Struggles and blessings

I used to work as an archivist/librarian.
I struggled with a bipolar 2 affective disorder, which began after I hit puberty. I didn’t get the right diagnosis and treatment until I was 31.
In November 2012, I had a major breakdown and got the additional diagnosis schizoaffective, because I was hearing voices in my head.
I struggled so hard, for a decade, to be able to have a job, but I kept getting deep and long depressive episodes, even on anti-depressants and mood stabilizers.
It became an impossible situation: I wasn’t able to go to work because I was depressed, and I got more depressed because I wasn’t able to go to work.
I lost two jobs because I had to go on an extended sick leave, and you can only do that for a year. If you can’t get back to work after a year, you loose your job.
I finally gave up, and applied for disability pension. I got it in March 2014.
I was finally able to relax and not struggle and worry about being able to go to work, and I haven’t had a depressive episode since.

I have had problems for years getting out of my apartment and taking public transport.
I came to associate taking public transport with struggling to get to work and failing, and I have developed a phobia against taking public transport.
In 2013, I applied for a “TT-card”, which means I get 150 trips with a cab a year, and only pay 50 kroner per trip, no matter how long it is (as long as it’s in Oslo). I finally got the TT-card in June 2014. It opened up a new world to me. I was finally able to go downtown and meet up with friends again. It’s been such a blessing!

I have always rented apartments. I never thought I would be able to buy my own, especially after I got on disability pension. I just wasn’t able to save enough money so that I could take a loan for an apartment. You have to have at least 20% saved up to be able to get a loan, and I couldn’t get much of a loan because I was on disability pension.
Then in 2014, my father passed away, and we discovered that he had several million kroner in his bank account. Even split on me and my two siblings, it was a lot of money.
I immediately went on and looked at the apartments for sale. On the third hit, I found a two room apartment I could actually afford. I went to the (what’s it called) real estate agency to look at the apartment, three days after it was announced for sale. They had three similar apartments still available. I picked one and sign up for it. The next day I got a confirmation that I had got the apartment, as I had been the first one to sign up for it.
I moved in March this year. I love my new apartment! It’s only five minutes to the local groceries shop, which means that I can more easily shop myself. (I sometimes have problems with anxiety and leaving my apartment.) I also finally have a washing machine and dryer in my bathroom, so I don’t have to use a basement laundry room.

I’m really happy about having moved to Gamlebyen district in Oslo. They have a day activity centre here called Kafe Svovel. It’s an activity centre for adults with mental health issues.
One of my oldest dreams is to be able to do arts and crafts, but while I was working and struggling, I rarely had the energy for arts and crafts projects. At Kafe Svovel you can draw, paint or work with clay. They have their own oven for burning ceramics.
I have been to Kafe Svovel three times and worked with clay. I have used cookie cutters to make hearts, cats and bats. I’ve glazed them and strung them up on fishing line, so I can hang them from the curtain rods, or just on the walls. I have also made a seal, and a gargoyle. It gives me a profound joy to be able to use my hands and create things.
When autumn comes they will start up again with arts and crafts instructions. Drawing and painting on Tuesdays and ceramics on Thursdays. I’m really looking forward to it!

Then there is Loki.
I invited Him into my life in November 2010, and He showed up in a dream in early December. In January 2011, He Claimed me in a dream. In February He told me He wanted us to get married, and we were married in June. I still wonder at this, that I invited Him, and He came! I felt very blessed.
The first year we interacted in dreams and hypnagogia. The second year He wanted me to focus on interacting with Him while I was awake. I began to hear Him while I was awake in January 2012.
Then I was attacked in May/June by a malevolent entity, who broke my connection to Loki. I’ve been struggling ever since to reconnect. I became increasingly more disheartened by our lack of a close, intimate connection, like we had during the first half of 2012.
Then I participated in a healing session for me in the shamanistic healing circle in Berlin, where my friend Mila horsed Loki (or carried Him, as they call it). I felt truly blessed to have experienced interacting with Loki like that. It was a dream come true.

I feel that I have struggled so hard for decades to cope with a normal life (well, normal as in having a job; I’m not exactly a normal A4 person, being asexual, having mental disorders and being a Lokean Pagan and a goth), and now I’m finally free.
I don’t have to struggle every morning against depression and not getting out of bed. I don’t have to struggle with trying to go to work and failing and getting more depressed.
I don’t have to worry that I suddenly have to move out of my apartment because the owners need it themselves, or they’ve decided to sell it.
I have enough energy to do arts and crafts.
I have a wonderful and supportive mother; I don’t know how I could have managed without her.
I have hope again, that one day I will regain the close contact with Loki that we once had.
I’m more content and happy than I have been in years.
I truly feel blessed.


About Amber Drake

AKA Darkamber.
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10 Responses to Struggles and blessings

  1. moonfire2012 says:

    Its so good to see you get to this place, Amber. I hope youll gat into more drawing and painting.

  2. SuzyLL says:

    Happy for you!!!!!!!! 🙂

  3. zaramama says:

    So glad to read this entry. I remember what it was like when you were struggling back on LJ. I was really concerned for you, but being in the US, there wasn’t much I could do. I’m so glad you’re doing much better. I, too, have had the same experience with becoming disabled and having to apply for benefits. Being on social security has helped me to lead a much better life. It’s a bit tight financially, sometimes, but on the whole, it’s a better life. It helps that I have a roommate with whom I get along well, and a good housing situation where I only pay 1/3 of my income toward rent. It’s great that there’s a social safety net for those of us who need it.

    • Amber Drake says:

      Thank you. 🙂
      I’m touched by your concern.
      What was you nick on LJ?
      I was in one way surprised that my life got so much better when I was finally declared disabled. But not having to struggle so hard with being able to have a job like normal people really lifted a weight off my shoulders. I have a much lower income, but I manage. I’ve come to be less attached to material stuff, and I don’t need to own so much. I don’t need expensive stuff, never did. I only buy shoes and clothes when I need it, when something has to be replaced because it’s worn out. I don’t go out clubbing and drinking anymore. Well, I can’t drink anymore due to my meds. I usually just spend money on food, cigs and books.
      I feel blessed to live in a country with a good social safety net. I also have a team of people who take care of me, like my doctor, my psychiatrist, my contact at the mental health office in my district, my mum and one aunt.

      The apartment I bought has two loans on it, one over ten years and one over 30. I got enough money on my inheritance to pay off quite a bit on the first loan, so I pay about 1/4 of my income on it each month. I’m able to save a bit of money, so that I can pay off some of the second loan in ten years.

  4. esaja says:

    thats so good to hear. i wish you all the best. 🙂

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