Entry the 13th
2:18pm Central Time Zone
Still living with my parents for now, the house by the brook, the cotton fields they're getting rid of to build a strip mall, suburban Huntsville even though we're closer to Madison, Alabama but not that Alabama as my mom likes to say, Deep South, Merica, Third Rock from the Sun.
So yes, I got out of the hospital again back in 2011. Things started to change after that. I decided to get a new psychiatrist. She's better than the one I had before. Much better. I still see her. I also decided to get a therapist. My therapist is awesome. I still see her.
A little while after I got out of the hospital, I did an Intensive Outpatient group therapy thing. It lasted three weeks from about nine to three every weekday, if I remember correctly. It's one of the best experiences of my life. I still have friends from that group.
A couple years after I switched doctors, my new psychiatrist started me on an antidepressant called Cymbalta. It was subtle at first, but as the drug worked its way into my system over the course of a week or so, the effect grew stronger. I felt not very depressed anymore. No more thoughts of wanting to die. No more randomly remembering my worst experiences or living through my most horrific fantasies. I'm still on Cymbalta to this day--approximately two and a half years later--and it still works just as well as it did.
After starting Cymbalta, things started happening. I wrote a short novel that was based on an outline I had written while manic back in 2011. I edited it, trying to make it better. I edited it again. I showed part of it to some of my friends, and only one of them liked it. But she really gushed about it. I thought if I could write something that one out of fifteen people fell in love with, I'd have a wonderful career.
Soon, I started thinking practically of how to get a job. It occurred to me my resume had been blank for too long. I decided to volunteer with the American Red Cross. I was assigned to a Disaster Action Team, or DAT, and one week out of every eight we were on call for all local emergencies. We would all meet at headquarters and pile into an Emergency Response Vehicle, or ERV. Mostly we responded to house fires. I never got to do any of the really serious stuff. It was my job to hand out refreshments to firefighters, cops, sheriffs, displaced families, onlookers, and anyone else nearby who wanted something. It was a small thing, but often very appreciated (especially by those firefighters).
For a while, I also volunteered for data entry/filing with the Health and Safety Department of the Red Cross. They train Lifeguards, Certified Nurse Assistants, and plan events to make the public more safety-conscious. Eventually, it dawned on me that they were offering employment training that I myself could use. I decided being a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) was a good fit for me.
I started the four-week training course. I made over 100% on every test. I finished with a 107% average for the course, top of my class.
After that, I went to the state exam and passed, and I was certified as a nurse assistant in the state of Alabama.
Soon after, thanks to some people working with me from Phoenix Inc.--a company that contracts with the State Department of Vocational Rehabilitation--I got a job as a care tech at an Adult Day Care facility for the elderly and disabled. It was a part-time minimum wage job.
As of this writing, I still work there, but I'm putting in my two-weeks notice on Monday. I have just been offered a job at Huntsville Hospital. It's a full-time, benefited position that pays significantly more than minimum wage.
I'll save my money for several months, and before you know it, I'll be moved out of my parents' house. If all goes according to plan and God willing.
Amazed and Excited and Scared,
"Great, Kid--don't get cocky!!"
-Professor R. J. Lupin