Tag Archives: panic attacks

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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So, so very tired.

I wrote a poem.

On Being Bipolar

The hateful voice wants me alone;
                         he wants me to die.
I don’t know how he doesn’t see
                       that we are bound, he and I;
When I die, so does he

A friend suggested that perhaps the illness itself is the one who wants to die, as I want very much to live (especially if it’s sans illness.) It’s an interesting premise, and one I might use. I sort of pity it in that respect; but it is self-destructive to the point that *I* am self-destructive, and that’s crap I can’t tolerate.

I am supposed to do a 5K tomorrow. I’m supposed to be up at 6:30. It is currently 3:30 and I haven’t been able to sleep out of anxiety about the aforementioned 5K. I am afraid my family will ridicule me for it if I don’t go. Being fit (and also not fat, but less that in recent years as my activism has gotten MUCH more vocal) is an obsession in my family. Last year my stepdad bet my mom $50 that I wouldn’t complete it. So far this year I’ve already missed another 5K. But I’m so tired now…

I don’t want to go to Thanksgiving. I don’t want to be surrounded by family and especially by noisy nieces and one noisy nephew (though he and I get each other.) I had Thanksgiving at work and am a bit Thanksgiving-ed out, to be honest, especially as I spent ten hours at work today, and at least ten additional hours purchasing and preparing food in advance. Not to mention all of the planning and logistics I had to put in all month, on top of my usual work. I am just so wrung out. I just want to be home, where it’s quiet, hang out with Chihiro, and binge watch Netflix or something.

Only one resident thanked me for my hard work, though most complimented my cooking. (Which is amazing, by the way. Everyone wants my recipes for my turkey, sugar cookies, and pumpkin pie.) The other residents ‘thanked’ me in their usual way; eat everything, complain about dishes that weren’t made despite the metric fuckton of food present, and then demand dessert before I’ve even had a chance to enjoy my own plate. Half of them wandered off before I got around to dishing out pie because they were too impatient to let me finish eating. (I didn’t. I was tired of being hassled for pie.)

The case manager helped me a great deal today, but she was the only one, and she was trying to get other things done in the morning so she could just help me this afternoon. Some of the residents helped with set up/tear down, which I am also grateful for. Some staff helped with serving but disappeared as soon as it was time to clean up afterwards, which took me, the case manager, and a resident two and a half hours to do. I am *very* thankful for that, I was so tired I could barely stand up, and I spent ten hours mostly on my feet today.

Next week is a CARF survey, Wednesday through Friday. They’re a huge accreditation program whose stamp of approval helps us function. We’re trying to get my day programming certified, which means I will be put under a microscope. I haven’t had a lot of time to really prepare due to Thanksgiving taking up so very much of my time this month. My program is fine; I do a fantastic job, I commit waaaay too many of my evenings and put in long hours making everything happen. My groups are good and well attended overall, the work program is successful, and all of my ducks are in a row. I just want to get things ready by Wednesday to show off, y’know? I’ve been tidying my office which is in a perpetual state of “mostly organized chaos” and I’ve got a lot of pictures to hang up/rehang in the craft room. Oh, and the leaky spot in my ceiling opened back up today, due to a lot of melt from the snow over the weekend. I’m sure our maintenance guy will be *thrilled* when I tell him on Friday. He thought the leak was fixed. HAHAHAHAHA no.

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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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Bad, bad weekend

I don’t even really have the spoons to talk about the damn thing, but my weekend was really bad. Saturday there was a cousin’s wedding that involved traveling to Toledo, wrangling my crazy grandparents (grandpa is a crotchety old grumpus that I wanted to yell at several times and grandma has dementia, so I had to re-explain how they were getting home to her about 20 times at the reception,) and helping to wrangle my very energetic nearly-four nephew, and everyone was stressed and grumpy. Everyone I was in the car with rushed out of the reception before they finished cutting the cake, which upset me a lot. I needed meds out of the car, but nobody would let me take five minutes to go get a drink so I could take them- my brother was in such a goddamn hurry I had to make him stop so I could buckle grandma in, as she couldn’t find the buckle and I had to go around to see around the carseat. By the time I was able to get the words out that I needed to take some medication, because I was shaking at that time, I ended up having to stop at a random Kroger to get a bottle of water to take them. My brother and grandfather were both pissed off at that point and it was scaring me. I was crammed in the backseat with my grandma and my nephew in his carseat, so I had to fit myself into a space big enough for about half of me. I was carsick because I had to ride in the back, having an anxiety attack from all the stress around me, and I had a headache. I ended up crying for about the last hour of traveling home, after we dropped off my grandparents and my brother was driving me back to my car where I had met my mom that morning. And this whole time I was also convinced Chihiro was dead because she usually greets me in the morning and she didn’t, but she was just being a jerk who hid in the closet when I opened the door, and she’s fine.

So Saturday night I had nightmares all night where I woke up crying, and I did the same during a nap on Sunday. Sunday night I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep again so I called off work at 2 am via email. My boss responded with a rather long bit about how I was inconveniencing them before ending with this jewel: “I am thankful that you notified me and I can empathize with you; however, I really encourage you to handle personal business on the weekends and not miss work on Mondays or Fridays as it puts a whole strain on our entire campus.”

Yes, because I can totally schedule my episodes. I’ll get right on it.

Weddings in general kick off some really bad brainweasels about how I will never get that degree of normal in my life. Chances are I’m going to be alone. I won’t have a spouse, and I’m not planning on having kids. I doubt I’ll ever manage to get my master’s degree because I can’t work full-time and manage school as well, plus I’m still in obscene amounts of debt from my bachelor’s. My life right now, while independent, is a far cry from comfortable. I keep having to beg for money to make things happen like going to the doctor, getting meds, and buying food. The more I think about how this illness is chronic and basically terminal, the more tired I feel. I have been sick for 26 years. I’m tired of being sick. I’m just so tired.

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Rough night

So on Monday and Tuesday, which are presently my weekend, I was all kinds of productive. I got my entire to-do list tackled, and I started working on my costume design for TFCon. I got very excited, to the point of getting hypomanic about it…. which led to a panic attack and no sleep spiral. I called in to work around 5 am as I still had not managed to sleep (or stop panicking) and said I had a stomach bug. I slept most of the day and feel better now, though I want to cry, and possibly panic some more over things. I am worried about money, about getting debt paid off as fast as my parents want me to… So much worry. And it’s been over a year that I’ve had any kind of medical oversight. I have an appointment next week to meet with a guy about getting health insurance in place, so while that is MORE money going out, at least I might be able to start seeing the doctors I need to see again.

There is a possibility that I might get a promotion at work. I’m excited and nervous and mostly just feeling scared, because things are happening so fast.

I am basically one big ball of anxiety today and I am not terribly happy about it. :/

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“It’s too hard!”

So one of the clients at my new agency says everything is too hard, and tonight I’m feeling it. I had CPI training Tuesday, which means I learned how to deescalate and also how to get out of various assaults- blocking a hit or a kick, getting out of a hair grab or bite, etc. Then I had the brilliant idea to pick up my nephew from daycare on my way home, and spent a solid three hours with him, alone, while attempting to feed the kid dinner. He is still fun, but he is getting more energetic and BUSY all the time. Once my brother got home, I was hoping to be done, but my brother had to mow the lawn, so I watched Frozen with my nephew and tried not to feel completely overwhelmed.

It didn’t work, but I tried.

I’ve also had a complete disaster in my room, and a couple of orders that need to be finished and/or just shipped out. I cleaned my room top to bottom Monday, dusting, putting things away, organizing, etc., and now I can’t find the components I need to finish a commission I’ve been trying to finish for MONTHS now. ONE STUPID CHARM, and I can’t find the darn thing! Both that commissioner, and the buyer of the other piece, have been promised a bonus piece because I have been too disorganized and busy to get their stuff done and out in a timely manner.

I got the shipping info printed for the one, and now I need to figure out what I’m sending as the bonus piece, and package it all up to go out in the mail. And now that I’ve got my beads more or less all in the same place, I can figure out where the heck I managed to lose that package of charms. As my room is more or less full of beads and charms, it’s going to be a challenge. They’re more or less contained right now, but I didn’t see that package at ALL while cleaning, so lord only knows where I managed to stash it.

In other, awesome news, I’ve started full time doing all kinds of things at my new agency. The 16 hours I’m a case manager, I get paid $15.62 for. The rest of the time, I have been started at $10, which is $1.50 more than the regular DSWs get started at, because of my experience and training and because I am willing to do an awful lot just to be employed full time in one place. I presently have like, three jobs there. Once I did the math, I realized I’m already making more than I did at my first case management agency, and am only about $800 shy annually of my second agency. If I’m able to boost up the case management portion another day or two, it’ll be even better.

Now I have to sort out insurance, which is going to be a pain, as my agency doesn’t provide it. Obamacare had already closed down because I was planning to go with Medicaid once the expansion started in Michigan on April 1st, and then I got a job and figured I’d get insurance through it, so now I get to figure out who to go with, insurance-wise. Worst case, I stay in my present holding pattern, and wait until October when open enrollment starts again. I’m pretty sure no insurance agency is going to say “Nope, we’re not taking your money” now that they can’t turn me down due to pre-existing conditions, but I don’t put much past any of them. I do NOT want to have to negotiate this.

Mom and I are going to sit down and look over my budget again, though I won’t get a paycheck for full-time at my new agency for three weeks, so I won’t know exactly where I’m going to fall money-wise every week. (Also, I’ve got some overtime this week, so it won’t be representative of every week.) I also had accidentally filed away a debt of around $600 in my “already paid” folder so gah. I did get a bill from my old therapist’s office finally, and I owe them less than I thought- by about $300, actually- so I suppose it could be worse. Another debt that I paid off last SEPTEMBER decided to send me a bill for an additional $50 recently, so I need to call and yell at someone there, too. My phone continues to ring non-stop with autodialers, and some are telemarketers and some aren’t, but I just don’t answer the phone, anymore. It will ring up until 9:00 some nights, and starts right up at 6:00 am.

Just writing it out seems to be helping some with the overall anxiety I’m feeling. I just have so many things to do, and so few braincells to rub together today, it seems. Being at one place full time is going to help, though; even if I’m wearing different hats, I will be able to keep my shit together a little better, as I’m not transitioning from professional work to customer service on a weekly basis. Transitioning around within the agency, I think, will be helped by wearing scrubs for my DCW work, and I found some really cute ones. Business casual for case management days, and scrubs for DCW days. I have to figure out what I can wear as activity driver, as I don’t know if it’ll be cool to wander in scrubs with clients out in public. We’ll see.

I have so many questions to ask, I don’t even know where to start. I just want to get my life in order again. I’m getting so close I can taste it, and it’s tantalizing. I really need to keep on track with my sleep, eating, caffeine, and exercise habits; of course, as some of my DCW shifts are second shift, I still won’t have a consistent schedule every day, but ah well. We talked about work/life balance at the training and I really need to zealously schedule time for my needs during the day, and develop a healthy balance.

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