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J.R. Buchanan


Me, My Thoughts, and I

Picture of me

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About Me

I've been writing here for over six months, and I just realized that I've never done the "About Me" post that all the articles about how to blog say that I need. I'll correct that now.

Well, as I write this I am 53 years old, and live in Kokomo, Indiana, USA. That's about an hour north of Indianapolis, where I did most of my growing up. I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and spent some time in Huntsville, Alabama, and Chicago, Illinois.

I'm married to my second wife, Karla, we just had our 9th wedding anniversary last weekend. We first met at a mental health support group, and it grew from there. I love her very much.

We have a nice house that we bought in 2011. It was damaged in the tornadoes that hit on November 17th, 2013 in Indiana and Illinois. Fortunately it was repairable, and our insurance company gave us very little in the way of problems. We were only out of the house for a month or so while the basics were repaired, although it took until May or June of 2014 before most of the repairs were done.

I was very lucky and wound up with great parents who provided my sister and I with everything we needed. Despite that, a lot of my childhood was miserable, bullies and depression. I was fantasizing about suicide by the time I was in middle school (we called it Jr. High back then, no one seems to anymore). I started self-harm about then too, less cutting and more other things that I won't go into. Fortunately that's behind me now and I'm happy more than not.

We have three dogs, and two cats. We intended to have two dogs, but when we took our newest dog from the Humane Society to the vet to be spayed, he discovered that she was pregnant and had to close her back up. Our daughter really wanted a puppy so we kept one of them. The dogs are named Phoebe, Roxie, and Crystal. The cats are named Chaz and Arlo. Arlo is named after the singer Arlo Guthrie.

We have several kids, both adopted and foster kids who have stayed in our lives, we hope to adopt some more of them as adults. We became foster parents in 2007, and have had more than 30 kids in our lives, mostly teenagers, a really positive experience overall. Most of these kids have moved back in with their biological families, a good thing in most of the situations.

I have bipolar disorder, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder), and maybe ADHD, they haven't convinced me of that one, but several doctors and therapists have given me this diagnosis. These conditions have led me to be a mental health advocate, much, but not all, of this blog is mental health related. I'm active in NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). I do public speaking on mental health, much, but not all, of it with the NAMI program, In Our Own Voice, where two people with mental illnesses talk about their life experiences.

I often hear someone who was diagnosed with bipolar say, "I've had bipolar for X years", with X being the number of years since diagnoses. Well, at least for me, and likely many others, a mental illness doesn't appear suddenly, it's been around for quite a while before things got bad enough to seek help. In my case, the depression and OCD symptoms started before grade school.

I went to college at IUPUI (Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis) in Indianapolis Indiana, taking Purdue classes. I have a bachelor's in Electrical Engineering Technology, and worked as a circuit designer and later a Unix system administrator at a large automotive plant in Kokomo. I retired on disability in 2006 after 18 years there, 29 years total of working.

I'm currently taking classes at Ivy Tech to be a medical assistant, I'd like to try working again. Medical assisting doesn't pay nearly as well as my previous jobs, but I think that I will enjoy it. I'm not really sure I can work full time anymore, so I'm going to try part time or PRN (as needed) at first to see what happens. I'm a bit scared of the thought of working again, the last six years or so of working did not go well at all -but I did manage to hang on for a long time. I'm proud of that.

I have one tattoo, a semicolon on my left wrist. If you're curious, Google "Semicolon Tattoo" for a lot of information. I am planning another, on the other wrist, in the next few months, I'll surely post about it here.

Picture of my semicolone

I collect T-Shirts with advertising on them. I have maybe 200 to 300, I'm not sure, but it's getting to be a lot. Electronic projects are a hobby of mine, as well as woodworking. I've been riding motorcycles on the street for most of my life.

I first discovered the Internet in 1980, pretty early (11 years) into its existence. I set up my first web site, which has evolved into buchanan1.net, around 1994. Or so. I tried blogging around 2005, but lost momentum. I started again in February of this year, I seem to be having no trouble with momentum.

What is your life like? 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, mania

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