pause button

I may stop blogging for a while. So many stories, so many things to say, but I get the feeling that I’m the only one watching this channel. There’s nothing wrong, no sudden trigger, I’m just questioning why I continue after 14 years. I still write for myself, but perhaps I post it for vanity’s sake. If I throw words out there and no one notices, what’s the point? Unless my fingers are broken, I can still write things and simply save them on my computer.

Anyway, consider this a long pause, not necessarily a good bye. I’ll post if I have something really important to say. Otherwise, I think the internets will be okay without me for a while.

Having said the above, I know there are a few actual live humans who follow me, because we have interacted on each other’s blogs. I would very much appreciate it if you want to keep in contact. If you e-mail me at fishrobber69@gmail.com, hopefully we can remain blog-friends.

For now, so long, and thanks for all the fish.

just say “fuck this shit”

I seem to have shaken the deep depression for a little while; I’m back to just being a little depressed all the time instead of wanting-to-escape-it-all depressed. Work is no less hectic and stressful, but I seem to be dealing with it a little better right now. A healthy “fuck this shit” attitude seems to have helped, along with adding Wellbutrin to my medicine cocktail. The p-doc, who I still like, seems to think that a little bit of the anti-depressant will not send me spinning off kilter, it will help with the depression, and it will give me a little more energy. So far, I think he was right.

I know most people don’t get to do what they enjoy for work, and work is something they have to do to pay bills, myself included. I somewhat enjoy engineering, I’m somewhat good at it, I just hate all the shit that accompanies the actual engineering part: budgets, schedules, meetings, permits, deadlines, and so on. I enjoy solving problems, doing the math, brainstorming solutions, and drawing things in Autocad. If I could have someone else do all the other crap, I would have a lot more fun.

The other frustrating part is that the workload keeps growing, management keeps hiring more project managers to deal with more projects, but the number of technicians who actually produce the work has actually shrunk. We are expected to accomplish more work with less people, and management will not get us any more help, and instead asks us to work more overtime. Other departments seem to get more help when they need it, but not ours. If this were a temporary thing, we could deal with it. But there is seemingly no end in sight; morale in our department is getting lower, and the constant pressure is wearing people down. People are starting to have a “fuck this shit” attitude toward overtime, because people have lives outside of work too.

Most people’s lives are much more interesting than mine, but that’s a topic for another post.

unfinished business

I’ve been in a pretty deep depression for over a month now, and it’s not getting better. Stress at work has been increasing, and I’m not doing well. I had my scheduled visit with the p-doc yesterday, and he will have me try some Wellbutrin to help with the nearly constant depression. [Side note: I’m still glad I found this doctor, because he actually listens and interacts with me rather than just telling me the same “stay the course” bullshit.]

In the midst of this depression, I all of the sudden get the bright idea that I finally might like to go back to the old hometown and relive some memories, see things close up and personal that I left behind 30 years ago. Sure, that seems brilliant. Call it the Unfinished Business Tour.

I’m not exactly sure how this would work. Fly back to Sacramento, drive to Goldville and Treetown, and then what? Look at the ruins of the houses I used to live in, or get chased off by dogs or drug dealers? Take photos that Google street view can’t provide? Go stand by A-mom’s grave and reminisce about how fucked up life was for both of us? … Maybe. Maybe that is exactly what I need to do. It will be painful and depressing, and it will stir up lots of bad memories, but somehow I wonder if I need to do that one more time just to put some of that to rest for good.

The other thing I would like to do is just drive around in my part of the mountains, smell the pine trees, see the stars away from town, visit the old campground, take in the natural beauty of the Sierras one more time. Maybe I can visit a couple of friends, but maybe I don’t even want anyone to know I am in town. I’m torn, because if I visit one person, then others find out, it becomes a fucking circus, and I want to avoid that if possible.

My wife asked the same question, what would I do if I went. She also asked if it was something I needed to do by myself. I told her I wasn’t sure about either answer. She still has a brother and three nephews who live in the area. I think maybe if she wants to go, she can go, but if she wants to stay home it would also be okay.

overwhelmed and tired

For the first time in a while, I feel like running away is a perfectly sane option. Not really, but you get the idea. I am on call for jury duty this week; most people want to avoid it, but I would love to go.

I am so overwhelmed right now at work. So many projects, so many demands. I’ve been working lots of overtime, but there is seemingly no end to the number of “emergencies” that keep me from getting my work completed. How much more do they expect of me? How much more do I need to give?

I have already shuffled a few projects off to other people, but I really can’t do it again. Everyone else seems to be getting their work done; I’m the only one who can’t seem to get any projects to completion. The others seem to be okay with working their amount of overtime; it is a struggle for me to work my 40 let alone any extra that is expected right now.

I am mentally and emotionally drained every day, and it is affecting my physical health. They don’t realize I have this little time bomb called bipolar ticking away, waiting to blow up my professional life. This affects me more than it would other people, because I’m more vulnerable to external stress.

I’m starting to wonder if I may have to play the “disability card”. If I were to have my psychiatrist place me under work restrictions for mental health reasons, I could force management to shift projects so that I could only work 40 hours. Could I keep that under cover? I don’t exactly want it known that I have bipolar, but if I play that card, the secret will get out. Mental health is one of the things that supposedly cannot be discriminated against, but good luck proving it. Then again, I have the protection of a union position, and I am not seeking any advancement from my current position (like I need any more responsibility, right?).

It’s so lonely in my head right now. Everyone has their problems, and I feel like this is the only place where I can actually unload. You don’t have to read, but thank you if you do.

I realize this is not a well organized or proofread post, but fuck off. I’m tired and I just want to sleep for a week.

guilty as charged

When I was a kid I learned how to internalize guilt because, despite being powerless over the situation, I was made to feel guilty whenever something bad happened. I became conditioned to accept blame for things that were not my fault and that I had no control over. I still carry those tendencies with me, and I have no idea how to let go of that notion that I am not to blame for everything. As a result, I have accumulated a tremendous amount of guilt over time, some of it warranted and some not. It weights on me like extra gravity that no one else can feel, dragging me downward and draining my energy day after day.

One of the biggest sources of guilt right now is that every time I look at Nicole and see all the weight she gained, I blame myself for allowing her to stay on the wrong medication when I should have known it would make her gain weight just like it did to me. Now her beauty is hidden, and despite her positive attitude, I know it affects her life, just like my fat affects my life. I hate myself for not putting a stop to the medicine before this happened.

I feel guilty about the state of our marriage. I know some people our age find it difficult to keep the passion alive, but I feel like I checked out emotionally years ago and I don’t know how to come back. We are good business partners, we seem to be friends, but we’re just not lovers anymore. I entirely blame myself for that, due to a medication-induced lack of libido and a general lack of interest in intimacy. I wish things were better for her, but I don’t know how I could ever fit into that better picture. She is stuck with me, and that makes me sad for her.

Another major source of guilt is the sudden news that Dan has been feeling suicidal over the past few years, and I think the root cause goes way back to the decision to move here from California. Despite it being good for the family, he never did handle it well, but I never knew the extent of his depression. If he would have said something … but what example have I shown? I tried to hide my bipolar symptoms from the kids as much as possible. Dan’s personality never was very demonstrative, and he learned to hide everything he was feeling.

I feel guilty for so many things. There seems to be no way to let go, no way to fix things, no way to be redeemed. The root of my sadness and depression is the guilt that festers inside me.

remember when?

Just a few things I have done during manic episodes:

  • Picked up a 5-gallon bucket and started beating it with a baseball bat until the bucket was in tiny pieces scattered across the lawn.
  • Slapped myself across the face and punched myself until I was sore and bruised all over.
  • Surprised my co-workers by taking a half-used can of whipped cream and spraying the contents directly into my mouth, in full view of management.
  • Tore apart several computers and worked on them all night just before the family returned home to find parts all over the house.
  • Bought a drum kit.
  • Drove to the beach and started screaming at the waves, sincerely hoping one of them would drag me out to sea.
  • Stayed up all night cracking the password to my wife’s computer, then going through her files and blog posts.
  • Bought a girl a bra for a birthday present, then actually gave it to her.
  • Urinated off a tall bridge into a lake.
  • Shouted obscenities at an inappropriate moment during a band performance.
  • Drove over 110 mph in the Blue Bomber (my old Chevy Impala).
  • Almost drove in front of a truck with suicidal intent.

I love these trips down manic memory lane. I’ve done some pretty stupid things over the years, and I know I was manic at the time, but hey, no excuses. The times I feel guilty about are where I could have hurt someone else.

new lamictal warning

There is a new warning for those who take the drug Lamictal. Since I mention it in my blog often, I thought I would link to this page on Drugs.com in case someone stumbles upon my site.

INTRO: The FDA is warning that the medicine Lamictal (lamotrigine) for seizures and bipolar disorder can cause a rare but very serious reaction that excessively activates the body’s infection-fighting immune system. This can cause severe inflammation throughout the body and lead to hospitalization and death, especially if the reaction is not diagnosed and treated quickly.

unboxed

Amidst the dwindling stacks of boxes and the slow organization of things, life is approaching normalcy here at New Fish Manor in northeastern Ohio. Internet is up, we are eating prepared food on actual plates, the cats are getting adjusted, and most of the furniture is in its place.

Unlike the previous moving day where we did everything with extended family, this time we hired movers and a truck for the big stuff and the majority of the boxes. It went pretty smoothly, nothing seems to be broken, and the cost was fair compared to having everyone being injured for a week afterward.

The garage is not empty yet, and I have a storage locker full of boxes and containers that needs to be emptied. There will be another garage sale in the future, I’m sure.

This is a weird old house. I will have to describe it in more detail at some point. But the lawn is luxurious. A thick green carpet of Kentucky Bluegrass and Bentgrass keep the weeds and clumps at bay. It mows like a dream. The previous owner must have put down weed and feed chemical, because it grows like crazy and there is not a dandelion in sight. I need to step up my lawn game.

My anxiety levels have come way down since the move is behind us. I kept myself from going manic, I got enough sleep, and I didn’t need the Ativan. Small victories. I worry so much about all the little things that could go wrong, and I forget to think about everything that goes right because of good planning, good decisions, and a little luck.

split level

There is often a split in my personality, the person I am in public, and the person I am in my private space which includes this blog. This post has nothing to do with this concept.

We have been renting since we sold our house last year, but we purchased a split-level house in the suburbs. We just signed papers today, and we will be moving in about two weeks. That means I will be very busy doing all the big and little chores that go into moving our residence. Real life must take precedence for now, and I will not be blogging for a while. For all 2.3 readers here, don’t worry, I’ll be back eventually.

Just to give you an idea what we bought into: it has a blue tub, sink, and toilet in the main bathroom. Blue.

e-mails to never send

Thanks to the Internet, we now have the ability to harass people from our distant past. I searched for the Old Bitch’s daughter on Google, and in about 2 minutes I had her full name, date of birth, address, phone number, and e-mail, plus husband and kids’ names to confirm it was her. Turns out she is in her 70s, and she hasn’t moved from the house where I visited her many years ago.

Anyway, I’m in a dark sentimental mood today, and I wondered what it would be like to write her a little note asking a few questions. It might go something like this:

Hey Wanda,

I’ll bet you remember me, I was the little kid that A-mom adopted way back then when she lived with your mother. Boy, your mother sure fucked up my mother and I. Why did you let her live with us in Treetown while you escaped to the Bay Area? Did you think it was okay to let someone else deal with your aging, mentally ill mother while allowing us to visit for a few days once in a while? You and your sisters wanted nothing to do with her, while A-mom served her and endured her abuse and bullying day and night for 20 years. Your mother needed a care home, and instead she got two people who were not equipped to deal with her illness. When you finally allowed your mother to come live with you, she left behind two people who were barely able to function for themselves and who were emotionally damaged to the breaking point.

I don’t blame you for what your mother did to A-mom and I, but I would like some answers why you thought it was okay to allow us to care for her instead of you and your sisters taking care of her. I would like you to acknowledge that you knew the situation we lived in was messed up, you did nothing to help, and you took advantage of us.

Sincerely,
Fishrobber

Funny thing is, back in 1994 maybe, my wife and I were going to a football game in San Francisco, and on a whim I decided to drive past Wanda’s house. I had not been to the house in 14 years by this time, and of course I had never driven there, but I knew the streets and the landmarks well enough from memorizing maps as a kid. To my wife’s surprise, without backtracking or u-turns, I drove directly to their house. Wanda wasn’t home, but her husband was in front of the house, washing their old pickup truck, so I stopped and talked to him for a few minutes. As an outside observer, he agreed with me that “the situation there was pretty messed up” (his words exactly), and he wished Wanda were home so we could talk. I had to get going though, so I thanked him and we drove off. I guess what I got from her husband will have to be good enough.