I’m sick and tired of being on disability, having nothing to do all day, being bored all the time, the stigma, blah blah blah. I don’t mind that the government pays me for being disabled, and pays for all my medications (thank god for that) but I want something more out of life.
I’ve been to college three times. Two of them were successful. The second, the failure, I failed twice. First year was fine. Second year – psychotic episode for four months that I don’t remember. I remember coming to in the hospital. Then I went back. Did third semester, was manic. Crashed into a deep depression, couldn’t function, withdrew and went into the hospital for ECT and assessment.
My pdoc says I’m schizoaffective. Or rather, I have schizoaffecive disorder. I’m on new meds (I’ll list at the end) and schizoaffective seems so much heavier than bipolar disorder. I’ve been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder by four psychiatrists (the four most recent) and I’ll let that sink in. It’s just weird to hear him say it. It’s weird to explain to people. “It’s like schizophrenia and bipolar at the same time”. Now that sounds scary. In reality, the prognosis for schizoaffective disorder is better than the prognosis for schizophrenia or bipolar disorder on their own, apparently.
So I’ve been stable for about a year now. That’s good. I’ve decided to start paying my student loans so I can get credit. Good. 4 years of loans. I’m looking for a job, but I suck at interviews and either am overqualified or undequalified. I have a degree in social science, and another in computer engineering.
So why not go back to school?
I have some money coming, and I’ve decided to learn a trade. Welding. It’s in demand, it pays well, and I can make art with it, too. I think it would be good. But I have a torn rotator cuff to get fixed before I can go into this trade. I also have to have an employer take me on as an apprentice. The people at the employment agency for those on ODSP can help me with that. I’m a female, making me a minority, which means it’s easier, for some reason, to find a placement in this field.
I talked to my mom about it. She liked the idea. My roommate thinks its a great idea. So I’ll go for 2016, after shoulder surgery and recovery (9 months of physio!) that I still don’t have a date for yet. Note to self: call orthodoc.
I think welding would be great. I love to work with my hands, and with tools. If I get in, it’d be awesome. The companies pay apprentices, which means college will mostly pay for itself, and there are often government grants to trades students, that will cover equipment and some tuition.
Also, once my student loans are paid off and my credit goes from 0 to “no credit” I want to mortgage a house. ODSP allows this. It’d actually cost the same as renting, but it would be MINE. I’ve seen some tiny houses for sale that are super cute. I’d have my own yard, my own place, something to call my own. So I have to build credit, ODSP will help get a mortgage, and I’ll have a house.
The apprenticeship and training for welding is 3-3.5 years. My student loans will be paid off in 4 years if I pay the minimum. I plan on getting a job (I suck at interviews though) to start paying it off faster.
These are things I’ve thought about a lot. I want to live a more normal life. Like my old pdoc, Dr Asshole says, you may not be 100% ever, but you’ll have to accept being 70 or 80%. My prognosis is “fair”, which is better than poor, and, well, my pdoc, Dr Nice, sees me at my worst.
Now for meds. I’ve had a bitch of a time sleeping. I paid for zopiclone for sleep and it worked for one night. It wasn’t covered by my drug plan. The second night, I took 3 during the night and got zero sleep. So I saw my GP, Dr Awesome, and he put me on Elavil, which is covered and I’ve been sleeping well since.
Wellbutrin XL: 450mg in the morning
Clonazepam: 0.5mg in the morning, 0.5mg in the afternoon as needed (I do need the morning dose)
Ritalin: 20mg in the morning, 20mg in the afternoon
Seroquel XR: 400mg at night
Mogadon: 20mg at night (a sleeping med in the benzo family)
Elavil; 50-150mg at night
Invega Sustenna: 150mg every 4 weeks
It seems like a LOT, but I’m stable. I came off Piportil because of side effects and I didn’t want to be tethered to go get a shot every other week. Invega Sustenna is more convenient, less side effects (I have barely any, except a sore arm for a few days) and I’ve stopped dropping weight.
I got down to 92lbs, which is less than I’ve ever weighed, even when I had an eating disorder. I just hit 100lbs. Still undeweight at 5 foot 3, but it’s progress. I go to yoga 3-4 times a week.
I had a job interview when I hit 100lbs and the guy asked if I did drugs because I was “too thin”. He offered me the job. I said no. If he was going to be a dick at the interview, then fuck him – what would it be like to work with him if he’s that much of a jerk at the interview? Plus it’s a half hour drive if the lift bridge isn’t up and it’d suck in the winter.
I just want my life to be more normal. I’ve been thinking a lot about it lately. I’m stable, maybe between stable and hypomanic (but sleeping well with the Elavil and not doing stupid shit). I woke up today at 8am and saw the sun shining in my room and knew it was going to be a good day, and it was.
I’ve put a lot of thought into the choices, the house, the job, the welding apprenticeship. I didn’t make these decisions lightly. They’re goals. The next couple of years are going to be rough, but I think I can make it. I’m compliant 100% with my meds and see my pdoc monthly, as well as my psych nurse for the injections. (Actually, I see her every Saturday, she’s in my morning yoga class. She asked me if it was alright to talk to me at yoga. I said no problem. She’s super nice)
For now, I’m looking for any job to make a few exta bucks. Knitting a lot.
But I think I can pull this off. I’ll be in my mid-thirties (I’m 30 right now) when all of this will come together.
Please let it work out!