Tag Archives: fear

Dude, I’m not that deaf.

I do have some hearing loss in my left ear (driving for years with your window down (no a/c) and going in excess of the 70mph speed limit’ll do that to you), and for whatever reason I struggle to understand people when they are in front of me, and I often read their lips a lot for cues, but shit people say from my side or behind me? I hear and understand every. single. word.

Thanksgiving was rough this year. I made a truly amazing dinner for my clients at work but primarily with no help, and was on my feet for 10+ hours doing it. I am already stressed out due to various work stressors- a toxic environment from my bosses who expect absolute compliance and give no room for error, fire people in a hot second and then call them idiots when they really just didn’t jive for whatever reason, where I am salaried but have been told that it is expected I work more than 40 hours/week and “that’s why you’re salaried, so you can work extra” which, um, no? Pretty sure that’s actually wage theft, or at the very least, rude. Where my going to HR and bringing up that something was particularly triggering to me during a meeting somehow was turned into a performance review where my job was threatened. Where I’m afraid to say or do anything out of line, and I just hide in my building, and run my program… which is being evaluated by CARF to determine if I will be certified next week. No pressure at all.

I was originally planning to go to my parents’ house after work on Wednesday, but I was so emotionally and physically wiped out I couldn’t even. We were going to do a 5K the next morning, and I had to be up by 6:30 to get there in time. Last year my stepdad bet my mom $50 that I wouldn’t do it, and physical fitness is an obsession in my family, and I have never measured up or been found worthy in that domain. I was so anxious and stressed out I didn’t fall asleep until 4 am, so obviously I slept right through my alarm. I then decided not to go to Thanksgiving either. I was so triggered and anxious, I was a mess. I ended up calling off work FMLA on Friday, and still feel guilty about it.

So this brings us to today- Saturday. My mom started the tradition of going and cutting down our own tree after she remarried, for just us- my brother, sister, mom and I, so every year we go out the weekend after Thanksgiving to cut down a tree. I was feeling up to people by then, so I came out to participate.

I know I can be a know-it-all sometimes, really. And I didn’t hear everything that was said, due to multiple tractors, chainsaws, and various other machines being used to trim, shake, and bundle trees being brought in, but after a random comment about how emu tastes like ham and how I know that (my Renaissance Faire in Ohio, sells “turkey legs” but they’re actually emu) and a mild disagreement that this was actually the case, but I am pretty confident in this fact, as turkey generally does not taste like ham, and turkey legs aren’t that HUGE, and it’s something of an open secret among the Faire folk.

As I was climbing down off the wagon, helping my nephew so he didn’t fall, I heard my mom say “..it’s like the Disney-Pixar thing.” Earlier in the day there had been a conversation in the car about Diney and Disney-Pixar being two separate elements, and their movies are totally different, so I had been clarifying who made “Inside Out,” Pixar or Disney. So I guess someone asked mom about me being, well, me, and needing to be right or clarifying things or whatever, and it was just… said like that. It hurt, but I didn’t say anything, partly because I wasn’t sure who had asked the initial question (pretty sure it was my brother-in-law) and I wasn’t sure what the initial question *was* though there aren’t too many possibilities, given the answer.

I avoided people for two days and texted my sister to see if mom was mad at me, after I was only able to give monosyllabic answers when my sister called to see if I was coming to Thanksgiving. (Pretty sure the entire conversation on my side consisted of five words. “Are you coming?” “No.” “Really?” “Yes.” “Are you okay?” “Not really.” “Okay, well, try to come to cut trees on Saturday, okay?” “Sure.”) I have been very anxious about if people are mad at me, if they are disappointed, walking on eggshells to try to survive, and I finally started to let my guard down again and then… that. A reminder that I can be a know-it-all and we’re just going to whisper it behind her back.

Except I’m not deaf back there.

I’m not sure if feelings were trying to be spared or what, but I was so upset. I wandered off for a while and cried, avoiding people and bonding with a very friendly, very patient draft horse in the petting zoo area of the farm. I just shrugged and pretended it didn’t happen when it was time to go, and tried to go back to normal, but I was right back on those damn eggshells.

Thankfully I have one more day to avoid people. Next week is CARF and I imagine I’ll be a disaster next weekend as well, and then I have to make Christmas happen for my residents and I’m sure I’ll end up doing that all on my own, too. :/

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Nothing to see here

Ugh, hit a bit of a rough patch for a few weeks (good lord, has it been that long?) where work was long and draining, the weather was hot and humid, and I just had zero mental, emotional, and physical energy by the time I got home.  I was also not sleeping well, which did not help whatsoever.  Thankfully I did nothing but sleep this past weekend which was a godsend, and I feel human again.

I am sort of freaking out about bills.  It seems that whenever I pay them online via my bank the payments aren’t actually going through for one reason or another, and now I have late fees.  I need to call around tomorrow to all of them when I get home and see what I can work out, and set up bill payments via their websites, I guess.  (I prefer my own bank so I can track everything more easily, but if the money isn’t going to actually GET SENT, I should do it the other way.)  Not sure who I need to yell at about the bill payment system, though I did send a message about what was going on and hopefully I will get some sort of resolution.  Pretty pissed off and tempted to ask them to pay the fees since it is their fault for the payment not going through, but I’m sure somehow it’ll be chalked up to “user error” and they will just laugh at me.

Random anecdote: my first car insurance guy down in Cincinnati was so cool, when my account was double charged by mistake and I got an overdraft fee, he paid it for me out of his own pocket.  I stayed with him for YEARS for that simple act of awesome.  Nothing quite like knowing someone’s got your back.

Hopefully someone at my bank will have mine.

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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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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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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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Tightrope Walker

So it’s been a long couple of weeks.

TFCon was the 17-19th, so the week before and the week after I worked four ten hour shifts so I could get Friday through Monday free. I was pretty busy at work and at home, getting ready for my table. I managed to keep things on a pretty even keel throughout the convention (my repeated meltdowns due to stress on the way TO Canada notwithstanding) but when I saw my psychiatrist on the Tuesday I was back to work, I was a bit… manic.

SUPER manic.

I was talking about the whirlwind of events and I was speeding up, jumping from thought to thought, all over the place, and his eyes were getting wide.

“Are you feeling ok?” he finally asked, and that’s when I realized I was definitely not feeling ok. He suggested a raise in my mood stabilizer to help me balance back out, but I wanted to give it a day or two to see if I just settled on my own. I returned to work (because I was working tens) but ended up leaving early because I couldn’t slow down.

I generally don’t sleep well at conventions due to anxiety about the convention itself, plus I always struggle to sleep in unfamiliar places. I was on a pretty comfy futon and I’d remembered my sound machine, so I should’ve slept better, (and at least this year there wasn’t a jackhammer tearing up the sidewalk outside of my friend’s apartment first thing in the morning!) but enh. Overall I think I got about 20 hours of sleep between Thursday night and Monday night, which is not good for my mental state. When I got home on Tuesday, I went right to bed and slept for fifteen hours.

Wednesday night? Five.

By noon on Thursday I was such a disaster I called and asked for the increase in my Lamictal, because now I was rapid cycling; I was manic, exhausted, irritable, and of course, having suicidal thoughts, because those are always lurking around the proverbial corner, waiting to ambush me. Friday was tough, but I pushed through. I had my nephew over Saturday and he stayed the night, and Sunday morning I physically felt like crap because of course, I had to get sick on top of everything. I was feeling a little more sane, but still not great.

All week I’ve been emotionally and physically exhausted. I have a head cold that is slowly traveling south and I am pretty confident it will become bronchitis because I am never lucky enough to *just* get a cold, and I’m still all over the place emotionally. I feel like I’m walking a tightrope all the time, and I’m so anxious. I’m utterly convinced I’m going to be fired right now, and the suicidal thinking is always there in the background, always encouraging me to just give in and listen.

I am so, so glad it is almost the weekend. I just have to survive Friday and then maybe I can sleep for two days and recover a bit.

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I swear I’m not dead.

I have just been alternately really busy, and really apathetic.

For a while, posting to my blog felt just… wrong, because I felt so much better. I still feel much better than I did back when this blog began. My downswings are not quite as bad, and don’t last quite as long. I haven’t found myself in an ER in more than a year, now. I can recover from a bad couple of days, within a couple of days, and a mental health day from work usually does the trick.

I have a job I really, really love, which helps. I’m transitioning into being just the Community Integration Coordinator (we have too many case management clients for me to manage both jobs any more by myself) and this basically means I will get paid to plan fun things and go DO said fun things with my residents. For example, today I bought 17 tickets to a 4th of July basketball game, and a fishing license. I can get a special license to cover all the residents of the facility once I had my own, so mine has now been submitted to the DNR to get the special one. I bought supplies for the resident store, and started planning and purchasing items for a sensory room for one of our autistic residents. I rented a movie for movie night on campus- the new Robocop, since residents wanted Jurassic Park until I can afford to send them to Jurassic World but the Family Video people were like “HAHAHAHA yeah right we can’t keep our one copy here to save our lives right now.” I ran an Independent Living Skills group about food and kitchen safety, I talked to residents as they wandered in and out of the rec center about a whole range of things… and I enjoyed all of it. I’m tired, because I’m pulling 10s all week to make up for Monday, and I didn’t get quite enough sleep last night.

May was a little rough and I had some of my usual seasonal downswing nonsense, plus something very triggering happening at work, so I have finally had The Talk with HR and my boss about my illness, and FMLA has been applied for. (My boss evidently thinks I can schedule my episodes, but enh.) My wellbutrin was upped and that seems to have made the difference. I don’t know if we want to bring it back down or not, I’m not feeling overmedicated or anything, and it might’ve helped me bounce back from this weekend as quickly as I was able to. (Two days to come back to baseline from a night of very serious suicidal thoughts, for me, is DAMN fast.)

I am struggling a bit with eating. I know I need to, but money is tight, and most nights I just don’t care anymore. I eat very little now and a full meal makes me feel queasy. I have more or less gone vegetarian because I simply cannot afford meat, so red meat and my insides really dislike one another. I eat a lot of other kinds of protein- eggs, dairy, peanut butter, refried beans- but I just don’t think I’m eating enough. I’m writing this at 9:45 at night and I have yet to make myself dinner. I’ve been vaguely hungry, but I keep coming up with excuses to get up and make it (current excuse: I’m writing a blog post! Two in a row! I can’t stop now!) I am also sometimes not letting myself sleep, because I feel like I don’t deserve it. This is usually when I’m already feeling down and then the more tired I get, the more self-abusive my thoughts get. I also tend to have a panic attack once I do lie down when I’m in that state, making falling asleep even harder.

I wish I understood why I do this stuff to myself. I know I deserve to eat and rest and take care of myself, but I just… I dunno. I’m not sure why I’m punishing myself or what I did to ‘deserve’ it. I guess it’s still self-harm, just a less immediate form, like cutting or swallowing. It doesn’t make me feel better, though; it just makes me more susceptible to the insidious whispers of the illness. Stupid illness. :/

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