Wednesday, May 25, 2005

School's out... almost


Only a day and a half to go. The excitement at school is palpable. You may think the kids are the most excited people in the building about summer vacation, but you'd be wrong.

I always get restless this time of year, like I need to go job hunting or something. What do I do with ten weeks off, anyways? I have to fight the urge to paper the town with my resume looking for that perfect, new job.

I don't even know what I'd do. Perhaps I could usher at the local professional baseball stadium or give swimming lessons. I have actually (in the past) looked into doing landscaping work, but was laughed at when I asked about doing it part-time because I wanted to still enjoy my summer break.

But why is it that I feel the need to fill every moment of my life with activity? What is wrong with down time? Why can't I have ten weeks with no plans? These are questions that bug me and that I really cannot answer. The simple, truthful answer is, though, I must have something to do.

So what will I do this summer? I will be grading our state standardized tests for part of the summer and taking a four-week class for the other part. Perhaps less fun than ushering baseball games, but I'll get paid well for doing both of these and they'll actually help in what I do the rest of the weeks of the year.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Apparently, I'm nuts


Today I had a pdoc appointment (that's psychiatrist for those who don't know the lingo). It was just a check-up to make sure that all's well and that the current meds have me stable and happy (or some semblance of happy).

Well, the deal is, you have to be honest with your pdoc or the whole system doesn't work--you don't get better. So I was telling her, honestly, how I've been feeling lately, and she sideswiped me with a truth that should have hit me months ago: I have rapid-cycling bipolar. I'm pretty sure she's said it before, but I just glossed over it much like I would a "hello" or a "my, it's awfully hot/cold/rainy outside." But today I actually heard and felt that statement: I have rapid-cycling bipolar.

My god. I have a psychiatric disorder. A mental illness. I'm one of those people. All of those psychotropic drugs I take aren't placebos, sugar pills that cost me hundreds of dollars each month to make me feel like I'm accomplishing something. Perhaps the three trips to the "hospital" last year weren't mistakes.

I think before now I have busied myself learning about the disorder as an academic matter, something that was interesting but not really my own personal issue. I mean, it's what they said my diagnosis is, but surely they'll change their minds in a few months when they see I'm better (that's what I thought, anyway).

But even though there may be times when I may feel better, this is one of those illnesses that won't go away. I'm going to spend the rest of my life dealing with medications, appointments, probable hospitalizations, doctors, therapy.... This is what just occurred to me today: the permanance of this situation. I don't think I get to just wake up one day and decide not to be bipolar anymore.

I'm fortunate, though. I, at least, don't have a severe case. My situation is managable. I am able to maintain relationships. I can work full-time. I have conscientious care-providers who genuinely care about my progress. And most importantly I have a healthy, happy marriage.

My marriage is rock-solid and not even a little case of the crazies can hurt it, thank goodness. Because, let me tell you, if I didn't have George to get through the rough spots... well... the rough spots would be a lot rougher, that's for sure. (I guess this is the "in sickness and in health" part, eh?)