Sunday, November 28, 2004

Super Nova

I'm not good with my scientific terms and understanding, so don't quote me on this tale. Supposedly, about once every four or five hundred years, a star dies. They run out of fuel or have too much energy in too little a space or something like that. Anyway, they implode and in the instant they burst, they release more energy than all of the other stars in the entire universe (which I suppose means that in that split second, the star releases infinite energy?). Regardless, this whole process is very bright and on earth, it's as bright as high noon in the middle of the night.

Why am I thinking about super nova?

I feel I'm releasing too much energy. I'm trying to juggle WAY too many balls and I can only keep about 3 in the air at a time. Unfortunatley, life being the way it is keeps chucking more balls at me. Dammit. I keep forgetting things, from doctors appointments to paying bills to exams to calling friends. I'm fostering a sense of optimism, a naive hope that perhaps by working as hard as I can, this mountain of work will eventually deplete itself and I'll enjoy a period of rest.

Thanksgiving has ended all too soon. Rest is elusive.

And the rat race is about to begin again.


Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The Binge

From conversations I've had with other bipolar people, I've learned that as a group, we tend toward the extremes of human experience. My recent blog silence is the result of my own latest frenzied trip into the high power world of being flicked "on" all the time.

Rather than shutting down during periods of high stress, my body tends to perk up and while my mind might lag behind a bit, I'm ready to go at a moment's notice. I'm in the process of writing my thesis (due Nov. 22), planning my wedding and planning a January move. When I'm not actively freaking out about everything I have to do, I'm either sleeping or think about sleeping.

I'm on a work binge. I've written more than 50 pages in the past 2 weeks. By the time I'm done with my thesis, I will have written at the very least another 30 pages. I'll also most likely weigh about 20 pounds more than when I started. I'm eating like I spend each day sprinting from morning until my eyes close at night. Mentally, I am. Physically, not so much and my poor waistline will reflect that soon enough.

At the end of the year, I think I'll be able to look back on this semester and be proud of what I (hopefully will have) accomplished. I can lose weight, but I know that if I leave Arizona without my degree, I will never get it.

I'm not sure I'd be able to push this hard without being bipolar. I don't know if I'd be able to focus for 10 hours a day on the same task, particularly when that task becomes tedious and painfully dull. (Footnotes are the bane of my existence). I don't know if I could get through everyday with all the stuff I have to do without knowing that if I absolutely had to, I could stay up for 4 or 5 days straight to get it all done.

There's a light at the end of the tunnel. I just hope it's not an oncoming train.


Thursday, November 04, 2004

Managed Care

Every week, my parents have me over for dinner at least once. My mom is a fabulous cook and getting a delicious, wholesome meal is good for the soul. Plus, my parents are always good for some interesting conversations.

One of the topics we tend to return to whenever my Dad is in a dour mood is the completely ineffecient system of managed health care. My Dad contends that the government needs to socialize the healthcare system and most importantly, standardize all of the paperwork. What's shocking is that my Dad is actually a relatively conservative/Republican guy. He liked Ronald Reagan quite a bit, although he didn't vote for Bush this time around.

Anyway, when I read news stories about managed care trying to screw health professionals, I get very cranky about it. I remember that my Dad was involved in a class-action suit against BCBS and after all the costs were taken care of, I think every doctor received about $1000, which was not even close to the money that was stolen from them by BCBS.

I'm always saying to my Dad that the AMA is a weak lobby. Medicine in many parts of the nation is in crisis because doctors accepted piss poor treatment for so long without fighting back against a system that wants to pay them as little as possible for doing the work they do. Without fighting back, the inevitable happened—they started getting paid less than the people administering the insurance and too little to pay the overhead for their offices, training and insurance.

Out of everything the candidates talked about leading up to this election season, I desperately hope that this is one of the sleeper issues that will inspire some debate in Congress and some progressive legislation to protect physicians and other health care workers against the avarice of some insurance companies and frivalous law suits. And I'm not one of those people who thinks that all law suits brought against physicians are stupid, because there are definately cases of gross malpractice and getting those people out of medicine should be the paramount concern of doctors and patients alike. But, the qualified and concerned docs shouldn't have to pay for the sins of their defective brethren.

I might eventually post some thoughts on the election over on my other blog, if you're not avoiding all political discussions like the plague. :)


Monday, November 01, 2004

Stress Stupidity

I've always been a bit of a closet science dork, so upon embracing my bipolar diagnosis, I signed up for a bunch of listservs that inform members of the latest and greatest scientific breakthroughs and/or other miscellaneous happenings in the bipolar universe. The latest bit of fascinating research to come through the wire involves a study that found that the action of a chemical that floods manic brains impairs thinking in animals. That may not seem exciting, but it's actually really cool that these egg heads have identified this chemical because the more we understand about the actual functioning of this illness, the more sophisticated medicine can become to treat it.

In other news, researchers have also demonstrated an undeniable relationship between obesity and depression. While the researchers have noticed the correlation between being depressed and being overweight, there is still some chicken-and-egg debating going on, as in does the depression cause the weight gain or does the weight cause the depression? The important outcome of this research is that the scientists were able to demonstrate that depressed people are overweight more often than their non-depressed counterparts—quite a feat considering 65% of American adults are overweight anyway.

So I guess my conclusion of the day is that if you are feeling fat and stupid, maybe it's not just low self-esteem talking. :)