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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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

Move it Along

I’ve been confronted with a situation lately where I’ve been given an ultimatum, “change who I am so we can maybe kiss and make up on THEIR terms” or just keep moving on. It was actually tough for me at first believe it or not, because when that situation involves someone you considered a best friend things just get complicated. I peice of me is emotionally attached to this person and wants nothing more to apologize, forget the whole thing, and do what it takes to rectify the situation. I miss them in my life, because they were around for so many years, and there are good memories to be attached to that. Upon taking some time to collect myself however, I have to stop and think rationally, and what’s emotionally healthy here and what the reality of the situation is. It wasn’t always what it was cracked up to be. And now this. This person already self righteously cut me from their life for two years without so much as a word to me all the while making it known to others that she had a fundamental problem with my lifestyle. Which apparently means, since I don’t believe in god, I’m against him, and I also actively hate her religion and try to pull others out like I’m a stop on some underground railroad. Which couldn’t be further from the truth, as I have close friends still involved in the church and we have very clear understanding of one another’s beliefs and do not try to change each other. I have my suspicions her issues with my “lifestyle” have deeper meaning as well, that I’m not going to get into here, but if thats true its a 100% no go in my book for things I can tolerate. That’s a subject you DON’T get to make me choose or feel bad about in my life because you will lose EVERY SINGLE TIME.

What bothers me the most is the simple act of the one promise that was made to me was broken that our entire friendship was based on. No matter what our differences, I would just not be dumped because god has instructed her that unbelievers are beneath her in her position in life. Because thats happened to me with several friends since leaving the church, friends I grew up with since I was a toddler. And that’s exactly what she did in the end. My trust issues have taken a huge leap backwards, in both trusting people who profess that faith helps them do good works, and in people who pretend to be interested in my friendship altogether.

I still hold the few near and dear to me in the same position as before this happened. I’m not losing trust in them, because that wouldn’t be fair when they have done no wrong. If anything, I’m grateful to have such friends and family in my life left that have stuck around me through my illness, my crazy times, the hard times Ken and I have faced, against the odds, and the times when the clouds have broken and we have caught a break every once in a while. That accept me when I fall down onto the sucky friend train, and wait for me to get myself right again, because they have faith that I will. It’s those friends that I want to keep around, not the full of one sided conditions, walking on eggshells, constantly making me second guess myself for the wrong reasons types of friends. So thanks guys for enriching my life with your intellectual conversation, everlasting attempts to understand me, and always willingness to offer your ears, even at 3am.

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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??

Fibromyalgia is a Bitch.

Lately I’ve been experiencing a major fibromyalgia crash, which is why I’m not blogging as much. This time it’s coming in the form of a crippling fatigue and exhaustion that’s making staying alive difficult, so things like writing have taken a back burner. Don’t get me wrong, I’m using the tiny bit of energy I have to cook a meal and love it, or get done the essentials of the day, but ANYTHING beyond that is out of the question. I can only drive my car when absolutely needed because I’m afraid of passing out behind the wheel. So I’m struggling right now, but my spirits are actually pretty good about it, my crazy meds, and my RA meds seem to be working a bit. Also, I just became one of those sad pill organizer people because the Fibro fog is so bad I keep forgetting and/or double taking my morning pills and it’s gotten out of control….sigh.

On the exciting news, to me anyway, we got a Keurig machine and it’s my new best friend. A friend of ours gave us an opportunity to get one for a super good deal and I’m already declaring it the best purchase of the year and I’m so thankful to her! It would appear I’ve fallen in love with the French Roast sample included in the pack. This could get dangerous.

Today is also day one of Ken and I finally using our complex’s gym. I’m trying to stay moving after ceasing my physical therapy, and Ken has to be able to pass his 2 mile run after recently coming off his profile he has been on for years for mild asthma. The importance is high because he just GOT PROMOTED, and we are determined and excited to make this work and keep on keeping on with this. The Army isn’t easy and we really don’t love it much but we are so close, that we are in it to win it at this point.

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.

On Illness and the Faithless

I’m pretty sure the number one question people with chronic illness get posed to them is “How to you cope?” This question spans the positions and beliefs of all of us, the spiritual and non spiritual. I happen to hold the position of being a Humanist/Atheist and I lack an acceptance of a higher power in my life.

However, we all go through the stages of grief in our illnesses in the process of acceptance of our day to day lives, and I’m no different. I still struggle, get angry, depressed, search for answers, handle my life and seek comfort. But these things may come from different sources, or surprisingly even from some of the same places. I do not pray, but I rather rely on the lessons I have discovered though my own perseverance that I can make it through the next day with the support of those around me, and inner strength to wake up each morning and face the day. I have so much here to live for, and I find that in my friends, and my family which are beautiful and here right now even if sometimes I have a bad day, or I think my illness is just never going to end. It’s motivation to make the most of the life I have before me.

Becoming ill, and with multiple illness was devastating for me. I of course had moments of irrationality in my thinking, I imagine we all do in desperation, whether its to seek God or abandon God. Day to day life can be tedious when the hits just keep coming. However, little things start to happen, that ease the blows, or you have a good cry, and you get some clarity. A good friend picks you up. You notice your pets have not abandoned you while you have been falling all over the place, or even if you’re like me you just start laughing at your misfortune because its just too funny not to. Every time I land in the hospital, my husband holds my hand and we laugh the whole time I’m on the morphine drip and make terrible jokes. Even when he has to hose me down in the hospital bathroom.

I draw the same beauty from the earth that natural law has created and I have observed, and the deeds of humans helping humans have shown me that there is good out there. I do not need a deity to show me that path, for as I was raised a Christian, it did not fulfill me in the way embarking on self exploration has in seeking out the answers and being comfortable with saying “I do not know yet, but that’s ok” has been able to. For me, it’s opened MORE doors of opportunity, not to have all the answers than to leave some sort of finality up to a divinity I cannot prove exists and who just arbitrarily hands out burdens just to “see what we will do with them.”

Not having God encourages me to live my life to its potential now, despite my illness, to find joy, love and happiness. To be kind and fair not to judge those around me. It sounds rather familiar doesn’t it? I’m not eternally bitter, nor am I without direction for my lack of faith. I’m good with this being my only existence and the hand that I’m ultimately dealt, if this means that I get to make my existence count with the beautiful people I have crossed paths with so far. There is no RIGHT way to be an Atheist, please to not misunderstand that, we are not a religion, we have no dogma, no organization and we are not all the same. We are associated by a definition in a dictionary only.

However when it comes to dealing with chronic illness, pain, emotions we all tend to turn to the same places to find comfort. That inner place in our hearts where we find support, our friends, family, the world around us in its beauty. People helping people just get through every day inspire me to get through mine all the time. That’s how I know I can get through today as well.

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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.

BRAIN WWAARR!!

I don’t usually encourage bad grammar or spelling but I really want to scream “IMMA ‘BOUT TO NEED A VALIUM DRIP UP IN HERE!” with all the recent changes going on in my life right now. We all know I’m one crack up from going completely insane, and I just feel like life is pushing those buttons right now just to see if it can break me. JUST SO YOU KNOW LIFE, YOU CAN. YOU CAN STOP NOW. THIS WHOLE BIBLICAL JOB COMPLEX IS NOT AMUSING.

Sure, I’m on meds that are like my secret little weapons of second wave back up forces keeping the anxiety armies and tears at bay. I have the friends kinda dropping in from the sky and beating back my insecurities like kamikaze pilots when it gets bad as well. I certainly don’t want to kill them off, and everyone needs to sleep around here. And I’m fond of their devotion and all that.

But the point here is this, none of these things can keep putting my brain back together if you, life, keep dropping nuclear bombs in here of ridiculous nature. Between my illnesses, the military, financial, and family life struggles I simply need a break. Don’t you give me any of that “God doesn’t give you any more than you can handle” nonsense, because we both know full well I don’t believe in God and that saying is bullshit. Surviving and handling are two entirely different things.

I’m angry right now, I’m venting, I need a good stiff drink and probably a sense of humor. But I allowed myself the usage of the slang “IMMA” for the very first time ever, and now I am going to have to reflect on THAT for a few hours. *Cringe*

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I’M SO ASHAMED.