Discussing Oneself

Today was my second day in group therapy at Research Psychiatric Center. Compared to many other patients, my problems are far less pressing or serious. Most of the time I talk about what’s going on in my life, I feel like I am wasting everyone’s time. I also talk about how I feel like I’m not getting anything accomplished when I’m at home, largely because I just surf the net and watch television. However, I have been going to the gym three times a week, as planned, and I also meet with a trainer to keep my fat ass accountable.

Anyway, I’m hoping to get around to taking care of stuff soon, and I am actively making plans to get back to being active. You heard me. I’m hoping to return to playing the piano, and I want to find a place in town to take lessons. I’m looking at a couple of places, and I’m planning on taking it more seriously than when I did as kid.

In terms of other desires, I have decided I want to pursue psychology, at least for now. I don’t know what I will think about it, having taken only general psych, but I’m taking a couple more classes online from KCKCC this spring, so hopefully that will give me a good experience. I’m still looking at finishing my math degree at Park University next school year, and I recently applied for financial aid for transfer students. Because my cumulative GPA is above 3.9, I have a pretty good chance of getting a full ride, at least for one year.

My other random dream is to actually write something, like a complicated novel or really anything that another human being might actually read and enjoy. I’m not sure I have the talent at this point, but I’m going to start working on it if it kills me.

When I finally finish the partial hospitalization program, I will be able to return to reading, movies, and video games. I am still holding off on those activities until my memory seems to be mostly back to normal. I will also have more time to spend doing such things, as well as my fascinating (I hope) online courses. I’m sick of being in Kansas City after these two months of treatment, and I’d just like to be more active. Maybe soon.

Of course there’s other assorted shit going on, but none of it is really worth mentioning. I suppose the above doesn’t really qualify either. Sigh.

Practical Problems of Memory Loss

As I mentioned in a previous note, I am undergoing electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), which causes rather serious short-term memory loss. I have yet to find out if I will recover the memories I have lost as a part of the treatment, and I won’t know for sure until a few weeks after I finish my final treatment. Right now my psychiatrist has reduced me to one treatment a week (from three), and I will start seeing my regular psychiatrist again for medication management. I have noticed some improvement in my mood, and I hope to keep things stable with meds and psychotherapy after I finish ECT.

Plans for the future include taking more classes from KCKCC in the spring in order to finish an AS degree by next fall, then looking at transferring to another school (likely Park University) to finish a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and possibly one in psychology. It’s quite possible I could get a full ride provided I keep my GPA up, and that’s good news.

Anyway, due to my heightened sense of emotion, some of my regrets have been popping into my head frequently, and I will have to take some action eventually. I need to make contact with a few people about things I have done or said that should have gone differently. I’m trying hard to make notes on my computer so I won’t forget what I need to do in the future.

In less important news, I am growing a beard and joining the local gym. I need to be in better shape and I think the beard looks pretty badass.

Finally, as a result of the memory loss, I am playing games with myself. Although I have forgotten many significant and memorable things and I cannot be trusted to be left alone, I can still have fun. I plan on buying Christmas gifts for everyone in my immediate family, including myself, that I will not remember but can still take credit for. It’s the perfect plan. I only wish I had thought of it sooner. Then again, maybe I did…

Before I Forget

As many of you probably know already, I was fairly close to attempting suicide again earlier this month, so I checked myself into the hospital in Lincoln. I had made an agreement with my parents that if anything like that happened, I would return to Leavenworth, so I did. I spent another couple of weeks in a psychiatric hospital in Kansas City, and during that stay I began electroconvulsive therapy. I am continuing ECT on an outpatient basis for the next couple of weeks, and I hope to see continued improvement.

ECT is one of the strangest experiences I have ever undergone. For those not in the know, ECT is when a psychiatrist shocks your brain with electricitity until you have a seizure (under anasthesia, of course). It seriously fucks with your memory and confuses the hell out of you. Most of the memory loss is of recent events, and it takes the form of delayed recall. Also, old memories pop back up in your head at random. This has no doubt made me a whole lot of fun to be around, giving my family the opportunity to answer some very strange questions like “what did I do all day yesterday?”

Anyway, it really does seem to have improved my mood, and I am trying to be more patient about achieving my goals. I think I’m going to go back to school in the spring semester, at the local community college. After that, I’m not sure where I want to go, but I’m thinking I’ll finish a degree in math and look at getting one in psychology, a subject that appealed to me long ago but for some reason I abandoned in high school. I need to stop sitting around doing nothing and start actually making an effort with life.

I have a lot more to say about recent events, but my addled brain can’t organize my thoughts properly, so I’ll wait and post again later.

An Update and Some Thoughts on Insanity

This past weekend I went to the great state of Wisconsin with Alan, Lindsay, and Cori. Despite the 10-hour trip each way, it was a good time. We managed to avoid a serious religious debate until about 1.5 hours out of Lincoln. Then it started in full.

Anyway, we slept 5 people in a “3-4 person” tent, and the closeness was pretty impressive. Think sardines. Lindsay got to visit her friend Paul, and the rest of us settled for waffles and pot roast. I also got some exercise running down a hill to the lakeshore and walking back up (ugh). I had some really good raspberry beer, although I was unable to buy some more to bring home. Maybe next time. I also had some Wisconsin cheddar cheese curds. I ate almost the whole bag by myself. I am fat.

Anyway, Paul and his friends were pretty cool, although they ate most of my Nutella. My tolerance for long car trips has increased. I avoided getting drunk and instead enjoyed the humorous exploits of others. I feel I have grown as an individual. Or something.

As for the job hunt, nothing has happened. I continue applying and all I have to show for it is the occasional automated rejection notice. I am on the alert for updates however. I also need to find a gym in the area and begin a for real exercise regimen. My other goal is to find a place where I can practice the piano on a daily basis. For that, some patience would be nice, because I still suck at the piano and have no tolerance for it. My only hope for improvement is ceaseless practice and something that I enjoy playing.

Money is starting to run short. I know I probably shouldn’t have gone on a trip this weekend, but it was worth the enjoyment. I’m good for another month, but after October I’m going to be sweating for cash. I hope I have some job prospects by the beginning of October or I won’t be able to build a bankroll for November. One opportunity that looks good is being a police dispatcher. I’m hoping to at least be asked to take the exam, because I will probably kick ass at it. No news on that front until Sept. 25, though.

I am having to miss out on movies in theaters, but I at least have digital cable to fall back on. New Top Chef and Dinner Impossible tomorrow! I love my food programs. Fatness ahoy. Anyway, there are few really exciting movies coming up. so I don’t mind a bit of a wait. I do miss Netflix, but even $15 a month can be prohibitive.

Tomorrow I’m planning on discussing religion with Alan. I enjoy a good argument/discussion, particularly when it comes to religion or politics, because they are just so damned fun. Besides, I have to evaluate my own beliefs once in a while.

I’ve been musing since my suicide attempt on what insanity means. I’ve been meaning to mention it somewhere but I keep forgetting. Anyway, here I go.

When you break it down to the simplest components, insanity is just a shift. It works like this: one day, something that seemed unreasonable for your whole life suddenly makes perfect sense. You wonder why you never thought of it before. Suicide is one such thing. It seems like a perfect solution to all your problems, even though most people would disagree. That’s another part of insanity: minority opinion. Anything you believe that falls below a certain percentage of the population is probably insane.

That’s about all I have figured out. I’m still trying to figure out what it all means, though.

Speaking of insanity, I met my the new psychiatrist I’m going to work with in Lincoln. The whole place was very big and not at all what I’m used to. My psychiatrist in KC worked alone and made his own appointments and everything. This place was a large, well-oiled machine. I much prefer the more personal approach, but then again I haven’t met my therapist yet. So I suppose we’ll see what happens.

I just hope the job hunt improves. That might be asking too much though, because my resume/background record pretty much sucks ass. Sigh.

Uncomfortable Truths and a Few Opinions

I have no idea what a mathematician does. I’ve spent 5+ semesters studying to be one, but any time I try to learn more about the work itself, I make no progress. Last summer I spent 10 weeks on a real mathematical research project, which consisted almost entirely of doing nothing and some minor programming. Any time I take a math class it’s all very straightforward, basic introductions to a field with no information about what good it is or what people do with it. There’s nothing like that in any math class. I don’t know why.

I am terrible at interviewing for jobs. However, I have to find a job soon or I will be forced to eat dirt. I’m trying to find clerical work or something like that, but I have no degree and few marketable skills. All of the good jobs require at least one of those two things. What’s more, my resume sucks and I have no references. All of my previous jobs are school-related. I had to put “health problems” as my reason for leaving my most recent job, which they say you shouldn’t do. I have no other option, as far as I can tell. Plus I have no self-esteem and I’m socially inept.

Talk therapy does not make your life suck less. It barely helps you deal with what’s going on, much less the entirety of your problems. It is like building a sand castle to protect you from a tidal wave of shitty events.

Psychiatric drugs are pretty much bullshit. I feel at this point that Ecstasy would do nothing to improve my mood. I’ve been sticking with a combination since July, but I now realize that it did nothing except squeeze a tiny breath into the lungs of my optimism, which has now been conclusively expelled.

Speaking of expelled, I am banned from the UNL campus. After they finally provided a list of requirements for my readmission, which I admit is a reasonable, they also added that until I fulfill them I am forbidden from entering any University of Nebraska property. I suppose that after they denied me readmission without due process, they probably feared that I know how to make high explosives in addition to poison (I do.). I can also do smoke bombs.

I never want to go back to school, but I will probably have to. I can’t imagine keeping my mind engaged without doing some kind of academic work. I also can’t imagine waiting a year to continue work on my degree, which will probably take several more credit hours of bullshit classes if I go to another university. My impatience is really kicking in now that I have no future.

In other news, my older dog seems to be dying. She has heart problems now and is taking aspirin every day, but given her current heartbeat, I think the end is in sight. She’s had a good run, though, and she definitely doesn’t do much anymore. I wonder if she’s in pain most of the time.

As for the rest of my life, it doesn’t seem so good right now. I’m going to end up doing 40 hours a week of shitty work, likely making sandwiches at the local Quizno’s. I can’t visit my friends on campus. I have no money for rent right now. As soon as I have money, I won’t be able to spend it on anything anyway. I can’t play the piano anymore. I’m getting out of shape again but I don’t really care. I can’t sleep. Nothing I ever do provides me with any happiness at all.

The only good news is that my Don Hertzfeldt DVD should arrive on Wednesday. Watch that get fucked up too.

Recent Quotes:

“Being a therapist is like having permission to ask any question.”

“…remember, you always have friends at UNL.”

“95 percent of life is just showing up.”

“Mr. Davis had obtained chemicals in sufficient quantities to produce more than 500 lethal inhalation doses (Merck Index) of HCN [hydrogen cyanide].”

“Your desire to return to UNL is laudable.”

Getting Fucked Big Time and Moving On

Yesterday evening I finally received notice from UNL about my re-enrollment. In short, their answer was that I had not showed enough progress to be readmitted. The decision was not based on any direct or recent evidence as I can tell, because they have refused several times to interview me or make contact with either my therapist or psychiatrist. All they have is the rudimentary information they requested (in full, as soon as they requested it) and the letters from the professionals I’m working with, which as far as I can tell is all they have used in this decision.

Based on the tenor and content of the letters I have received, I have come to the rather paranoid conclusion that UNL is absolutely refusing to consider my case. I now believe they will find any excuse to reject my request for readmission even if Christ Almighty tap dances a recommendation letter in Morse Code.

Can I blame them for being cautious? No, I can’t. They have the safety of thousands of undergraduates to think about and my record is far from clean. However, I can see no reason why I would not be given fair consideration except that they have already made their decision. That kind of bias is not representative of what I would consider the spirit of UNL, a school I am still proud to have been a part of.

I would be satisfied with the decision if I were sure it had been reached after a reasonable amount of serious deliberation based on evidence. However, because the process was unclear, ambiguous, and as far as I can tell, biased, I am pursuing legal counsel. I am going to make an effort to see if there is anything I can do about this situation while I still have a chance. I suspect that I’m out of luck, but who knows. If there is any possibility of me returning to UNL soon, I will try to do so. If not, I will never attempt to re-enroll at UNL again.

Because my experience at UNL has been largely positive, I would still be proud to graduate. Because of my more recent experience, I would not be ashamed if I failed to graduate at UNL or any other school.

From here, I plan on further discussing the situation with my lawyer to see if anything can be done. If not, I will look for jobs in Lincoln, because I would still much rather live there than anywhere else right now. Failing that, I will remain in Leavenworth with my family, although that is a distant third option.

I hope I can finish my degree. I hope I can find a job. I hope I can live with my brother and friends instead of still being stuck here. I hope I can move on. I hope. I hope. I hope.

Terrible Things

I am long overdue for something terrible to happen. It has been something like seven months since the last life-shatteringly horrible event took place, and I feel like one is coming up.

Possibilities:

1. I will not be readmitted to UNL. I have yet to hear back from the Dean of Students regarding my hearing an so forth. I have done as much as possible on my end so far, so I am mostly just waiting to hear back.

2. Something will go wrong with my cousin’s baby. Granted this doesn’t involve me much but it would just fit. I know my whole family is excited about this whole pregnancy thing, but it hasn’t gone well so far and who knows how it will work out.

3. Something will go wrong with my grandfather’s surgery. Tomorrow my grandpa goes in for minor surgery and I have no idea how that will turn out. Considering his age (nearly 89) and history of other health problems, any number of things could go wrong and probably will.

Somewhat less serious possibilities:

1. I won’t be able to do/finish my phlebotomy clinical on the Fort. This is more than possible given the immense bureaucracy I’m dealing with. Honestly, I think the President himself has to sign off on this before I’m allowed to start. It has already been 4 weeks since I started this process and I have no idea how close I am to finishing it.

2. I will not be able to find a job at UNL and I will have to eat cardboard and sand.

3. I will not be able to take certain classes at UNL (two that I want to take are already nearly full and I won’t be able to register for another couple of weeks). I’m hoping that my senior status and sad puppy dog eyes will make it possible for me to get overrides if necessary. Curse the general studies program and my need to take a class about gender. Also, Automata theory for being so damned popular.

4. I will rupture and die horribly somehow. My exceptional record of exceptional bad luck is enough to make me accept that something like this is in the works. I am waiting to see what body part is going to fail on me.

Apartments, Groceries, and Moving Trucks

Well, last weekend we finally started moving into our apartment, at Fountain Glen in Lincoln. It’s a pretty nice place, although we have a lovely leak in the ceiling we need repaired. The apartment is a 2-floor, 2-bedroom, 2-bath setup, and the living arrangements are far superior to the dorms at UNL. On the other hand, I will be short on money for food, and I don’t have a job just yet, so I’ll be scraping by (on like $40 a week) unless I find a decent paycheck.

Today my grandpa took me to the Commissary on the fort to buy groceries. We got a ton of stuff, all non-perishable, including spices and soup and shit. Fortunately, our pantry is big enough that we can stash a ton of food for the long term, so I’m ready on that front. I’m supposed to start mowing his lawn (at my dad’s request) so he doesn’t have to. I should do it, but I hate mowing lawns so much that I’m reluctant. I don’t care how broke I am, if I own a home, I’m paying a mexican lad to mow the lawn. Fuck that noise.

Tomorrow we start moving the furniture into the apartment. We will be loading a U-Haul in Liberty and Leavenworth starting pretty early, then chilling for whatever’s left of the day. On Saturday, we’re heading up to Lincoln yet again to unload the truck, which I’m not looking forward to. The combination of apartment stairs and heavy-ass furniture does not thrill me.

Shit, I should say something funny. Yesterday, I went to see Damon Wayans, Jr. at the comedy club at Legends. The main 2 acts were decent, but pretty raunchy in a non-funny way. The opening act was crappy. I could have ad-libbed something better. The best thing I could come up with at the time was a joke about how Dave & Busters would charge you for the bathroom. “Nobody wins in the bathroom,” I would say. Maybe I’m not so funny after all.

My biggest concern of late has been searching for what I’m going to do after next year. I have really no idea what interests me in math or CS, and the one class I want to take this fall (Automata Theory) is full, so I might have to miss out on that. I suppose I should work harder at “self-starting” so I could probably learn a shit ton of stuff all on my own. That seems like it would take time and effort, and I’m lazy.

Right now I’m watching the second Tomb Raider movie. It’s not as neat as the original, but I suppose it has some positives. The DVD cover amuses me because Angelina Jolie’s right boob is dead center. It’s a good example of how the movie was marketed. I bought this for $3 at a garage sale. It cost slightly less than my bitchin’ gaming chair, for which I exceed the weight limit by about 70 pounds and a couple of feet in height.

Speaking of being a fatass, I need to lose some weight. My goal this fall is to get in reasonable shape so that I can cosplay as Captain Hammer from Dr. Horrible (Alan would be Dr. Horrible and Cori would do Penny). Of course at this rate I probably won’t make it in time, especially given my ice cream consumption. I think I’m going to do the “power station” thing at the rec center. That seems like a good way to lose some fat.

In other news, Kingdom Hearts II is a steaming pile of shit. It’s sort of unfortunate because I looked forward to it for so long, but I can no longer look past its flaws. So I stopped playing it in favor of replaying Metroid Prime 3. I think I might just give up on the KH franchise now. I loved the first game both times I played it, so maybe that was enough. I suppose I can hang on to the original game for later in life. Then again, by that point all of my childish optimism will have shriveled like a funny, shriveled thing, so I might just sell the damned thing.

This afternoon, I got my March of Dimes volunteer box in the mail. I mail out like a dozen cards to people in the neighborhood asking for money. I also donate some. It’s a pretty easy way to help out, and although I should remember how much I made doing this in 2007, I do not. It was high, though.

I need to write a letter to the dean of students asking for re-admission to UNL. I’m not particularly looking forward to starting that process, but I have made some first steps. The sooner I take care of it, the sooner I can get back to Lincoln. I plan on moving back in August so I can take care of some of the judicial crap and find a new psychologist. I’m hoping CAPS will just assign me one. Plus, being in Lincoln will be more fun and social, which I will enjoy.

My July looks pretty dull, though. I will be starting the re-admission process and hopefully a phlebotomy clinical in Leavenworth. I’m on a pseudo-waiting list to intern at Cushing Hospital. I need to arrange shit with the guy in charge, who is naturally on vacation until next Wednesday. My therapist is also on vacation, so I will have to call her about communicating with Dr. Portnoy, the director of CAPS at the health center. That’s Counseling and Psychological Services to the uninitiated.

I pre-ordered the next Don Hertzfeldt DVD (“i am so proud of you”) and an art print for about $50, my one splurge of the summer. I highly recommend the film, but of course I’ll probably make you all watch it anyway, so get ready. I’m also reading through the entirety of Calvin & Hobbes, which has drastically cut into my non-cartoon reading time. I’m more than 2/3 of the way through, so when I finish, I’m going to step up the actual book reading. For real.

I guess that’s about all that’s going on. I’m honestly looking forward to some stuff, which is a good sign. I need to figure out my schedule for the fall, especially if one class is full (Maybe I can sympathy my way in. Also, I’m a senior.). My short-term goal is just to get a fucking degree and move on. I don’t know about grad school yet, but I’ve heard a year off is overrated and I don’t want a real job just yet. I mean, I don’t know what I’d be doing, and I doubt it would be very much fun. But who knows. Sigh.

Whys and Wherefores

Today was my first full day of work. Shortly after I arrived, someone pointed out that I did not look happy to be there. I mumbled something like “I just got here” and walked off.

Much later, a fellow employee came up and spoke with me.
“So, you just bring the carts in all day?”
“Yeah.”
“… that sucks.”
“Well, I also help people load stuff into their cars when they ask me.”
“That sucks too.”

Anyway, I did it. Tomorrow I work again for 5 hours, then the next day another 9-hour shift (from 7 to 4) replete with lunch break. After that, a weekend.

The facebook advertisements that target specific users are odd to me. I see math ads, fat ads, and sex ads. I need to know how they divined my interests so accurately.

I created a new word today: retroid. Sure it’s been used before, but fuck that, I created it. I did not create a meaning, however. I think it explains itself well enough.

I know lots of people really enjoy reading “why me?” bullshit, so here it goes. Those with hypoactive pity glands may avert their eyes.

I’ve long been past the point when people ask me why I’m depressed. I just recently got to a point where I can satisfactorily answer. The real reason is because shit happens to me. My life is in a constant, steady decline, and there is no way out. Every time I try something new, or really do anything at all, my efforts fail or backfire without exception.

I went to a research experience and sat around for months. I take classes at UNL that cover material from freshman year but somehow more slowly. I attempted suicide. I looked for jobs. I interviewed at a potentially interesting job, but totally fucked up and got ignored.

I have to conclude that I am asking for too much from life. I will never get a job where I use my skills, interact with people, or help people. I will not find a subject that interests me. I will not be okay.

Just like work, the only thing that can console me is the fact that everything ends eventually. No matter how often I check the clock, I can rest safely knowing it will always be further along. Eventually I will finish my shift, no matter what.

Dreams

Today, I had two dreams.

1. I dreamed I caught the swine flu. I don’t really remember much else.

2. I dreamed I ate lunch with an old friend. She was kind of critical of me and I felt bad. She told me I shouldn’t have taken Parallel Parkway instead of I-70. I didn’t really think there was a huge difference between the two. If anything, it made me want to use Parallel anyway. I’m glad she drove separately.

Besides all of that, I made chocolate lava cakes. The lava is pretty good, but the cake part sucks. It is like eating a burnt sponge filled with melted ganache.

Monday is one of the days when I go my phlebotomy class. I’m kind of tired of it, but it’s a skill I might use in the future. Tonight we decided what food people would bring on the day of the final. People take a lot of food to that class. I signed up to make butterfinger bar cookies.

Today I got my heart tested to make sure it works correctly. They had to inject me with radioactive crap twice to see how well my heart is functioning. The second time was after I had run on a treadmill for a while. It didn’t take long because I am in poor shape.

Tomorrow I have a job interview at a local government contracting firm. I will likely do some sort of programming work. I will meet with two different project heads to see if either one is interested in me. If so, I will make some money this summer.

After that I will be going to Home Depot to give them my social security card and proof of identification. I am going to be working at Home Depot. I guess my drug screening and background check came through okay. This weekend I have to get trained at a Home Depot somewhere near Buttfuck, Kansas, the heart of the heartland. Someone will have to explain why they don’t train Home Depot employees here.

I saw the Wolverine movie this weekend. I have to say I’m glad it did well, although it wasn’t great, because it will mean more movies will be made. I’ve enjoyed the X-Men series so far, so it’s good that there will be more of them.

No one thinks my suicide jokes are funny. I want to explain that suicide is not a depressing thing. It is the end of depression. The alternative to suicide is an entire life of waiting around. Everyone else thinks the choice is clear, and so do I. It’s like shouting out an answer in a classroom then having everyone stare at you because you’re obviously wrong.

Anyway, I have to get up early, so I’m going to bed.