Daily Archives: February 15, 2013

Falling apart

I told my kid no TV and she got mad and kicked over the curio shelf. Breaking about $30 worth of my collector dragons.

To say I lost it is an understatement. I screamed. I put her in her room and gave MYSELF a time out because I was panicking, raging, and crying all at the same time.

Then I called the dr office. They are out until Monday and said to go the nearest ER. Yeah, cos my insurance will totally shell out a grand for that just because I am not transitioning well from one med to another.

I called the pharmacy and she says there should be no transition, klonopin and xanax are the same thing.

MY ASS!

Same class of drug, yes. Same affect on  every patient? In your fucking dreams, pharma mongers!

She said to call back the dr and listen to the whole message for an emergency number. I DID LISTEN TO THE WHOLE MESSAGE! It’s an 800m number crisis thing for people about to kill themselves! Not quite there yet. YET.

I knew I was in trouble this morning when they were working on the empty trailer next door and just seeing the maintenance guys milling close to my safe zone set me into paranoid mode. “Am I violating any rules of the lease?”  “Is the place clean enough?” “Is my music/TV too loud?” “What if they evict me just because they don’t like the cut of my gib?” (Insane, yes, but it’s how an insane brain works.)

I am starting to calm down. I only left Spook in her room ten minutes, so I could get my equilibrium back, then I had her come sit on the couch beside me, and I quietly explained to her that she did wrong by kicking the shelf simply for being told no and mommy did wrong by yelling. I told her I love her more than anything and asked her if she was sorry. Her consequences are no TV for the whole day. I feel that is fair. TV rots their brains anyway, right? So the rumor mill says.

Then I started bawling, which has happened a lot this week, and I have been blaming pms hormones but I am starting to wonder if I am just losing my fucking mind.

Spook is playing happily now.

I am dejected and sad and angry and frustrated and my nerves are a wreck.

We got to see the Donor earlier, standing outside the convenience store with his mouse (gf). I feel nothing but disdain when I see him, but I am glad when I see him because it desensitizes me. By the time we finally go to court for the divorce, I want to be able to look at him and feel NOTHING.

And like clockwork, my kid sees I am having this really tough day mentally and so she starts poking the bear with a stick, questioning everything, minding nothing, repeating herself over and over and over and over…

And I just want to scream.

But I’m not going to.

I still think the pharmacist and doctor are both full of shit. One week ago, with Xanax, I was keeping it in check.

A week later, with Klonopin, I am spazzing out wily nily?

Bitch please!

Now…I’m gonna go cry. Probably. Because it’s all I’ve fucking done this week.

Like I need one more reason to loathe myself.

 


Visual Sensual

I’ve noticed that there’s been a dearth of intrusive thoughts lately, which has been great. But no, instead my bipolar appears to be taking a different tact — a visual, sensual tact.

You see, I’m not one with a vivid imagination. I have admittedly been nearly cruel in planting images in other peoples’ heads, because my head just doesn’t retain such. So suddenly, I’m finding images trying to stick in my head, as well as a heavy dose of feeling them. It’s irksome, because what keeps coming to mind is previous experiences of certain sorts, and I don’t really desire to refeel them. It’s not particularly destructive as such yet, but I am ever so wary.

For now, I’ll just try to think over the images, to drown them out with song and what my eyes can actually see. It’s easy for the time being because I’m still feeling somewhat spoonful, so here’s hoping I manage to nail down the trick of blocking out this current assault before I run out of spoons.

<3

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The daily panic e-mail, flogged by the past, and a funeral

The day always starts off with a bang if I check e-mail. IF I am brave enough to open the “local job alerts” e-mail (which sometimes I just am not, it’s not laziness, it’s fucking panic) and I see what little options there are in this town, then I see all the “tips” they give…What to wear, what not to wear, what to say, what not to say…

Enter panic. EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Because let’s face it, I am not a conventional person, never have been. Not to mention, I am POOR. Wrinkles in my clothes say I don’t care about my appearance? Really? How about “too broke to buy an iron” ?No, that’s not a consideration. What about the cat hair that I missed with the lint brush? Not professional? The scuffed shoes? Oh, wait, it’s the only pair of dress shoes I own. So because I have a tight budget and my kid comes first, I don’t care about finding a job because I don’t look perfect?

Clean, kempt, prompt, friendly, and an effort to look good are not important.

Now I gotta jump thru the “am I pretty enough” hoop.

Then we get to the interview skills. Which go out the fucking window because any time I am placed in a position outside my comfort zone, panic kicks my ass and I tend to stammer and repeat myself and just wear this vacant nervous smile.

And I have practiced with people, and written little scripts, and none of it helps. Zero hour and I flop.

Between all that and my past and of course, the fact that I STILL DON’T HAVE MY SHIT TOGETHER AND AM NOT READY  TO GO BACK TO WORK…

Yeah, that one e-mail is a kick in the teeth every day.

I want to tell everyone I am simply not stabilized enough…But I am upright and walking thus in their book I am cured and MUST get a job.  Funny thing about that is, SOMEONE HAS TO BE WILLING TO GIVE YOU A BLOODY CHANCE AND HIRE YOU.

Yeah, this day is not starting out promising for me, I should skip e-mail in the mornings. Or filter it and deal with it later when I have had a chance to buck up my psyche for the day.

Yesterday, R told me when he was at my dad’s last weekend fixing their washer, my dad asked why he and I broke up. And R told him it was “the extreme highs and lows and all of the spending”. (I spent about three hundred bucks on his credit card during a manic jaunt.)

Fair enough, that part sucks even for me.

But for 15 years I have been letting this man off the hook with his guilting me about my baggage.

Yesterday, I called a spade a spade. He spent 15 years with a woman with borderline who abused him and his kids. I never hit him or his kids.

He blames me for having a crap shrink when we were together who was giving me meds that made it worse instead of better. Yeah, that was my doing. It was all I could afford. Meanwhile, R had thirty grand in the bank, but not once did he say, “This is not normal, you have something wrong, let’s take you to a different doctor.”

No he put it all on me, like I chose the quack that misdiagnosed me for 15 years and gave me meds that nearly killed me. He could have helped me had he thought I was able to be help. He chose to assume that was just my personality and discarded me. I pointed out I have an illness and he wouldn’t have done that had I had cancer. He wouldn’t still be going on all these years later about how my bedridden state was hard on him and my treatments were so pricey and blah blah blah.

But no because my illness is mental, it’s utterly insignificant and worthy of flogging me with, no matter how many times I have explained, apologized, and atoned.

BULLSHIT.

He said, “To your credit, you’ve really changed.”

MOOD STABILIZERS, MOTHERFUCKER, DUH DUH DUH!!!!!!

It brings my venom out when people mistake symptoms of my bipolar as just being my personality.

I am mouthy, impatient, insecure, high strung, and sarcastic. I own THAT IS MY PERSONALITY. I do not absolve myself for these things, I simply own them and try to do better.

The extreme highs, lows, the tears, the mania, the panic, the paranoia, that’s bipolar. I pump all this potentially toxic shit into my system trying to “fix” it and it now occurs to me…

I am never gonna be fixed, and if I am fixed enough for myself, it will never be good enough for others.

What baffles me beyond words is R, and The Donor both claim my moods are so wretched they had to walk away…Yet neither of them had a single qualm about leaving me with the kids. Even after R and I split, I still got to keep the kids overnight and take them on outings.

So which is it, douchebags? If I am so damaging to your psyches, why am I fit to be around kids?

I think it just says the obvious. I am not a picnic but I am not as bad as they make me out to be, their psyches just can’t handle it because they are weak and pathetic. Sound harsh? Dumping someone who only needed a better doctor is pretty harsh,too. Especially when it was within your ability to throw them a lifesaver.

I know it all seems petty and like I over reacted, but I am just sick of being the bad guy. Like R was so fucking easy to be with. Like he didn’t have his baggage and flaws and irritating quirks, none 0f which is ever mentioned as it might have been tough on me. It’s all about him. Just like it’s all about the Donor and how horrible I am to him.

Do NOT preach to me about learning to accept people for who they are when you don’t even have the emotional maturity to accept that someone has a mental illness that causes their erratic behavior.

Done.

Now…today is my uncle’s funeral. I opted not to go because I really don’t think a three year old is ready to do the funeral thing. I hope it does not seem too selfish. I thought alot of uncle Jack, I still remember him sharing his Toffifay candies with me when I was little.

After all he went through though…I am glad he is finally at peace.

Oh, and to anyone who reads this blog…Thank you guys for letting me vent and get the poison out of my system so it doesn’t devour me. I know I am long winded and I prattle and I seem irritating and self absorbed… But ya know, from the moment I wake up every morning, it’s kid, cats, outdoor cats, and then somewhere after that, I get to go pee and get a drink and a smoke. This blog is the one place where I get my time. So…thanks for sharing this bumpy journey with me. You guys are very appreciated by me.

 


Writing a Safety Plan

Reblogged from A Canvas Of The Minds: When I started creating a Wellness Journal awhile back, I found I didn’t …

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More Bang for the Buck – Valentine Mental Moment

Wow, look at that… one day where an insane amount of money is spent on cards candy and um..oh, flowers. all in the name of getting lucky,  laid I mean LOVE. [...]

Donut Hole? Black Hole!

So after a two-year long low-grade struggle with the  American Social Security system, which ground through the process of initial rejection, denial of my appeal, and then finally a cameo appearance before a federal judge, I am Officially Disabled.  I was Disabled before that, according to my “Own Occupation” disability insurance policy (which was the only good financial decision I have ever made;  it has literally saved my life), but that applies only to the practice of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine and does not apply, say, to “Greeter At Walmart.”  Coincidentally, the Walmarts in my area have fired their greeters.  Perhaps the sales of Ol’ Roy Dog Food was flagging, and they needed to create a few more desperately poor elderly who might be able to spring for the 33 cent cans.  (Damn it, why does the “cent” sign no longer show up on keyboards?  Another of my conspiracy theories: the government is going to melt down all the pennies for the copper.  Think about it: we are walking around with FORTUNES worth of precious metals in our pockets and don’t even think about it!  N.B. it is a federal crime to melt down pennies, in case the idea should enter your head, as it did mine.

Where was I?  Oh yes. Normally when one gets Social Security Disability, there is a two-year waiting period before you can get Medicare health insurance.  So if you are trying to live on the approximately $1000 per month that most people are rolling in on SSD, what are you supposed to do in the meantime?  Medicaid, I guess, if you qualify.  But if you don’t qualify because your spouse had the good fortune to land a part-time job at McDonald’s with no benefits, well, you are just shit out of luck.  There is a very hole-y network of nonprofits that try to help people in this situation, but the need far exceeds the demand; thus we have an increasingly sick population, growing sicker all the time.

Should you happen to live through two years of being uninsured, then you get Medicare!  Yay!  I was extra lucky: because the Social Security system denied my claim automatically instead of looking at it, the judge ruled that my Medicare eligibility was up for “time served,” to begin not only immediately, but retroactively.  I got my hearing in December, and my benefits started ticking the previous October.  Confused?  Me too.

Strangely enough, the Social Security system does not give you a choice about federal insurance plans.  Previous to becoming Officially Disabled, I had a fairly expensive but pretty darn good plan through the Federal High Risk Pool, which is YES, PART OF OBAMACARE, which made it possible for me to get insurance after I had been denied by private insurers.  It was a standard choose-your-own deductible, then copays for doctor visits and 80-20 for hospital stuff up to a reasonably low out-of-pocket, which I found quite livable.  The drug plan was good, rarely demanded precerts, and had pretty standard copays.

And then.  And then….I am suddenly catapulted into the murky and confusing world of Medicare, because if you’re on SSD you have to be on Medicare. So at first gasp it doesn’t look too daunting:  there’s only part A, B, C, and D to worry about finding providers for.  I said to my therapist, whose idea this whole rat’s nest was in the first place (thank you, B__), um, don’t you think I should go and see a social worker to help guide me through the system?  Oh, no, she chirps, just call up the AARP.  They’ll walk you through it.  They have the best supplemental plans.  Oh. Er, what’s a “supplemental plan”?  That’s Part C, which pays for doctor visits, and Part D, which is your drug plan.  Parts A and B have to do with hospital care.

OK.  So I get my Medicare card, which automatically means my Federal Risk Pool insurance is cancelled.  So now I have to QUICKLY do something about transferring pharmacies, because I have my brand-new Part D card for medicines, and they have a mail-order pharmacy through which you can get three months’ worth of medicine with only one copay instead of three.  YEE-HAH!  So, off I go on the merry-go-round of chasing down doctors’ assistants and nurses to call my prescriptions in to the new pharmacy, because no, you CAN’T just transfer them from the one you already have.

One of my meds, the one I use to digest all my food with because for some reason my body doesn’t make those enzymes, took FIVE phone calls from the long-suffering physician assistant to get it right.  Ay-ay-ay, I’m having visions of chimpanzees in puffy white caps pouring pills into bottles.  Not encouraging.  So finally they managed to get everything right, and in the meantime I’m surviving on my hoard of meds that I brought back from Israel in October.  Had it not been for them, I would have been up shit creek without a paddle.

So the nice lady calls from the pharmacy and we go over the Rx’s one last time to make sure she’s got them right, and then we place the order, putting all the copays on my American Express Card that gets the mileage points for every dollar you spend, and…”Oh dear, are you sure you want this entire order?  It puts you into the Donut Hole right away.”  The what?  Donut Hole?  Isn’t that something you get with coffee?

Oh no.  That’s what you get with Medicare when the retail (I repeat, RETAIL, because that’s the part they don’t explain to you up front) expenditure hits $1950 (plus or minus a bit, I don’t have it in front of me.)  So here’s how it works:  You pay a premium of about $40 per month for prescription drug coverage.  When you buy a prescription, you pay a pretty normal copay based on a tiered system, anywhere from $3 to 1/3 of the actual cost of the drug if it is a specialty drug.  After the plan has bought you $1950 worth of drug, then the plan pays NOTHING until you have paid $4,750 out of your pocket (if you have one), at which point the plan goes into hyperdrive (“Catastrophic,” they call it, just for drama) and you pay almost nothing until the whole sonofabitching thing resets itself at the top of the year.

So what, I ask in my innocence, do you do if you do not happen to have nearly $5000 kicking around?  Oh, Medicare has a program for “Assistance,” but almost nobody qualifies for it.

There are community programs (in some communities) that help.   If you are indigent according to the Medicaid standards, you can just get Medicaid.

Otherwise you’re screwed.  Many disabled and elderly persons find themselves with too much money to qualify for assistance programs but not enough money to buy their medicines.  So let’s see, what happens when someone can’t afford their expensive blood pressure medicine and (G-d forbid) have a stroke?  Well then, Medicare Parts A and B kick in then.  No worries there, got you covered.  So if you can’t afford to take your medicine, don’t fret, because Big Government is gonna take care of you in the hospital after the heart attack you get when you can’t afford your Plavix (very expensive anti-platelet drug that sounds like a kind of mouthwash).

So what am I going to do about this?  Luckily, I just got one of those packets of checks from the credit card company where I can write myself an interest-free loan for a year.  That’s what I’ll do, because I don’t have any other choice.  And I’ll pay it off in installments over the year.  I’m damned grateful to have opened that packet instead of chucking it directly in the paper recycle like I usually do.  Must have been that guardian angel again.

And speaking of guardian angels, the one that convinced me back in 1992 when I was hale and healthy except for the occasional skiing wreck, and making what was for me a freakin’ lot of money, THAT guardian angel who convinced me to sign on the bottom line of a very expensive, very comprehensive private disability plan….THAT guardian angel gets a set of gilded wings from me, today and every day, because if not for that policy I would be, well, to tell you the truth I would probably be dead, because I would not have been able to support both my life and my diseases.

My blessings are many, many, many.  This whole SSD process has opened my eyes to the heinous and disgusting devaluation of the disabled and elderly that has become a legacy of shame in this country.  I want to do something, but don’t have a clue where to begin.  I can’t even go to Washington and set myself on fire on the White House steps because I’m terrified of fire.  But one thing is certain: with the aging of our population, if Medicare doesn’t get fixed, there will be many of our ill and elderly going not only into the donut hole, but into the black hole, never to emerge.