vivien Leigh admits: "I've always had to depend on the kindness of strangers."  So what film am I in? I dunno.  Let's be realistic.  We don't live in films.  Our lives are not that poetic.  We live and die and the world spins on.  But I can admit that Russell, Allen, and Kazan's films bring me both comfort and heartache.  Comfort because I see a similarity in experience I am often bereft of otherwise.  And heartache because if I'm honest I look at my happy, well adjusted friends with their happy well adjusted relationships and want to cry.  I think I'm out of time...and "for some reason, my Xanax isn't working."

Monday, October 14, 2013

My Sentiments Exactly


Sums It All Up

"You may not have experienced the shit I did, but you loved hearing about it didn't you?  You're afraid to be alive.  You're afraid to live.  You're a hypocrite.  You're a conformist.  You're a liar.  I opened up to you and you judged me.  You're an asshole.  YOU'RE AN ASSHOLE."

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Roar

Guess what Guys? = ) Finally, after two years, I know I am gonna be okay.  Things that have been foggy for so long are so freakin' clear.  Yep, I let some idiot push me way past my breaking point, and, each and every time, rather than calling him on his shit, I cried.  Everyone, and I mean everyone, told me to cut my losses.  My friends used all the cliches: "He ain't worth it."  "You can do way better." "We don't think you're thinking clearly here."  "This isn't you."  "You didn't want him two years ago.  Why now?" "We can't see what you see in him."  "He's an awful person.  Why?"  And I'd just cry and wonder what I had done wrong?  Nothing that's what!  I did nothing wrong.  And I forget that sometimes.  Because here's the deal.  If he was even my friend, he'd had treated me better (the Christmas cookies I made him still make me cringe).  He wouldn't have played with me during a depressive episode.  Not when I was so sick I nearly killed myself.  He would have had a fucking soul.  He doesn't.  Good luck with that!  This is the one and only time you guys will see me define my experience by a Katy Perry Song.  But here it is.  When some bastard fucks you over.  Don't cry.  Roar.

I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath
Scared to rock the boat and make a mess
So I sat quietly, agreed politely
I guess that I forgot I had a choice
I let you push me past the breaking point
I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything

You held me down, but I got up 
Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice, you hear that sound
Like thunder gonna shake the ground
You held me down, but I got up
Get ready cause I’ve had enough
I see it all, I see it now

I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire
Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar
Louder, louder than a lion
Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Freedom from Case Nightmare Green

Slowly but surely I am heading into a new phase of my life: The meds are working.  I am healing.  The extra weight is coming off. (Fun Fact: With each Bipolar Episode, Carrie Fisher's (i.e., Princess Leia) weight balloons up and then falls backs off, a phenomenon I am beginning to understand)  The heartbreak is easing.  I am becoming whole again.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I am still OCD.  I still have my swinging moments, going up and then down again so fast I think I might vomit.  And yeah, he remains my own personal Boogeyman, but, even that aspect of my life is calming down.  Because I know he's the Boogeyman and there's power in that realization.  So much has been changing for me.  When I started this blog I was at the beginning of a terrible Depressive Episode, heartsick for someone that hurt me terribly, and a general mess, but I am not that person anymore.  And, lately, I am wondering how much longer this blog will last.  I am not ready to give it up yet.  Yours Truly isn't quite healthy enough for that, but, I think, in the not so distant future I will be ready to give birth to something new, and let Case Nightmare Green become a painful but distant memory.  Because here's the deal: Everything I've written on here, about him, about me, about mental illness, its all true.  And I meant every word of it, the kind ones, the lovesick ones, the crazy ones, and the angry rants, but, now, I want to leave so much of that behind.  So for now, Case Nightmare Green goes on, but only with the knowledge that in time a new blog will be born, one that's still bipolar, but free of the nightmares.