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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

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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.

Struggling to the Top, Again.

To be perfectly honest, I’m tired and I want pierogies. Or sushi. But since I don’t have a car today, sushi is out of the question and I have a feeling Ken might be all sushi’d out. It’s all I want lately. So shortly I will attempt to stand long enough for some pierogies which will most likely evolve into pizza rolls, and I will then hit the bed like I have been doing manual labor all day. The truth is however, I haven’t been doing much manual labor all day. I caught up with a great friend today…. I MISS YOU KURT IRBY!!!!…..I cleaned the kitchen up a bit, and I have been exhausted the rest of the day.

We found out yesterday that I was denied round 1 of SSDI approval. While this was actually expected, my psyche is actually taking it as a blow. Those fuckers have NO IDEA what I deal with everyday, how I struggle to physically and mentally remain here on this earth and try to find a purpose in my life. How I DO NOT want to ask for help, yet I know I’m in no position at this point to make it on my own anymore.To someone on the street I may look like a normal human, but I assure you every step I take is calculated, every activity planned. Everything revolves around having the proper rest and pain under control to carry on. My goals aspire to be the girl who can support others like me from home, while taking care of myself, to let them know they are not alone, there are people out there willing to connect with them. But it cant happen if this stress in my life over where my next meal is coming from continues to be a problem. I need a little support myself so I can give back to those who need support as well. Is our system so broken that this can never be a possibility for me? I hope not. In the meantime, I need a lawyer and advocate to get me through these appeals so I can continue to fight this fight until I can bring some relief to myself and to Ken who is my steadfast supporter no matter what we face, or the outcome. I need to live up to this for him, and myself at this point.

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.

(Wo)Man In the Mirror

I have a confession. On this lovely blog here, I have been pretty open about some things. In my other social media sites though, not so much. I have a really bad habit of molding myself into this compliant person that doesn’t want to lose friends or family in the internets simply because I have opinions or thoughts of my own. Yet I sit here every single day and be accosted by the opinions of everyone else I chose to be online connected with, without a word most of the time. It feels unfair. So let’s set the record straight shall we?

I’m a bleeding heart liberal. I believe in gay marriage (gasp) and that the LBGTQ community deserves EVERYTHING everyone else is entitled to. It is NOT a lifestyle choice, and it’s not against nature to love whoever you chose to love. And no, it’s not going to divulge into pedophilia or bestiality. These are ridiculous arguments, for neither party can give consent, quit being dumb and bringing them up. Also, the Christian church does not hold the patent on marriage, people were getting married 1000’s of years before Christianity was even a twinkle of an idea.

I believe in this country helping the downtrodden and those in need, and everyone lending a helping hand for those who are willing to try to rise out of their own situations and make themselves a better life. I believe there are men and women that serve this country under good intentions, and while their orders my not always be what we agree with its our responsibility to recognize they are not to blame for doing a job none of us will willing to sign up for. I want better healthcare for our nation. I’m sick of the disabled being cast aside, and the less fortunate being buried under medical bills no normal person could afford. I’m tired of having my uterus legislated. If Obamacare is what we have right now to ease some of that, I intend to give it a chance.

And now religion. I’m an atheist. For those who need a clear definition of that, it means I reject the idea that a god of any sort exists. It’s not a religion, there is no dogma and I’m not some scary person that eats babies in my spare time. I recognize evolution as fact and I rely on science and logic and reason to expand the knowledge I have, not a book that cannot be proven to be real, but ultimately taken on faith alone. I do not feel like organized religion is very healthy, nor do I agree with it’s practice as a whole. I understand that this is my opinion, and there it is, and I’m always willing to talk, but never there to “preach” or “convert.”

These are things I don’t discuss a lot except with a few close friends. But that is about change. If I support these things, I should walk the walk after all shouldn’t I?

Wintertime Blues.

I’ve been out of my mind feeling like I have been dropped on my head for weeks. I feel like my meds stopped working. I’m not in my deepest darkest depression, but I feel like a shell of a person just walking around my house, looking for something to do, but not feeling like doing anything. I watch the hours slowly tick by and wonder if drinking will help the days speed by any faster. Nothing seems amusing, but I’m not super emotional in the opposite direction either. Most days I look forward to the washes of fatigue so I can just shut my body down for a few minutes to make time speed up. I have no desire to write. I have hit a brick wall.

Today, I realized, I think it’s winter. Just 6 weeks ago even I was feeling MUCH different, thanking my doc for finding the right combo of meds for me, as I had never felt better. In general I was seeing hope for life despite my struggles. Then the bitter cold, shorter days, and the rain and snow started dumping. I’ve been sick, quarantined and cooped up in the house due to my autoimmune issues. I’m so done with winter but I really have no idea how to perk myself up right now. I really don’t have friends in Richmond. Life has been so stressful with school, my illness and the Army that we haven’t had a real opportunity to make any. Especially since I’m a pretty introverted person, I find it hard to initially put myself out there and build connections anyway. I guess I’m just feeling the downside of that pretty hard right now, when I look at my phone and realize I don’t even have anyone besides my grandmother to talk things out with anymore. My call history contains 3 people, and all of them are family. 

I know I have turned this post into a total pity party, but its been weighing on me. I need to change some things in my life come spring. I need to find the zest for living again. Remember my hobbies. Try to figure out how to adjust my physical needs to be able to accommodate a social life. Figure out how to get a social life. Until then, I’m going to keep holding on and hating snow. 

 

We’re Still Having Fun, And You’re Still the One.

Five years ago today woke up next to my best friend. We got dressed, ate breakfast with my roommate, she went to work like it was just another day. It wasn’t for us however. We proceeded to do the scariest thing I’ve ever done. We went downtown and got married. Yup, just like that. There was a moment of cold feet in the courthouse elevator but other than that the story was short and sweet.

In five years, we have moved 8 times, were separated the first 4 months of our marriage, been though the countless struggles and issues with my illness, craziness of the military, spent almost 3 years as a poor college couple and survived a deployment. I came to realize that though all of this, we have never fought, REALLY fought not even once. Mind blowing. I was raised in an environment where knock down blow out fighting was the norm, and taught that early on and throughout a marriage it was to be expected and for 5 years I’ve been waiting for that ball to drop. I realize now, this warped expectation of relationships has caused me great anxiety when really I have the healthiest relationship right in front of me. We are being our own example and I didn’t even know it.

So, today, I’m still waking up next to my best friend. And we are going to get dressed, eat breakfast, and celebrate today the best thing we ever did in finding each other. Committing to it long term.

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Some of you may remember this, but for those who missed it, here is my wedding story.

I feel like we are that couple that no one ever knows quite what to do with. It’s marvelous. He’s this super nerdy nice guy who’d jump in front of a train for a total stranger…..or a puppy. I’m a headstrong sometimes bitch who will cut you if you dare abuse the niceness of my husband, or try to legislate my uterus, whichever. We were brought together during such outwardly mundane circumstances (work). He was a small town boy (LIVIN’ IN A LONELY WORLD….sing with me!) who joined the military and ran into me, a city girl (WHO TOOK THE MIDNIGHT TRAIN GOING ANY-WHERE!), working at the Pentagon. We clicked, and that’s all she wrote.

Actually, that’s not “all she wrote.” We actually have one hell of a story of an evolving friendship and quite a backstory to go with it that’s led to this incredible thing we rightly and proudly call a not so traditional marriage we have today. (DON’T WORRY INTERNET, IT’S TOTALLY LEGAL AND NOT PERVERSE, AND THERE ARE NO ANIMALS INVOLVED, RAND PAUL).

What I love the most about our story is this: IT’S OURS. Some people know the abbreviated version of events. Our closer friends know more of the intimate details. However, there are only two people on the planet that know some of the most important memories of all involving how everything came to be when we started legally sharing the last name of Woodland, and that’s Ken and I. I intend to keep it that way, because I’m complicated like that.

But I’ll tell you this. Our original wedding rings were purchased by hopping off the Red Line of the Metro at Union station and bought from a street jewelry vendor. We took a cab to the courthouse in Arlington and were legally married in a law office underneath a Jerry’s Subs and Pizza. No one mentioned God, nor did we bear any vows to a religious nature. (Gasp! No! Those Atheists have gone and ruined the sanctity of marriage!) We promptly had 5 shots of Jameson at an Irish bar to celebrate after. There were no witnesses. And I was married in my sneakers. Hell yes. I love the city.

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From the Favorite Granddaughter, with Love.

Recently we lost a very dear member of our family, my grandfather. It’s hard because he is the first grandparent I have lost while I have been alive (my other grandfather died before I was born) so a part of me has no idea what to say about it.

I know he’s been sick and struggling for a long time. Now, I’m a very rational person, and my first thoughts are, I just want his pain and suffering to be eased. It might emotionally hurt us, but we have to accept what is meant to be for him. I think of my grandmother and aunts and uncles and how they are going to cope and I’m upset for them. My father has tried very hard to be there through this whole ordeal and its been hard on him. My grandfather was a good man, a kind man, and deserving of everyone coming together to show him the love and time he needed when he needed it the most. I’m only sorry I do not live close enough to have the means to be of more of a help myself.

I have thought about death and what it means to me. Because of my position of not having a belief in a god, I also do not believe in an afterlife. I am ok with that. I do believe we all participate in the cycle of life, that we originated from stardust like everything else on our speck of a planet in this vast universe, and we function here within each other’s lives for the time we have. And afterwords we go on to continue to feed the cycle of life, and that’s beautiful. We leave behind our accomplishments, our memories with our loved ones and a legacy through our families that is never really forgotten. My grandfather had his own faith which he was very strong in, and perhaps he is right, what’s after death is certainly something no one knows for sure. Anyway I look at it however, a man with that much love to give deserves nothing but the most beautiful it has to offer.

So, here’s to the man who used to call me “boy” when I was 4 just to hear me squeal “BUT I’M A GIRL GRANDPA!”

Here’s to the man that I used to fight my cousin over trying to determine who was his favorite granddaughter.

Here’s to the man that always had PB&J and, barrel drinks and slices of American cheese in the house for me.

Here’s to the man that was always there, watching the family chaos, but genuinely happy to sit back and embrace it all. He never forgot a grandchild’s name, which is amazing considering there are 19 of us, and for me, knowing my grandpa was at a gathering, somehow made it complete.

And here’s to the man that brought a huge family together and made us all better people for it.

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Even the GREAT grandchildren found him to be something to smile about.

Driving Ms Eileen. Crazy.

I had the greatest snippet with my ultra conservative Fox News loving, Ann Coulter reading, Sarah Palin worshipping Great Aunt the other day. Sometimes I forget what music I have on XM in the car……

Car ( playing ” Back That Ass up” )

Eileen: “OH MY GOD. WHAT IS THIS?”

Me: (snickering) “Sorry about that, forgot to change the channel.”

Eileen: “WELL. That’s certainly not very CHRISTIAN music now is it.?”

Me: “I never claimed to be a Christian. I’m an Atheist.”

Eileen sucked in her breath SO hard I thought it was going to suck the car and all of us right into a black hole. Meanwhile my grandmother erupted in laughter in the backseat and later told me it was the funniest thing she had heard anyone say to Eileen in a LONG time.

Speaking of my godlessness, my dad specifically wrote in his card to me that he hopes God will step up and show me that “I Am Here” so that I believe once again. Uhhhh. I appreciated the rest of the sentiment, why did he have to go and throw that awkwardness in there? Religious fundamentalists just cannot help themselves can they??

If This Were a CD, My Thoughts Would be Songs

I bought this nifty keyboard case for my iPad so it would help me you know….write easier. Guess what I haven’t been doing? A whole lot of writing, I can tell you that. LLLIIIIIFFFFEEEE. I’m living it, I want to share it but I’m just too damn tired to be bothered sometimes to be honest. SO, here’s a post of non sequitur thoughts that have some to maybe no relevance to my life but are in my head.

My brother turned 20 and that’s neat. He is the youngest and he is getting all “growed up.” I also just had a semi frustrating dream about him last night in which I was SUPER pissed off because he was being a jerk and refusing to do the dishes right.

Ken, the CATS, and myself are all bumming it at grandma’s this week. Yes, the cats too! It was a family road trip to DC this year. “Over the river and through the woods to grandmothers house we go!” The cats were less than pleased with the car ride but they are treating this place like one huge cat resort where love is dispensed at every turn and treats reign down from the sky. I think they are going to be ok.

Every time I merge onto the Beltway this week I end up regretting it. Obscenities are screamed, road rage is had. DC, baby, I’m home for Christmas.

Danica Mckellar, “Winnie” from the Wonder Years, was on TV talking about doing a lesbian make out scene and I felt REALLY old.

I’m going to have all sorts of fun in a few weeks with electrodes and a bed. Nope, its not some sort of 50 Shades of Grey thing, sorry you got excited. It’s a sleep study to be evaluated for sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome, one of which I can pretty much already tell them I have. I mean, out of control twitching? KINDA HARD TO MISS. I did not even bring this up with the sleep doctor, he picked up on it from my intake paperwork which was nice. I did not have to go in there sounding like a hypochondriac, my medication list I gave him was already mind blowing enough.

Speaking of, my SSDI case is moving forward. Ken and I both received extensive quality of life sort of packets to fill out regarding my daily pain and activities, blah blah. We have 20 days to complete it. Fingers crossed.