#mental health

It’s Been One Week (Since I Had A Beer)

(With apologies to The Barenaked Ladies)

Well, I’ve made it one whole week.  And what a week it was.  As I’ve posted before, the job is causing lots of stress right now.  To quote one of my favorite movies;

drinking

Last night we took the girls for Mexican food. Somehow I had the will power to just have a glass of water and not a Negro Modelo as I usually have with Mexican. It didn’t help the heartburn any though. Today’s grocery shopping will be even more difficult when walking down the beer aisle.

Which leads to this.  Lots of folks have told me when you quit drinking lots of “good” things happen.

  • You’ll sleep better.  Bullshit. I have had more weird dreams in the last week than the rest of my life combined.  It used to be if I dreamed, I didn’t remember them when I awoke. Now, the weirdness just keeps following me all day long. Most of the dreams seem to put me back in the military, but I don’t recognize the locations.  One dream was supposed to have the whole family back in Fort Greely. It was very lush, with palm trees and other tropical like vegetation.  Problem is, Ft. Greely is in Alaska.  Damn near the middle of Alaska.  It’s rather remote (89 miles to the closest McDonalds when we were there). It did reach 95F one summer, for about 15 minutes.  But it was usually about -50F. Needless to say there is no lush tropical vegation. In fact all there is are gnarled pine trees.  And not much snow as it was to cold to snow. Yes that’s a real thing. Too damn cold to snow.
  • Your digestion will be better.  Again, not true.  I have had the worst heartburn for the last week. Now this may have a different cause. My insurance will no long send me Nexium for the usual $9 co-pay, it went up to $40. But, I can get a generic brand for free. So I gave my doctor the list of alternative choices and she picked one. I started that one about two weeks ago, so it may not be working as well, or it’s taking my body some time to adjust. So the jury is still out on this count.
  • Your mind will be clearer.  Clearer than what?  I still sit and stare at my computer at work trying to remember my password. It’s not all that difficult of a password, and I have to use it at least 50 times a day, but still, I sit and ask myself “What’s the password again?”. Not to mention I mistype it constantly. But I never did take typing lessons, so that part is understandable.
  • You’ll have more energy.  Maybe this goes along with the dreams and not sleeping well, but I am dead tired by 2PM every day. That makes going to gym in the evenings just about impossible.
  • Your mood will be better. Seriously? The frustration level is through the roof. (See this post).  Wifey is constantly reminding me to mellow out.  And I need it. It seems the granddaughters and the stupid end-users at work get the brunt of my frustration. Sorry folks.

So having said all that, I still plan on going 30 days or so without beer to see if things clear up (7 days isn’t a long enough time for a valid test). I have dropped two pounds during this week, so maybe it will facilitate some weight/fat loss.  And I’m sure some of this is age. I am getting to that special age where you go to bed just fine and wake up in stage 4 of something or other. As my brother says, “We ain’t spring chickens any more.” (Were we ever?)

I’ve posted the video that I stole the title for this post from below.  I like this song a lot for several reasons.  I really dig the cars; the General Lee from “Dukes of Hazard” and the Grand Torino from “Starskey and Hutch” (complete with requisite hood slide).

I also like the line;

“I wear my mind on my sleeve, I have a history of taking off my shirt.”

I really do feel like I’m losing my mind some (most) of the time.

And what about the line;

“I’m the kinda guy who laughs at a funeral”.

 

At my grandmother’s “viewing” (what a stupid concept – have a wake instead. Get drunk and tell stories. Not just walk up to the casket and say “He/She looks so natural”.  They’re dead. (“He’s dead Jim!” ~ Bones McCoy) Say good-bye and go get a drink, and pour one into the coffin for the dearly departed as well. Can’t hurt.).  Sorry, where was I? Oh yes, my grandmother’s viewing, we were in a small room in the funeral home off to one side. Apparently there was a rather large funeral going on in the main chapel. Even without the booze, a staff member had to come in several times to ask us to keep the laughing down.  We were disturbing the funeral guests.  We were just sitting around telling stories of Nanny, as we called her. Easily the best viewing of all time, hands down, if we had some booze we would probably been asked to leave.  Hell, I’ve been thrown out of better establishments. I can’t wait for someone to say “He looks so natural” when I’m dead. I plan on being cremated, so if an urn of ashes looks “natural”, then I’m worse off than I thought.

So I present to you The Barenaked Ladies and “One Week”, enjoy! (And I can’t understand half the words either…)

I think somebody should have made me sign a waiver or something before I started this.

Peace,
B

 

Elon Musk Are You Listening?

(Note: I have been sitting at the house this morning waiting on a repair man to fix my (former) beer fridge. So basically I’m now 4 hours late for work)

Daytona Beach and the surrounding environs aren’t all the big. The U.S. Census estimates the entire county population at 529,364. That’s the entire county, we’re only a small slice on the eastern edge.  So why is traffic so damn bad?

It’s takes me 25 – 30 minutes to travel the short 12 miles to and from home to office. Now some it is to blame on the traffic lights.  I swear there is a section of about 3 miles with a light every quarter-mile. And I seriously doubt they’re timed for anything other than a NASCAR driver (the Daytona International Speedway is just down the street). I very seldom get my truck out of 3rd gear in this area. I like to call this the “red light district”.

But that’s not what pisses me off the most.  Here’s my drive in today. Granted it was about 12:30PM so traffic would be naturally heavier than my usual 7:20AM drive time. But it’s not the volume of traffic, it’s the idiots.

First – Sitting at a red light (still in the residential area – nowhere near the “red light district”), I’m second in a line of three cars.  A fire truck is coming at us, but still a good mile away. What does the first car do? Why just sit there and wait for the firetruck to pass of course. They could have very easily pulled up far enough to allow all three of us to get through the intersection and pull off to the right, with plenty of time and space to spare. But instead, they sit there. And after the fire truck goes by, the idiot goes through the intersection, running a red light I might add, and almost causing an accident.

Second – Same street, different driver, another red light (still not at the “red light district”).  Apparently this one has no clue what “right on red” means. Sits through an entire red light, with no one coming waiting on the green. It’s only legal in ALL 50 STATES to turn right on red. Where did they buy their license? K-Mart?

Third – Approaching the “district”.  Guy in left lane doing 30MPH in a 45MPH. Oblivious to his surroundings. Guy in the right lane, with right turn signal on (bonus for using a turn signal) is apparently lost as he is slowing at every possible right turn to see if that’s where he needs to go.  Me? I’m stuck behind them both.

Here’s a video that sums it up, there will be more below, so you can continue reading while listening if you wish:

If you think I’m only stressing because I gave up beer five days ago, you’d be wrong. Even though I am questioning that decision, that fact remains that I have been screaming at other drivers for years.  Now I not one to lay on the horn and flip the bird. I yell and scream in the comfort of my personal sanctuary, the truck. And I do my best not to “act out” when the little ones are with me. Well, I do try, doesn’t always work.

So I wonder how people who live in big cities can drive at all. My brother lives in a suburb (or “bedroom community” if you prefer) of Atlanta. No way in hell I’d live there with all that traffic. One thing I will say for the Army is that they tend to make their facilities in smaller towns. Of course there are some that are located next to bigger cities, but not that many. And of course, once the Army (or any military branch for that matter) moves in, the community will grow. Not always a good or bad thing.

Now I have the 5PM “rush 15 minutes” to look forward to on the way home. I wonder what kind of idiots I’ll see on this trip. Probably the usual, no turn signals, 10MPH under the limit in the left lane, slowing down for green lights “in case it changes” (my mom was famous for that one), coming to a complete stop before turning right and so many others.

So what does this have to do with Elon Musk? This; Sir, you have made the Telsa automobile a success. You have made the Space X project an even bigger success. I mean, landing a rocker booster on a platform floating in the ocean? How could you top that?  Easy – Star Trek transporter. If anyone can do it, it’s you.

Just think, when you’re ready to go somewhere, program in a set of coordinates and push a button and like magic you’re there. Forget something, just go back the way you came and get it, then back to where ever you were going to begin with. Quick and easy.  No idiots getting in the way.

So please Elon, I begging here. Otherwise I’ll have to arm my truck with photon torpedoes to clear the road, and no good can come of that.

Think about it? Please?

Peace,
B

Killing Lunch Time (or is it killing me?)

Sitting here at my desk, my meager lunch finished and music blaring in my headphones.

As I’ve posted before, my wife and I have been trying the Paleo and/or Keto eating plans.  Seems that my body does not care for either one.  The highest my blood pressure has been since starting these is 94/62. Basically I should be in a coma. My blood sugar has dropped extremely low, and the A-Fib has returned. So obviously, I am stopping the plan. We did learn somethings we will carry forward such as limiting our carbs to a greater extent. As I also have a cholesterol problem, and keto is known to elevate cholesterol, my doctor also advised me to stop.

Part 2:

Not the best day at work I have to admit. When I was promoted to this position it was for two main projects. Both of which have been pretty much stopped cold. Our city commission has cut about $780K from the city budget for next year, with a chance that it could go deeper still. This means that while my main project is funded for this year, as of October 1st, it may not be. So phase two (not to mention phase three) may not go. And with the issues we are having with phase one, it may get canceled even sooner. If the council cuts the budget ever deeper, there is a possibility that lay offs could occur. So I am rather concerned about my job future.

And of course with all this going on, the Bi-Polar depression is in high swing.  The usual visual and auditory hallucinations are going full blast.  Like Jackson Browne says in “For A Dancer”;

“It’s like a song playing right in my ear that I can’t sing, I can’t help listening.”

Things move in and out of the peripheral of my vision, thumps and whines in my ear all the time.  Hence the headphones.  At least then I know what I’m listening to and I can shut out the world for a short time.

Hopefully tonight’s gym time will work it all out.  Or I’ll die.  Either is acceptable.

Peace,
B

 

On Being Bi-Polar

As I look back on my life I realize now that I have been bi-polar my whole life.  I was finally diagnosed about 12 years ago, but the signs were there at an early age.

I remember lying in bed crying for no reason, and my mom, not understanding, gave the usual remarks of “What’s this about?” “Stop it!” and “Grow up”. But there wasn’t anything I could do about it.  Back then (mid 1960’s) bi-polar wasn’t a diagnosis yet.  They used the term “manic-depressive” for adults but for an eight year old boy, it was “just a phase”.

But I never grew out of “that phase”. In my high school years, I would still have times of uncontrollable crying and depression. I just learned to hide them better.  Plus I had a record player that I turned up real loud to mask any sounds. There would be days I hid in my room listening to music. I would leave for school, only to stop somewhere and wait for my parents to leave for work and go back home.  The only reason I passed high school is I have an uncanny knack at test taking.  Plus the curriculum of the 70’s was so repetitious it was easy to catch up on the days I did go.

Since my diagnosis I’ve gone through many different medications, psychiatrists and a therapist. Nothing has ever brought me to what I would consider “normal”.  I seriously doubt anything can.  While I have had quite strong suicidal thoughts, I have never acted on them. BUT, I do have the constant feeling that the world would have been much better had I never been born.  (It should be noted that I was not a planned pregnancy.  My parents took a second honeymoon and brought me home. As I am quite a bit younger than my three siblings, they were mostly out of the house by the time I was a teenager. I got to go on RV trips with my parents that they never did.  And while some of them were jealous of that fact, they never had to feel the “odd man out” vibe I received.  There were many discussions I over heard when they thought I was sleeping, “We can’t go there with him” and such.)  My wife seems to think that this mental status means I would rather be dead than married to her.  Nothing is farther from the truth.  She is a rock and the main reason I have not committed any rash acts.  What it does mean is that, if I had not been born she could have found a better man to marry.  Someone who didn’t drag her all around, going from Army base to Army base.  Her children with this other man would have had a better chance at college and more opportunities in life.  I am nothing but a boat anchor holding everyone down.

There is also a fair amount of social anxiety mixed in as well.  I’m rather introverted (this blog is a major and difficult step for me). I do not care for parties or crowds, I won’t even attend the office lunches here at work.  Small talk frightens me.  Being a “geek” of types (I do work in an IT department), I am not one to introduce myself to someone in a non-work environment. And women? Forget it!  Think Raj on Big Bang Theory. Unless I am forced into a conversation with a woman (such as a server or co-worker) I just stand back and do my best not to stare.

So the meds keep me from major depression, but not by much.  I still tend to drink too much.  But according to my late mother in law, I’m a “happy drunk”.  So to me at least, beer does improve my mental state. At least for a while. If I am an alcoholic (which I do probably qualify as) it would be a “High Functioning Alcoholic” (is that really a thing?).  I have no alcohol related incidents, I do not miss work or family time due to my drinking and have never placed beer above the requirements of my family (paying the bills etc.).  I can, and have, gone without beer when I thought the cost could be put to better use. And no, I will not go to an AA meeting. So don’t tell me to.

I’ve read a few books on bi-polar.  However they were all written from the outside. That is they are for people who have to deal with bi-polar people in their families or elsewhere. Nothing I’ve found has been written by a bi-polar person that describes what they’re going through and how they are coping with the disease.  If you know of such a book, please leave a comment with the title so I can find it.

So what is a high functioning alcoholic bi-polar person to do?  Leave a comment if you wish.  And I hope I didn’t depress you.

Peace,

B