A day in my reality…

So my celebrated (at least by me) cousin recently suffered a concussion, and thus experienced some odd disturbances in his reality. Afterwards he wrote me an e-mail asking most politely about the condition of my reality, and requested most politely for a blog post on same. So, here it is, since I’m currently at work procrastinating doing other things. (Not that it’s a huge deal…it’s 11:52pm currently, so I probably wouldn’t be getting anything done anyway.)

Well, there have been plenty of disturbances to my reality recently, the biggest of which I talked about in my post entitled Welcome to the Roller Coaster, namely being diagnosed with Bipolar II disorder.

Of course, being diagnosed wasn’t the worst part. The WORST part was when the drugs the psychiatrist prescribed unbalanced me so severely that I checked myself into the hospital mental ward for 10 days to adjust my medications. (Note to self: be CAREFUL w/ psychoactive medications.)

Life has gotten slightly better since then. I’ve started seeing a competent, licensed therapist (the only male, North American-trained one in Taiwan, apparently), I’ve gotten on some medications that actually keep me STABLE (as opposed to un-) if somewhat sleepier than I’d really hoped to be.

Other good things have happened, too. I got a much higher-paying job, at an American-run English school in Taipei (no intra-office cultural conflicts, yay!), and I moved to a more convenient location.

Also, I met a nice Paraguayan girl who I’ve been meeting for lunch and language exchange every Tuesday (and occasional weekend outings), so I’ve started improving my Spanish again. I’m really surprised how much has come back in such a short time. All it takes is the right incentive, eh?

So, a typical day in my reality:

10am-11am: Wake up slowly, groggily get out of bed, wander around apartment doing random things while I wait for the grogginess to subside. Eventually go downstairs and buy breakfast at the cafe across the street. Maybe buy fruit at the fruit stand on the first floor of my building, or pick up dry cleaning from the store down the street, or walk to the grocery store to buy groceries.

11am or so: shower, prepare for my day

11:55am: run out the door

11:56am: run back in door to get stuff that I forgot when I ran out the door (this may happen one or more times depending how much I forgot)

12:05-12:10: arrive late for language exchange, private student, therapist, lunch w/ friend, whatever I have scheduled at noon

2pm: go to work (I don’t actually need to be there at 2pm, but since I’m still in training, there’s a lot that I need to catch up on)

5:15pm-7:15pm: first class (I’m student-teaching right now, so I teach part of the class, and observe the rest)

7:45pm-9:45pm: second class (same deal)

9:45pm-11pm or later: wind down in office, grading HW or whatever needs to be done to prepare for tomorrow

11pm-midnight: procrastinate going home by doing something like writing blog post to friends and relatives who miss me (you know you do!), then go home

about midnight: get home, take medicine, maybe eat a banana (has L-tryptophan, a sleep aid) and putter around until I get too sleepy to stand up, then crash

So that’s a day in my reality, although I haven’t yet really told you what being in my reality is LIKE:

Imagine driving a car with a REALLY sensitive steering system: you twitch the wheel just a little, and the vehicle veers LEFT at a 45 degree angle, you try to correct, and end up swerving RIGHT at a 45 degree angle. If this continues, eventually you’ll get pulled over by the cops for driving erratically, or just give up and have the car towed to the nearest garage to get it adjusted.

For me, the adjustment is done by medication. The medication puts a limit on my depression or hypomania so that I don’t get too far out of whack, although I still find that I overreact to emotional stimuli. This makes me easy to please, but also easy to irritate or depress.

Such is life. Some people have angels and demons on their shoulders, acting as their conscience. For me it’s a little different. On my left shoulder is a beach bum, telling me to just ignore everything and go lie down somewhere. On my right shoulder is an over-optimistic Smurf with a Type-A personality, telling me that of course I can afford to eat steak every night, since I’m going to be President some day, or Secretary-General of the United Nations, or CEO of a major multi-national corporation. The two fade in and out alternately, taking turns. Lately I’ve been more able to tune them out, but it’s hard, because really they’re both me. For instance, in my new job I’m still learning how to manage a classroom of 30 kids (formerly I only had to worry about 20 at the outside), and so my trainer takes me to task for spending 45 minutes of class time on an activity that should have taken less than 30. This immediately sparks thoughts of “Oh, I just can’t do it. It’s impossible for me. I’m not a good enough teacher.” It took me about 10 minutes to realize that none of those three sentences are actually true. I just need to take his feedback into account and work out ways to move the class faster. But that clues me in that I’ve sunk into a depressive episode, so I should be aware of those thoughts when they happen.

So anyway, I just realized that it’s 12:42 am, which means I’ve spent 30 minutes longer on this blog than I’d meant to, and it’s DEFINITELY time for me to get out of the office and go home.

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2 Responses to “A day in my reality…”

  1. Sabrina Says:

    Would coming back to DC provide you some stability?

  2. taiwanben Says:

    Probably not. It would probably destabilize me more, actually.

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