Category Archives: Personal

Ch-ch-ch-changes

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Current Song: Elastic Heart (Acoustic) – Sia, quickly followed by Last Kiss – Taylor Swift as I type this.

So many changes in my life, it’s crazy!

A couple weeks ago, I was sitting unhappily in my bedroom, wondering where my life was going, when I suddenly decided, “You know what? I am tired of being a victim. Yes, I live with bipolar disorder. Yes, I will have setbacks. But I can’t wait around forever for things to go back the way they were before my illness developed. They never will. I have to incorporate this illness as part of my life, and not let it BECOME my life.

So I called up an Academic Advisor at the University of Winnipeg (where I had previously nearly completed a 3-Year Bachelor of Arts, but had to drop out due to the development and seriousness of my illness) to see what my GPA was, where I stood, and what I could do to complete my degree in a different field, namely Psychology.

Current Songs: Closing – The Nightmare Before Christmas, quickly followed by Turn It Off – Paramore as I was typing.

It turns out that even though my marks had started to go down drastically during my last classes at the University, I still have a GPA of 3.548, and thus I qualify not only for bursaries and scholarships (which I can start applying for in November), but I am able to enter the 4 Year Honours Psychology program as soon as the Spring term!

I didn’t want to apply for student loans for one Spring course (Psychology 1000: I had started taking this course, but had dropped it a few years ago, thinking my career was headed in a different direction), so I thought, well I guess that means I have to get a job.

I updated my resume, uploaded it to Workopolis, applied to be a Customer Service Representative at a call centre on a whim in the middle of the night, and two days later got called in for an interview. Later that day I was hired, and I now have a full-time job with benefits, an excellent work environment, amazing coworkers, and a means to pay for my Spring course without accruing any debt.

Current Songs: Save Your Day – Jose Gonzalez, Scarborough Fair – Celtic Woman

I no longer feel useless or like a burden to my family or like I’m wasting my potential. My academic advisor told me that every single one of the 66 credits I had earned for the 3 Year English Lit. BA can be used toward my Honours Psychology, which means that not only have I already completed all of my electives and humanities, but I am only 54 credit hours away from graduating. I AM ALREADY OVER HALFWAY THERE.

Once I graduate from the U of W, I plan to take Applied Counselling at Red River College and work using a behavioural therapy model based on DBT to help troubled youth and young adults.

A switch just flipped, and I suddenly realized I was at a place where I could take charge of my life again. It’s not a high, it’s not an impulse, it’s not a delusion. It’s just normal and filled with hope and potential. This is such a good thing, I had to share it with all of you.

Some of you might wonder, ‘How can someone with a mental illness be a counsellor for other people?’ Just to be sure of this myself, I asked my psychiatrist’s opinion, and he said that because I have suffered and live with bipolar to this day, it will help me be more empathetic in my job and will be an advantage rather than a disadvantage. I have no illusions that there will be no hard work involved, but I really feel that this is my purpose. It’s wonderful to find a niche. I. Am. Happy.

End Songs: Tonight – Lykke Li, All Fired Up – Petra

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EEG Jitters

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This is going to be me in like an hour. I’m probably stressing over nothing, but all the weird suction things and being in a hospital period are starting to freak me out. I’m sure it will go just fine, and I will, as usual, be overreacting, but at the moment I’m very very glad my husband is coming with me to help me find Diagnostics Clinic H and hold my hand. ❤


Today Was Better

Today was better than yesterday.
Last night Ivy slept.

Today I accomplished my goal of the day – phoning Meghan the social worker to help us get back on our feet with housing, with respite, and with therapy.

Going to be going for an EEG on April 5, slightly tempted to shave my head before I do so. Resisting temptation until it can be done by skilled hands.

Starting ‘Self-Concept & Communication’ outpatient therapy group at Grace Hospital April 18. Have intake assessment meeting with Michelle in Psychiatric Ambulatory Services on April 11.

Becoming weary of struggling to survive all the time, and yet invigorated when viewing my goals for each day as survival mechanisms. So many people don’t, but dammit, I’m going to be a survivor.

Following the adventures of someone I met in Tulita who is now in New Zealand. Inspired by this woman’s love of life and beauty inside & out. Blessed to have met her in person.

Have been sleeping a lot lately, and feeling sick to my stomach. Difficult to tell if this is stress-induced or viral. Doesn’t feel bad enough to be viral. Possibly stress. Having a conversion disorder has proved if anything that I apparently have no clue how to deal with actual problems.

What I really want to do with my life: go back to school, finish my B.A., eventually get doctorate and teach English Literature. I want to travel more and I want to raise Ivy to be a successful, happy, independent woman. I want to get a tattoo. I specifically want to travel to England to search out family roots. I want to learn more about herbs and crystals. I want to make Graham happy. I want to make at least one other person happy too. Is this attainable? Who knows? But it’s what’s in my heart.


Flotsam & Jetsam

Hello everybody! It’s been a little while since my last entry, so I thought it was about high time I updated!

This might be a bit choppy because I still can’t concentrate very long. But, how have I been, you ask?

Honestly, I’m starting to feel well again. I’ve been put on an antipsychotic and the voices in my head have quieted and I finally feel like my thoughts are mine and mine alone again.

I’m still in hospital on the psychiatric ward until my lithium and valproate serum levels normalize, but I’m hopeful that in the psychiatric medicinal side of things, this new medication I’m taking called risperidone will continue to bring such positive results.

I only had one mini-seizure yesterday, and before that I hadn’t had one for nearly a week, so that’s good. My doc thinks they are probably caused by stress, which I didn’t know was even a thing. Just to make sure and be thorough, I’m scheduled for an EEG on April 5 at HSC, and to be honest, I’m pretty scared. Anyone wanna volunteer to come hold my hand while I get wires strapped all over my head? After that, they give the results of the EEG to a neurologist and he/she decides whether or not I need a CT scan. My hunch is that it will be fine and I won’t need to go that far.

Currently Reading:

  NIV Archaeological Study Bible

Cycling to Asylum by Su J. Sokol

Marie Antoinette: The Last Queen of France by Évelyne Lever

Sexy Origins and Intimate Things: The Rites and Rituals of Straights, Gays, Bis, Drags, Trans, Virgins and Others by Charles Panati

8 Legs Up by C.W. Clark

Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco

A History of Byzantium  by Timothy E. Gregory

Saga, Volume 5 by Brian K. Vaughan

Grimm Fairy Tales Vol. 1 by Ralph Tedesco

Quite a mindful! But I switch to a different book after every chapter, so I can read a lot of books at the same time.

Today I’m grateful for:

  1. The lovely dinner/bookstore date my husband took me on today
  2. Lestat is fitting in so well with the other cats here.
  3. McDonald’s double cheeseburgers. Not a lie. They’re like crack burgers when you come back south from being on the 63rd Latitude after 4 months lol

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How did your day go, guys? What are you reading? I love comments so feel free to leave some below! Peace out.

– SharaLee


Update – Back in Winnipeg

My last post found my family and I still in the Northwest Territories, and now we are back in Manitoba. It’s been a long tough journey and it’s not over yet. I was given too much lithium by the doctors up north and suffered the effects of lithium toxicity, and I also started having seizures. I was having seizures every night to every other night, and it got to the point where my husband was afraid to go to work or leave me alone with Ivy for my safety, so he asked his work if we could have a 3-month leave of absence to go back home where I could get proper medical care, which they granted us.

I’m still having seizures even though my lithium dose is now down to 600 mg (it was up to 1500 mg before!!!), so I’ve been put on the wait list for the psych ward at Grace Hospital so I can get the tests I need (CT scans etc that they didn’t do in NWT), but also the psychiatric care I need (I have bipolar disorder, and this crazy fluctuation in lithium needs to be closely monitored for my own safety, as well as the possibility that these seizures are probably psychogenic since they are non-epileptic, so I will probably need some further analysis/exploration in that area). This is a really tough time for myself and my family. I hate knowing that something I am sick with is taking my husband away from a job he loves, and I hate not being able to control my own body (a few days ago I had a seizure in front of my father-in-law and brother-in-law; they were good about it, but it’s embarrassing all the same).

I’m still trying to read as much as I can, but it’s been really hard lately. I’m really sorry to any authors who were really counting on a speedy review, but I am very sick right now, and I just can’t read the way I used to. My head is full of a lot of noise all the time, and it’s like I can hear all sounds all at once at the same time. I also feel like something about my personality has changed since I started having seizures, but I don’t know what exactly. I have a very strong sense of paranoia almost constantly that I’ve never had before. Things are scary.

I might not be using this blog to post about books only as much as my own personal journey. I need somewhere to vent and my pen-and-paper journal just can’t keep up with my thoughts as fast as my fingers on the keyboard can. I’m sorry for those of you who followed me expecting literary reviews only (as this blog was meant to be originally), but I feel it has evolved somewhat, so I want to include some more personal things too. Thank you everyone who reads/likes me. Your support means a lot to me. This might sound completely pathetic, but sometimes, I forget that I actually exist, so knowing people read this helps remind me that I do. It makes no philosophical sense but I think it might be part of all the depersonalizing that has been occurring lately.

Anyway, so that’s what has been going on with me. We are currently staying with Graham’s parents, and Ivy is having an amazing time. Our black cat, Lestat, has bonded well with the other cats, especially Abbey (my in-laws’ youngest cat). Here is a picture of Abbey grooming Lestat:

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Just Before Christmas

IMG_4155.JPGThe title of this blog is ‘SharaLee Reads’. SharaLee has honestly not been doing a whole lot of reading as of late. SharaLee has been sick, and dealing with a very busy toddler, and feeding a hardworking husband. When SharaLee gets time to read, she spends most of it sleeping.

SharaLee also has bipolar disorder, type I. And currently, she is in a low. Writing about herself in third person makes it seem less hard to complete this entry, so please suspend your disbelieve and bear with her. ❤

It has occurred to SharaLee for the first time that what she deals with truly is an illness, not just a character flaw or something she’s not doing right to be happy. She could give you all the facts and all the sarcastic arguments and memes out there about educating yourself on mental illness, but most of you WordPress lovelies are proficient in the use of Google and Wikipedia, so I’ll just leave you to it. Instead of muscle spasms or fluctuations of physical strength, SharaLee experiences emotional spasms and fluctuations of impulse control strength. Spasms is also not the right word, too short and sporadic for the length and duration of the emotional pain and/or elation that characterize much of SharaLee’s life.

Okay, enough third person. I think I can handle this now. I woke up feeling suffocated in my own sadness, cried once while watching ‘Elf’, and had much support from my husband, took comfort in the joy of my daughter.

Thankfully for me, Christmas is a good time for me. That means that this low should be okay, since Christmas is in five days, and hopefully the low will be under control by then.

However, got a call from Yellowknife today that my credit card payment did not go through for my meds, which means I am using my last dose of lithium tonight and won’t get more until after Christmas.

I know this will be tough but Graham and I have been through a lot, and we can get through this too.

Thank you all for your continuing love and support. It’s reciprocated. ❤ ❤ ❤


Update from Tulita

Hello, everyone! We have moved and are starting to get settled in our new home in Tulita, Northwest Territories. Canada is such a vast land and so full of diverse climates and ecosystems. Sometimes it’s truly breathtaking! Here is a picture of how beautiful it is here. This was just taken right out my front window, no filter or anything, at sunrise. Absolutely beautiful:

2015-10-27 10.18.22

In other news, my darling kitty, Willow, has passed away. She got some kind of pneumonia, and she died peacefully and loved in my arms the day after Halloween. We are looking into adopting a new cat (or cats), but Willow will always have a special place in our hearts. ❤

And finally, my final piece of news: I was featured on Clancy Tucker’s Blog today as his Guest Book Reviewer! If you’re interested in his blog (it’s very interesting, featuring artists/authors/thinkers/athletes of note, as well as those starting out like myself) or in the interview, click the hotlink above and check it out! I’ve been pretty busy potty-training Ivy and setting up house, but I’m still almost done Palawan Story by Caroline Vu, so expect a review on that coming out soon.

As always, peace out and happy reading! ❤


We Are Moving – Again!

 

Tulita, NWT

 
That’s right, everybody! Graham and I are moving again! This time, we are moving 2,345 km (or 1,457 m) northwest from our current hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba to the small hamlet of Tulita in the Northwest Territories. Graham got a job with the North West Company at a Northern Store up there, and we couldn’t be more excited to start this new chapter in our lives! It’s going to take a little while before we get things settled (the official move date is October 20th – I have so much to do!), but I promise we will do our best to keep the blog up and running as usual. 

We look forward to taking Ivy on her first plane trip, though of course we’re slightly terrified by the possibility that she may just lose her shit. But she loves watching airplanes, so we’re hoping she’ll love being in one just as much (knock on wood)! We’re bringing Willow with us, and I found a really comfy and warm carseat liner from when Ivy was just an itty bitty newborn winter baby that we’ll be lining her kennel with, so at least she’ll be comfortable.

Honestly, I can NOT wait to leave the hustle and bustle of the city. We live on the junction of Maryland Street and St. Matthew’s Avenue here, where inner city crime is generally at its height, and I am so pleased that we will no longer have to bear multiple emergency vehicle sirens in the middle of the night, or several fire alarms in our building due to faulty installation or the crazy noise of upstairs neighbours with twins plus one, since our new home is a side-by-side in a quiet bush town full of bears and foxes (I am not kidding) where we will get 20 hours of night in the middle of winter and light all the time in the middle of summer. Yes, the bugs will be bad. But I think this move will be good for all of us. I think it will help me clear my head. I think it will be good for my writing. I can’t wait to share my adventures with all of you (and of course keep reviewing the books on my list) as we make this wonderful change in our lives.

Love you all, and happy reading!   ❤ ❤ ❤   

 – SharaLee Podolecki