Tag Archives: support

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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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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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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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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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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Spoonless

My client is still hanging on, and I don’t know how to feel. I know he is tired and hurting and more or less ready for this to be over. Watching his friends grieve, and knowing how his family is grieving, is hard. So, so hard.

I have been handling work pretty well so far, but this week has been really trying. I manage to keep going at work, but I’m thoroughly out of spoons by the time I get home. I went to bed at 7:30 on Wednesday, and am up quite a bit later tonight if only because my brain wouldn’t stop spinning, but emotionally I was wiped out again. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Overall I think I’m doing ok at work. My coworkers applaud my documentation (but seriously, my documentation has always been exemplary- I am anal retentive about details, and a storyteller by nature, so my notes are usually 3x longer than everyone else’s) and for the most part, everything seems to be going well. I’m still a bit shaky about the other stuff I’m doing, but I think I’m getting a handle on it. I have another round of Activity Driving on Saturday, so that should be interesting. And my first group is tomorrow! I’ve never led a group before. I had to develop all my own curriculum and figure out what I was going to cover, and I brought all of my 2+ years of being an elementary education major to bear to develop what I’m affectionately calling “Being a Grownup 101.” I don’t think I’m going to actually call it that in front of clients, I think my official name is “Independent Living Skills” or something, but it’s definitely Grownup 101. We’ll see how it goes, as the target audience are ALSO the ones who are the closest to the client in the hospital, soooo… Depending on the news, if any, my first group might not go over so well.

I did hit a rocky patch Wednesday night, as I was talking to mom about how my client was doing, and my stepdad stopped me and said, “I had a bad day. I don’t want to hear about your clients.” I simply went upstairs and stayed there, not sure how to feel about it. Mom later came and thanked me for giving my stepdad some “space.” I don’t even know. I haven’t seen him tonight, so at least we didn’t have any interactions today.

I need to sleep. I’m tired, but I’m not sure my brain will shut up. I guess we’ll see.

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Feeling rather numb

I have a client who is anorexic, and actively dying. He was down to about 83 pounds the last time he was weighed, and he is just so sick. Hospice was scheduled to come in Monday to get him in the system and work with him- and us- about how best to handle his impending death, as he refused all treatment for his anorexia. As I was the second shift monitor of the clients in the independent apartments over the weekend, I spent as much time as I could with him, and was constantly checking to make sure he was still breathing when he went to sleep. He was simply a walking skeleton, and watching him move around made my heart ache in so many ways.

As my weekend is on Mondays and Tuesdays, I was at home on Tuesday when I checked my gmail and saw that something had happened, though I wasn’t positive what. A few frantic texts to coworkers let me know that he was in the hospital, and medical intervention was the only reason he was still alive.

We’re having an all-campus grief counseling session at 11:00 Wednesday.

I feel numb, and very much in need of a crying jag. I was trying to talk to my mom about it, but my stepdad interjected with a “I had a bad day. I don’t want to hear about your clients.” So I shut up and went to my room to cope with my emotions as best I could.

We’ll see how well I manage to hold it together tomorrow. I’m not confident that I’m going to be able to, but I’m going to try.

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