…*facepalm*

So I wrote a post about having missed writing… and then forgot to write a post for Monday.

Batting a thousand, me.

I’ve been working on getting back into a daily cleaning routine.  unfuckyourhabitat.com is my favorite blog for cleaning, and I use it to teach groups, too.  The system’s easy and being able to swear in groups is awesome.  I’m particularly remiss about my laundry, which is currently mocking me in the living room where I have dumped it so I will remember to wash it, a load at a time, this week.  I did a load Monday, but tonight (Tuesday) I was busy doing grocery shopping and didn’t get home until almost eight.  The washer/dryer is communal and the apartment it’s against has two little guys living there, so I don’t know what time they go to bed and I don’t want to disrupt them.

However, grocery shopping is a chore in and of itself, so I could that as a good day.  And dear lord but it’s humid out, so just carrying my stuff in from the car had me worked into a good sweat.

Fairly recently, I have started dyeing a portion of my hair different colors.  It started with green for my Rhinox costume for TFCon, which has been shifted to cyan in preparation for going purple at my next dyeing.  I wanted to do it tonight but a) I forgot to go to Sally’s before the grocery store and I had frozen stuff in the car and b) the bleach/dye process takes me about two hours to do it correctly.  Doing it on a work night would inevitably make me want to rush so I can get to bed on time, so it will need to wait until Saturday, where I can take my time.  For only having done it three times, I’m getting really good at it.  The first go not so much, but friends who dye their hair weird colors provided some info to help me do it right after that.  So yeah.  Being able to express myself through cotton candy hair feels good.  Work is cool with it, and now that I feel like I’ve got some stability there, I feel a bit more free to do stuff like that.

My psychiatrist was thrilled to see me back at my baseline today.  I scared him pretty bad when I showed up manic after TFCon.  I need to make sure I schedule a break day in there where I’m not driving anywhere and I can just rest and center myself.

…I also need to figure out where to finish exchanging my Canadian money.  I’ve got a couple hundred dollars hanging out because nobody in the States will touch it.  My credit union won’t, banks won’t because I don’t bank there, so I guess now I’m going to have to go to a coin shop and see if they’ll give me decent exchange rates.  It’s frustrating that if I miss the exchange at the border due to it being closed when I get there, I’m SOL.  Last year I didn’t have much in Canadian so I just kept it for fare to cross the bridge the next time, but the rate was almost even.  This year it was about $1.26 CAN to $1.00 American, so I’m sort of waiting for it to go back up before I exchange it, too.  Biggest bang for my buck and all that…

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I missed writing

It’s funny how you don’t miss something until you start it back up again.  For example, writing my blog.  I initially stopped when I started to really recover last time, as it sort of felt like it was hindering me.  I’ve tried a few times since then to pick up the mantle again, but it didn’t feel quite right.

I feel like I’m back in the saddle, as it were.   I’m back to writing several posts in a sitting, and remembering to write in advance.

I wish I could say the same about my yoga practice, which is rarely consistent and has pretty much just stopped.  Or my daily cleaning routine… or just about everything else.  I am the BEST at starting things, but not so great at finishing them.  The Queen of Procrastination is I!

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Still here, just tired and spoonless

I was able to go to work on Friday.  I had an ominous email from my boss waiting for me:

“We need to talk about this when you return on friday. These absences are not going to work for our company as it is creating a hardship.”

So after a few minutes of hyperventilating, I decided to go talk to my boss, rather than letting my rather fertile imagination run away with me.  I poked my head into her office and she was immediately asking “What is that look for?” because I guess I looked terrified.  I was very quickly reassured that I wasn’t losing my job, just that I needed to work with the other two clinicians -the therapist and case manager who has taken on the other half of my job- to make sure things worked well if I had to take FMLA days.  She said whatever I chose to share was completely up to me, but she did encourage me to at least explain that I have FMLA status, to at least help dispel any hard feelings about my absences.  There was meeting later in the day, with everyone present- the CEO, HR, my boss, the therapist, case manager, and myself.  It wasn’t just about me, either; the CEO wanted us (the three clinicians) to formalize a few things, rather than the informal format we usually have when we talk about groups and what direction we’re taking things on campus.  We planned to start having a weekly clinical supervision, led by the therapist, which looks good on paper and also will give us a paper trail, which always makes CARF and the state licensing board happy.

So, everyone at the table has known about my illness for a while, except for the case manager, who just came on about a month ago.  So I took the leap and clued her in, because I work in mental health, goddamnit, if anyone’s going to get it it’s going to be my coworkers.  I had hinted that I had a chronic illness but she was sort of blown away with all of my actual problems, and seemed impressed at how stable I am.

And I am, really.  When I think back to where I was two and a half years ago when I lost my job, and just how sick I was back then, I can’t believe how far I’ve come.  I can have a really bad day and come back swinging the next, rather than ending up down for a week.  I still wonder at times about my future, but I’m trying not to let myself dwell on it.  What happens, is what will happen.  I’ll be ok.

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Checklists

So in case you couldn’t tell, last Thursday was pretty damn bad.  I was a disaster most of the day.  Thankfully, Chihiro was right there with me the whole time, sitting on me and purring constantly.  Around five, I finally started to feel it lifting.  I was in one of those places where I didn’t really even have words- I couldn’t talk without sobbing.  I wanted to call people for support but I am pretty sure someone would’ve called the police to have a wellness check done on me, as I don’t think I could’ve held up a conversation if my life depended on it.  I had my Chihiro, though, and things were… ok.

After managing to drag myself out of my chair and do a few things, I posted this to facebook:

Self-care I have managed in the last 48 hours:
-I took off work FMLA today in order to take care of myself since I was in a very dark place and didn’t feel like being certed involuntarily by a coworker
-I have taken all of my medication
-This was aboout 72 hours ago, but I have changed pharmacies to the Walgreen’s right up the road- as much as it hurts to not support a small independent pharmacy, the shipping costs plus the repeated late packages due to they putting on a signature order (despite my repeated pleas not to) have led to me missing doses of medication at least 6 times in the last couple months, along with stretching my already thin budget. As someone who prides herself on her medication compliance, as I know it makes a HUGE difference, which I’ve felt lately. Now I know if I forget to order a refill, I can go get it with very little hassle.
-I have eaten several meals with fruits and vegetables in them that were not soup (since I’m out) and have been meals I cooked by hand (and I am contemplating a potato with broccoli right now, that sounds good)
-I have stayed hydrated and avoided caffeine all day
-I have showered, and plan to brush my teeth before bed, after eating another meal
-I got 4-5 hours of sleep last night/this morning, and have stayed up the rest of the day so I can go to bed at a normal time to make sure my sleep rhythm is ok
-I have fed and watered the cat, cleaned her litterbox, watered plants on my porch, and fed and watered the sparrow horde (plus one cardinal and my darling woodpecker that visits me a lot)
-I have packed up and mailed a jewelry order
-I have reached out to friends even though the brainweasels didn’t want me to, to let them know I am hurting but I am ok, and tell them what is going on in my head and asked for support.
-I have stalwartly ignored the urge to check my gmail, which my work email forwards to, to prevent triggers. Work can wait until I get there tomorrow, and I *will* get there tomorrow
-And if I don’t get there tomorrow, I will call my psychiatrist first thing and park myself in his office until I can be seen, so he can assess whether or not I should go to the hospital. I feel like I’ll be ok now, though
-I have written a blog post to get the worst of this out of my head
-I have cried and not felt ashamed

All of this was made possible by the amazing Chihiro, who hasn’t left my side since I got home from work yesterday in the throes of this cycle. She backed off when I got up and engaged in a lot of these self-care activities, but she has been following me around the apartment and stayed within about ten feet at all times.

Listing these accomplishments makes me feel stronger than I’ve felt all day. I hope to achieve tackling my dishes later and packing breakfast and lunch for tomorrow, but if I don’t achieve those goals, I plan to be kind to myself about them.

It helped tremendously.  I’m going to start doing that when things are dark in my headspace, because having a list of small accomplishments helps.  One of my friends responded:

I’m so proud of you! Wasn’t long ago that it’d be a good day to do just 1 thing on that list, and look at what all you accomplished! You truly are an inspiration 🙂

It is a pretty long list, considering how dark things had been earlier in the day and over the previous night.  I still feel good about it.

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Oh, for the love of…

*Insert lots and lots of curse words here*

I can’t even really figure out how to articulate my frustration at how I feel right now.

I have been getting my meds mailed to me by a small independent pharmacy back in the small town my parents live. However, they changed their policies about mailing things to require a signature, and my postal carrier seems to enjoy not leaving those little “I tried to deliver to you but you weren’t home” slips in my mailbox until the third attempt, so I have to take time away from work to go to the post office that is of course in the opposite direction of work to pick it up myself, because now it’s three days past when I was supposed to have my meds and it’d be another two if I signed the slip and put it back in the box. Not to mention when I did that the first time, it languished, ignored, in my mailbox for two days before I went to give someone an earful at the post office.

I demanded that my pharmacy stop doing that, and after a few tries they managed to get the hint, until my last shipment of meds. Even though I want to support it, because small town businesses are important, my mental health has been seriously suffering due to multiple missed doses of various meds over the last couple of months. This time, I missed out on some of my recently increased Lamictal. I finally went to the Walgreen’s that is around the corner, because I know that even if I forget to fill my prescription until the last second, I can get it filled and pick it up right away.

I am pretty sure I missed 200 mg of my 300 mg Lamictal prescription on Tuesday. I had been waiting for a refill of the 200s, so I had been substituting in two of the 100s until it arrived, but I can’t remember if I’d added them that night, and based on the hell in my head right now? I’m pretty damn sure I missed it.

Wednesday was increasingly a nightmare as the day dragged on, and I spiraled farther into a dark, dark cycle of thinking. I called in around 5 am Thursday morning, and finally managed to go to sleep somewhere between 8-9 am. I was up again at 1 pm for a return to the emotional abuse of the day before. As I write this, I’m waiting for it to be a reasonable bedtime before I go let myself sleep so I don’t get my circadian rhythm completely borked. I am really struggling. (Italicized statements are the words echoing in my head that I am trying desperately to not believe.)

I am barely letting myself eat, barely letting myself sleep, and hating myself the whole while, and the tiny rational part of me is trying to encourage some healthier behaviors even as it’s shoved further into a corner by the darkness. All of the usual arguments aren’t working- I know I wouldn’t treat a kid or my best friend this way, but I’m neither of those things so who cares.  My family would miss me, I’m sure of it, but the part of my brain that insists on telling me I’m a pathetic burden is louder right now. I bought a toy for my nephew to hold over myself as leverage; I need to stick around to give it to him.

I’m sitting here sobbing and the voices are still telling me you’re pathetic and being ridiculous. Who cares? Even the people that do care wouldn’t if they really knew you, if they really knew how much of a disappointment you are. If they knew what you’ve done and how many ways you’ve failed.

I’m a sham, trying so hard to pretend I’m normal when I’m so damaged and broken. I keep reaching out to people and hoping I can hold on to them before my weakness disgusts them, I’m too weak and needy, I’m going to scare them away. After all, I can’t even keep a boyfriend because my mental illness makes their boners sad. Primus help me, but I hope I can survive this with my psyche intact.

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Exercise, or something like it

I had a moment of great stupidity earlier this weekend. I was signed up to run (*cough*walk*cough*) in the Grand Rapids Color Run with my mom and sister. I was positive it was later this month, so I was planning to get all the gear I needed this weekend- I was going to find a suitable sports bra if it killed me (do I seriously need to wear six of the damn things to keep everything under control? Why don’t they make ’em strong enough to withstand the forces of my mighty breasts?) and some shorts of some kind to wear.

Yeah, no, it was the 1st.

I found this out sometime around midnight on the 31st. So I was vastly unprepared, and my foot isn’t completely healed (I was diagnosed with acute tendonitis in my right foot like, two months ago, and it still isn’t really working right. My doctor just ordered some x-rays to see if maybe there’s a stress fracture going on or something.) I felt really stupid and struggled with that for a bit, but I finally just shrugged it off and went to bed. My mom and sister both told me later that it was a VERY well attended thing, and they were glad I didn’t come because they did not think I would’ve done well with the crowds. I think I’ll stick with smaller 5ks from here on out, like the Turkey Trot we did last Thanksgiving. I’m ok with coming in dead last, but I don’t want to be suffocated by other people in doing so.

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Meh, life.

So I’m still struggling with regulating a bit, and still mighty frustrated over my stupid health insurance. I need to file the appeal but I don’t even know where to start. How much information do I have to give before someone somewhere feels sorry enough for me that they approve the appeal and do something? It costs $50 to get my psychiatrist to do paperwork, so as much as I’d like to get a note from him, I don’t think I can honestly afford it. I could probably send copies of all my FMLA paperwork, I’m sure work will let me make copies of that, maybe that would be sufficient proof that I’m disabled and need some help. I’ve got stacks and stacks of receipts for meds, as I save all of them, and I can get statements from my insurance of all of my appointments and the copays required at the rate I’m actually supposed to be paying.

I wish the Affordable Care Act took one’s disabilities into consideration, instead of just going by income. So then the Marketplace would adjust your assistance based on how many meds and specialists you require to manage your health. Or maybe they could do it a bit more like food stamps, and take your overall life expenses into consideration as well. (Although no government program takes student loans into consideration, and those? Those are definitely part of why I’m poor.)

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