Day 152: The First Demo Day

This was my first week of Web Developer Coding Bootcamp. After spending the summer recovering, I enrolled into a government sponsored vocational training program.

It’s been really nice having a place to go to focus on my projects. Today, we had demo day. I showed the class my project that I’ve been working on this week: a three-page website.


I’ve had previous experience with HTML5 and CSS3. This week, I’ve been learning Javascript using Codecademy.

As far as my brain goes, it’s very sad to me that I feel like I’m not that smart. I’ve felt a loss of creativity and I relate to a lot of people that are on forums discussing how they are not sure if it’s the depression or the drugs that is giving them this feeling of “blah-ness.” I don’t know how long it will last.

Everything that comes out seems like the opposite of inspired. I feel like a little kid trapped in a big person’s body. I find myself using simple vocabulary and when I try to look for more complex concepts, they are not there. I’m on the verge of crying just thinking about it.

I’m going to ask my therapist and psychiatrist about exploring psychiatric solutions to help me find that feeling that is myself. Some days, I feel like it’s important to push myself to draw. It’s a connection to what I consider to be quick magic. A touch of human in my computer-driven world.


Yes. My hair really does look like a curly mushroom cap.

Some notes for the day:

Beautiful Typography Examples Need some nice examples of forkable type?
Google Fonts Don’t forget to add your google fonts!

Dirty markup? I’m going to always use this site to clean up my code. It will close open divs, so watch out for extra divs!

“Describe the specs or goals for the projects, how you came up with the solution, the tools or methods you used, the obstacles you overcame, the lessons you learned, the skills you gained, the benefits of the end result, etc.” –

@hobbs, the Unicode standard says that is the preferred character to use for the apostrophe, rather than '. –  Bennett McElwee Jul 4 ’13 at 1:55” –stackoverflow

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Bipolar support groups near me

DBSA SF (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance of San Francisco)

Regular Support Group Meetings:

Every Monday at 6:45pm to 8:15pm

Every Saturday at 1:30pm to 3:00pm

Meets at lower level conference room B or C at St Francis Memorial Hospital. For more information contact Gail at

Young Adults Support Group (for ages 18 to 30 years old):

On the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month at 6:45pm to 8:15pm.

Meets at lower level conference room B or C at St Francis Memorial Hospital. Contact for more information.

Support Group for persons with Depression or Bipolar Illness. Weekly support group meets Tuesdays from 7-9 pm at College Heights Church, 1150 W. Hillsdale Blvd, San Mateo, CA. Family members and friends are welcome.

Target Group:
Adults and Older Adults

Depression Bipolar Support Alliance Palo Alto Meetup

Wed Jul 29

6:30 PM

1 going


Palo Alto Veteran’s Hospital

3801 Miranda Avenue, Palo Alto, CA (map)

DBSA Palo Alto has served our community for over 12 years. We meet every Wednesday 6:30 – 8:30.

via Depression Bipolar Support Alliance Palo Alto (Palo Alto, CA) – Meetup.

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Improv Opportunities in the Bay Area

Drop in

Drop-In Improv Class | Leela.

Tuition: $15 online (links above) or $20 cash at the door.
Prerequisite: None
Instructors: Rotating Faculty
Day/Date: Mondays & Thursdays, on-going every week
Time: from 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Location: Intersection for the Arts, 925 Mission Street, SF

EndGames Drop-In Classes – Saturday Tickets, San Francisco – Eventbrite.
Drop in to EndGames Saturdays at noon to infuse a little extra playtime into your weekend. Instructors rotate every week, and topics vary as well. Tickets are $10, payable only through Eventbrite. Cash will not be accepted at the door! Stay tuned here, or on our Facebook page for more information!

Voice One / Classes / Studio Theatre.

If you’re looking for entertainment for the cost of a movie, then jump on the Voice One stage Sunday nights and improvise away! After you play some warm up games, you’ll create scenes, build recurring characters and have a whole heck of a lot of fun. We welcome all – newcomers, seasoned professionals, and those in between. Just show up and be ready to play. No preregistration required.

ONE SUNDAY EACH MONTH IS SPECIAL THEME DAY: Super Heroes, Commercials, Radio Drama, Improv for Networking, Auditioning, etc.

Alternate Sundays 5:30pm-7:30pm

[No class on Major Holiday Weekends. To be added to weekly email updates, send a message to Check for updates.

$15 cash at the break.


Foundation 1 | BATS Improv.
Schedule: 6 sessions (once a week for 6 weeks)
Class dates: August 18, 25, September 1, 8, 15, and 22
Class length: 3 hours (18 hours total instruction)
Tuition: $329
Notes: Class size: 16 students maximum

Improv Acting Classes for All Levels: Fun, Performance, Real Life, Etc.

Schedule: 4 sessions (once a week for 4 weeks)
Class dates: four Sundays: August 9, 16, 23, 30
Class length: 2 hours (8 hours total)
Tuition: $99
Notes: Improv 101

Buy Tickets | Made Up Theatre.

Schedule: 7 sessions (once a week for 6 weeks)
Class dates: Fall Session: September 9th – October 21st
Tuition: $150.00

ComedySportz San Jose |  Buy Tickets.

Schedule: once a week for 8 weeks
Class dates: Level 1 Mondays – 7:30-9:30pm 9/14/2015 – 11/2/2015
Tuition: $200.00 A $50.00 deposit is required to hold your spot for the workshop.
Improv I: Let’s Play! | Leela.

Schedule: once a week for 6 weeks
Class dates: 8/4, 8/11, 8/18, 8/25, 9/1, 9/8 Day/Time: Tuesdays, from 7:00pm – 10:00pm
Tuition: $265

San Jose Improv | Classes | American Improv Theatre | Classes.

Schedule: once a week for 8 weeks
Class dates: Sundays, Sept. 20 – Nov. 8 5 – 7 PM
Tuition: $150

About the Class: This eight-week class is designed for people who have gone through improv training and are looking for a fun place to practice their skills, put on a show or two, and laugh the evening away. Participants will be working on long form improv skills as well as honing their overall stage presence, quick wit, and yes, and-ing abilities. The last two shows of the series will be performances for family and friends. Prerequisites: Improv experience. Contact AIT about your eligibility.

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Day 75: Cleaning and Logging, A Return

Today, I started a drug/mood/health log (on twitter because I like the mobile app– short updates with the time stamps) to help me keep track of what helps and what hurts. I had my first evaluation meeting with my new government sponsored psychiatrist where I was a bit more prepared with a list of symptoms I wanted to treat and we set goals and reduced some of the meds and increased some of the meds.

I went through some index cards. I called them “focus cards” when I was in my most producing days of what some call “mania.”

goalsI’m feeling really optimistic about the future. I had a nice couple of days. I started reading again. It’s slow. I’m currently reading 101 Things I Learned in Law School. I’m considering going back to school because I would like to be a learned individual with a higher salary. Wake up call: being an “artist” means always wondering about the future and money and wondering if you’re going to “make it.” I was pretty delusional (alusional? Where one has no illusions true or false) about my future and so I’m giving it some heavy consideration before I make my next move.

I keep thinking about time. About how this last year has really changed me. About how I’m growing and learning about myself, psychology, pharmaceuticals, friendship, compassion and the brutal pace that society keeps.

Yeah, I am perplexed that I “took a year off” and when I came back everyone was passing me by and it’s hard to find one’s footing after going to the brink of insanity and back.

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Day 51: My first day of work in California

I haven’t worked an institutional job in almost a year (quit date last year in Mid-June, then on to a self-directed job in media creation and perhaps self-destruction).

Today, I had my first 4-hour shift at a chain coffeeshop in San Carlos (an affluent neighborhood).

After my shift (as if by Fate), I chatted with one of the customers who’s a bipolar manic painter (like me, but older by 30 years, more experienced, more accomplished more secure of herself and her surroundings, grew up around Silicon Valley, so not really like me except for a few aspects, but still, an amazing coincidence). She recommended her church (which I can’t really attend because I work Sunday morning).

Holding orders in my head wasn’t easy, but no one expected me to be great and so the stress was very handle-able. Repeating orders back to customers is very important. Pressing the right buttons on the register even though they are in an illogical order/formation/redundant/confusing/whatever is important.\

Here’s an Emily Dickinson poem that I found through my research of psychosis that I enjoyed and related to:

“I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,
And Mourners to and fro
Kept treading–treading–till it seemed
That Sense was breaking through–
And when they all were seated,
A Service, like a Drum–
Kept beating–beating till I thought
My Mind was going numb–

And then I heard them lift a Box
And creak across my Soul
With those same Boots of Lead, again,
Then Space–began to toll,

As all the Heavens were a Bell,
And Being, but an Ear,
And I, and Silence, some strange Race
Wrecked, solitary here–

And then a Plank in Reason, broke–
And I dropped down, and down–
And hit a World, at every plunge,
And Finished knowing–then–“


Here’s a quick sketch, trying to get back into expressing myself visually. It’s interesting to see what comes out. It’s just floating on the top of my head as a self-caricature of the day. Maybe I’ll do one tomorrow. It’s fun to think about starting a comic series of my life. Just getting the pencil in my hand, it’s like putting on the sneakers to the life that I want.

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Day 50: feeling optimistic and reflective : Life is Going By (polar)


Possible Overshare Warning, but, this is my life and I want you to know it if you want to. (Why I am writing this blog post: to help me document my experience with MediCal –the insurance that I currently qualify for in the State of California, my experience with drugs they put me on –could have been doing this sooner, but I was experiencing a break of intense hopelessness and a sense of: why am I making about my life through a sordid lense, won’t people judge me?, but I realized that I need to grab motivation where it’s available and consider it all to be about my process, believing in myself again enough to the point where I can be the cheerful and effective person that I know lies within)

I’m adjusting to my new life in California. I’ve been going through the trials and tribulations of aging out of my step father’s family plan insurance. I recently became a MediCal patient (which is the state insurance if you don’t know). Which means for me: drugs and therapy covered by the state.

On Monday after changing up my meds (see the above picture– trying to get more organized), my (I guess, former) psychiatrist helped me get in contact with the Mental Health Access Team of Behavioral Health & Recovery Services | San Mateo Health System. I got a call back from a person to get my information (history of psychotic breaks, meds, etc.). Then he set an appointment for the morning slot of 9:30am-11:30am the next day.

I went to this building and in less than an hour, I was talking to a mental health worker who was asking me these same questions about myself, including asking about my family history with substance abuse and my rapport with my mom (personal stuff so that they could “get to know me.”). She called up the doctor and explained that I was running out of meds and needed to get some refills.

She told me to stay by the phone as she dismissed me and said that we’d try to get an appointment with the doctor today to assess the meds situation.

Went away, came back, saw a doctor. He inspired me to make a timeline of my mental health. Then, I thought let’s just make a timeline of the highlights. I am trying to remind myself that I quit a good job to go toward a beautiful light of making art full time and I just Icarused it and combined free time with substance abuse and so begins the onset of Bipolar and what it means to have a brain looking at itself in its small pieces and moving didn’t help and now I am in Redwood City, trying to make the best of it.

June 2013 -Graduated from Graphic Design School
July -Started ASMR channel
August -enjoying summer, started recreational cannibus use
September- New York Trip
October- attended InfoCamp
November 2013- Started working at a bookstore
December -Designed some sweet holiday cards
January 2014 -Worked on a Webcomic called Shelby
February -Updated my resume/projects to reflect bookstore’s graphic design work
March -went to Crater Lake for a cabin trip
April -updated my portfolio to show that I wanted to work in game UI,
I had my first speaking event at said bookstore, I wanted to start a Seattle Graphic Design Guild,
May -I had my first publication of my art in eJournal USA and worked with a scientist on developing a cover for Small (a science journal), I raised money through a Kickstarter for a binaural microphone to help me make some awesome ASMR videos

June -I quit my job at the bookstore to start volunteering at Makerhaus, a wonderful makerspace which seemed to be gleaming with promise. I started work on products for my business that I was inspired to start: Katarina Countiss Multimedia
July -My first binaural song
August -I moved out of my current living situation because I felt cramped, started recreational cannabis use more heavily
September -Makerhaus shuts down, surprising the volunteerrs and Staff, I get invested in my art, the kind that doesn’t really pay any money, I started a recording group called Prismatic Ventricles with two wonderful collaborators, I start Kaleidescopy Art which includes cards, ASMR videos, and two t-shirt designs
October -Inktober, I start working with Ink and continue to use more Cannabis, I move into a bigger house where I have a garage space I call the KAT Media Lab, started some work at SODO Makerspace
November 2014 -Continued to make ASMR videos, increased cannabis use
December -set up a Patreon account, hoping to make some money off of art, auditioned for an improv show
January 2015 -Started the Book of Hypotheses, wanting to keep track of all the good ideas that I had, feeling like I was running out of time, visited San Francisco, visitor from San Francisco, best weekend in a while, created quick exercises to help creativity flow, pressure is on me to pack up the house and the media lab because I’m moving to San Francisco! Created Yellow Words, manic break, hospitalized (Swedish Medical Center), Olanzapine (why didn’t I like this? Too much too soon?) and Ativan (fine, but it didn’t work as long as I wanted it to)
February -Trying to process everything, not taking meds, reflected on notebooks of words long past, He moves ahead to San Francisco and I am alone, I speak at Town Hall about my art
March -saw my first Psychiatrist, had a psychotic episode, hospitalized (Stanford Hospital), Abilify (extrapyramidal effects include: akathisia (motor restlessness), parkinsonism (characteristic symptoms such as rigidity, bradykinesia, and tremor), Started Day Hospitalization, Ambien, Ambien Extended Release, Seroquel
April- tried Medical Cannabis, made me paranoid, my mother visits
May- I age out of Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance, try MediCal, start working at local coffee chain, visit with Psychiatrist: Lamictal, Seroquel, Ambien XR

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Day 30 Spinning

I think it’s a negative spiral, not a negative loop. I’m seeing the same options over and over again but doing them less.

Today, I went to my therapy appointment and we talked about insurance for most of the time. I think I overstayed my welcome a little bit. She kept saying it was over (the session) and I was having a hard time leaving.

I’m always feeling hungry and wondering if it’s the medication or if I didn’t eat enough food.

Living with Bipolar 1 sucks. Everything that comes into my head is warped pretty quickly. It’s hard to think for a moment that I am normal and that I am healthy.

I currently reading I Thought It Was Just Me. (lent to me by my therapist) “Courage is a voice. Compassion is an ear.” I am struggling learning how to listen to people and develop compassion, for the others and for me.

I’m angry and terrified that everyday is this, as if I had no power to change it. I keep cycling through my regrets. I can’t believe I quit the most beautiful place in the world. It wasn’t perfect, but it was the place to be. I miss Seattle. This place is so broken.

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