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For a few weeks, now, I've been thinking about doing a little video intro/update, mostly to post on my Tumblr - just a kind of brief deal on my (relatively) fairly vast change in religion/politics/etc. I have this issue, though, where my brain plays Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon to get from topic to topic. A conversation will be on point A, and I'll mention something at point F, then people look at me funny, not realizing that I went A > B > C > D > E > F in my own head. I've tried making a small card with a few brief notes/points on it, but, I have this tendency to forget to write things down, and then suddenly remember something important 'out of place', etc. So, I'd like to make a video, but, talking into a camera makes me nervous, as does the whole 'face for radio' thing.

I guess I'm just used to typing things out. When you type things out, you can actually look back and proofread and make sure everything is coherent before submitting a post - and, then, edit it if you need to add/fix, anything. But, a video post seems more appropriate and personal for this particular thing.

IDEK
  • Listening to: Freak Kitchen
  • Reading: Spillover
  • Watching: The Atheist Experience
  • Playing: nothing, atm =U
  • Eating: breakfast burrito
  • Drinking: Sprite
Okay, it's kind of old news (like, about 2 years old) and I know I've plugged it about a dozen times, but...
My book, Bedside Manner, is available in paperback on Amazon and at their daughter company, CreateSpace (psst, I get bigger royalties from CreateSpace), and available in digital format for the Amazon Kindle.

This is a piece of historical fiction/pseudobiography taking place in Germany between the early 1920s into the 1980s, with WWII as its centerpiece. Rather than go with front line battle stories, I elected to follow a German citizen who has a great desire to help his fellow man, and is inspired by his grandfather to become a doctor. Unfortunately, what appears to be a golden job opportunity unwittingly leads him to violate the Hippocratic Oath on a near-daily basis, causing enormous internal (and eventually external) conflict.

As a rule, when I write I am very character-oriented, so tend to focus on a character's development by exploring their thoughts, emotions, evolving actions, and inner desires and conflicts. If I can get my readers to feel what my narrator is feeling, or relate to them in any way, that is a huge success for me.

Given the time and setting of this story, it obviously has to deal with some potentially very sensitive subjects, such as the Holocaust, and all of the blatant racism/'Aryan supremacy' that came with it. I also touch somewhat on domestic violence, religion, and sexuality, but I tried to address all of these issues as tactfully as possible while also not sugar-coating anything. Many many -many- hours of research (which I immensely enjoyed) went into making this book as historically accurate as was feasible, and I tried very hard to take as few artistic liberties with history as possible.

Usually when I write I tend to just share it among friends and otherwise keep it to myself. For once, I had something completely original that I felt was both long and well-written enough to (nervously) publish. I was initially very worried about how Bedside Manner would be received, but it has gotten overwhelmingly positive reviews, so I feel as though it is at least reasonably decent. I don't and never did have any prospects of getting rich from it, my main hope whenever I share my writing is that someone will enjoy it. If you, or anyone you know, might be interested, please share the link and give it a read. If you do or have given it a read, please leave a review - my aim is to improve, and any personal thoughts are very much appreciated!

www.amazon.com/Bedside-Manner-…
  • Listening to: Lindsey Stirling
  • Reading: Spillover
  • Watching: Pacific Rim
  • Playing: nothing, atm =U
  • Eating: soft pretzels
  • Drinking: Sprite Zero

So, some of you have probably noticed a turnaround in my religious affiliation.  I used to be Protestant, and now I'm riding the agnostic train.  The switch was fairly quick for me, and I'm not sure I can really put it into words, but I'm going to try.

 

First off, I'd like to say that I hold no ill will towards Christians in general, or practitioners of other faiths/non-faiths so long as they aren't hurting anyone else with their beliefs.  I don't have a problem with practitioners, but I do have somewhat of a beef with organized religion specifically.  I don't dislike Christianity any more than I dislike any other organized religion, but since it's the only one I have personal experience with, it's the only one I can really talk in-depth about.

 

I used to be a good little Christian – I was for most of my life, until a few months ago.  I doubted evolution, watched Fox News, thought homosexuality was a sin, and thought that people who didn't believe in Jesus were going to Hell.  Now, most people who experience some sort of religious/intellectual transformation seem to experience it during college, but my little awakening started after.

 

My doctor told me once that I, "Seem like a lifetime learner," and I think he was correct.  I love doing research into things like zoology, medicine, religion, and all manner of far more obscure topics.  An essential part of learning is changing one's point of view with the uptake of new evidence and information.  To not do so is foolish, and can even be dangerous.

 

For example, say that you live with your friends and family in a fertile valley below a dam.  The living seems good, there.  The houses are nice, all of the lawns are neatly manicured, and you get along well with all of your neighbors.  There's just one problem – one of those neighbors is almost constantly knocking on doors, and trying to convince people to move.  Well, this sounds ridiculous, why would anyone want to leave such a paradise, and who is this nameless fool to boss you around?

 

The next day, the neighbor is back, and this time he's wearing a lab coat and claims to have a PhD in Structural Engineering.  He says that the entire neighborhood is in danger, because the dam is unsound, and eventually going to break, and wash away the whole valley.  There is upset in the neighborhood, but you tell everyone to keep calm and stay put.  Have faith that the dam will hold.  Your obnoxious neighbor is only one man, and he could be wrong.

 

The next day, the man returns, and this time he's brought colleagues from all around the nation.  He says that they have personally inspected the dam, and they've drawn up a set of blueprints detailing all of its structural flaws.  It could give out at any time, he says!  But, who are these people to say you're in danger?  They're not even from around here.  You tell your neighbors to stay put.  That night the dam breaks, and the water cascades down the valley, killing all in its path.

 

You helped to doom everyone in your neighborhood by telling them all it was safe, despite clear evidence to the contrary.  You rejected ideas that clashed with your own without even pondering them, first.

 

This is a pretty extreme example, but there are some pretty bad things going on in the world that stem from this exact problem.  Our tax dollars still go to abstinence-only sex education despite mountains of evidence that it doesn't work.  Thousands of people have stopped getting their children vaccinated because of a (now openly refuted) single study that links the shots with Autism.  Billions of people believe evolution is a lie, even in the face of an enormous body of research, and a fossil record to the contrary.

 

Evolution was one of those turning points for me, and one that came along early on.  It was relatively easy to reconcile evolution and the Bible by just saying, "God's days are longer than our days, so the six days of creation could be the billions of years it took to make the universe."  I may no longer consider myself a Christian, but it still boggles my mind that there are so many Christians who think that evolution goes against their faith when, in my opinion, it makes God sound even more ingenious.  Evolution may not have rocked my world as far as religion goes, but there were other things.

 

During and after college, I also began to question the notion that homosexuality is a sin.  I have had and still do have several LGBT friends, and they do not in the slightest seem like the debased, loathsome sinners that the preacher man makes them out to be.  My best friends are LGBT, and they were there for me, without judgment, when I was at the lowest point in my life.  Without them (and some very good doctors) I might not be here today.  Do those sound like the sort of people who should be condemned to eternal torment just because they don't believe in Jesus?

 

And, let's talk about Jesus.  He's probably one of the only redeeming things in the Bible.  His teachings are A++ good morals in my book.  It's amazing, then, that so many Christians ignore that whole 'love thy neighbor' bit and skip straight to condemning homosexuals when they, themselves, are wearing clothing made of two different materials – that's from Leviticus, too, and it's also worth a stoning.

 

That's another reason I started to drop Christianity, and religion as a whole, like a hot rock.  There are so many contradictions.  I can't go into all of them because it would eat up about a hundred pages, but here are a few examples:

 

www.infidels.org/library/moder…

www.thethinkingatheist.com/pag…

 

People also like to call upon the Bible as a source of all morality, and claim that it validates things like the sanctity of marriage as between a man and a woman.  But, there are examples of marriage in the Bible between a man and his slave, a man and his concubines, etc.

 

There are also so many unanswered questions.  "Have faith," and, "God works in mysterious ways," just aren't going to cut it as answers.  A lot of these questions are in regards to God's apparent cruelty and selfishness.  Yes, it has come to the point where I can only see the Christian God as cruel and selfish.  Don't run away screaming, yet, I have my reasons.

 

Why did God create Satan and us?  If God is all knowing, then he is a cruel god.  He knew that Satan would tempt man to sin, and doom billions of souls to Hell.  So, why would God do this?  Did he need worshippers to feed his ego, or something to play with, or was he just bored?  And, it's so easy, according to the Bible, to sin.  Of course it's a sin to do things like lie, kill, or steal – those are morals that are a part of pretty much every religion, and believed even by atheists.  But, it's also a 'sin' to covet, or be gay, or have sex outside of marriage, or wear clothes made of two different fabrics, or eat pork, and there are so many things I can't really even begin to list them.  None of this, according to the Bible, would be a problem if God hadn't created Lucifer.

 

Imagine that a man builds a room with walls that are completely covered in electrical outlets.  He takes his young children and places them in the room.  He gives them each a fork, and tells them not to stick them in the outlets, because they'll get hurt.  Can you see where this is going?

 

Human beings, especially the innocent, like children (or Adam and Eve), are naturally curious.  It's one of our most important aspects.  Curiosity is the reason that we have modern science, and medicine, and education, and art.  When one, or more, of those children eventually gives in to curiosity and sticks their fork in a wall socket, who is to blame?  Are the police going to condemn the curious children, or are they going to arrest the father for knowingly putting his children in a dangerous situation?

 

If God is supposed to be so perfect and loving, why does the human legal system, flawed as it is, have higher standards of care than he does?  Human beings aren't all-knowing, but any parent with common sense would have child-proofed the outlets, or not handed their children forks, or wouldn't have built that room in the first place.  Does God have no common sense?

 

One of the biggest kickers for me, however, has to be Hell.  I no longer consider myself a Christian, and I still fear that, no matter how irrational, I may be wrong, and if I am, I'm going to Hell.  What kind of loving God would condemn his children to eternal torment, or even the fear of it?  Did he not trust us to be good people without the threat looming over, or rather, below us?  It's not as though people need religion to have a moral compass.  Bill Gates is an atheist, but he gives billions of dollars to charity, and there are Christians out there who murder abortion doctors and prevent loving couples from getting married in the name of their faith.  It's clear, then, that religion does not automatically make someone a good person.

 

"If you don't follow my commandments, you're going to burn in an eternity of screaming, and torture, and pain… but, I love you."  Does that not sound hypocritical?  Telling a child about Hell and how they might go there if they don't behave is tantamount to child abuse, and yet God threatens us, who he supposedly loves more than anything, with Hell?  I do my best to lead a good life and treat others well, but, because of my Christian upbringing, I still fear going to Hell.

 

So, if I don't believe in God anymore, what do I believe?

 

I believe in empathy.

 

According to Psychology Today, "Empathy is the experience of understanding another person's condition from their perspective."  I do my best to never claim that I'm better than someone else, no matter how they act, because I have different circumstances than they do.  Even if they do something wrong, they have a reason for doing it, whether or not it's a good one.  I can't bring myself to hate Osama bin Laden or Hitler.  They thought what they were doing was right.  If I had been born in their circumstances, and lived their childhoods, I probably would have done the same things that they had.  That absolutely does not make what they did right, and that doesn't mean what they did should have gone unpunished – it simply means that I understand why they did what they did.

 

It's not always that extreme, of course.  Most of the time it's as simple as making an effort to understand why your friend might be upset at something you said, or even why someone cut you off in traffic.  I won't always succeed at understanding, no, but I believe it's making a conscious effort that's important.

 

I like to think that there is life after death – that there is somewhere our souls go after we die.  I wish that I didn't still fear Hell, and I envy people who don't.  It seems to be a fear that I hold only to myself, and not over others.  I just hope that people who make an effort to be good – to understand each other – have something good awaiting them after death. 

 

There may very well be a god out there, but no good person deserves to burn because they don't have sufficient evidence to believe in one.

  • Listening to: Rainy Mood
  • Reading: The Violinist's Thumb
  • Watching: Game Grumps
  • Playing: Borderlands 2
  • Eating: Garlic rolls
  • Drinking: Diet Dr Thunder
I went to my family doctor, admitted I was depressed and wasn't sure whether I would hurt myself or not. He called my psychiatrist and since I had had suicidal thoughts before, they decided inpatient care was probably the way to go. I didn't feel safe driving, so my dad picked me up and took me to the hospital.

I didn't get officially admitted until about 1:30 in the morning, and the first day was pretty rough. I had to part with my shoes, and my cell phone. My shampoo, conditioner, electric toothbrush, and mouthwash were all locked up until I needed to use them (they had shampoo, toothbrushes, and mouthwash, but their shampoo sucked and their toothpaste tasted of chlorine). Other than losing my cell phone, one of the hardest things had to be letting other people control when I took my medication.

The psychiatrist there ramped up my Lamictal, and switched me from Lexapro to Effexor (something my own psychiatrist was going to do, should the Lexapro prove ineffective, which apparently it did) and I'm still waiting to see how that's going to turn out. All of the nursing staff were really nice, and group activities were actually helpful. The food was even pretty good, which shocked me, given how often people tell jokes about nasty hospital food. I even got to pick which drink I wanted to have with my meals (hot tea, hot tea, and hot tea).

The accommodations were even pretty decent. Everyone had their own room/bathroom, though the bath and shower were in a separate area. The bed was reasonably comfortable, and the staff was willing to give me crossword puzzles and other stuff to keep me busy when there weren't groups. I was a little irked that I had to give up my pens, since that's what I like to write in my journal with - and two of my shirts were confiscated for having guns on them (my Spy and Soldier shirts).

Despite it being pretty scary at first, I think overall it was the right thing to do. Everyone was very nice, and I feel a lot better (still kind of down, but not like a danger to myself), but I was still happy to leave. Now I'm just hoping I don't sink again when I start back to work.

We were only given one hour each evening for visitation.  It was really rough the first night - I absolutely sobbed when mom and dad came in and I got to hug them.  I was much improved my second night there, but still a little teary-eyed.

I was officially admitted to the mental health unit at 1:30 am on Tuesday.  The psychiatrist met with me every day for evaluations.  On Wednesday he asked me if I wanted to go home, and I admitted that I wasn't sure, which he took as a 'no', which was probably a good thing.  I went to the nurse's station after my meeting to reverse my decision, but I started crying when I talked to the nurse.  She called the psychiatrist, but he was leery of having me leave (though I could have at any time, since I admitted myself voluntarily) when I was that emotionally unstable.

Everyone had their vitals checked about every six hours through the day, usually starting at 6:30 am.  I worried some of the staff because at the 6:30 check my heart rate would be around 80, which is relatively normal (I used to have a resting heart rate in the 50s) but during lunch and supper, after I had taken my Adderall, it could be as high as 120.  I never felt my heart pounding/fluttering, though, so they let it go.

Before I was admitted they drew six tubes of blood to test for… pretty much everything.  I'm sure all of my medications made the results interesting, because I know I tested positive for amphetamines and benzodiazapines from the Adderall and Klonopin.  I guess it was partially to test that I wasn't abusing my medication.  Apparently I came up low on potassium, so I was given a dose of liquid potassium in the unit.  Just as an aside, potassium tastes like diluted, extremely salty orange koolaid, and I may have gagged a little while trying to drink the whole thing.

There was a day room where we ate our meals, and there was a TV there, and a telephone.  People could make calls just about any time between 7am and 10pm as long as there wasn't a group session in the room.  Calls were limited to 15 minutes, but I did get to call my parents a couple of times, which I mostly did my first day there when I really needed a familiar voice.

Our hospital bracelets had barcodes on them.  When I was given medication, the nurse would scan the barcode, and I'm assuming it told her which medications were mine, or recorded that I had been given my medications, or both.  It seemed like a really good system.

Every patient was checked on every 15 minutes, even during the night.  If my door was closed, they would open it. This resulted in me sleeping with the door just barely open so that I wouldn't be woken up by the sound of it being opened.  The only bad thing about this was that the lights from the hallway pretty well shone right on my face.  The doors themselves were pretty intimidating, too.  They were really thick and heavy, and had double locks on them (we couldn't lock the doors from the inside, obviously).  The door handles were kind of a half-circle that angled downward from where they attached to the door, so there was no way for a person to hang themselves from them.  They had basically suicide-proofed any location where a patient might be by themselves - e.g.; the bedrooms and bath/shower rooms.

The nurses were also super observant without me even noticing.  There was a patient in the unit who I think had some kind of developmental disability, but he was -way- taller than me, and had some issues respecting personal space, which made me really uncomfortable.  Later in the day, one of the nurses offered to move me to the other side of the unit since I 'seemed intimidated by him'.

Overall, not something I would like to repeat, but they really had their shit together.
  • Listening to: Rainy Mood
  • Reading: Out of Our Minds
  • Watching: Game Grumps
  • Playing: Nothing
  • Eating: snowflake rolls
  • Drinking: Diet Dr Thunder
I know I keep plugging my book, but when I do, sales tend to go up from nil to at least single digits, which means I get an occasional payment from Amazon. It's a pseudobiography taking place primarily in WWII Germany. If you're interested in the time period/place, biographies, or the driving psychology behind the Reich, I encourage you to take a peek. For those of you who have a Kindle and are on Amazon Prime, you can borrow the book for free! If you do give it a read, please think about leaving a review to let me know what you think!
www.amazon.com/Bedside-Manner-…
  • Listening to: Eleanor Rigby
  • Reading: Nothing
  • Watching: Nothing
  • Playing: Guild Wars 2
  • Eating: Andes chocolate
  • Drinking: Water
Don't forget, the Kindle version of my book, Bedside Manner, will be FREE on Saturday, October 6 as part of the 'Hypocritical Oath' campaign!  If you have any interest in medicine, biographies, historical fiction, and/or WWII and post-WWI Germany, consider giving it a read!  If you do read it, kindly leave a review - I would love to hear what you think!
  • Listening to: Nothing
  • Reading: Parasite Rex
  • Watching: Nothing
  • Playing: Guild Wars 2
  • Eating: Taco Bell
  • Drinking: Dr Pepper
www.amazon.com/Bedside-Manner-…

As part of the "Spoonful of Sugar" campaign my book, Bedside Manner, is available for FREE today, September 8, on the Amazon Kindle! If you have an interest in WWII-era Germany, biographies, or character studies, please pick it up and see if you like it! If you like it, please tell your friends and leave a review - I would love to hear what you have to say!
  • Listening to: Nothing
  • Reading: Parasite Rex
  • Watching: Nothing
  • Playing: Guild Wars 2
  • Eating: Taco Bell
  • Drinking: Dr Pepper
The ruby-throated hummingbirds are starting their migration south! Some of these little critters fly across the Gulf of Mexico, 450 miles MINIMUM over open ocean. The rest risk a flight over blistering deserts.

Before they leave on their migration, they gorge themselves so that they have enough body fat to make it south. Help them out by keeping and maintaining a hummingbird feeder. Hummingbird feeders are relatively inexpensive, but pick one that has red on it, as that is a color that hummingbirds are attracted to. You can get hummingbird nectar pre-mixed or as a powdered concentrate (I prefer the latter, it lasts longer and can be mixed with cold water). Besides helping out, putting out feeders to draw these aggressive little birds to your home can provide great entertainment as they squabble over rights to the feeders.
  • Listening to: Nothing
  • Reading: Packing For Mars
  • Watching: Nothing
  • Playing: Guild Wars 2
  • Eating: Taco Bell
  • Drinking: Dr Pepper
For August 25th, as part of the "An Apple a Day" campaign, my book, Bedside Manner, will be available for free on the Amazon Kindle!  If you have any interest in historical fiction, biographies, character studies, World War II, or WWII-era Germany, give it a look!  If you do give it a look, please leave a review to let me know what you think!
www.amazon.com/Bedside-Manner-…
  • Listening to: Nothing
  • Reading: Nothing
  • Watching: Nothing
  • Playing: Team Fortress 2
  • Eating: Nutty Bars
  • Drinking: Dr Pepper
At long last I put my big girl panties on and published Bedside Manner - no, it's not the 'Bedside Manner' that I have posted on DA.  This is a much longer, much more in-depth version that explores much more of Fleischer's life and is, in my opinion, much better written.

"Nicklaus Fleischer dreamed of growing up to be a doctor. Few dreams, however, can remain pure under the shadow of the Third Reich. On his journey to become a doctor and soothe his troubled home life, Nicklaus discovers the terrible steps his nation has taken to fight a war not just on the front lines, but against its very own citizens. The government changes the value of 'Do No Harm', and with it, Nicklaus's dreams to better the lives of his fellow man.

This is a fictional biography set during a grim time - a tale of life, death, love, and loss that is not for the faint of heart."

This book is available on the Kindle www.amazon.com/Bedside-Manner-…
It is also available via the CreateSpace eStore (which pays the highest royalties, but at no extra cost to you!) www.createspace.com/3920953
and Amazon.com www.amazon.com/Bedside-Manner-…
  • Listening to: Nothing
  • Reading: Nothing
  • Watching: Nothing
  • Playing: Team Fortress 2
  • Eating: Nutty Bars
  • Drinking: Dr Pepper
I am a 25 year old who grew up in a small town in northwest Missouri. Our elementary, jr high, and high school were all housed in the same facility, so a class of students stuck together from Kindergarten to 12th grade.


I wasn't like most of the other students. I wasn't interested in gossiping, or sports, or even dating. I found it easier to relate to my teachers and other adults than to my fellow students. I was different from the other students, and because of this I was an outcast. I was bullied relentlessly all the way through primary school. This had a tremendous impact on my self esteem, and may be partially responsible for a diagnosis of General Anxiety Disorder that interferes with my every day life.


I was bullied because I was different. I was bullied because the other students didn't understand me. I have found myself in episodes of depression so severe that I have imagined killing myself. I am against House Bill 2051, Missouri's "Don't Say Gay" Bill, because I don't want other students to go through the same things that I did. I don't want them to feel like outcasts. I don't want them to feel so isolated and so depressed that they would see death as an escape.  This bill forbids any discussion of homosexuality within public schools; it will only encourage a lack of understanding. It will only encourage the epidemic of bullying that has swept the nation and our state.


Science has shown that being homosexual is not a choice. That doesn't matter, though. Whether it is a choice or not, these people suffer because they are considered to be different. This bill will only facilitate the view that they are different - that they are outcasts.



As a citizen of Missouri, I urge you to contact your legislators and ask them vote against this bill. The harm it will cause to our youth will be immeasurable. The potential suffering it will cause would be repugnant to any decent human being.



You can look up your local legislators here www.senate.mo.gov/llookup/leg_… .  Many of them provide contact information so you may email them, or write a letter.
  • Listening to: Romani Holiday
  • Reading: Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda
  • Watching: BBC Sherlock
  • Playing: Sims 3
  • Eating: BANANA
  • Drinking: High-quality H2O
If you have depression, or think you might have Bipolar Disorder - if any of this resonates with you - please see a mental health professional.  There is no shame in doing so, and you shouldn't have to live the rest of your life snapping between agitation and misery.
____________
I am almost 25 years old, and over the past two or three years of my life, I have slowly been sinking into a deep depression.  There would be a few days or even weeks when I would just feel good, or just sort of 'blah', and then right back to the depression.

Things slowly got worse.  I was constantly afraid of what my friends and coworkers thought of me.  If I took a sick day, I felt like being 'lazy'.  I slowly came to hate myself, and almost everything I did.  It got to the point where I was so afraid of failure that I didn't want to do much of anything.

I had been seeing a therapist, and things had marginally improved – but, things came to a head last December.  Some friend-based drama dramatically deepened my depression, and over the next few weeks, all I could do was brood, and ruminate over what had happened.  I felt like a failure more than ever.  I felt like I was a failure at my job, I felt like I was a failure to my friends, and I was a failure at my art, and my writing.

I couldn't concentrate at work.  All I could think of was how horrible I must have looked to everyone around me – an unfounded paranoia that consumed almost all of my time and energy.  I finally admitted to myself that maybe I needed to see my doctor about it, and I burst into tears in his office.  I felt humiliated for doing so.  He asked me a few questions about how I'd been feeling, and about my family history and then, specifically, if I had any relatives who were Bipolar.  I told him that one of my uncles, while never formerly diagnosed, almost certainly had Bipolar disorder.  My doctor suggested I might have a 'lighter' version, Bipolar II.  He referred me to a psychiatrist, and was even willing to fill out some paperwork so I could take time off work while this was all sorted out.

I took a trip back home while I was off work, and things didn't go entirely well.  I forgot to take a dose of my anti-anxiety medication, and I felt agitated and irritated and practically frantic the entire drive back to my apartment.  I got it in my head that I should take up wire-wrapping pendants – I had a few bags of tumbled stones I had purchased while at home, and, by God, I was going to see if Walmart had some wire to use.  They did, and I spent the next few days turning out over two dozen pendants.  I was more than ready to see my psychiatrist.

My first visit to my psychiatrist was primarily made up of questions – lots of them.  He told me to give my doctor kudos for suggesting Bipolar II because yes, I have it.  He also diagnosed General Anxiety Disorder (which came as little surprise to me) and, at a later appointment, inattentive ADHD.  A number of medications were prescribed to treat my conditions, including Zyprexa for my Bipolar II.

I was feeling miserable, and wanted a quick fix.  I asked him how long it would take for the medicine to work, and I didn't believe him when he said, "Five to ten days."  I saw him six days later, and I was like a completely different person.  I was smiling, and laughing, and having casual conversation without that fear of looking like a complete loon or idiot.

The feeling lasted for a long while, and the medication does still make it easier for me to engage in casual conversation with people – something I've had trouble with over the past few years.  I returned to work about a month after I'd left, and was feeling much better.  It didn't last.

Stress at work brought back that anxiety.  I felt that I was being lazy, and worthless, despite a glowing performance review.  I engaged in conversation as little as possible with my colleagues for fear of saying something stupid.  There were days when I could barely will myself to get out of bed, because I feared going to work – I feared what people would think of me.  Sometimes I had to come into work a couple of hours late because I could barely drag myself out of bed.  Calling in, even if I made up the time later, made me feel worthless, and lazy.

More drama with friends a couple of weeks ago drove me nearly to the brink.  I already felt helpless, and hopeless, and like I had screwed up everything I'd ever done.  I imagined killing myself.  I had imagined doing so, before, but they were fleeting thoughts.  This one was clear, and it frightened me.  I saw my therapist, I saw my doctor, and then I saw my psychiatrist, who flat-out said, "You need therapy."  I'm going to be seeing him once a week, now, and hopefully we'll manage to get things hashed out.

Right now I'm feeling good.  I'm feeling good shortly after feeling as though I might kill myself.  I want to buy lots of things, and do lots of things, and my mind is racing a million miles an hour.  This is what hypomania feels like.  I went from depressed, to blah, to a near-high in the span of a week, and I have no idea how long it will last.

This is my life now, though.  It's a roller coaster of ups and downs, with more valleys than peaks.  The medication helps, and I'm hoping that therapy will help things further.  I certainly hope so.  My disorder has caused me to take a lot of things personal, hurt a lot of feelings, and hurt myself, as well.  My worst fear, however, was always hurting other people's feelings – but, I was doing it anyway, and without even knowing it.

My psychiatrist very aptly said, "You're so focused and concerned about stepping on other people's toes in your dance of life that you inevitably wind up tripping over your own two feet and falling into someone.  You are going to step on someone's toes no matter how hard you try not to.  You need to accept this, apologize, and move on with your dance of life."

Tomorrow, I'm going to see him for my first proper therapy appointment, rather than a brief meeting for medication management.  I don't know if I'll still be on my hypomanic high when I see him, I'm just hoping we can find a way to level out the roller coaster at a relatively positive elevation – somewhere where I can accept that I'm going to step on a few toes, and move on with my life.
  • Listening to: Romani Holiday
  • Reading: Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda
  • Watching: BBC Sherlock
  • Playing: Sims 3
  • Eating: BANANA
  • Drinking: High-quality H2O
To all of my fellow jewelry-makers - how do you go about pricing?  I understand that the general formula is: cost of materials + time + workmanship = cost.  However, I cannot afford materials like sterling and Argentium silver at this time.  All I can afford is non-tarnish German-style silver wire.  Does this www.etsy.com/listing/97399082/… seem terribly over-priced, then?  I'm very proud of the piece, and, perhaps my pride is over-inflating the price tag.

Any advice is greatly appreciated - I want these to sell, but I don't want to sell myself short, or overprice things.
  • Listening to: Romani Holiday
  • Reading: Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda
  • Watching: BBC Sherlock
  • Playing: Sims 3
  • Eating: BANANA
  • Drinking: High-quality H2O
"Dr. Bower's studies explain why your friends are impatient when you don't immediately follow their advice to "just forget about it." Forgetting what happened seems quite a simple matter to them - because it would be simple for them. To forget about your problem, that is. It wouldn't be so easy if it were their problem. You see, because they are feeling calm, they see things differently than you who are feeling agitated do. Because they are in a good mood, they can see positive possibilities and can't understand why you can't. Because they are in a good mood, they remember all the times they had problems that were solved - while you see only roadblocks on the path to solution."

— Dr. Arthur Freeman - 'Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda: Overcoming Regrets, Mistakes, and Missed Opportunities'
  • Listening to: Romani Holiday
  • Reading: Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda
  • Watching: BBC Sherlock
  • Playing: Sims 3
  • Eating: BANANA
  • Drinking: High-quality H2O
To my watchers:  I am having a massive Etsy sale.  I just lowered the price on many of my items, especially those where real silver was used.  Prices on many items have dropped by $3 or more!  These natural stone pendants are handmade, and wire-wrapped, many of them with German-style silver wire.  Have a look at my shop, and see if there's anything you'd like! www.etsy.com/shop/THSPNat?ref=…
  • Listening to: Romani Holiday
  • Reading: Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda
  • Watching: BBC Sherlock
  • Playing: Sims 3
  • Eating: BANANA
  • Drinking: High-quality H2O
...or are looking for pretty things for a friend or loved one, check out the handmade wire-wrapped pendants at my Etsy shop!  I've just gone through and cut prices on almost every single item, some by 50% or more!  www.etsy.com/shop/THSPNat?ref=…
  • Listening to: That Man
  • Reading: Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex
  • Watching: BBC Sherlock
  • Playing: Sims 3
  • Drinking: Root Beer
I've shuffled a lot of my prices around to more accurately represent how much time I've spent on each piece, and to reflect the value of the materials used to make the pendants. As a result, I've dropped a -lot- of my prices, so, if you wanted to buy something before and the price scared you off, have another look! www.etsy.com/shop/THSPNat?ref=…
  • Listening to: That Man
  • Reading: Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex
  • Watching: BBC Sherlock
  • Playing: Sims 3
  • Drinking: Root Beer
I can't stop making pendants.  I literally make like, at least three of them a day.  They're starting to pile up, and I don't have a place to put them all.  Please help me clear my desk with a little trip to etsy www.etsy.com/shop/THSPNat?ref=… .  I sell  internationally - pricing is based on the complexity and therefor time it took to make each piece.
  • Listening to: That Man
  • Reading: Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex
  • Watching: BBC Sherlock
  • Playing: Sims 3
  • Drinking: Root Beer
Happy day-before-Discount-Chocolate-Day, deviants.
  • Listening to: That Man
  • Reading: Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex
  • Watching: BBC Sherlock
  • Playing: Sims 3
  • Drinking: Root Beer
I finally manned up and got an Etsy account, here: www.etsy.com/people/THSPNat?re…

Most or all of what's going to be up there will be handmade wire-wrapped polished stone pendants.
  • Listening to: That Man
  • Reading: Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex
  • Watching: BBC Sherlock
  • Playing: Sims 3
  • Drinking: Root Beer