Friday, June 26, 2015

"Everything is Different the Second Time Around"

I've spent a long time trying to figure out what I want to say in this post. I, for the most part, know who reads this and most of you I don't mind you knowing this. I'm still hesitant though. But, I know that this is related to stigma, and I shouldn't be ashamed of what's going on. As you probably all know, or have figured out I have depression. Pretty severe depression. I have moderate to severe persistent depressive disorder, recurrent severe major depressive disorder, and anxiety disorder unspecified. While that's only three diagnoses, it can be a lot to handle. Despite it all, I am grateful that I do not have it worse.

So, here's what you probably don't know. I've been to a psych ward. I've been in the psych ward a lot this year. Why this year and not before? I couldn't tell you. Maybe I'm getting worse. Maybe I'm accepting that I need help. Maybe I could have ridden it out, like I've always done before, but maybe not. Maybe going in saved my life, or at least a trip or two to the ICU. I don't know. It's hard to say for sure.

I call them part one, part two, and part three. And I might write more about them later. I spent half of February in the psych ward, on two separate occasions. I spent half of March in partial hospitalization, and I spent a week in April in the hospital again. In part three we joked a lot about how I should write a book. After all It's Kind of a Funny Story was written after a much shorter hospital stay. And I have way more experience than that.

The worst part is, my treatment team is not sure what to do with me anymore. I mean they weren't sure what to do with me before I went in all those times, but they thought we could work something out. But now the counseling center at my school says it's unethical to treat me. Because after all I've been through clearly they're not helping. I offered to switch to a new therapist at the counseling center but they say it's not enough. They don't think their level of care is good enough for me because of the hospitalizations and partial hospitalization.

I have started therapy with a new person. He, I guess, is more qualified. He specifically does DBT, dialectal behavioral therapy. I've seen him several times, and I do like him. I guess this therapy is replacing therapy at the counseling center. All I ask is that I can continue to see my psychiatrist, who I adore. In a few weeks I'm going to start a DBT group for two hours per week. I'm pretty nervous about that, but talking in groups is getting easier for me. And later this summer I'm taking a public communication class. Which just thinking about speeds up my heart and makes me want to cry. But as strange as it sounds (to me at least) I am getting better. I'm sure it's all the talking, not only in therapy, but in the groups in the hospital and partial. This has changed since I've written it. Like I said, I've been sitting on this post for months and months. I'm now taking organic chemistry two instead of public communication. But, I still have to take public communication eventually, so I decided to leave that in.

The title of this post comes from the song "You've Got Time" by Regina Spektor. It is, as many of you probably know, the theme song from Orange is the New Black. Which I watch. Just like everyone else who has Netflix and is (hopefully) above 18, which I'm sure stops no one. Despite the triggers it brings up in me, I pushed through it.



I chose that song quote because it accurately sums up my hospital experience. It really is "different" the second time around, especially for me. Part two I even made a friend. Who I still talk to a lot. Part three they called me the welcoming committee. And I wish I could know how my fellow psych patients are doing. I've talked to one person once from part three since I got out.

My dad said it must have been easy to talk to everyone because I felt better than them. My parents know about part three, and ONLY part three and partial, because of insurance reasons. But I told him we were all there for a reason. And I didn't feel better than anyone. And I really didn't. How could I? He then asked my reason and I replied to change meds, which is my story that I'm telling to my parents. And he was like why? And I said because I wasn't doing well. And he asked if I had bad thoughts. And I said yes. So he at least knows that. I hope my parents never find out how close I've been so many times - even this past weekend I had to lock myself out of my room. But as they said in part two "it is what it is." They even had a huge sign that said it in the group room.

Another thing has happened too. This is not something we want to be spread around. So if you know me in real life, please don't tell anyone you know. It is only half my business. My dad left my mom. That's right. My dad left my mom. It is a big shock because they weren't fighting or anything. He told us he's leaving because he wants a romantic relationship, something he and my mom were lacking. My baby sisters have seen him once this week. It's been really hard for all of us.

I'm not sure if I have anything else to say right now. I think I'm going to finally publish this post. I'm open to any questions you have about the hospital visits or my parents or anything else. If you have them leave a comment or email me at cassandra.cassandrascurse@gmail.com. If you get this in an email, just a reminder, do not reply to that email, because I will not receive it. I know a few of you need this reminder. Anyways, as always, thanks for reading.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Couch to 10k?

So, I'm sort of jumping the gun a little bit on this one. And by sort of I mean a lot. And by a lot I mean this massive amount that I can't even put into words.

As you know, I'm not very consistent. I start projects and don't finish them. I set goals and don't really meet them. I mean if I set my mind to it I usually do. When I was at PHP we set a goal every day and I usually made them. Of course those were very small S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely) goals. My goals are like huge mostly unreasonable goals. I just went over them again and they are very unmanageable not S.M.A.R.T. at all.

Anyways, there's a program called couch to 5k. It's basically for beginners, lazy people, or couch potatoes (like me) who want to start running. It's a nine week program, three days a week, where you start slow and gradually get up to running for 30 minutes at a time. I think it's a bit misleading since most people do it by time and not distance. So you can run for 30 minutes and still not have run a 5k, depending on how fast you go.

Now you might remember from my post about stigma that I started running. That lasted up until I wrote the post. Then I stopped. Fastforward a long time in the future, I used the Zombies, Run! 5k Training app for five whole weeks before stopping. Which I don't think I mentioned. I stopped in December.




Now, I'm starting again. And by starting again I mean I've done it one day. This is what I mean by jumping the gun. This time I'm using the 10k Trainer Free app. Because one of my 25 by 25 goals is to run a 10k. Which I now wish was a 5k. This app goes from nothing to running a 10k in 14 weeks. Which I do realize is like a monstrous commitment. And by nothing I mean alternating jogging for a minute and walking for a minute and a half. I'm hoping that by talking about it here, I might keep it up for a change. Although that hasn't seemed to work in the past. I just don't hold myself accountable for anything. I like this program better than the Zombies, Run! 5k program because that program has "free-form runs" which means run or walk. I like having more structure than that.

So, how did it go? Pretty well. I was able to keep up at a 3.7mph walking pace and a 4.9mph running pace with in incline of 1.0. Of course running 5.0mph for 30 minutes is not a 5k. But I figured I'd work on speed later. I could probably go a little faster if I wasn't on the treadmill, but I've seen multiple people get hurt by going too fast or slipping off. And that is not on my list of things to do. Also, my shoes suck. So, I should probably change that. I just don't want to invest in running shoes if I don't know what I'm doing, and I don't know if I'm going to keep doing it. Even though I realize that it could help. Although, with me, I doubt it. Also I need money for tuition this summer.

That's another thing I'm doing. Summer school. For June and July. My parents aren't too happy about it, but it gives me space to do research in my schedule. If I can find someone who will take me anyways. I was/am in contact with one professor, but he needed/needs someone who can code a test for him. While I have coding in my background (why he was interested in me) what he wants me to do is out of my scope. If I take four classes this summer, I can take fifteen hours each of my last semesters which leaves three for research. I need to do research for my minor, so I can get into grad school, and so I can get another letter of recommendation.

I know this post is a little jumpy. But my attention is just not here there or anywhere. I guess it's not usually, but today especially. Also, over and over I'd think something, not write it down, and then keep writing. I read it over, but you might have to fill in some blanks.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Brief Life Update

Hey guys!

Actually I'm not sure if anyone will see this, but hi anyways.

How have I been doing? Well, bad and good.

Let's just say February was not so great. If you want the gritty details, email me (cassandra.cassandrascurse@gmail.com), leave a comment, message me on Tumblr, Twitter, etc. I'll eventually get back to you. I might post more about this later. I don't mind talking about it, I'm just not sure I want to put the information on Facebook just yet (read: there's a person or two who's probably not reading this anyways, but just in case they happen to click on the link I don't want to say who those people are or what I don't want them to know).

The good part? I think we might have finally gotten my meds right, or at least better. Because , I've been doing really well. Like really well. Like never in my memory have I have done as well as I'm doing right now. Not even once. My therapist accredits this to the mass amounts of group and therapy I've gotten at the end of February/beginning of March, but I'm sure it's the medication. Oh! Also, I found out through some blood work done that my vitamin D was low. And I've started taking a supplement for that, as well. So that could be part of it too. Which it is exactly, I may never know. And honestly, while it's helping, I don't really care.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

More Lab Shenanigans

So of course the last organic chemistry lab has to be more eventful. Because it's the last lab.

First of all, our TA tells us it's going to be "by far" the longest lab. Why? Why? would they make the last lab the longest? That's just a bad idea right there.

At least our quiz wasn't bad. If I had been studying instead of on Twitter right before it I could have made a 100%.

So we get into lab and at first it's uneventful. We're supposed to work by ourselves but since we had a group lab we got spoiled and have worked in groups since. Working with someone always makes the lab better.

The first incident (yes, of many) happened after we let the solution reflux (see picture below) for 30 minutes. One of my lab partners didn't know the water was still on when she disconnected the top (water out) hose. Water. Went. Everywhere. Including soaking my lab book. It was hysterical. That's the sort of thing that's only funny when you're in a group and another group sees. It's not all that funny when you're not in a group because it's happening to you. But in a group when another group sees? The other group cracks up. And then you realize how funny it is. So then you laugh too. And that's why working in groups is awesome.

Sounds sort of like what happened last year, right?


The next incident was probably the best. The group next to mine had just mixed ether into their solution (product is CO2), when they turned their separatory funnel (it's like a big glass tube that you mix stuff in and then can take layers out of the bottom with) upside down. Now, when you first add the stuff together you have to vent the funnel A LOT. Because the product is CO2. So, when they turned their funnel upside down enough CO2 was in the bottle to either break it or have the cap explode off. Luckily, it did not break. But the girl holding it got covered in solution. And the rest of her lab partners too. The best part about this one is that I just stood and watched. I watched them add the solutions together. Watched as she immediately turned the funnel upside down. Watched as substance came, no, exploded out and went everywhere. The TA happened to be walking behind them while we were staring at the aftermath. She stopped and stared. No one said anything. We just looked at the toxic substance covering the girl and the floor. It was like the world had hit a pause button. It was dead silent. Then, suddenly, everyone came back to life. I helped grab paper towels and left them to clean up the mess.

The final incident happened while I was writing up my lab report. I heard a crash. I turned around and our product was on the floor. Of course it was. Along with a (not broken!) glass flask. I still had my gloves on so I went to clean it up. Because I'm awesome. I pick up the flask and say "AHH that's hot!!" And almost drop it. But. Because I'm awesome. I managed to make it to the lab bench before letting it hit the ground again. My lab partners looked at me like "no shit it's hot," when I realized what must have happened. One of my lab partners must have picked up the flask right out of the variac (heating device... they don't want us using flames. I see why now.) and dropped it because it was hot. Our TA didn't really notice our screw up. So we didn't really point it out to her.

But the thing that phased us the most in lab? Finding out we only had to go to step 8. After we were on step 10. Finding out that the only number we needed was the initial amount of product given. The amount they told us to use. All that work, and to finish the lab we literally just needed to copy down how many grams it said to use. Sigh.

But. I have a 98 in lab right now. So, I guess that's the important thing.