Daily Archives: May 22, 2015

Can I face a Firing Squad Rather Than Socialize?

I got pulled into this social cook out thingie at R’s tonight by his missus. First I think, okay, then and the grandkid, fine. Only to learn it will be his kids, their kids and spouses, her kids, their kid, and spouses…Jebus. These people know how crowds are a trigger for me and yet like everyone else they assume, You know everyone, you’ve been here before, no big deal. With social anxiety disorder and panic disorder it never ceases to be a big deal. At this moment I am trying to come up with some lavish yet plausible ailment that could keep me from going. Ebola, plague, cooties, I don’t care, just…Ten people, even if I half ass know them, it’s still too much of a trigger, especially at this juncture in time when I am still recovering from Latuda. (Which, BTW, even the website that gives side effects specifically says there *can* be withdrawal thus it must be tapered off, I think my shrink is comatose or something.)

I really don’t view social gatherings as anything as grueling and miserable. It’s not attitude. I’m a solitary person and I like small ish gatherings with a couple of people I am familiar with. Pull in ten people, eight of which I know only vaguely, and well, why not just throw me under a speeding bus? And of course, inevitably the “You’re being so dramatic, get over it” comment. If I could get over it, I wouldn’t need a fucking shrink and ten fucking meds to do what everyone else can do by simply opening their eyes. It’s not behavioral. It’s not some sort of laziness thing. I am TERRIFIED of social events. Unfortunately, my terror manifests physically and I can, and have, and do, sometimes hyperventilate, puke, and make everyone around me very ill at ease which is one more stresser I don’t need So pardon me if I’m not all gum drops and rainbows about going out, I’ll leave that to the shiny happy people who don’t break out in a cold sweat just by leaving their home. (Yeah, that happened to me this morning, I was fine, then I went to do battle with the dish, and BAM, instant panic and paranoia attack. Panxiety. And yeah, I faced it down and lived to tell but it never makes it less of a trauma.)

I WANT so desperately to enjoy these things that others do, that are supposed to bring me pleasure and a sense of belonging and comfort. But it simply doesn’t. I’m not *that* person. My interests are solitary and being alone, rather than being some sort of disorder or avoidance, is simply what makes me most content. I know I can’t self isolate and I have to make an effort which is precisely why I put myself through shit like this. So some jackass can’t say I’m not even trying. I am trying. And I don’t want to because demmit, this is my alone mommy night and I actually resent giving up even a couple of hours to go eat cook out food (which I don’t like and yet will say I do, to avoid hurt feelings), get bitten by bugs (outdoors is evil when you’re allergic, to well, nature) and oh, yeah, be surrounded by elitist twenty somethings who are already picking out college for their toddlers and yapping about Facebook and how twerking with lollipops and rolls of toilet paper is trending.

GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

Thing is, I haven’t hung out with Mrs R in two months, I turned down her last invite because I was having mommy night. And since she asked me personally, face to face, said she really wanted to hang out…I agreed. Yet everything that is supposed to be so damned good for my mental health, as per society’s sheeple mentality and the professionals’ “one size fits all” theory turns out to detract rather than add anything positive. I’m just not comfortable with a lot of people. I’m fine with a couple or four people I know fairly well and have common ground with. But getting stuck with a bunch of pampered “we have college degrees and good jobs and we are so much better than you” types…Icky. Had I known they were all going to be there I’d have gotten cramps real fast.  I got hoodwinked, goddamn it.

Less than ninety minutes before I am due. I am itchy, twitchy, and the neighborhood dogs are having a barkathon while Alchemy mewls his heart out inciting Absinthe to do the same and OMG, the noise is already too much let alone dealing with a bunch of people I have nothing in common with. I’ve been pasting on the happy normal face for weeks now just to survive the depression and the Latuda, and now I’ve got to go do it again all in the name of being social for my own good. SUCH A CROCK OF SHIT.

Ya know, I might have a different attitude if I were ever treated with anything but derision by the professionals. “You have to go out, you have to be around people, you have to lean on your family for support. Stop drinking, get exercise, gets lots of sun,lay off the pop, drink water, BLAH BLAH BLAH.”

I’ve done everything they told me would cure me and I am still broken as fuck. And their meds are making me more broken. Rather than feel entitled to let myself heal, I feel beholden to paste on the happy face and go be social because to do anything less than what is expected by professionals would make me eeeevil and lazy. Is it any wonder I’m misanthropic? I’m never given the choice to seek out company, I’m told I HAVE to for my own good and thus…It’s miserable. This is not for my own good. My own good would be staying home and reading a book while huffing fluffy kittens.

I AM going to go. Ninety minutes, tops. Enough to be polite, force some awkward smiles, and not hurt Mrs. R’s feelings. Beyond that…I got nothing.

Sometimes I think being forced to fake happiness is worse than simply not feeling it. At least when I say I don’t feel it, it’s honest.


Jury Duty

jury room

Today (Tuesday) I got a jury summons in the mail. I looked at it and about passed out. A million what ifs? flooded my mind. What if I started crying? Could I drive downtown alone? Would my meds make me too jittery? I really was in a panic.

I read through the whole thing and it looked like there were some places I could get an exception. My doctor just had to sign a note. I think my psychosis is a good excuse….even if I am not seeing things right now, stress makes all that worse. And I’ve served on a couple of juries. The entire activity is exhausting.

This summons came on the heels of another mediocre day.

I am sick of being sick. I am tired of being known as the “mentally ill” one.

I hate taking meds and dealing with their side effects. This Abilify especially sucks.

I’m tired of waking up in the morning about 4 and worrying about the day. And I HAVE NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT! Nothing is going on in my life which is really stressful unless you count Danny and his grades. And that is all part of being a parent. I know it will pass.

I want to be a regular person.

I’ve already sort of separated my friends into a couple of groups. Those who are based on mental illness and those who are not. This doesn’t mean I just like these people because they have MI…I like them anyway…I think you know what I mean. My plan is to really discuss my bipolar with the other MI friends as much as possible. I want them to have me there for them as often as I can.

Wednesday: I got up and sent texts to my four friends with mental illness. I let them know I was thinking of them and that I was interested in hearing how their day was going. I hope to really be there and be strong for these people.

I have decided to take a break from my bipolar support group. It is somehow bringing me down. A friend of mine in there says the same thing. The group has grown to like TWENTY people and I only know about five of them. It’s just too much.

Thursday: On a negative front, my husband’s best childhood friend flew in unexpectedly from out of state. I absolutely hate this. Suddenly, we have to drop our plans and meet his needs. He has a new girlfriend and they fight on the phone constantly. I have NO chance for sanity with this group around.

Good news on my best friend! We are tentatively going to see each other THREE times this summer. Once in a week or so here at my place (just girl time), once meeting in another city with her husband, and once where she and her husband drive over here to spend some time. This is more than I have seen her in like five years put together.

I just hope it goes well. You might remember I had some really bad manic behavior and she and I had a split. It’s been a long time now since we patched it up, but I still feel like I am walking on eggshells around her. I just don’t want to say or do the wrong thing. But you have to be true to yourself. It’s not really a friendship if you’re not being yourself. Damn mania…it sure gets you in trouble.

Friday: Missed sort of a surprise birthday party at some friends. We had to cancel because of this stupid friend who flew in last minute. But they brought me over some cake (I ate it all!) and a gift.

My husband is off for a work thing but will be back this afternoon. Of course, then he is off with his friend. Thank god I feel better and can stay alone in the house. ONE GOOD THING about this friend. He is terribly allergic to cats so he can’t stay long in the house. Which is fine by me.

I talked to my psychologist today. Did you know you go on Medicare after one year of SSDI? Well, I didn’t. They also give you a supplemental policy. But it apparently doesn’t cover my psychologist. I guess she is actually a licensed social worker and not a Ph.D. I don’t know how I feel about changing docs. I’m not having any big problems right now, other than this creepy Abilify.

My husband was nice enough to take the jury summons down to my pdoc’s to get the excuse signed. He is supposed to pick it up today. I hope it works out. I just don’t think I am jury duty material.

I think I am in between stages. I want to be well and “normal” but that life is gone. I want to get up and go places but I want the security of my couch. I want something worthwhile to do but I am just too overwhelmed to commit. (Please do not tell me to volunteer at a school.)

Somehow I think this is a positive thing. My gut tells me I am moving toward an uncomfortable recovery.

Advice welcome.

News

Well, I may as well make this official since I’ve let my supervisors know–I’m not returning to my teaching job this fall.  With my hysterectomy being so late in the summer, I don’t know if I would be recovered enough to go to class this fall.  We start in mid-August.  So I have been trying to contact my department head for about a week, and finally just talked to the dean of the college just now and told him.  He was very sympathetic and wished me well.

Of course, things have been up in the air on this front anyway, and I’m still not clear enough on what I’ll be doing this fall to write about it.  But I do hope to have some news soon on that front now that I know I won’t be going back there.  I’m just having to trust God for this fall and hope to get a clear indication of his voice soon.

Pray for me–I’ve been there about four years and I think I will miss it.  But hopefully something even better can begin from it.  Hope everyone has a lovely Memorial Day weekend!


Fuck, Fuck, Shit, Shit, Fuck, Etc.

Super brief:

I’ve been MIA for the last few weeks for a handful of reasons, the main one being my grandmother is dying. She was moved to hospice this morning. We’re not sure how much time she has left, but it may be as little as a few days or las long as several weeks (the former looking more likely). I won’t have time to be here (which sucks ’cause I miss being here) because I’ll be out in the suburbs with my family. This is a massive, massive loss for me. My grandma practically raised me. Watching her suffer is agonizing. My doc upped 2 of my meds to help me deal with the anxiety, distress, sadness and panic attacks that come with losing the person who sang me lullabies, tucked me into bed for about half of my childhood and shared cups of coffee with me over Italian soap operas. This hurts so fucking bad. I feel like I’m gonna snap in half. But I won’t be here for a little while. Then I’ll probably be here about 11 times a day for a bit, then things will return to a shittier version of normal. I miss reading your posts and your comments. I miss your support. I miss my blog. But I can’t do this right now.

Ci vederemo qualche giorno in avvenire.

-LB

Tagged: death, family, grief, meds, support

Auto-Mom-a-ton

Call me Momboto. I’m shambling about but it’s pure instinct. Lizard brain responses. Just nuking some pancakes for my kid this morning seemed taxing. (Yeah, yeah, frozen pancakes, lazy mom, but um, my kid won’t eat homemade food.) Alas, I remembered to label and pack her a towel for the end of year splash party and took her to school. I have to pick her up at the big school today, joy joy. I love crowds. NOT. Then she goes to grandma’s for a sleepover and I get to…Um…Come home to crying kittens, housework, and no idea what to do with myself because auto-mom-a-ton has no off switch.

I am stuck in a catch 22 from hell. For some people, the fact I am getting out of bed (even if taking her to school in my jammas) means I am fine and dandy. Another faction thinks I am managing but half assing it out of laziness (Alert America’s Most Wanted Unfit Parents, I let my kid wear two different shades of pink together today, baaad.) I’m hanging by a few threads here and still, her needs are being met. Mine are met meh, a third of the time. I am way better at caring for others than for myself, mainly because that’s how my parents programmed me. They worked full time and I pretty much raised myself and my sister, but I always knew my needs came to second to hers. Same with my cats. Hell, having a pet was the only thing that kept me hanging on before Spook. It’s easy to give up on yourself, but when someone is counting on you, kid, cat, dog, iguana, pegacorn…It’s this tether that ties you to the earth.

In another example of crazy behavior, rather than make a decision on helping with the end of year fun day at her school, I “forgot” to fill out the paper. I figure they can always call me. Who knows, I might hit a manic day or have a sane moment by then. I’m bad, whatever. React to Latuda the way I did and continue to do then talk to me. This is hell on earth, no longer knowing who you are, barely able to remember who you were. And no I am not blaming all my problems on the stuff. I can just tell something changed be it the wrong chemical switch being flipped.

I was “high functioning” yesterday. I did no housework. BUT I showered and bathed the kid, in the same day. That’s mega functional for me. Usually, she gets bathed and I…Um…Whatever. Both of us in one day? Miraculous. I let her play on Neopets for awhile. I cooked myself a thick cheeseburger with provolone, mushrooms, and bbq sauce. It was delicious. Unfortunately, my headache never did go away so I was in my crypt, spawn along side, by 7pm. And the more she yapped, the worse my head throbbed. She’d been fairly good all day, though, and I wasn’t feeling my usual hulk-smash irritation so in the interest of not starting a bad scene, I told her she could sleep in my bed. Okay, I’m a hypocrite. I want her in her own bed but there are times when I am sooo fragile that I will do anything to keep the peace with her. It’s a wonderful thing to go to bed and not feel like your child hates you because it was a good day. I am, however getting concerned, because she keeps talking about the boys at school who get their ADHD pills because they act mean and she thinks she needs it. Is that what we’ve become as a society? Pill for everything, including kids being brats? I don’t dispute the help pills do for actual ADHD. But I’ve seen it done to too many kids who were just high spirited and defiant, not medically related.

The phone rang at 8pm. But the home phone was in the living room and I figured it was either my dad or R. They could always call my cell, which was right beside me in bed, and I’d answer it. Yeah, I was that low and in that much pain with the headache. And R sent a text asking me to call so I did. Blah blah blah come hold my hand tomorrow. I said fine but I’d come in after 11. Not a morning person. Plus…I never know how my sleep will be and it’s just easier to plan for later on in case I need a nap (rarely do I indulge) or just a chill out period.

I fell asleep. Woke three times between 10 pm and 10:50 pm. Then woke when my kid rolled off the bed and burst into screams. Then again at 1:30 am. And a couple of more times. I got up for a drink, peed, had a smoke. While I was out of the room for sixty seconds she woke and yelled for me, as if I had no right to get out of bed and not inform her. Then I woke at 6:10 and couldn’t get back to sleep. Thought, yay, I can have an hour or so while she’s still snoring. Bam, I get up and she’s yelling for me and following after me. Auto-mom-a-ton’s plan thwarted. So I get her some clothes picked out, feed her, then feed the indoor and outdoor cats, and the newbies need to be fed separately because they’re just starting solids and the bigger cats would totally hog it all. THEN I get to take care of me. Breakfast of champs, iced tea and a menthol. (Used to be dr pepper every morning but I can barely stand the sweetness anymore and I’m pretty sure it’s some sort of burn out on corn syrup, thank you midwest farmer mafia for forcing it into everything.) We’re up almost 90 minutes early so I get to hear her asking every ten seconds, “Is it time to go yet?Why’d you get me up so early? Is it time to go yet?” Never mind I told her to go back to sleep. NOOO, all my fault.

Is this a momcentric post? Yep. Because that’s my life. Kid, cats, mental illness. Mom first, kid and furkids. And I read other blogs and there are people with mental illness who have multiple kids and jobs and they make me feel like this weakling for not being able to juggle more. (Even my kid blurted out last night, “I wish you had a job, Mommy.) Then I read from those without kids who  think they absolutely could not have a kid and deal with mental illness. It runs the entire gamut, the functionality involved in mental illness.  At the moment, with my lack of affect, I feel like the shittiest mom ever. I’m just going through the motions. And it’s not just with my kid. It’s with everything. I watch the shows I like, read the books I like, TRY to listen to the music I like. But there’s no happiness. Hell, the music even sets off my anxiety receptors so after two or three songs, my skin is crawling and I have to turn it off. Shrink says it’s hypomania. Not being able to enjoy anything sounds like depression to me.

And the Latuda aftermath…I am about fed up being told there’s no withdrawal or aftermath. Maybe not for all, but for some…Something has been changed, altered somehow. I don’t understand how doctors can acknowledge that the tiniest thing can upset the hormonal balance in men and women alike, yet they don’t seem to think prescribing a med that has horrid side effects may have caused some sort of further chemical imbalance.  (Call it mentalpause, as it gives us a pause in what is even our normal level of dysfunction.)

I don’t get their logic, and I’m highly illogical half the time.

Oh, joy. My hives are returning, my stomach is churning. Absinthe won’t stop that shrill mewling and it hurts my ears. I’m not even looking forward to a night off from being mom. It’s all hollow. Pointless. Meaningless. Why can I feel anger and pain but nothing else? And even those things are disconnected and distant. Which with the Latuda, the anger was palpable at least.

Oh, well. Another day surviving the dish and the scumbag brain. Least it started on a slightly humorous note. As we were going out the door this morning, my kid tripped and yelled, “Clown shoes!”

Between clown shoes and sporks, I may just start a trend that’s not stupid.


24 questions of dubious origin

|| Public disservice announcement: I still have posts scheduled, but I missed you fuckers too much. I’m back.

I stole this meme from a blogger who stole it from another blog.  (scheduled post)

1. If you were to attend a costume party tonight, what or whom would you go as?
Albert Camus. I’d wear a world weary expression, a gitane, cynicism and loads of sardonic French.

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2. What are your choices of toppings on a hamburger?
Faded hopes and lost dreams.

3. You are chosen to have lunch with the President. The condition is you only get to ask one question. What do you ask?
(Jacob Zuma) Did you apply for the job purely for the money, or was crushing the poorest citizens also part of the appeal?

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4. It’s your first day of vacation, what are you doing?
Snoring like a chainsaw, with intermittent twitching and drooling. Occasionally reaching for a slice of pizza and a gulp of chocolate milk. I’ll catch the plane tomorrow.

5. What is your concession stand must-have at the movies?
Popcorn, which I shake a lot of toxic waste cheese and chives flavouring on, and if I want even more junk food, a box of msg and e numbers Smarties to add to the popcorn. Plus (oddly enough), bottles of still mineral water.

6. Which do you dislike most: pop-up ads or spam email?
Down with pop-ups, if I’ve somehow noticed what the parasite is advertising, I make a mental note to boycott the company.

7. What do you think Captain Hook’s name was before he had a hook for a hand?
Captain Hand. Obviously.

8. Rock, paper, or scissors?
A facial expression of pure ennui.

9. Let’s say a brick fell on your foot, and your kid is standing right next to you, what is your ‘cleaned up’ swear word?
Mothertrucker.

10. Which is worse, being in a place that is too loud, or too quiet?
Loud. I used to be part of team ‘if it’s too loud, you’re too old’, but there’s been a gradual shift into middle age, of noise being intolerable. Audible clocks in quiet rooms turn me into a snarling beast and I can hear a watch right across a room.

11. What is one quality that you really appreciate in a person?
Compassion.

12. At the good old general store, what particular kind of candy would you expect to be in the big jar at the counter?
Chappies.

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13. What is the most distinguishing landmark in your city?
What city? The nearest one (by formal definition) is three hours away. I have no clue what any of its landmarks are.

14. Everyone hears discussions that they consider boring. What topic can put you to sleep quicker than any other?
Sport, unless it’s the Volvo round the world yacht race.

15. How many times did it take you to pass your drivers test?
Got it on the second go; on the first, I had a panic attack instead.

16. If you had to have the same topping on your vanilla ice cream for the rest of your life, what topping would you choose?
The tears of my enemies.

17. What food item would need to be removed from the market altogether in order for you to live a healthier, longer life?
Fuck that, I don’t want a longer life tyvm.

18. You are offered an envelope that you know contains $50. You are then told that you may either keep it or exchange it for another envelope that may contain $500 or may be empty. Do you keep the first envelope, or do you take your chances with the second?
Take the first one, the exchange rate here is very much in favour of the dollar, and one thing I’m not, is a gambler.

19. If you had to choose, which would you give up: cable TV, or DSL/cable internet?
I have neither, but if I did, I’d lose the tv. It’s obviaas.

20. What is your highest level of education?
Matric.

21. How much is a gallon of gas in your city? What was the highest it’s been?
We call it petrol, measure it in litres and I am totally using that as a smokescreen, because I haven’t the faintest idea.

22. What kind of lunch box did you have as a kid?
Something nondescript in a tupperware flavour.

23. What would you rather have, a nanny, a housekeeper, a cook, or a chauffeur?
A housekeeper who can cook.

24. Would you rather be trapped in an elevator, or stuck in traffic?
I’m claustrophobic, traffic for sure.

 
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From the Book of Questions (Pablo Neruda)

iii

Tell me, is the rose naked
or is that her only dress?

Why do trees conceal
the splendor of their roots?

Who hears the regrets
of the thieving automobile?

Is there anything in the world sadder 
than a train standing in the rain?

The Adventure Of A Lifetime

I’ve been keeping a secret for several weeks that I just can’t hold onto any longer: my lifelong dream of a Caribbean cruise is about to be realized. Will and I have been invited to accompany my son and son-in-law on the Carnival Magic in December! They’ve even offered to pick up our expenses on board—all we have to pay for are our tickets and air fare, which has already been done. Now we have only to get our passports and GO!

I’ve never wanted it to be December so badly in my life. This vacation will be Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries and Mother’s/Father’s Days all rolled into one. It’s the honeymoon we never had, the adventure of a lifetime. Thankfully “the boys” have been on numerous cruises, because we totally lack sophistication and will need their assistance in figuring things out. Even Dr. Awesomesauce gave me some good advice for traveling in Jamaica (“you won’t be there two minutes before someone approaches you about marijuana”) and wants me to go on the shore excursion to the turtle farm (“you’ll love it!”).

Well, I don’t know about turtles, but I’m sure looking forward to seeing the clear blue/green waters and white-sand beaches. In the Caribbean. In December. While the Northern Hemisphere shivers and drips, we’ll be in places where summer never ends. We’ll be on a huge ship that has every amenity you can think of, including live entertainment and several pools and hot tubs. They even have a water slide, and YES, I’m going to go on it. This is the first time I’ve gotten to do anything like this, and I’m not wasting a single experience…..not even if I look ridiculous doing it.

In a way though, I’m glad there’s some time before we go. I need to lose some weight and develop a little activity tolerance, which will mean low-carbing and walking at least once a day with Will and the dogs. I’m also praying he can stay reasonably healthy, because this will likely be the only time we’ll get the chance to do something magnificent together. (Although I’ve gotta say, having our children was pretty cool too.) Our 35th wedding anniversary is this year; nothing wrong with celebrating a little late.

This trip is at least as much for him as it is for me, anyway. He and I have dreamed of taking a cruise for years and never thought for a minute that it would actually happen. We’ve just never been able to put that much money all together before, and even after buying our plane tickets and the cruise itself we are still sitting on a good amount of my back pay from Social Security. We’re going to want memorabilia from the places we visit (Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and of course Jamaica) so we definitely want to save up. I learned a lot about money management when we didn’t have any, and the purse strings are going to remain tight so we can enjoy ourselves on the trip.

Of course, there’s always got to be a fly in the ointment, and that is my illness. I’ve read that it doesn’t travel particularly well across time zones. But Dr. A, true to form, has a battle plan that we’re going to work on as the departure date nears. He thinks I’ll be fine as long as I don’t let my sleep/meds schedule get too far out of whack, which will take some prior planning but isn’t impossible.

I want to think that too. And now that the biggest item on my bucket list is about to happen, ANYTHING is possible. :-)