Tag Archives: boyfriend

Going to the doctor is always *so* much fun.

So I had a manic episode Wednesday night/Thursday morning, likely from a combination of work stress and waaaay too much caffeine.  I finally passed out around 7:00 Thursday morning, after calling (emailing) in FMLA.  Been a month and a half since my last FMLA day, and I think I just went home early that day.  I really am doing better overall.  But it worked out, kinda, as I already had an appointment to see my primary care doctor today.  I hadn’t remembered to tell my boss or HR about it and was wondering how to sneak out of work for about two hours. >_>

So the main reason for going is I wanted to switch birth control brands to the one my insurance covers for free, instead of paying a $25 copay.  I’ve been duking it out with my insurance for a while, over multiple things.

It is always awkward, being checked in. Thankfully, the nurses accept my polite “No, thank you” to being weighed, though I have requested they flag my chart somehow so they know not to even ask, as it is very triggering for me and likely is for other people as well.  For some reason it doesn’t bother me when my psychiatrist does it, but he does it himself, never comments on it, and I know he’s watching for changes due to my psychiatric drugs, which makes it actually a medical necessity, as often weight change is the first sign that something’s not right with my meds, or my overall mental status.

Then came the fun part, where I explain what I need, and asked if there was any way I could also get an IUD put in, or a tubal ligation, as I have no plans to have kids, and launched into my list of why it is A Very Bad Idea for me to actually birth children anyway, as with my current medications, by the time I would realize I was pregnant, very irreparable damage would’ve been done to the kid’s brain.  Not to mention the horrible genetics I’d be passing down.  (And with my new boyfriend, *his* genetics are equally awful, so the poor hypothetical kid would never have a chance.)  She didn’t think my insurance would do both an IUD and hormonal birth control, but they might consider a tubal, as I am now 31 and now magically able to really decide what I want for my reproductive future.  Maybe.  I don’t know if it’ll be covered, of course, but she said she’d be happy to make a referral to a surgeon.  I’ll have to call my insurance and see what they would be willing to consider.  I’d rather go the IUD route than actual surgery, but either way, I just want that extra layer of backup, y’know?

I actually made my doctor cry, though, when I started in on my It’s A Bad Idea schpiel and she could see my overall level of frustration.  She’s really nice, I like her quite a bit, and felt badly when she got choked up.

Oh, the best part of my visit?  As I have been out of birth control for three weeks, and had *protected* sex about two weeks ago (I’m not an idiot) I still had to do a pregnancy test before she could actually prescribe me birth control.  As much as I knew it was a veeery low chance, I was still nervous.  She was happy with the negative, especially given how adamant I am about not having kids, and she prescribed it.

Of course, then the pharmacy discovered that while I had the correct *brand,* the little numbers after it were wrong, so the brand I switched to *still* wasn’t free.  Gotta call my doctor’s office AGAIN tomorrow to correct that.  (It’s supposed to be Junel Fe 1/20 and she’d written for like, Junel Fe 28 or something.  I couldn’t tell you what those numbers mean if my life depended on it.)

Seriously, someone shoot me.  At least my pharmacist found my pent-up-rage ranting against my insurance company funny, and she agreed with my frustration, as insurance companies rarely send formularies to pharmacies so they don’t know what is covered, either.  She appreciated my frustration with how the birth control formulary I received- that had to be mailed to me, as it wasn’t even listed on my insurance company’s website- only listed the brand names they covered.  No chemical information whatsoever.  So I had to do my own research to match the brand they’ll cover with the chemical formula I am presently prescribed, that works juuust fine, thank you.  Evidently the ACA only requires the insurances cover one brand of each compound, rather than just, y’know, paying for all of them.  UNIVERSAL PAYOR SYSTEM, PEOPLE.  IT IS A THING THAT WORKS IN QUITE A FEW OTHER PLACES VERY NICELY.  If only America wasn’t positively allergic to anything that smacks of socialism/communism, we’d have nice things, AND save money, and this last month of absolute nonsense of trying to change and fill a prescription wouldn’t have happened.

I also remembered to stop at a lab on the way home to get bloodwork done that I’ve been forgetting since February, too.  I was just full of medical compliance today.

…And did I remember to mention I have a boyfriend?  That’s a topic for another post. XD

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Anniversaries

(Author’s note: Sorry for the long hiatus. As I slowly recovered, I started to feel triggered by my blog. I’ll hopefully write a catch-up post soon to let you guys know what exactly has been happening in the life of Nadja.)

So, tomorrow is the ten year anniversary of my hospitalization.

I’m… conflicted. I want to celebrate it, but I also don’t know who to celebrate it *with.* I’m alone here in Lansing, and my diagnosis makes my gentleman friend nervous. (We have been casually dating since September, but he still hasn’t decided if he wants to make things a bit more formal. I am dying of impatience.) He felt that me telling him about my illness in a rush towards the beginning was too fast, and some nonsense about taking some of the discovery out of things. Seems how bipolar disorder is such a huge, pervasive part of my life, not sharing it was killing me. I feel like I’m lying when I keep it to myself, especially when I’m beginning a potentially romantic relationship. I don’t want to get hurt if I get attached and then he runs because of it, so it’s partially a defense mechanism, and partially my knowing that I need to make it fairly clear why I have so many strict rules for myself, so there is no misunderstanding of why, exactly, I can’t be out too late, I don’t drink or use drugs, my mood can vary dramatically from day to day and at times over the course of a date, why I can get hypomanic if I’m in an overly stimulating environment for long periods of time, why I might have to cancel a date on short notice due to lack of spoons, why I might have a panic attack, etc, etc, etc.

He is also extremely allergic to cats. I’m… not entirely sure about this one, but he hasn’t run away yet. Even though he hasn’t committed, he hasn’t refused me, either, and he is making an effort to spend time around other people’s pets to acclimatize himself a bit more to dander. I just try not to be too crazy in his general direction.

Next Sunday I turn 31. Twenty-year-old me didn’t think I would ever seen 25, let alone 30. I feel like I’m living on borrowed time, now. I also feel so, so tired when I think about living to 60, or 90, or 100, as I come from a line of very long-lived people. 100 years of life would basically boil down to 95 years of bipolar disorder.

Just the idea is exhausting.

So I feel conflicted. I am proud of myself for making it a decade without a hospitalization (several er visits, but I haven’t been admitted) but I am also nervous about the future. I am afraid I will always be alone, I am afraid of becoming a burden on my family. My stepdad has made it pretty damn clear that I have used my one and only chance to start over now, so if I do fall apart again in the future? I don’t know where I’ll go.

No pressure, of course. But I’d sure better never get sick again, goddamnit.

But, on this anniversary, I am gainfully employed, and independent, and I have my cat. I am ahead of the game from last year’s anniversary, and much more hopeful than the one before that. My life isn’t turning out how I wanted, but it’s less awful than I had feared it could be by this point. So… yay for me?

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I guess I should do a year-in-review type post.

Basically… 2013 sucked. I broke up with my boyfriend of almost a year, I lost my job, I spent months and months in a depressive fugue, and had to have most of my cat’s teeth removed. I had to move back in with my parents and have my beloved Chihiro fostered out, where she still is after eight goddamn months because I can’t seem to get my shit together and find a job. My brother’s wife left him, taking the older boy who was hers but not my brother’s and dumping him on his paternal grandparents in Arizona, and thus my brother and his son ended up moving in to my parents’ house as well. I ran out of unemployment and started working part-time minimum wage, which saw to the end of my car insurance and the present state of “making payments on a car that’s been hanging out in the driveway for six months, and doing a lot of walking.” I don’t have enough money to buy anything for myself other than my medication, and even doing that involves a lot of robbing Peter to pay Paul. I’m paying what bills I HAVE to pay, perpetually a half-payment behind on Artoo, and doing my best to get at least to where I can see the sky again from under car debt, college debt, medical debt, cat medical debt, and money I owe to the IRS (which I haven’t filed last year on yet, because I owe over a thousand dollars due to having to cash out my 401K to live on, and there is no way in hell I can pay a thousand dollars on top of the other thousands I owe everywhere else. I’ll file for however many years I have to when it’ll come out even or I’m in a position to pay what I owe.) I’m still looking for a job, though I admit my game’s been pretty weak through the holidays because who the hell is hiring during the holidays?

There were some good points, though. I am finally, FINALLY through the multi-year hell of a major depressive cycle, after I don’t even know how many ER visits at this point. Somewhere in the ballpark of a half-dozen over two years, I think. It’s marvelous to wake up and realize I’m not depressed. Stressed, yes, but I no longer have been going to the automatic suicidal ideas when something isn’t going right. Not working, and then doing manual labor, seems to have given my brain the rest it needed to chill the fuck out. Being here with my parents, brother and nephew has been difficult on all parties, but something about the experience has helped, at least so far as the “I’m not really responsible for much other than cleaning and cooking occasionally” element is concerned. Being on umemployment was freeing. I got to go to my family’s upper peninsula cabin twice, when I hadn’t made it in the six years beforehand, and I got kidnapped to TFCon by a friend, which was my first convention in three years. I’ve been teaching myself American Sign Language, and I’ve been getting to spend a lot of time with my two-year-old nephew, which has been nice. I got to go to the Michigan Renaissance Festival once, which made missing my dear Ohio Renaissance Festival hurt a bit less, and I got to spend time with some friends I don’t see much due to them living in Michigan.

And then we rang in Christmas with an ice storm, and I rang in the new year with god-knows-what that is likely bronchitis, so now I’ve missed about forty hours of work in three weeks. *facepalm* I’ve got a 10% off sale going on in my shop. The code is ICESTORM. I swear I will get things shipped, I just turned around after setting up the sale and got hit with this nasty illness, so I’ve not been doing much other than lying in bed, hacking up a lung and living on a steady diet of cough drops and ibuprofen, acetaminophen, benedryl, sudafed, and an expectorant. Whoo, my life is thrilling.

I have made about 18 bracelets and have at least six more on my immediate list, though more might come, depending on when I run out of memory wire. I’m hoping to finish those up and get pictures tomorrow so I can get things up for sale. I’m waiting on charms for two commissions, as the mail has gotten a bit awful due to the horrible weather. We got about 16 inches of snow initially, then the wind started, and we got even more snow because why the hell not, and yeah. Climate change deniers are welcome to kiss my (very cold) ample derriere.

I miss Cincinnati like nothing I’ve ever missed before. It’s a physical ache. I think about it constantly, and how much I miss all of the things I used to be able to do. I miss my sister and I miss my best friend and I miss my cat and I miss my friends and I miss my entire life down there. Now that I’m back to looking for jobs, I’ll be looking in Cincinnati again as well, though I’m also looking in Indianapolis, and on the west side of Michigan, where things seem to be doing better, economy-wise. (Likely because they weren’t as dependent on the auto industry as eastern Michigan had been.) What would be nice would be finding something localish so I could stay at home, finish paying off a good chunk of debt, get new furniture to replace the stuff that was thrown away, and get back into my own apartment. Cincinnati might have to wait simply by necessity of getting things back together again. Alternately, finding a job and getting a roommate down in Cincinnati might not be a horrible thing, though having had the same roommate for ten years makes it hard to imagine finding someone to live with who wasn’t also my best friend.

I’m looking forward to 2014, because seriously, it can only go up from here.

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My heart hurts.

The more I ruminate on it, the worse I feel, and the more my depression decides to beat me upside the head with lies and self-hatred.

From my Livejournal, January 28th, 2013:

Even after bracing myself, and preparing myself for at least a week for that inevitable conversation, it still hurts deeply. The more I think about it, the more I realize that it honestly was more him than me.

I was giving all I could; I tried to go out as often as he wanted, but it made me hypomanic and anxious. He stopped inviting me along and seethed that I wasn’t going. Twice we talked about that; he assumed I wouldn’t want to go, so just didn’t ask, and I reminded him that I don’t *always* say no.

He said that the way to get to know him, was to go out and hang out as often as possible. I can’t do that. Between being an introvert, having bipolar disorder, and having PTSD with plenty of anxiety to go with it, I have to be very choosy about where I spend my energy, to keep as even a keel as possible. I have to create buffer days between activities, when nothing is expected of me and I can unwind. I said I would try to be able to go out more than once a week, but that wasn’t enough. He asked me, “What’s so bad about being overstimulated?” and did not seem to feel it was really that big a deal when I ended up manic, blacking out doing something weird, and off work for three days to recover.

He took my not wanting to go out, as not wanting to be with him, but he hated nights in, saying that wasn’t how we would get to know each other. He wanted me to go with him and his sister and her fiance most nights to someplace weird, and noisy and crowded, and couldn’t understand why that made me horribly uncomfortable. He was so upset when, due to a pharmacy/doctor miscommunication, I ran out of klonopin before the trip we’d scheduled for the Tennessee renfaire, and had to back out because I was out of medication that I would desperately need in a weird place with weird people and no escape plan. He tried everything to convince me to go, while I sobbed helplessly, already in the throes of a panic attack, and out of medication to treat it.

I tried so hard to keep the lines of communication open but he kept shutting them down. I tried to have a weekly date night but if I didn’t push, he didn’t initiate anything, wouldn’t call me, wouldn’t ever pick a place to go. Plans always fell apart; last weekend, he blew me off four times, each time with a different excuse. My phone’s battery died, my sister showed up unexpectedly to go get pizza and we ended up at a bar playing trivia games all night, you didn’t tell me when I could come over.

He really didn’t know what to do with depressed me, or anxious me. He really liked manic me, and normal me, but depressed me scared the shit out of him. He didn’t check on me to make sure I was ok, he didn’t answer my calls the few times I reached out to him for support, he once blew off my “I’m suicidal and scared” for bingo with his sister.

It really all boils down to selfishness and immaturity. I was trying, but I can’t move too far from my equilibrium for my health’s sake. He couldn’t compromise his fun, for my health, and didn’t understand why he would need to.

I am back to the “I’m a burden” stage I’d kicked for a little while. My life is never going to be “normal” and I have accepted that, and want to kick ass anyway. NAMI featured an article in the New York Times called “Successful and Schizophrenic” about a person with schizophrenia going on to be seventeen flavors of awesome with like, three doctorates. I know it can be done. I want to work, and be successful, and live comfortably, and maybe get married someday.

One of my friends called me when she saw my distress on Facebook, wanting to know if I was ok. I’ve been texting her for a while, as it’s been getting worse as the night progresses. I said, “I just…. hurt. Like the Cymbalta commercial. Everything hurts outside, and I am numb inside; I keep coming back around to the fact that I was rejected because of my mental illness. I will always be someone’s burden and it hurts so much. Especially given how prejudiced my parents are to people on disability, so I would have nowhere to go.” Her response was, “That’s why you have friends, honey. You’re not a burden to them. :)”

I burst into tears. Sometimes I forget or am too afraid to reach out, assuming that it will drive yet another person away, so I suffer in silence. I’ve been texting this friend and my sister tonight, and it helps to reach out, and let other people know how much pain I’m in. My sister wants me to go get some sleep and she will come over tomorrow and we will bake chocolate chip cookies- or just eat the dough- together, and it’s nice to know I have that support.

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Amicable

I’ve seen this coming for a long time, pretty much since my breakdown over the summer. Actually, before that, when I had to back out of a trip at the last minute because I ran out of klonopin and my refill didn’t arrive in time to go. Ever since, my boyfriend had been holding me at arm’s length, seemingly unsure of what to do. We’d stop communicating, he started assuming I’d always say no so he wouldn’t invite me out, I’d be hurt when I found out he’d gone out and didn’t invite me. So Sunday night, we finally talked it through and decided to call it quits. We care about each other, but we can’t make each other happy.

He just has no concept of mental illness, no framework for it. He’s never had a loved one with a mental illness. He wanted me to go out every night or at least most of them, and all of my explanations for why that can’t work historically have failed. No amount of explaining appears to really make sense to him; no matter how I tell him that I need to remain as stable as possible and avoid overstimulation so my mood doesn’t fluctuate wildly, he just doesn’t really get it. I can’t go out more often, and be able to maintain my stability and employment in particular. He can’t be happy with that, so it was time to let go.

We’ve decided just to be friends, and for once, I actually meant it. I think we’ll be happier as friends. Hell, we even said “I love you” as we ended the conversation.

It’s going to be more quiet, but less stressful… I like less stressful. Too many things to juggle, with a boyfriend.

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I’m not sure why, but I tend to end up having crying fits in Big Lots.

So I made it to work today, and was proud of myself for getting there. And it sort of went downhill from there.

In the ACT model, there is a psychiatrist, a nurse, a therapist, preferably LISW, a social worker with an LSW, a substance abuse specialist, a vocational specialist, and a generic case manager. I am that generic case manager on my team. I try very hard to eke out specialty areas of my own, and they keep being taken away.

At one point I was the team’s hospital liaison. A new position was created at the agency to meet with people within 48 hours of hospitalization if the case managers can’t get there, and my supervisor decided we all needed to work with the hospitals as that is the ACT model, though it confuses the hell out of the hospital staff who just want one person to call.

Until this morning, I was the team’s benefits specialist. I am really, really good at getting everybody’s benefits sorted out, such as SSI, SSDI, food stamps, Medicaid, Medicare, etc. If a resource exists, I can find it. During our meeting this morning, our new supervisor looked me straight in the eye and said, “There is no such thing as a benefits specialist in the ACT model. All benefits stuff will go to the admin from here on out.”

I felt like absolute slime and wanted to die. I already feel guilty when I am at work because I have missed so much time over the past few months, and that doesn’t make it any easier to get out of bed in the morning. My coworkers already are pretty cold towards me, because I have made SO much extra work for them. I want to crawl into a hole and die, or for them to just fire me already and get it over with.

I ended up sobbing in a Big Lots today, because, well, they have comfy couches, and I guess I just end up in there a lot. I like to go look for a break from working and just end up… breaking down. My boyfriend was supportive over text, as he was at work as well, and my phone signal was absolute crap. I managed to pull myself together and finished out the day, but it was a near thing. I busied myself when I got home right away with jewelry stuff so I wouldn’t think about this, until now, when I’ve had some time to unwind and relax.

It still hurts. Abrasive like a cheese grater, indeed.

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Because hey, why not shoot for five posts this week?

After posting on Tuesday, I figured maybe posting on Thursday wouldn’t hurt, either. Besides, I’m busy reaping the rewards of sleeping during the day and am now wide awake, and craving a diet Dr. Pepper, which will definitely NOT help the sleep problem.

To my anonymous blog reader who gave me the lovely Christmas gift of a Target card; thank you again. Your gift let me buy cat food, cat treats, a new scratch pad, and a new laser pointer for my kitty. I contemplated buying a toy for myself, as it has been ages since I could buy a Transformer, but a toy for my cat is about 3000x more entertaining. She’s currently rocketing around the apartment chasing the little red dot, she loves her new scratch pad as the old one wasn’t very scratchy anymore, and it’s comforting to know that she’ll have food through this lean period, as I was running low on dry food and her favorite treats- and she does not cope well without those two things. My ankles can attest to that. So thank you from both of us, though I will be honest and tell you she doesn’t particularly care why the little red dot is back, she is just glad it has returned.

I’m optimistic that I can make it through this, because I have so many people backing me and giving me support, even if it’s just by reading my blog. Knowing you’re out there is nice. I know I’ve got my family, normal family interactions aside; they love me and I know it. I have a boyfriend who cares for me, even if we aren’t always communicating on the same wavelength. We’re actually almost to a year of dating, which is a record; I’ve never had a boyfriend longer than about six months. Usually just enough time to hit a downswing and chase him off.

I am worried about work on some level, but I refuse to let my fear, anxiety, and depression win. I’ve already cowered two days this week and I cannot afford to cower any more. I need my job, and I *like* my job, so I’d like to hold on to it, thanks.

Thank you all for all your support. Without it, I don’t know what I’d do.

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Resolutions

So, I guess this is the time of the year where I reflect on the previous year. Looking back at last year’s resolutions post, I was successful in keeping my two resolutions. I survived January, quite well, in fact. The entire year was a bit more touch-and-go, but I’m still here.

My health overall has been… good and bad. My triglycerides and the rest of my cholesterol are all perfect again, as are all my other vitals, so I’m in good health physically, once my thyroid weirdness was brought under control over the summer. Cost continues to be a factor in my inability to sign up for any classes, but I’m going to continue to assess that. It’ll be a lot different once I get my MENTAL health under control enough to get to work EVERY DAY so I stop having to take so much unpaid time off.

I’ve changed so much in the last year to try and keep myself well, and it all seems to be going awry anyway. I’m pushing myself to get more sleep, to sleep in a regular cycle, to cut caffeine off so I sleep better (totally borked THAT New Year’s eve, where I didn’t sleep at all, but just stayed up after having too much caffeine. I should sleep like a baby tonight…) I’ve been confronting my PTSD and anxiety head on, which has led to some… rather unfortunate instances. I’ve missed at least six whole weeks of work this year to my illness, to suicidality, depression, mania… I’ve been so afraid I’m getting worse instead of better. Most of that time was unpaid. I have NO idea how I still have a roof over my head, but I do know my eating’s getting disordered just because I have very little food right now, so I’ve been deliberately starving myself a bit to make it stretch. I’d like to change that.

Reading back through my post from last New Year’s, though, reminded me that I had three depressive episodes in the summer/fall of 2011, which happened again this year. I didn’t have a major episode in January last year, which was the first January in like seven years without one. I’d like to repeat that, at least. As for the other episodes, well… this time there was one in the late summer that was partly due to my thyroid going wonky after seven years of stability, and then a major episode surrounding the holidays. I had a plan for Christmas, which went a little better, but there was still some pretty bad emotional fallout when I came home. I need to spend less time at home when I visit, I think. It seems too much a strain for all of us.

Some successes of the last year: I’ve moved out into my own place, which I didn’t think was possible a year ago. And I’m surviving, however tight it might be. I’ve gained my sister as an ally, and am trying not to wall her out to protect myself from the pain of losing her again when she inevitably moves- her fiance makes it no secret that he hates Cincinnati and they don’t want to live here. I have had a boyfriend for nearly a year now, and I haven’t run for my life, or run him off in one of my fits of self-deprecation. It’s actually a record. Maybe we’ll make it to our anniversary in February. Seems like we’re doing ok, if our visit on New Year’s is any indication. So that was nice.

I think my resolution for 2013 isn’t just to survive, anymore. My resolution is to survive, and continue my recovery. Seems like I spend a lot of time just surviving, and it’s something like treading water in a stormy sea- there’s always another wave bearing down, and all I can do is try to keep my head above water. I’d like to manage to get back in the boat, this year.

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The Kindling effect

I was briefly talking about the kindling effect yesterday. It’s something I’ve long worried about, and it seems to be coming true. I distinctly remember the chill that went down my spine when I learned about it in college.

Of course, that’s probably a normal reaction to learning that I’m a ticking time bomb.

I’ve long accepted that my illness is chronic, and episodic, and that some times would be better than others, but it’s been probably over six months since I received a full paycheck. I’ve been getting by on some jewelry sales and the extra crisis phone income. I have to choose between groceries, bills, and gas, every pay period. My Christmas money is going into my gas tank. I bought a new pair of jeans and a shirt for work with some of it, and that’s the first I’ve really been able to splurge in months. I’ll just start feeling more like myself just in time for another episode to sweep in.

I’ve been making drastic changes to my personal life. The hardest to change is my sleep cycle, but it’s slowly changing. I have to limit how much time I spend with others on a weeknight so I don’t get too elevated and have trouble sleeping. I’ve had to limit my caffeine even more, and diet coke is literally my only vice. I now don’t drink pop after two and have tried to limit it to 20 ounces a day, which I can easily work on twice that, and enjoy doing so. I’ve changed my eating patterns, though they’ve been being changed as well, simply because I don’t have any money for food. I’ve changed my meds. I’ve added new meds to the mix to help me sleep, to help me absorb vitamin D, and to help keep my triglycerides in the right range, so I don’t start to develop metabolic syndrome.

None of these changes seem to be helping. I’m just as symptomatic as ever. I’ve got suicidal ideation more often than I’d like to admit. My support network has been dramatically overhauled in the last year, since my former roommate started dating her now-husband, since I started dating my boyfriend, since I moved, since my sister moved here. I don’t cope well with change. I still have nightmares, and panic attacks, and wake up curled in a ball, sobbing, unable to move. I still have flashbacks to my childhood. I still am abused by others simply because of the size of my body, both random strangers and loved ones, despite the boundaries I set, in the case of my mom. I still berate myself constantly when I am unable to work simply because I can’t get out of my head.

I just want to be normal. I just want to be at baseline and STAY THERE ALREADY.

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It’s hard to decorate a ficus

Times are pretty lean in the casa de Nadja right now. I’ve always lived on a narrow margin, as the medical bills and student loans alone are pretty steep before factoring in living expenses and a decent car to get me to and from work in order to have insurance and be able to pay off said student loans. Now that I’m alone it’s doubly hard, and my credit cards are all maxed out, so I’m finally learning how to live on exactly as much as I bring in, and no more, because there *is* no more. Bills get floated from paycheck to paycheck, and the only portion of my budget that can shrink is my food allowance, because bills account for about 90% of my income, and gas takes a giant bite out of the rest of it.

Rice is delicious. I’m about to find out how delicious it will continue to be as I learn to live on it. Staple foods are all I was able to buy at the store the other day, and I used all the budgeting tricks I’ve taught my clients for myself, for reals. It’s not so bad so long as all the vital items are purchased, though when I got to the car I realized I’d forgotten a few things (most of the things I went in for, sadly. My memory is terrible.)

For extra fun, I’ve missed one to two days a paycheck since my breakdown this summer. This paycheck gets to see four, as I had a stomach bug right before Thanksgiving, and then had a mixed episode when I got home, and now a massive panic attack today with suicidal ideation. I left early on the first day of the pay period to get maintenance done on my car, and I came in late yesterday morning due to a panic attack. I am totally screwed financially.

This paycheck? Is going to be utterly horrible. I’m trying to hold back whatever I have left of this one to hopefully at least get the rent paid, and I can hopefully schedule my phone bill for the following check, when I thankfully will have the extra income of the crisis phone, and maybe, magically, I will manage to make it to work all ten days of the pay period. If I could just be consistently AT WORK a lot of my financial woes would be better. I can only go one day at a time, and every day I try, and I’ve been working as hard as I can when I’m there. Work is stressful and my team is fracturing from burnout and stress heaped on unnecessarily by my supervisor, but my notes are on time, and I’m busting my butt looking for things to do to get my productivity up. I know November is a wash, but there’s always December.

So, you might be wondering… what the hell does a ficus have to do with this woe-is-me nonsense?

Due to being horribly broke, and my not owning a Christmas tree (because my roommate bought ours, and obviously kept it as it is her property), and my utter broke-ness, and my complete lack of desire to haul a live tree up three flights of stairs and then back again? I turned to the only tree I own: a ficus, which was one of the many housewarming gifts my mother gave me when I moved in here. This is a live ficus, and only about three feet high, so the branches are pretty wibbly-wobbly. I’m not kidding, even putting lightweight plastic micro-ornaments makes it look like Charlie Brown’s. It’s so pathetic it’s utterly adorable. My glass ornaments are going to be hung on the curtain rod in the living room, and my tree angel has supplanted my Buddha statue on a shelf. Buddha is now hanging out down on a lower shelf. I’ve got a wreath for the door, and lights I have no idea what to do with, because there was absolutely no way my poor bitty ficus could handle their weight. I might wrap the shelving unit the angel is hanging out on, or maybe a random piece of furniture. I’d already found the yarn I needed for Christmas presents at a steep discount, so most of my Christmas presents added up to $30 (and I have a lot to make and have been ignoring it. Bad Nadja.)

So despite having very little wiggle room, I have a roof over my head, the bills are current, gas for the car, and food. It might not be very exciting food, as I will be eating enough spaghetti, and chicken, rice and vegetables to make me never want to eat it again, but it is food. Christmas decorations are attacking various items around my apartment, and I have the materials to make most of my Christmas presents. The last few will likely be purchased once I get a paycheck with a full two weeks’ work on it plus the crisis phone, right before Christmas, or afterwards. My sister and I will both be giving presents into February, as she is only marginally less broke than I am. I still have her, and my boyfriend. Despite the stress of worrying about getting the bills paid, which I know I can figure out if it comes down to it, things are okay. I see both of my doctors this weekend, and will talk with my psychiatrist about maybe changing my mood stabilizer, as my moods aren’t exactly stable, or at least taking my Wellbutrin up another dose as we’d discussed earlier.

I just have to actually make it to work, every day, ON TIME or a rough approximation of it. I should probably stop writing blog posts at 1:40 in the morning. That might help. My sleep schedule is all screwed up after my mixed episode.

I’ll make it. Somehow. By the skin of my teeth.

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