Who Took My Map?

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I have no idea which way to go. Every choice is going to be a long winding journey, and right now they all look the same. I am not even certain there is a “right” direction, or if there is success and security down any of these paths. I just need to take the first step, but which way?

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Work, Sleep, and Moral Quandaries

Last week I was supposed to be on vacation. I didn’t actual drive around like a normal week, but I did handle a lot of work related crap each day. I have a number of bad hard problems created by my employer that put me in ethical quandaries that are simply trumped by my financial reality. This makes me sick. I feel like I am selling my soul, but in this economy I don’t feel like I have much choice. The mortgage is due the first of every month and my child meets me at the door each night ready for dinner. The bank man needs to get paid and the boy needs to eat. It is no more complicated than that. Except it is. Much more. “Golden handcuffs” was the term used to describe my circumstances. If only. If they were made of gold I would not be transferring money from savings each month to pay my bills. More like copper or tin handcuffs. Just enough value to keep me off the street. Continue reading

Getting it on Paper

Off and on over the years I have day dreamed of getting paid to write. I enjoy writing though I often lack inspiration. Back in my darkest days I wrote a little bit. It was all as dark as my mood and I never shared it with anyone until I found it by accident one day and posted it here and here. I played around with short fiction stories recently, but as a father, husband, and middle class worker bee there is little time for following my own pursuits. Truthfully the stuff I wrote wasn’t all that good anyway. My stuff always lacks the descriptive details, the things that convey the setting and mood in a way that actually puts the reader into the story. It is all mechanical and matter of fact, no real pizazz. I was once employed as a technical writer and I was good at that. I actually redesigned the entire menu of written reports my company provided its customers. They were concise, to the point, easily navigated, and well received. That remains my biggest accomplishment in writing.

This summer while on the water working with my father I was struck with a rare lightning bolt of inspiration for a magazine article. I had an idea but as is the norm, particularly in the summer, I had no time until today. Today I was off. It is the last day of my vacation and by accident became a day I had all to myself. I finally sat down and wrote. The topic and whatnot isn’t important, but what is is that I got the ideas all on paper. I had taken the time to outline the project a couple weeks ago and I have been thinking about it since late in the spring so it was pretty much written in my head which made actually giving a physical form much easier. Two hours, 1200 words, and draft one is complete. It’s a ways from actually being done, but the ideas are all out on paper. I have no idea the submission guidelines to the publications I have in mind so I will go search those out next and modify the content if required. I am somewhat concerned that it may be a little long for what they would use it for, but I think I can shave it down if I have to.

I think this is a really good idea. I really think it will sell in the market I have in mind, and I am pretty excited to have actually started down the path. It was nice to write with purpose. To actually have an idea and put something together that could be useful to others. I know I am a long way for done, but it has been a good day.

A Familiar Theme Reoccurs

A common theme throughout this blog has been the seemingly endless parade of shitty decisions that land at my feet. These are the kinds of things that have to be decided on for life to move forward, but which have no clear cut right and wrong choice, or if there is a right choice it comes with consequences that make it difficult to bear.  The past couple weeks have seen a reoccurrence of this theme in ways that I had hoped I would not deal with again.

When I last wrote on this blog I was struggling with a professional decision. I had been offered the opportunity to work on the water again, but I would have been gone a great deal and missed some important family events. Of course this sacrifice was going to be rewarded with a salary the likes of which I had never seen before, which would have solved a lot of our day to day struggles around here. The very moment I was made aware of this opportunity I shook my head and mumbled something about “timing”, another theme I seem to see a lot of, and wished to myself that this had a popped up two or three years ago. At the end of the day taking the job was going to involve giving over a little more of myself than I was willing too at this time. I have mixed emotions about turning down the opportunity. I have never in my life been presented with an opportunity that I was so uniquely qualified for. It was bizarre how the job requirements matched up with my experience and qualifications, and I think I would have liked the job. Even my wife couldn’t honestly say we had made the right call as she watched the prospect for that kind of income vanish.

One of the reasons for turning down the job that I didn’t talk a lot about, but was always there under the surface, was my health circumstances. I have already seen what happens when I am put in situations I am not comfortable with when my head isn’t quite right. I had real concerns that making a change of this magnitude where a significant amount of the control I have over my schedule, and therefore what I must do when I am not feeling well,  would be turned over to a relative stranger may not work out well. I have been struggling with my medication free existence and am looking to get things on an even keel not turn them upside down. At this point as long as I don’t lose my curret employment I think the decision was right for now, and I even managed to turn it down while keeping the door cracked for any future possibilities.

My mental health has been anything but predictable over the last few weeks. I introduced my readership to my not so good friend Freddie some time ago, and as always he has remained steadily in the background, while occasionally stepping into the forefront trying to steal the show. Other than off and on feelings of general unease, and one horrible timed night of insomnia (I doubt very much the timing was coincidental), much of the flat out feelings of anxiety have been reasonably controlled. Of course “reasonably controlled” is a far cry from where I was just prior to stopping Wellbutrin and I was certainly hopeful that things would be better than that.

The last several days has brought with it a change that has proven to be the proverbial straw that broke camel’s back. I have seen a return of the gastro intestinal symptoms that have always been the weather gauge of my mental state. Long time followers of this blog my recall that when depression and anxiety first appeared in my life in a debilitating sort of way the first symptom was actually stomach upset for which I was subject to countless horrible tests to determine that nothing was wrong with me. It was an awful time I hope to never repeat. I am now on at least four consecutive days of stomach pain and gas with significant diarrhea for the past two days. It has reached the point where I have begun to worry about leaving the house or going on the boat with my father, which means it has reached the point where I am no longer going to deal with it. I made the decision this morning to make the phone call, and I have spoken with my shrink’s nurse. I requested a prescription for 150MG of Wellbutrin XL. I am not happy about this and am not terribly confident that it will even work. In the past when the stomach upset really gets going the only solution has been the SSRI type drugs, which come with their own problems that I will magnify other ongoing challenges I am dealing with making them less than ideal. It is my hope the Wellbutrin combined with my improved diet (down 30 pounds now) will settle things down some, of course the probably means a semi permanent goodbye to my new friend the mocha latte.

I am still waiting for the call back from the doc saying that the RX has been called in, but I don’t anticipate there will be a problem. It will be hard to swallow that first pill. I wrote here when I stopped taking the medication that the doc pissed me off a little by preparing me for the possibility of going back on them. I knew it was a possibility and while he was trying to be helpful his words are doing nothing make this easier. The decision has always been mine not his, and sometimes making the right decision is the hardest thing to do. There really should be no down side to this. I should feel better with minimal side effects, but there is something about having been completely chem free and having to go back that really sticks in my throat.