Tuesday, December 11, 2012


After a big crash that resulted in a five-month medical leave from work, five months ago I quit my job in the arts and moved back to my home state where my parents were able to provide me with a house to live in until they can prepare it to put on the market -- they figure about five years, so this is an amazing opportunity for me.  As such, I decided to go back to school and earn an MBA.

Well, school is in its final week and I think I'm going to make it.  This semester was a good challenge and weird.  I'm a right brained bipolar person stumbling into a left brain highly structured world!

I already possess two masters degrees and have never in my entire academic career been nervous about homework, projects or exams.  This program has terrified me throughout the entire semester!  AND I don't think I've ever received anything less than an 85 in my earlier classes (yikes!  A ridiculously low score, I've always thought!), and I received a 36 on my economics mid-term!  Hello Kitty!!!

However, the professor told me (when I visited him in sheer and utter panic) that most of the class failed the exam (C or below) and that he was going to give a heavier weight on the final.  He will also consider level of improvement in individual cases and grade keeping that in mind.  He said I could theoretically get a 90 in the class! Crazy land!  When I registered for the class I was certain that I would hate it.  But it ended up to actually be my favorite class.  The professor is enthusiastic, available, patient, and encourages questions in class.  He pushes us to understand.  His class is hard with a lot of information coming fast and furious, but his teaching style is wonderful.  I love it.

I've learned so many things about the real world that I am now able to apply to my life (I couldn't even balance my checkbook until now, nor really cared about the importance of doing so!  I didn't even understand what a bond is or how the stock market worked!).

My bipolar has been getting a little worse.  I've been in a high hypomanic cycle for a few months, and it's increasing in intensity.  This week I had a 36 hour no-sleep binge and have been working hard to force myself to at least get in the bed even though I can't sleep.  I'm also struggling to make myself eat -- who has the time to make a sandwich when I could be wandering around the house twitching and making weird noises!  I'm soooo worried about the crash that is going to follow and the subsequent debilitating depression.  If I can't get restabilized, how is that going to affect my studies, and even my ability to get up and go to class?

My student health insurance won't start covering the pre-existing condition until March, so I'm paying about $400 out of pocket each month for meds and am not able to pay for a psychologist (with whom I should have bi-monthly sessions) nor a psychiatrist -- I'm also worried that I need a med adjustment, so I hope that I can hang on until March when I can return to psychological sessions and a med evaluation.

So, in the interim, I'm trying to do a LOT of self-talking and monitoring, and, unfortunately, have been chain smoking (another post on this coming soon).  The smoking screws up my body but helps control the frenzy and slows down "the voices."  And, because it screws up my body and exhausts me it helps keep my physical behavior in check.  I hate that I resort to this self-medication and hope I can soon find a way to find a healthier alternative.  However, it's helped me get through the semester. 

The hypomania strongly affects my ability to concentrate so I think that's played a large part in my struggle in the program.  Now, I'm more determined to earn the MBA simply to prove to myself that I can do it despite the illness.

It's also made me consider other career options and desires. I'd like to work in an industry that has a strong immediate and more supportive/helpful effect on society.  The psychologist I had been working with before I moved had frequently discussed with me the idea of becoming an art therapist. I'm leaning more, however, toward administrating a domestic violence shelter.  Who knows. I've also been kicking around the idea of becoming a professional organizer (Hello!  Who else can organize the heck out things than a hypomanic bipolar!).  Again, who knows.  I'm holding the attitude that my time in school is an opportunity to take a "vacation" and begin to figure out who I am.

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