Manic Monday

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#Blogtober20 Prompt 5

Having manic depression, otherwise known as bipolar disorder, made today’s blogtober topic really resonate with me. It’s about the mania we face and the adversities we must overcome. But a lot of my mania is all about making impulsive decisions. Let me tell you about some of my impulsivity and manic moments that have defined who I am in my bipolar diagnosis.

The last time I was manic was one of the last times I went to the casino. Most of you all know that I stopped gambling on September 14th, about a month ago, before I went on my trip to San Diego. My last time I was truly manic was on a Friday evening in August, I was still living with Diego. I had been working 6am to 3pm, I had been plotting to go sneak over to the casino after work all day long. I was feeling a little devious, but in a good mood and wanting to spend time at what I imagined was my favorite place.

I created a plan to appease Diego and allowed me to leave his house and this plan allowed me to go gamble without anyone but me knowing. The plan was simply this: I was going to lie and tell Diego that I was going to visit my parents when I was going to gamble instead.

As I made the 50 minute drive to the casino, my adrenaline was pumping through my veins, my emotions were elated; I was on top of the world! I was in a good place mentally, even though I was mentally prepared to lose the $60 I intended to play with. During the car ride, my mother called me and asked if I would come over and I said I would come over in a couple of hours. It was 3:30pm at this point.

I get to the casino at 4pm. I feel good. I go to the ATM and pull out the last of my money; $60 was all the money I had in the world for another week and I proceeded to withdrawal it without a single care in the world.

And on the 10th spin of my favorite game, I won $3,260, and I know I should’ve felt relieved considering it could have paid off a good chunk of debt of mine… but in the moment, I was disappointed because I wanted it to be more. It felt like 3,000 dollars wasn’t a good enough prize and the fact that I won it so early on in the evening took away the fun. I kept playing with my new winnings, upping my bets because I had more to spend and 3,000 went out the door as quickly as it came in.

Everyone asks me why I would continue to gamble if I was losing hundreds and then thousands of dollars. It’s simply the mania. It becomes a game of how much I can lose before I win it all back. But the mindset I don’t ever take into consideration is if I win it all back; if I can win at all.

After I end up leaving, my mom had called me 4 times and Diego called me 5 times. Next thing you know, I go home to Diego and he kicks me out and I ended up moving out over the course of a weekend. The rest is history.

But with the mania, it didn’t really even phase me that I lost my home due to gambling. That’s how bad my addiction was and it’s a trip to look back on. In hindsight, I don’t think I would have changed anything that happened because everything that has happened to me has made me into the human I am today.

But how does the mania affect me? It encompasses my thoughts, feelings, emotions, my mindset. If I fixate on something such as gambling or whatever it may be, I can’t get that idea out of my head until I do whatever it is I fixate onto.

Recently my best friend and I discussed me becoming a social worker because of my own experience dealing with my schizophrenic mother and dealing with my bipolar disorder. Then I thought of going back to school to become a social worker…

I discussed this idea with my mom of me going back to school and she told me that I lack follow through and my father said I need to get my associate’s degree through community college before I continue on to a university.

I was upset about this response, so I signed up for the SAT’s for December 5th, 2020. I figure if I at least follow through with that, I can use my SAT scores to apply to university or worst case scenario, I don’t do anything with my test.

I searched high and low for universities on the west coast that have social work programs for bachelor’s degrees along with master’s degrees. The one that peaked my interest the most was the University of Washington’s program. If you don’t know much about UW, all you need to know is the minimum GPA for the main campus is 3.5.

My high school cumulative GPA was not nearly that high, but my community college GPA was a 3.6, which is very commendable in my humble opinion. But I found a loophole to solve the admission issue. I am planning to apply to University of Washington – Tacoma, which is a smaller campus with higher admission rates. I am planning to attend and continue my education at Edmonds Community College and will take 10 credits (2 classes) winter quarter, January 4th – March 21st. As long as I pass both courses, I will have completed my 1st year of an associate’s and bachelor’s degree. Then I will send in my SAT scores and apply to the University of Washington – Tacoma by March 15th, 2021 and will send my high school and community college transcripts after I finish my quarter. My application will be for the fall semester of 2021.

A lot has to happen in order for me to even be admitted and get into this school, but it’s possible and my bet is on me to get in… if I work hard, keep my eye on the prize, and follow through. So in other words, defy the odds and prove my parents wrong.

I talked to my parents once I had this plan set in place and my dad is all for me going back to school and likes my plan now that I do plan on going back to community college. He said we could commute together so he can drive me to campus on his way to work Monday through Friday. My mother is worried if I will follow through and my response to that is paying my dad $500 for some “skin in the game” and I would give him that money to pay towards my schooling.

I see that they are afraid because in the past, I lacked follow through due to my manic episodes. My parents say that this is another manic incurring debt expense and they can’t bail me out financially if shit flies south. I understand their concern but I have changed even in the past few months. They say that I will be different as I begin to heal; my priorities will change. For example, my parents say I will most likely go out more, go on more dates, sleep around, spend money I don’t have on things I don’t need, etc. But I beg to differ. My goal as I recover from surgery is to begin to work out when I’m able to, read and write more, go out a little bit, but only on the weekends, and save my money so I can quit my job come January with my car and loan payments paid forward through the month of March. I have no interest in gambling anymore or sacrificing my livelihood to get some ass anymore. I’m ready to settle down, but not at the sacrifice of my education.

With that being said, I know this is a manic decision, but that doesn’t make it a rash or terrible decision to make. It will take a lot of work and preparation to get into the University of Washington – Tacoma, but I think it can be done. Mania isn’t the end of the world unless you make it that. Mania can easily be a good thing, but it can easily become a bad thing. It’s what you make it and today and moving forward, I’m all about utilizing what others would deem a futile weakness as a strength, a very large strength. Only time will tell what will happen, but my mania will give me the courage and the drive I need to be the best damn student I can!

Much love,

Dani

2 Comments Add yours

  1. mooks262 says:

    Hi Dani,

    Long time reader, poor commenter. I am a mental health social worker and I have BP1. It is entirely possible to do this gig with Bipolar. It is hard though. My client loading is young adults mainly making sense of their affective or psychotic disorders. I can’t disclose my illness but man can I empathise. If you can master your own triggers, be strong in yourself and open yourself up for growth then you will make a marvellous social worker. Policy and procedures are so often made without real informed knowledge and you have strength and power in your words. Keep fighting on and aim high. Diagnoses don’t make an identity. You make you and if you can put yourself in the best place you will create change.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words! It means the world to me that you took the time out of your busy schedule to comment. As I work on myself and my bipolar symptoms, it seems like it gets easier with time to master my emotions. Maybe “easier” isn’t the right word. All I know is that I have evolved a lot since I was diagnosed 4 years ago and I assume I will gain more skills to cope and grow as I go through the schooling process to be a social worker. You are right when you say that your diagnosis doesn’t make an identity; I think I get that mixed up as I try to move away from the idea that bipolar is who I am and move toward that I am Dani and I am not my bipolar disorder. I simply have bipolar disorder and that’s that. Again thanks for your message and keep on the good fight! Much love to you and your family. 🙂

      Like

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