Out of the blue

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September 7, 2012 by Kara Nichols

It’s been a difficult summer. I had to make a medication change back in June. I could no longer afford Zyprexa. The generic version, even with health insurance, was still $300 a month. So my psychiatrist switched me to Abilify. I knew there might be difficulties with the med change, there usually are, however I wasn’t expecting the heavy, dull blanket of depression that has suffocated me since. My doctor continues to make adjustments – increasing the Abilify and my anti-depressant, and I am confident in him and the medications that I will find balance again soon. In fact, just the other day, out of the blue, I put on makeup and cracked a smile.

Firewalkers is a go! My story will be published in the next edition of the anthology. The working title is “Fire Stories: Further Thoughts on Madness, Mystery and Beauty.” It will go to print this month and be available on Amazon.com soon. I am both thrilled and nervous about this opportunity to share such an intimate part of my life with the public. I  promised myself right after my first manic episode 11 years ago that I would write about my experience because it could help other people understand mental illness. And now I am fulfilling that promise. Plus it’s kick ass to be published again.

I’ve been employed at the Center for Recovery and Wellness since the end of May. I also went to a week-long training to become a Peer Support Specialist. This is definitely not the career path I would have chosen years ago. In fact, I still just think of myself as a writer who does something else to pay the bills. Maybe someday I will get back to writing professionally but for now I am getting a kick out of my position at the Center. I manage the website and newsletter as well as run support groups. I spend a lot of time talking and listening. Mainly listening. As cliché as it sounds, the job is both challenging and rewarding. I don’t know how long I will be working at the Center but I’m doing my best to make the most of each moment and support my peers who deal with mental illnesses.

There’s been a new addition to the house! We rescued this dog a few weeks ago. She’s a terrier mix and about two years old. I named her Clementine (after the character in the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) – but we call her Clemmy or Puppy. She and Bijoux are warming up to each other slowly but surely.

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