Thinking Out Loud

So here I am, upright and alert at 1 am. The upright part is a constant struggle, but the alert part, happens a lot. I told myself I was taking a hiatus from blogging, and I certainly have kept true to that. The problem is, the mind didn’t stop writing. For me, I find myself composing a million entries in my mind, but not having the willpower to physically bother to just type it out. It’s like that is one step too much a lot of the time the past few months. So I lay there and think about things. Religion, politics, the state of my health, family drama, sometimes zombies after watching too much of The Walking Dead. I craft it all out in my head, what I would say, IF I was writing. Telling myself that the therapeutic value of writing is something that I have found helpful in the past, but still, not actually getting up and doing anything about it. So, still in the fashion of not making promises to myself I don’t know if I’ll keep, I sit once more trying to jumpstart the disconnect between my brain and putting it down on paper (or blog as the case may be)

I have been though a lot since I was doing this as a regular thing. My health has been a roller coaster of coming to terms with the way things are and trying to manage life as things get thrown at me. I spent three months recently not eating enough to sustain energy to function, because Gastroparesis decided to take over my body on top of the Rhuematoid Arthritis becoming increasingly hard to manage. Spending days on end fearing and steering away from food, having my joints uncontrollably ache to the point of needing extra assistance walking and surviving in general just sum up a pretty miserable winter by most counts. We have been adjusting to Ken working nights, sleeping days and not quite knowing where I fit into all that. Digging out of financial issues, trying to retain a tether to friendships I haven’t been able to keep up with, and going into a pretty deep depression have dominated all in the past few months. At one point, I just wanted to curl up in the most remote corner of my house, with a blanket and just not think anymore. The freedom of stretching out in bed seemed even too overwhelming some nights. I went off pretty much all my medications and am currently struggling to get back into a regimen that keeps me as functional as possible. I had plenty to be thankful for, yet bringing myself out of the pit was something I just could not seem to undertake. Sometimes its hard to think about the reality that it probably WON’T be the last time I go through this sort of thing. That I just have to keep moving on and letting myself take the time to rest and reorient as needed. Lather, rinse, repeat.

At the moment, we are dealing with the logistics of having our car damaged in a car accident, dealing with insurance and the waiting game of getting our car back. Ken is on his way out the door for two weeks military assignment in Hawaii, which doesn’t include me, and I’m jealous about that. He better look sufficiently sad in every picture he takes, the nerve. I have to mentally and physically prepare to drive up to DC for a few days, mostly to help out my grandmother with some stuff, maybe feel good enough to enjoy a few things while I am there. It certainly helps that the rental SUV we have at the moment, I thoroughly enjoy and I might have to give it back with great sadness when all things car are completed.

In other news I have been craving eggs on my burgers lately, and its kinda been non stop on that end…I want one right now actually. Which reminds me, our oven is broke and I need to call that in.

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It’s Hard Admitting Real Life Behind The Facade.

So it’s been a month since Ken graduated. And things are hard for us. REALLY hard. I’ve never felt this uncertain before. Ken keeps going on positive interviews and then not hearing any news for weeks, or in one case an internal applicant suddenly popped up and got priority over him. Everyone is impressed with his resume, he is a friendly interviewer, AND he has the degree with 12 years experience  there is just so much competition out there apparently. As his wife, I want to just bust into these places and tell them what talent they might miss out on because I used to work with him as a colleague as well, but ……that would be inappropriate. So here we sit, bills piling up, my SSDI case on appeal, no jobs, being bailed out by the greatest family member in my life. And I feel horrible about it.

It’s why I took my friend’s advice and started this therapeutic art thing. Its kinda what’s keeping me  engaged at all with life, even if I’m just focusing on a piece of paper, a pen and the creative side of my mind. It’s working for the anxiety at that moment. That’s also the problem. After that moment is over, it’s anxiety city up in here again, and I start getting manic because its one of my natural actions to anxiety. Either I want to soothe myself with going and playing with the world, money and consequence be damned, or I go into the dark depression where I want to be swallowed into a black hole and ignored by everything with a pulse for days on end. I have anxiety meds, but i really only use one of them at night to sleep. I worry about the other, because I’m just on so much medication for other health issues it kills me to accept one more. I don’t know WHY think the Ativan is less important than the 17 other pills I take (by last count), but something in my subconscious feels its something I can sacrifice.

It doesn’t help much either that Ken will be leaving for a month in a couple weeks for Ft Knox and we are going to be awaiting some more orders for him to be gone another 3 months to Ft Sam in Texas. But hey, its pay right? We are even looking into going back on active duty on the reserve side because a place may be opening up in his current unit, but that is in its baby stages of being worked out right now. Don’t want to jinx it.

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Cognitive Skills Severely Impaired

Damn it I just want to sleep. I would give my right arm right now for REAL uninterrupted, healthy sleep.

I have had sleep issues for about as long as I can remember now. Between unrestful and odd sleeping patterns, to straight up insomnia I dread nights. I also hope every night that this is he night that will be different. It never is. I’m always tossing and turning, aware of every ache and pain in my body, never in a comfortable position to relax, and waking up on average every hour on the dot. Green Day’s Insomnia plays in my head pretty much constantly. My brain doesn’t work right, I can’t carry a conversation half the time and I have not driven my car in over three weeks because I’m just not fit to.

Yes I’ve tried Advil pm, melatonin, tea, klonopin, Ativan, ALL my night meds have drowsy side effects, and had a sleep study done. No sleep apnea, but I do have restless leg syndrome. Basically I’ve been told to keep trying things I’m already doing, let my body sleep when it’s ready and adjust to its schedule. Right now I get my best sleep between 7 and noon. Pretty fucking convenient right? And double that with the Chronic fatigue and I have been living one huge party life lately of feeling pretty much like death. So for all those I’ve been neglecting, I’m so sorry. I’m just trying to get it together here.

My darling husband on the other hand, will sleep anywhere:

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Up Shit’s Creek Without A Paddle.

My cat has conjunctivitis.

I feel like leaving this post just at that sentence alone, because that’s just the overall tone of my week. Everyone is laying around sick trying to give what they have to the next person (or cat). The lethargy in this house is epic. Ken and I have been sprawled out in bean bag chairs in the basement, pretty much just drooling, looking at the TV and willing there to be a magic fairy that would bring us food. And that fairy must know what we want, because we sure as hell didn’t.

I was shown the way into some totally free college courses by major universities this week as well and I’m pretty excited about the prospect, but to be honest, I don’t know how much I can handle at this present moment. I have registered for two classes, and I’m checking out two archived ones, but the commitment terrifies me even though its totally self paced. I haven’t been able to sign on but one night this week and only for like 30 min because of all the sick going around. But I want to share this resource for anyone interested in learning just to continue learning. Some of the programs will give you legit completion certificates at the end, and they will grade you and take your assignments serious as a college course should be taken for an extra small fee. edX.org is the website.

Also I have taken up some stress relieving meditative art. I’m getting into zentangle, which is kinda like creative pattern doodling, where you just make patterns and go with it, creating this wonderful masterpiece as you go. Mine are still on the new and crude side, but the really good ones are truly beautiful works of art.

I really need some stress relief in my life because financial relief isn’t coming soon enough. Ken has been going on interviews and there is good interest shown, but the hiring process potentially takes so long we are drowning in the meantime and have been turned down for every state assistance I have been able to apply for. Losing round 1 of my SSDI case was really a huge blow even though it was a long shot to begin with and I STILL have to appeal that. I don’t know if I have the strength to move on and do it, I’m just broke down right now really. The last thing I want is a legal battle. Just like the last thing I want is an eviction. And both of those are on the table it seems, when you are disabled and no one has any income coming in or help to offer. Things were supposed to get better. College degrees open doors right?

I feel like such a failure at life.

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My First Zentangle

The Doldrums.

Well, I have to admit, I’m currently on the downside of the bi polar roller coaster. I have entered the pits of despair depression. Most of the past view days I’ve functioned as little as possible, mostly in bed, or curled up in the bean bag chairs down stairs, taking Ativan, crying and waiting for Ken to come home. He’s done this huge thing, finished up clinicals, graduated college, and I’ve gone from, ready to conquer life, decorate my house, be the supportive superfriend, to barely being able to take a shower and care if I eat from one day to the next. Today’s food conversation went a little like this.

Ken: What do you want to eat?

Me: self-pity salad

Ken: and drink?

Me: Sobbing soda.

And instead of this making me laugh at my own jokes, I literally burst out sobbing and apologized for being who I am to the husband I love so much. Who I don’t deserve, not when my prognosis in body and mind is going to be this for the rest of my life. I know it’s not normal or ok to grasp onto that tiny piece of happy mania when I’m so sad I can barely pick myself up off the floor, but I just want a tiny spark of life to return. I hate this feeling. HATE IT. It’s been such a player in my life for as long as I can remember, because my depressive moods tend to last longer than my manic ones, all I have are memories of despair, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, hopelessness and fear.

I’m going to DC tomorrow to spend some time with my family. My niece and nephews always help my spirits, and my grandmother always comes through for me to help our needs, and I enjoy being with her. I just hope that while they work their magic, I can let them in enough and not have a total meltdown and go mentally comatose while I’m there. I’m afraid of that now. That family is going to start seeing the real me, the crazy me, because I’m trying to be truthful about that person and get her as healthy as I can.

And I’m going to take my friend Kate up on her suggestion on investing in crayons and drawing therapy next week and try out some mandalas and zentangling myself.

Pieces Of Me

I’ve been feeling rather split lately. Ever since my breakdown last year and getting the mental help I so desperately needed things have changed for the better, mostly. The crying has stopped, the rageful outbreaks have stopped, I can drive my car again given I’m not too fatigued to do so. I’m more the task oriented me, the one who uses lists to get through the day, who recognizes her symptoms and *tries* to head them off at the pass and I take my medication and see my therapist faithfully. But something is different too.

I asked people if I would lose the part of me that I really liked about myself if I took these meds, my sort of whimsical, sarcastic, over energetic creative spells I used to get. I called it inspiration, and when it hit, it hit HARD. I could write for days about things, I could redecorate my house, I saw the humor in EVERYTHING in life. I feel that girl is just not there anymore. I don’t laugh with the same intense joy I remember, and I don’t get the same thrill out of writing. In fact, I question if I’m even GOOD at this now.

I also wish more of my anxiety was under control. Thankfully, as mentioned before, I can drive again without inducing a panic attack, but I’m pretty much overwhelmed by most everything else. Unpacking has been a nightmare. Half a box in, I look at the remaining contents and go “nope, can’t even handle that” and I walk away. I’m in the middle of a chronic fatigue crash as well, so remaining awake and functional to do this has been crazy hard, which only heightens the anxiety and feelings of worthlessness.

I know my health and stress levels play a factor in all this because I have a huge amount on my plate. I also know that the responsible thing to do is to NOT let myself go crazy again if I can help it, to take my meds, and to care for myself and Ken as best I can. However, I cannot help but pine for that little piece of creative crazy that I lost when I decided to become normal.

 

One Box a Day

Do you know how hard it is to limit yourself to one box a day? But right now, it’s about all that I can handle. I’m so exhausted from the move on Saturday that my days look a little like this:

5:15 am wake up, fight some vertigo, stare at the ceiling and think about how much my hips hurt, my shoulders ache, and the fact that I don’t know if I have the strength to roll over today…… go pee, take pills,  make coffee (all hail mighty Kuerig!)

6:15 drive Ken to work. In my pajamas. Who needs getting dressed this early?

7:15 Arrive home and fall down to rest, fight some vertigo until about 9:30-10:30, because  driving exhausts me that much

10:30 try to unpack one box until the task gets too overwhelming and I end up on the floor sweating, in pain and almost in tears.

11:30 Stop to eat, take more pills, start preparing dinner, or maybe run an errand or two. Try not to die from pain, exhaustion or a combo of both. With a bit of anxiety thrown in, just for fun you know.

1:30-3:30 pm – it’s time to lay down and fight some vertigo whether I like it or not. Set alarms so I don’t sleep right though getting Ken from work.

4:00 Call my grandmother, who without her and Ken, I don’t know how I would pull through the day sometimes. I get my pep talks through them, or I just vent my frustrations of being sick, fatigued, in pain, you name it. I need the outlet sometimes.

4:30 aaaaannnnnnddddd…….I’m off again, to pick Ken up from the VA Hospital, for his shift is over. I try not to zone out and just focus behind the wheel, but admittedly it’s hard at this point. I’m very foggy, and as much as I love driving, I don’t trust myself a lot in the car anymore. It depresses me that I have lost joy and gained fear in something else in my life. I always end up letting Ken drive home, because I’ve used up all my reserves just to get there safely to pick him up.

5:30 Hopefully, if I’m on top of things, I’ve planned dinners for the week already and taken steps to pre prepare them with Ken’s help on Sunday or at least the night before because if not, starting from scratch, I’m screwed. We end up eating like crap. And I have spent all day fighting nausea anyway so it’s hard to find an appetite.

6:30 Resting, working online on a project, helping Ken unpack a box, running an errand, take your pick because I could be doing any of these things. With a little fatigue and vertigo thrown in.

8:00 Finally, I’m in bed. But i can’t take my pills yet, it’s too early. I’ll wake up like its morning at 1 am if I do. Must stay awake until 9. Finally at 9 I take my pills, and pass out.

Wake up at 10. Wake up at 12. Wake up at 3. Wake up at 4:30. Give up sleeping, and start thinking about the day over my coffee from the almighty Keurig again.

One box at a time. It’s all I can handle right now. I just want to be normal.

 

Aside

Are We There Yet?

It’s been awhile eh? (i’m feeling Canadian in honor of my friend Laurie today.)

Move 2014 has been successfully executed. This is mine and Ken’s 8th move since we have been married in all of 5 short years. Between Army duties, deployments, moving, school, health issues and regular marital stuff, our marriage is really really exhausting. I feel like its been an uphill battle the entire 5 years, and I’m with a partner who loves me and who grins the whole way. This move was no different. He put up with my neuroses of starting to pack 6 weeks ahead of time. Though color coding and labeling all the boxes. He helped me purge the extra items for a 15 box donation to Purple Heart. On move day our pep talks went a little like this:

Him: “Deep breaths, we will make it. We are already there!”

Me: “Please don’t punch my dad when he says/does something infuriating.”

Outcome? I didn’t die, and he didn’t punch my dad.

Of course over all the people that came to help were pretty extraordinary to move all our shit that fast and pretty cheerfully at that. I am thankful. After everyone left Ken and I still made another couple truck runs for last min stuff and to clean the house, before we were able to fall down and do nothing last night and survey the disaster that is the new house.

My hips ache. I can barely keep my eyes open and the nausea is pretty constant, and the fibro fog is getting the better of me, but other than that, I came out in one piece. This is going to be a pretty short blog because I am passing out at the computer as I’m typing. I just don’t have it in me to bust out some Pulitzer Prize stuff right now.