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J.R. Buchanan


Me, My Thoughts, and I

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I think my life has become a country/western song

It's been a little more than a week since I've posted an update. I thought you all might be interested in what's happened in that time (and a little before that). It hasn't been great.

First off, my wife had a freak accident and is now blind in one eye. This has been hard for her emotionally, and we've both had trouble getting competent help. More on that later. My wife had just quit her job to take another, but it requires driving, so she couldn't start. Huge disappointment, plus our income took a big hit.

Then our house air conditioner broke, requiring a service call. I paid $28 to be told that the air filter was dirty, and that I, not the service technician should change it. Sure it's easy, but for $28 you'd think that he could have done it. As a bonus, I got lectured like a small child about how an air conditioner works (I have an engineering degree) and the importance of changing the filter every 3 months. It had been almost exactly 3 months since I changed it, as evidenced by the date I wrote on it when I put it in. So, he left and I put in a new filter. Zip, it didn't work. Then we had some unexpected financial setbacks, so we haven't been able to afford a repair on it, and we've been living without air conditioning. Fortunately the last few days have been nice, but oh those 95-98 (35-37) degree days!

Then our van broke. It dumped all of the radiator fluid on the ground while we were driving. Irritating, especially because the exact same thing happened with our previous van, the same make and model. The van is past the full warranty, but is still under the powertrain warranty. We had it towed to the dealer, and they looked at it and said that it was not a powertrain problem. Seriously? The cooling system is related to the engine, and how much more powertrain can you get? Well, we don't have $480 to get it fixed. We don't even have the money to have it towed home, so it's sitting at the dealer, and they are getting antsy about that.

Lack of a van is causing trouble itself. Our truck has a tiny back seat, and can only hold three people total. We have three teenage girls, so that's five people. The math doesn't work out. My mother in law is letting us borrow her car, at least for a little while, we don't know how long. It's pretty small, but the three girls can fit in the back, but very tightly.

Two days ago we were driving home and were 50 miles from home, and I got pulled over for speeding. I can't believe this. I went 26 years without a ticket, and now in less than a year's period, I've gotten three. I'm going to have to research what it takes to lose your licensee. Except that it turns out that I already have, the officer asked me if I knew I was driving on a suspended license. That was certainly news to me! It's been suspended for 7 months now. No notice from the BMV. Researching this, it turns out that after the first ticket I was supposed to take a defensive driving class. They mailed me a notice, but I never got it. It turns out that they sent it to my street address, not my P.O. box. The USPS is kind enough to not deliver mail to the street address or forward it to the P.O. box after a period of time after switching. They don't return it either, it just goes into a black hole. Thank you USPS. Now I have to see what I have to do to get my license back for a while (more on that in a bit), but since this happened on a Saturday and the license branch is closed on Monday, I still don't know. I'm sure it involves taking the driving course, which probably costs money we don't have, and probably a reinstatement fee, which we don't have. Then in two months I have to go before a judge. If I'm found guilty (which, of course I am), guess what the penalty for this is? A 90 day suspension of my license. I can't afford that with 3 kids, and college classes. The officer, who at least was nice, said that if the judge likes me and what I say, he might waive the 90 day suspension, but there will still be a fine. Of course, I could not drive home, so my wife who wasn't supposed to drive with her bad eye had to drive us home. Thanks Dana for being willing to come get us. My wife's got to do all the driving now. Pretty hard to do all the driving that three kids require with just one driver.

The next day I discovered that my wallet was missing. It disappeared somewhere in the house, which we've torn apart looking for it. I don't need to mention all the important stuff in it.

A little before all this happened, my doctor decided that my oral diabetes meds just weren't cutting it anymore, so I'm on insulin now. A real pain, and quite a lifestyle change. Plus I feel like a failure, not being able to manage my diabetes without it. I was worried that insulin would cause me to put on weight. My doctor said that was a myth. I gained 10 pounds the first week, and more since. Another doctor I see for another reason told me that of course you gain weight on insulin, everyone does. Expect it to continue. Depressing for someone who had been managing to slowly lose weight.

Because of the financial problems, we are behind on bills, so next month we'll have trouble too. Definitely no van or air conditioner repair. We were waiting on a check that would help immensely, but as I have been writing this, we discovered that the agency that this check was coming from doesn't have any record of our invoice. We'll correct that, but with the paperwork delay that they have, it'll be weeks until we get paid.

All of this led me into a depression that lasted a week or so. It got so bad that I was contemplating suicide. Then I came out of it much sooner than anyone expected. A day later I was hypomanic. Doing cleaning and chores around the house non-stop until I was physically exhausted, and enjoying every moment of it. The a day or so later I found myself rapidly switching between depression and hypomania. I don't have ultraradian cycling or borderline, so it probably meant a mixed state. Yippee. For me that usually means a hospital visit when it gets worse. I'm really depressed as I write this (I was more hypomanic when I started typing, more fast switches), in fact I flat out told my wife that if it weren't for her and the kids I'd just kill myself. She'll be watching out for that getting worse...

We did manage to get into see a psychiatrist about this, not one we usually see, but because I was hypomanic when I saw him, he just increased my antipsychotic. My wife saw him and he was distant and rude with her, which he was not with me. We think that's because he saw her borderline diagnosis. It's quite stigmatizing. In the end he just told us to call 911 if we needed any more help. Useless.

Well, I'll just try to weather it and do my best to not get worse.

How has your life been lately? Let us all know in the comments!

As usual, I'll post future updates to my Facebook and Twitter pages. Feel free to follow or friend or message me.

mental illness, mental health, bipolar, depression, suicide, mixed state, stigma

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