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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

Therapy By Abe Lincoln

Sometimes the best outings are the impromptu ones. Last night I just looked at Ken and said “Let’s go out.” Not even hesitating, he nodded and said “yeah, let’s do it”. Just like that we packed my camera bag, hopped onto the metro at 7pm and headed into the city. After one transfer and some metro reminiscing we ended up at the Smithsonian station, where we just started walking and photographing the National Mall. My DLSR gave out around the Washington Monument, and I had to iPhone it from there but whatever, we were having fun. We walked the Vietnam Memorial, and ended it with sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

The Lincoln Memorial is a special place for me. I’ve spent a lot of time there day and night, sitting on those steps. Thinking about my life when i was happy, sad, anxious about things. Staring at others doing the same. The tourists, the solo people, people eating lunch on their lunch breaks. Its just one of those places where you can people watch every type of people imaginable and yet be lost in your own mind all at the same time. (and no one thinks you are insane if you run down the steps screaming JEN-NAY!!!!! and racing toward the reflecting pool. However security frowns on trying to get IN the water to meet up with the imaginary Jenny from Forrest Gump.)

We got our fill of sightseeing and tourist madness, (even met a couple willing to take a rare picture of us and is emailing it to us later!) and decided to walk to a different metro station to soak up a little more of the city before getting our grub on in Chinatown. Basically in Chinatown you just walk into a place and start eating and the place we chose had the usual chinese and sushi fare, and was pretty decent. We even went all out and split a bottle of sake. What’s nice about the city, is that kitchen’s are still booming at midnight so you can pretty much get a full meal anywhere on a Friday night, depending on what you want. We also discovered a THREE STORY WALGREENS with gourmet food in it, in case that’s of interest to anyone out there, because we were fascinated.

The impromptu night out was just what I needed to pretend I wasn’t in the pits of depression for a few hours, maybe even help me climb out with a little inspiration. That I can always come home, see my happy places and things can be ok for a few hours, when I can muster up the energy to get it together and try to get to them.

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.

 

If That’s Movin’ Up than I’MMM….Movin’ Out!

Big things have been brewing here at the Woodlands. Ken finally got the call that he would be starting his clinicals at the VA Hospital, starting…..today. We have been waiting for this phone call since the beginning of January and were growing worried he wouldn’t get in and therefore NOT graduate on time. HUGE sigh of relief. On the stressful side this means 10 hour days, and no car for me at home for him to catch up for time lost, but we will take it. Anything to get this done.

However in the same day we also had to make a HUGE decision. Our current lease is almost up so we were sent our lease renewal papers. The new rent was just too high to justify paying for the house we are in and all it’s problems. So we have decided to move, or transfer units. We were lucky enough to get a renovated unit, that while it’s only two bedrooms, it has a basement rec room, so it’s actually a LARGER floor plan for the same amount of base rent that we pay now. Having two furballs though to pay rent for is going to raise our rent uncomfortably, but at this point we have no choice. Until Ken has a steady job, we can’t prove income to move anywhere cheaper. It’s more important than ever I win my disability case.

So we are moving in April, and I’m already obsessively packing and purging. I have a huge donation for Purple Heart, a veteran’s charity, of clothes and household items we really have no need for, and so much of our stuff is getting packed away because it’s just clutter it’s unbelievable. I’m so stressed and excited to have a new house and floor plan to play around with, but I want it to be nice and clean, not overstuffed and cluttered. I’m a minimalist, Ken is the pack rat. My therapist probably thinks I’m a special kind of nuts at this point because to be honest, I’ve been freaking out over the stresses of the possibility of moving since October, and now that it’s actually happening, Ken’s going to have to hold me back from falling over the edge. We have moved 8 times in 5 years, yay Army! , and I’m so moved out I have a complex about it now. So, there might be some moving talk coming up if I forget to take my Ativan.

Peace out.

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. 

 

The Light at the End Of the Tunnel?

So things have been cooking over here at Casa Woodland. While the government is having its own crisis, we have been having our own financial crisis ourselves. It’s tough to write about, so there won’t be many details, but we are poor people living off of financial aid, grants and loans with a wee bit of military pay at the moment, and well, EVERYTHING went haywire and as things sometimes happen, the money wasn’t coming in on schedule. Imagine me first waiting by the window for the mailman like a dog. Progress that image to me fighting Ken in a race to the mail box every day to get to it first to see if “today was the day!” I could stop dying inside and pay the power company who I was sure were going to personally drive over with huge scissors and cut the power to our house. Now at the end of this ordeal, I was asking moral questions, like, “is it wrong to inflict violence on the mailman or others if no money comes? Should I put the weapons away, or look for more household items to wield into battle gear?” Seriously, it was getting all survivalist up in my head.

But FINALLY we got a break and in time we received relief. Which of course I promptly cried like a baby after paying all those bills I had been terrified over and watching that money quickly fade away, and the rest fall carefully into a budget that will once again require us to resort to some ramen eating days in order to be “fiscally frugal” until the spring semester.

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In other news, I woke up one day last week and felt that click in my head and KNEW my Welbutrin/Abilify combo had finally kicked in and my world was clearer than it had been in years. It was like a blanket was lifting off me finally and I can kinda see my way out from underneath. I don’t hate everything as much. It’s encouraging to know I might be on a path to stable. Panic is still a huge issue and we have decided to add a long term medication, Lexapro to see if we can knock that down to a functional level (I would LOVE to drive my car without it being the drama of the century in my head) and maybe make me all around a little happier too. I’ve still got my old benzo friends though for random onset attacks, and to help me sleep.

There is more…. But I’m pooped and written out. And I’m making navy bean and ham soup that needs attention. I’M COOKING AGAIN BITCHES!!!!!

Brought by the Letter M.

Sooooo, a murder victim was found behind my house a couple of days ago. Like directly behind my house they dumped the body. Thankfully I don’t go into my backyard area much or my therapist would have a whole new set of issues to deal with.

As the story officially goes now, a guy killed his girlfriend in a fight and then tried to dump the body behind my house. And someone came across it. When the police went the the woman’s apartment her baby was still inside. And they arrested the guy. I appreciate how everyone in our neighborhood was also notified of the situation via letter in our doors, like when you get a Chinese menu in your door. Only this one was like “FYI, there was a murder today….”

I would also care to mention that this happened when I arrived home from my appointment with psych where I was told officially I had General Anxiety Disorder, PTSD, and Bi Polar disorder. It was a LOVELY day. But there we have it folks. The official reports are in on what I have been going through the past few years that have exploded the past few months. I took the weekend off to process the information, even though I’m not surprised and I was prepared for what much of the personality assessment had to say. It’s just so, sobering, to see yourself, what makes you tick on the paper. The good, the bad and the ugly, and agree with it because you do know its true. There were things I was proud of on that paper, traits I wouldn’t give up, but also things on there I would trade in a heartbeat not to have to ever feel again. If only letting go were just that easy now that I know about it. If just seeing it could cure me and free me of this mess. It’s just not like that.

So instead, I’ll be meeting with a doctor to work out a plan to stabilize my moods and control my anxiety, and I’ll work on learning how to cope and process information in a healthier way with my therapist. I think the next question down the road is, will knowing all this be a opportunity at a last attempt at communication with my parents, or will it be the last break for me before I have to say enough for my own health and really move on in a more drastic measure?

Inkblots and Imaginary Friends.

Lately I have hit this level of exhaustion that has rendered me just too exhausted to write. It’s not that things haven’t been going on, because man have they ever, but just living through them have been enough at the moment. Writing about them, that’s just had to wait. Until the Klonopin wore off and I had my mind back that is. Klonopin is one of those great drugs that calms you down but also kind of renders your brain useless to cognitive thought, so writing is damn near impossible.

Did you know that psychologists still use those inkblot tests for things? I had NO IDEA either until confronted with my very own set last week. Now THAT was fun. Apparently I just see the inside of the human anatomy in everything, and I think she was surprised at my graphic detail on that. And I saw the bat signal on one. But really there was a point where I looked at her and exclaimed “COME ON! A two year old just splattered paint on that,” and refused to “see” anything else. Apparently that wasn’t an acceptable answer and finally I told her “fine, it’s a body.” From the best of my Internet research when I got home, while my answers aren’t standard, I got the conceptual idea of the inkblot cards right, and it safe to say I’m not schizophrenic. That was on the table?! Schizophrenia?! (One little breakdown and they think you might be full blown schizophrenic, that I will never understand. I was never climbing the walls, talking to imaginary people, threatening to hurt ANYBODY or the like.) I’m going to be skeptical of the whole inkblot method though anyway, it’s too much guesswork and not enough proven accuracy for me. Luckily the rest of my visit was more in depth and focused on better diagnostic methods concerning my issues.

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I’m convinced this one is Optimus Prime.

The summary of our week beyond that consisted of some high stakes finances. It’s like poker, only with our utilities, cable, and rent up as collateral, and we are playing with groceries. Ken’s car unexpectedly died and won a all expenses paid trip courtesy of our checking account to our house from the middle of the road. Now we have one car for the rest of the month. So there’s that to be excited about. Negotiations for obtaining my medication for my Rheumatoid Arthitis are tense and frustrating as its being held hostage somewhere between my doctor’s office and the mail order pharmacy. No one really knows, they both say someone else is fucking up. I’d also like to throw in here, that no one seems to give two flying fucks what i have to say about it because they have pushed this process through every step of the way despite my concerns, and every step of the way it’s ended up a problem for ME. Either way, I’m in terrible pain and no one is sending in back up. Stay tuned. It’s a developing situation.

My Eyes Feel Like They’re Gonna Bleed….

Greenday’s Brainstew. Yes. This is my theme song for months.

I’ve been highly sleep disturbed for the past few weeks. Way more than normal. I really feel pushed to the edge here about this. I’m extremely grateful on the one hand to have solved “the mystery of the batshit insane migraines with vertigo” but it’s not like the hits haven’t kept coming.

I’ve had the equivalent of a nervous breakdown. I ended up seeking to be admitted somewhere for psychiatric help because I had no choice and I was totally freaked out and Ken and I knew it wasn’t normal. Like on a rating of 1 to INSANE I’m probably about a 8.8. You know me, down and dirty with the details here. I was pretty much the meal short of a picnic lunch, I could feel it and I wanted help. That’s a desperate feeling when you are considering giving up your shoelaces voluntarily just to get someone to listen to you because everywhere normal has a waitlist. (This is also not the first time I’ve sought immediate help, but its been a number of years, and the worst, and I thought I had managed pretty well on and off through talk therapy and sometimes some anxiety meds. I’ve also had a shitty time with a past diagnosis/doctor which has made some stuff hard in the trust department.) We have gotten some GOOD help this time after a bumpy start, if you didn’t know, obtaining mental health services can be a lengthy process, I’ve had to get creative and even wait for treatment! I’m finally getting the most comprehensive diagnostic evaluation I’ve ever gotten for Bi Polar disorder after meeting with a professional who has determined it was well worth the time and expense to see me for the evaluation and get it all official and shit for my medical history. I’ll be set up with talk therapy to learn how to understand this and medication management to work out a plan as well. All this is good stuff but as you can imagine, a lot to process. I’m on a mood stabilizer and a antidepressant right now to take the edge off with my anxiety meds but its clear by my sleep issues we haven’t gotten this right yet although I’m starting to feel better and there is a lot less crying and rage going on. And I’m writing about it in specifics. Openly. This is huge.

Going back to the Rheumatoid Arthritis for a moment. I’m in a huge flare since stopping the methotrexate because of the Migraine Mystery, and its finally been decided I will try a biologic medication for treatment. However, getting it all approved and between that and fibromyalgia, I’m feeling pretty shitty with pain, so sleep is also a bitch when you are waking up due to that lovely swelling and burning in your joints or just overall uncontrolled aches.

I realize this post is 100% venting, but its my blog and I’ll cry if I want to. Also, I’ll make as many musical references if I want to. I dare you to stop me. I’m delirious.